Cho Hae-il

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Cho Hae-il
Born Cho Hae-ryong
(1941-04-18) April 18, 1941 (age 76)
Language Korean
Nationality South Korean
Ethnicity Korean
Citizenship South Korean
Korean name
Hangul 조해일
Revised Romanization Jo Hae-il
McCune–Reischauer Cho Hae'il
Birth name
Hangul 조해룡
Revised Romanization Jo Hae-ryong
McCune–Reischauer Cho Haeryong

Cho Hae-il (born 1941 as Cho Hae-ryong) is a South Korean writer.[1]


Cho Hae-il was born April 18, 1941 in Manchukuo and was originally given the name Haeryong, which means "Sea Dragon".[2] After the liberation of Korea his family returned to Seoul, and five years later the Korean War began. During the war his family joined the stream of refugees who retreated to Busan, only returning so Seoul in 1954 after the cessation of hostilities.[2] Cho entered Posung High School where, by his own admission, he had "the lowest scholastic achievements".[2] At this school he entered the creative writing club. In 1960 he lived through the student revolution of April 19, about which he said made him very proud for the achievements of others and very shamed for his own failure to participate.[2]

In 1961 he entered Kyunghee University, where he majored in Korean literature and met Hwang Sunwon, one of the greatest senior writers in Korea. Graduating in 1966, he served his mandatory military service in various roles. Upon his discharge from the service, he begins writing. When his writing career began to wind down in the late 80s, Cho moved to teaching creative writing at Kyunghee University. He married in 1972 and has one son.[3]


Cho made his literary debut with The Man Who Dies Every Day, which won first prize in the JoongAng Ilbo spring literary contest in 1970. Over the next few years Cho was quite prolific, publishing at least twelve short stories and the novella America between his first work and 1974. In 1976 Cho published The Winter Woman, which went on to achieve massive success and made Cho a popular writer, though he believes his fame to be undeserved.[4] From 1974 to 1986, Cho wrote steadily, both short stories and newspaper serials.

Cho's work often focuses on the weaknesses of individuals and societies. His America (in English) tells the story of a man and local society deformed by the presence of U.S. troops in South Korea.[5] His short story The Iron Mask tells the story of a couple attacked, and the wife beaten, while The Psychologists explores the dynamics of violence in the confines of a bus.[6]

Works in translation[edit]

  • America

Works in Korean[edit]

  • America (collection)
  • The Children of God (novella)
  • The Winter Woman (serialized in the JoongAng Ilbo then published)
  • The Man on the Roof (serialized in the Seoul Sinmun)
  • Rainday (collection)
  • The Country that Never Was (serialized in the JoongAng Ilbo then published)
  • X (serialized in the Donga Ilbo then published)
  • The Seven Stories of Im Kockchong


  1. ^ "조해일" biographical PDF available at: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  2. ^ a b c d America, by Cho Hae-il, Dongsuhmunhaksa Publishing, 1990. P. 102
  3. ^ America, by Cho Hae-il, Dongsuhmunhaksa Publishing, 1990. P. 104
  4. ^ America, by Cho Hae-il, Dongsuhmunhaksa Publishing, 1990. P. 103
  5. ^ "Korean Modern Literature in Translation". Retrieved 2011-10-12. 
  6. ^ America, by Cho Hae-il, Dongsuhmunhaksa Publishing, 1990. p. 100-101