Photo credit: SFU Archives

FASS News

In Memory of Fang Quei Quo, professor emeritus

April 28, 2021
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By Tsuyoshi Kawasaki

The Department of Political Science remembers Fang Quei Quo, professor emeritus, who passed away on March 26th, 2021 at the age of 88.

Dr. Quo mentored SFU Political Science Professor Tsuyoshi Kawasaki when he began his career at the university in 1994. What follows is Professor Kawasaki’s tribute to Dr. Quo:

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Dr. F. Quei Quo, and I would like to convey my sincere condolences to his family. As the pioneer of Japanese political studies at SFU, Dr. Quo made enormous contributions to the field. 

He took me under his wing when I started my SFU career back in 1994. I fondly remember our conversations and his jokes—all in perfect Japanese—in his AQ office while he kept smoking (it was allowed in those days). I presumed that he spoke Japanese at home, his wife being from Japan and his daughter living in Japan after graduating from a Canadian university; that was more than 25 years ago.

I knew Dr. Quo was from Taiwan, given his family name, but I was curious to know how he eventually came to Canada. This is what he told me:

When he was growing up in Taiwan, it was still a Japanese colony. When the country went back to the Republic of China after the Japanese defeat in World War II, Dr. Quo fled to the United States under duress. Taiwanese nationalists resisted the unruly behavior of the KMT (Chinese Nationalist Party) government, which eventually resulted in the February 28 Incident of 1947, a brutal crackdown by the KMT. The KMT’s “White Terror” against the Taiwanese followed, and Dr. Quo was blacklisted under the 1949–1987 Martial Law. When I visited the 228 Peace Memorial Park in Taipei (that commemorates the 1947 Incident) in 2012, I could not help but wonder how he could ever have escaped the White Terror and left Taiwan. But he did.

After obtaining an American PhD, Dr. Quo taught in Alaska for a while, if my memory serves me right. He eventually settled in Canada. By the end of the 1990s, he had started a new academic life at a Japanese university near Tokyo after taking an early retirement from SFU. I still remember that when I met him in a Tokyo café, he was telling me, with a big smile, that he finally went back to Taiwan after the Martial Law was lifted—with a Japanese TV crew to tape his emotional homecoming! I thought that his entire life story could have been made into a TV series. 

Dr. Quo went through dramatic phases in his life, but eventually he found a restful place here in Canada as an established scholar of Japan. I was lucky that I could have him as my mentor.  Thank you very much, Dr. Quo.

Dr. Quo is fondly remembered by his SFU colleagues:

“The passing of Dr. F. Quei Quo is sad news indeed.

I remember him as a very kind person who, in some ways, acted as a mentor for me in the early stages of my career. I came to SFU on a limited-term appointment when he was Chair and this led to my tenure-track position a while later.

He was very committed to the Department and was always supportive of his colleagues. He was discreet and polite, but never indifferent to other people's professional concerns or well-being in general.

Although it is not my field, I understand he made a significant contribution to the study of Chinese and Japanese politics.

I will continue to think of him as an exemplary colleague which makes me feel guilty for not having kept in touch with him for much of the time after he retired.” (SFU Professor Laurent Dobuzinskis)

“In February 1983, Quei Quo was one of the three-person team that visited China for the University to explore opportunities for various kinds of partnerships. The team consisted of me [Dr. John Munro], as Provost at the time, the Dean of Science, John Cochran, and Quei. There were very few western universities that did this outreach at that time. Quei was of immense value, not just because he spoke Mandarin, but because of the considerable knowledge he already had of China. He remained focussed on various China efforts until he took early retirement in the early 1990s.” (John Munro, professor emeritus, SFU Department of Economics)

Note: Dr. Munro has kindly submitted two photos from their trip in 1983.

Photo 1: Dr. F. Quei Quo at a metro station in Hong Kong (Central Station)

Photo 2: Dr. F. Quei Quo, the SFU Dean of Science, and the guide from China’s Ministry of Education at Shanghai South Station boarding the train to Hangzhou.

Photo credit: Dr. John Munro
Photo credit: Dr. John Munro