In the early decades of the twentieth century, the international Esperanto movement made its way to China. Despite the absence of any trace of East Asian elements in this putatively international language, designed to facilitate communication across political borders and thus enhance prospects for peace, it gained considerable popularity in both China and Japan. There were two principal Chinese streaks among Esperanto advocates: abolish Chinese altogether for Esperanto; or use Esperanto for international and inter-Asian contacts, retaining Chinese for domestic use. Why Esperanto? In an era when many progressive Chinese were searching for a way to forge links with complementary forces in the outside world, especially in the “advanced” West, Esperanto had any number of advantages: it could be used with anyone outside China, irrespective of nationality; it was relatively easy to learn (such as no grammatical exceptions and few grammatical cases); and its carried an idealistic internationalist aura about it. Literary Chinese had long served this function within East Asia, but it was so viscerally denigrated in the New Culture Movement that suggesting it as an international language was virtually impossible, and no one ever expected non-East Asians to learn any variant of Chinese.