Guo Moruo was a literary figure and cultural leader who is well known as an authority on Chinese ancient history and for his service to the cause of Communist power. Both his acclaimed written works and his public involvement in government and cultural activities led to his reputation as a cultural leader during his time.
Guo Moruo was born in the town of Shawan in Sichuan Province to a merchant-landlord family and named “Kaizhen” by his parents. His family had business in oil of various kinds, money exchanging, and the opium trade, and was affluent enough to have a family school, where Guo began his formal education in the Confucian classics at age five. He was inspired by the study of world history and eager to leave his small town. While still a high school student in Chengdu, Guo married Zhang Qionghua (1890–1980), an illiterate bride betrothed to him by his parents. Not happy with this arranged marriage, Guo left home soon and enrolled briefly at the Military Medical School in Tianjin, but left without earning a degree. In 1914 he went to Japan and attended the Sixth Higher School, which prepared him to attend Kyushu Imperial University, where he would graduate with a bachelor’s degree in medical science in 1923.