Postdoctoral fellow in the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations Jinbao Qian died suddenly on Oct. 22. Qian was 38. When Qian left his native China in 1994 to pursue a doctorate at Harvard, he had already made his mark in the field of history. An archivist at the Historical Archives of China in Nanjing, he had been part of a team that had painstakingly documented a pivotal event in China’s wartime relations with Japan, the Rape of Nanking.
“Jinbao had a great spirit,” said Shinju Fujihira, the associate director of the program where Jinbao held a fellowship. “He enjoyed his life at Harvard, and was always smiling and energetic. He will be greatly missed by Harvard’s graduate student community and the Weatherhead Center community.”
Qian received a Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard in June 2004. Among Harvard scholars of Chinese studies, he was widely heralded for his encyclopedic knowledge of archival materials throughout China.
When the new academic year began in September, Qian stayed on at Harvard to take up a postdoctoral fellowship with the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, where he intended to investigate the wartime negotiations between Japan and China from 1937 through 1945. On Oct. 22, he collapsed while playing badminton and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was pronounced dead of a heart attack.