Kim Myeong-sun

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Kim Myung-sun.jpg
Born (1896-01-20)January 20, 1896
Died June 22, 1951(1951-06-22) (aged 55)
Language Korean
Literary movement Feminism
Notable works Chilmyeonjo
Kim Myeong-sun
Hangul 김명순
Hanja 金明淳
Revised Romanization Gim Myeong-sun
McCune–Reischauer Kim Myŏngsun
Pen name
Hangul 탄실
Revised Romanization Tansil
McCune–Reischauer T'ansil

Kim Myeong-sun (Korean: 김명순, Hanja: 金明淳) (20 January 1896, in Pyongyang – 22 June 1951) was a female Korean novelist and poet of the early 20th century.[1]


Kim Myeong-sun, who wrote under the pen-names Tansil(탄실;彈實) and Mangyangcho(망양초;望洋草)[2] was born in Pyongyang in 1896. Kim attended Chinmyeong Girls' School in Seoul in 1908 where she was a good student, but she was subjected to slurs about her background and mistreatment from her step-mother's family(Kim's mother was a kisaeng). Kim dropped out of school in 1911 and in 1913 left for Tokyo to study at Kojimachi's Girls' School. She did not complete her studies there, but instead returned to Korea to earn her degree at Sungmyeon's Girls' School.[3] In 1919 Kim joined the Creation group, Korea's first literary circle which was organized by Kim Dong-in and other Korean students in Tokyo. She was once a reporter for the newspaper Maeil Shinmun. Kim began to publish her poems in 1921, and from 1927 to 1930 she worked in cinema.[4] Kim suffered from financial problems and succumbed to mental illness late in life. Some sources allege that her mental illness was due to a love affair.[5]


She made her debut in 1917, in a magazine edited by Choe Nam-seon called Youth (Jeongchun), with a novella titled Uimun-ui sonyeo, or "Dubious girl".[6] She became known for her keen psychological portraits, with her 1921 novella Chilmyeonjo (Turkey), which was published in the magazine Enlightenment (개벽). She continued publishing as late as 1925. Relatively little is currently public about her work because, as Kim Yung-Hee notes, scholars have not studied her and are currently "attempting to excavate her lost works in order to better assess her position in the lineage of modern Korean women fiction writers."[7]

Works in Translation[edit]

Works in Korean (partial)[edit]

  • Dubious Girl (Uimun-ui sonyeo 1917)
  • Turkey (Chilmyeonjo 1921)
  • When I Look Back (Dolabol ttae 1924)
  • Tansil and Juyeong (Tansil-i wa juyeong-i 1924)
  • The Vault of Heaven (Changgung 1925)
  • The Guest (Sonnim 1926)
  • I Love (Na-neun saranghanda 1926)
  • Like a Stranger (Moreu-neun saramgati 1929)


  1. ^ Lee ed. (1993) gives 1896; Lee ed. (1983) gives 1905.
  2. ^ 성의 갈등과 상실을 민족사랑으로 승화시킨 여류문인[permanent dead link] (in Korean)
  3. ^ Kim, Yung-Hee (2010). Questioning MInds. Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0824834098. 
  4. ^ Kim, Yung-Hee (2010). Questioning MInds. Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press. p. 16. ISBN 978-0824834098. 
  5. ^ Lee ed. (1993), p. 123.
  6. ^ Lee ed. (1983), p. 233; Lee ed. (1993), p. 123.
  7. ^ Kim, Yung-Hee (2010). Questioning MInds. Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0824834098. 

See also[edit]