Japanese poetry endures in South Korea
International Herald Tribune
By Choe Sang-Hun
March 25, 2008
SEOUL: When Son Ho Yun published her poetry, South Korean writers denounced her as unpatriotic.
When Rhee Han Soo wrote his poems, he avoided discussing them with friends because he was certain he would get the same negative response.
Although they never met, Son and Rhee shared a passion for more than six decades: They each wrote traditional Japanese poetry in South Korea, where animosities rooted in Japan’s colonial rule still run deep and people of their generation considered such literary pursuits little short of sacrilegious.
“Here, people look up to you if you write poetry in English and publish it in America or England,” said Rhee, an 82-year-old retired dentist. “But if you write Japanese poems, they despise you or dismiss you as a fool.”
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