A few months ago, a 70-year old grandpa from the US had heart surgery in China. He said it’s only one-tenth of the costs in the US. After the operation, he received many Chinese netizens’ concern and good wishes. Why has he received so much attention?
Because he had a deep affinity with Chinese characters and is known as Uncle Hanzi（Chinese Character）.
Nowadays, more and more foreigners are learning Chinese, and they find Chinese characters is the most difficult part. While Richard Sears came to China across the ocean and spent nearly 30 years learning Chinese and studying the culture of Chinese characters, and found a related website called Chinese Etymology.
The website he created（他创建的网站）：https://hanziyuan.net/
More recently, he has been working with a company to develop character CARDS to animate the evolution of Chinese characters.
Richard was born in 1950 in a small town in the western STATE of Oregon.
Richard’s family with him
In 1972, he, at the age of 22, bought a one-way ticket to Taiwan and began learning Chinese.
“I didn’t fall in love with Chinese characters then,” he recalls. “I really wanted to learn Chinese, because one in five people in the world spoke Chinese. I hope I can learn Chinese and know more about the world.”
In 1994, he suffered a heart attack, underwent four surgeries, and spent his fortune accumulating more than 6,500 primitive forms and logic of Chinese characters from ancient Chinese books and archaeological data.
In 2002, the “Chinese Characters Resource Network”, which he founded, was quietly launched.
In 2012, he joined Beijing Normal University as a contemporary teacher to gain a chance to stay in China.
In 2017, he was invited to appear on TV show The Reader and The first class of the new semester.
He is also often involved in public welfare campaigns to popularize Chinese characters.
After years of study on Chinese characters, Uncle Hanzi is so familiar with the characters that he often draws them off the top of his head. He believes what he has done can help foreigners better understand Chinese characters.
He said：”Chinese people rarely think about where characters come from. Chinese is their mother tongue, they can remember and learn it easily, but for foreigners, it is very difficult to use this method. Why should we memorize 5000 complicated symbols? Why is the stroke of a Chinese character like this? I want to tell you the history of Chinese characters, so that they can understand how Chinese characters came from, so that Chinese characters are no longer complex symbols, but small stories one by one.”
To be sure, it’s still a long way to go for his further research, but his humanistic sensibility always gives us spiritual strength.
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