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Shin Kyung-sook seeks to withdraw short story

Kyung-sook Shin (photo credit: Lee Byungryul)
Shin Kyung-sook (photo credit: Lee Byungryul)

Wow – this all happened very quickly.

On 17 June author Lee Eung-jun wrote an article in Huffington Post Korea (in Korean) accusing Shin Kyung-sook of plagiarism:

Shin is “an author whose works are often accused of plagiarism” and that he decided to risk his career by publishing the article as he wanted the allegations to be made logically and officially rather than roam around on the Internet as rumors. (Korea JoongAng Daily)

Specifically, Lee claimed that Shin

lifted a passage from “Patriotism” by the late Japanese writer Mishima Yukio, translated into Korean by poet Kim Hu-ran in 1983, in her 1996 work “Legend.”

Lee, juxtaposing the parts from the two works, claimed that they bear striking similarities that can’t be explained as anything else but an act of plagiarism. (Korea Herald)

According to the Korea Times,

This was not the first time for Shin to get embroiled in a plagiarism scandal.

Shin’s short story collection “The Strawberry Field” and novel “The Train Departs at 7” were also the subject of plagiarism allegations in around 2000, but Shin denied those accusations.

A week later, the BBC reports:

After an initial denial, Ms Shin has now admitted “it was right to raise” the issue…

“I desperately tried to recall my memory only to find that I haven’t read Patriotism, but now I’m in a situation where even I can’t believe my own memory.”

Ms Shin said she would talk to her publisher about removing Legend from the book of short stories and take time for self-reflection.

She made her comments in an interview with the Kyunghyang Shinmun. According to the New York Times:

Ms. Shin left no doubt that she would continue to write, according to the newspaper. “If I stop writing, I am as good as dead,” it quoted her as saying.

One thought on “Shin Kyung-sook seeks to withdraw short story

    • An Sonjae: It’s all a load of codswallop. When is Will Shakespeare going to apologize for plagiarizing Holinshed, Plutarch and the rest? Entire plot lines as well as chunks of speech simply lifted straight! “Plagiarizing” is what academics or students do when they simply copy data and text from already published work without attribution. Creative writers of fiction are always in an inner dialogue with everything that has ever been written that they have read, it feeds into their creative act in multiple ways and often emerges as echoes, similarities, not necessarily consciously remembered at all.
    • Colette Balmain: Yes, I wonder the same. I do agree with the above. 50 Shades of Grey is Twilight fan fiction. What is the difference?
    • Philip Gowman: So is SKS apologising simply because of netizen ire, and because it’s good PR?
    • An Sonjae: “Simply” is not the word. She had few options given the virulence of netizens hostility. Koreans like others delight in the fall of idols whether they are guilty of something or not.
    • Jake Bevan: I think this is an incredibly good excuse for everyone to go and watch Lee Jung-ho’s Bestseller.
    • Elena Lee: Koreans like others also relish celebrity mea culpa with abject apology, and hers was rather confusing, but it had the requisite line “It’s all my fault.” As an author with a new book due to be released, admittance of plagarism is imprudent and a last resort for an artist. Then again this bit of publicity could boost sales, now that she apologized and needlessly too.
    • Insoon Kim: This time we are focusing on “plagiarizing” she did by simply copying other writer’s work, not echoes or similarities. I think her works need to be more scrutinized than boy bands’ music that merely survive several weeks only
    • Han EJ Karmy: Readers travel into fictions by investing time, money and emotions in authors’ own creative words. I feel no one in a right mind would mention plagiarism lightly against the Shin judging by her popularity.

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