Chu Yo-han

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Chu Yo-han
Revised RomanizationJu Yohan
McCune–ReischauerChu Yohan
Pen name
Revised RomanizationSonga
Japanese name:
Matsumura Kōichi ()

Chu Yo-han (14 October 1900 – 17 November 1979) was a twentieth-century Korean poet.[1]


Chu was born in Pyongyang, under what was then the Joseon Dynasty. He attended elementary school in Pyongyang, and then middle school at the Meiji Academy in Japan. In May 1919 he fled in exile to Shanghai where he was a reporter for the provisional government newspaper, The Independence (Dongnipsinmun). During this time he encountered An Changho and Lee Gwangsu. While in exile in Shanghai he entered Hujiang University to study Chemistry. He graduated from Hogang College in Shanghai in 1925.[1] He was the editor of The Creation, famously the first literary magazine in Korea[2] and was one of the leading figures of the New Poetry movement.[3] In 1979, the South Korean government conferred on him posthumously honors of Rose of Sharon.[4] Additionally, several hymns are composed by him, which contributed development church music of Korea.


Chu was considered a representative poet of the 1920 and 30's[5] and his work can be roughly divided into those poems composed before his exile in Shanghai and those written afterward. His earlier poems, written during his years in Japan, reflect the influence of modern Western and Japanese poetry. The influence of the French symbolist poet Paul Fort is especially evident in pieces such as “Playing with Fire” (Bullori): in a limpid, clear style he sensitively registers the minutest of impressions and manages to lend them a sensual immediacy.[1]

Yohan’s work as a whole more or less reflects a gradual turning away from styles and forms influenced by Western poetry toward traditional Korean poetry. Like Kim Eok, he was a major figure in Korean Literature who pioneered the move away from Western imitation to his literary roots. He articulates the reasons for this shift of inspiration in his critical piece, “To the One Who Would Write a Song” (Noraereul jieusillyeoneun iege), in which he places the highest value on the creation of beauty and vitality in the Korean language and move on to develop a complete theory of poetry. After 1930, Yohan concentrated on writing sijo, a traditional Korean poetic form, but continued to produce other verse and edited, with others, the poetry anthology Poetry of Three People (Samin sigajip) and an anthology of sijo, Blind Flower (Bongsa kkot).[1]

Works in Korean (Partial)[edit]


  • “Playing with Fire” (Bullori)
  • "Shanghai Story” (Sanghae iyagi)
  • “China Girl” (Chaina sonyeo)
  • “At the Park” (Gongwoneseo)
  • “To the One Who Would Write a Song” (Noraereul jieusillyeoneun iege)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Joo Yohan" LTI Korea Datasheet available at LTI Korea Library or online at: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Korean Literature Savor Korea's Finest Writing". April 6, 2012. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  3. ^ Jaihiun J. Kim (1987). "Chu Yohan". Korean Poetry Today 450 Poems Since the 1920's. Seoul: Hanshin. p. 16. ASIN B000BNC2DE.
  4. ^ "김덕련, 발굴/ 주요 친일명단 120명 중 34명 해방후 훈·포장·표창 서훈 - 김성수는 2등급, 유관순은 3등급" 《Ohmynews》 (2005.8.31)
  5. ^ Yi Nam-ho; U Ch’anje; Yi Kwangho; Kim Mihyeon (2005). "1900 - 1945 : The Rise of Modern Literature". Twentieth-Century Korean Literature. EastBridge Signature Books Series. p. 7. ISBN 978-1891936456.

External links[edit]