Ching Fang Bookstore: A Family Story of Buddhism in Modern Taiwan
After World War II, Chinese books were in great demand in Taiwan. Seeing the opportunity, Li Ching Yun (李慶雲) opened the first Chinese bookstore in his city Kaohsiung in 1946. When choosing the name “Ching Fang Bookstore” (慶芳書局), Li Ching Yun took one character from his own name, and the other from his first son’s name, in the hope that the business would last for generations. Over the decades, Ching Fang Bookstore has become a household name in Kaohsiung and has established a wide clientele in southern Taiwan. The family business was passed down to the five sons of Li Ching Yun and they have been managing the bookstore together up to this day.
With the rise of the Internet, Ching Fang Bookstore smoothly transitioned from publishing a comprehensive array of book subjects to focusing on textbooks and private tutor services. Working in collaboration with local schools and universities, the family business is still striving. However, today not many people know that Ching Fang Bookstore had deep connections with major Buddhist institutions in Taiwan, including the “Four Great Mountains,” and was involved in the rapid development of Buddhism in Taiwan in the late 20th century.
Li Ching Yun’s first son, Li Kun Fang, standing in front of the bookstore in the 60s.
Image courtesy of Ven. Jian Cheng
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