New ver­sion of ‘Whale Hunt­ing’ re­leased

The Korea Times - - BOOKS - By Jin Yu-young Jin Yu-young is a Korea Times in­tern.

When Kore­ans think of the name “Whale Hunt­ing,” they of­ten think of Bae Chang-ho’s 1984 movie of the same ti­tle.

Tak­ing place in the 1970s and ‘80s, the movie re­flects young adults and their strug­gles through the mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship and rapid in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion that took place in post-civil war Korea. The film was widely pop­u­lar, at­tract­ing al­most half a mil­lion view­ers in the first year of its re­lease.

The story, how­ever, came from the book “Whale Hunt­ing” by Choi In-ho, which was orig­i­nally pub­lished in 1983, and re­volves around Byung-tae, a timid uni­ver­sity stu­dent who is too shy to even share his feel­ings to­wards fel­low class­mate Mi-ran. Af­ter meet­ing Min-woo, a beg­gar, Byung-tae is in­tro­duced to Chun-ja at a brothel.

Byung-tae is in­trigued by Chun-ja and quickly de­vel­ops a re­la­tion­ship with her.

Through fac­ing the dif­fi­cul­ties of so­ci­ety with Min-woo and Chun-ja, Byung-tae comes to re­al­ize the true mean­ing of love and friend­ship.

Choi was born in Seoul in 1945. He grad­u­ated from the De­part­ment of English Lit­er­a­ture at Yon­sei Uni­ver­sity, and re­ceived at­ten­tion for bring­ing to light con­tro­ver­sial is­sues, win­ning sev­eral awards in­clud­ing the Yi Sang Literary Award in 1982 for “Deep Blue Night.”

Many of his works have been trans­lated into var­i­ous lan­guages in­clud­ing English, Ger­man and French. In 2013, Choi passed away from can­cer. He was 68 at the time.

In the fifth year fol­low­ing Choi’s death, a new ver­sion of

“Wha le Hunt­ing” was re­leased in Novem­ber. This edi­tion has a slightly dif­feren t or­thog­ra­phy and in­cludes Cho i ’s “Youth Cul­tural Dec­la­ra­tion,” which was pub­lished in 1974 and sparked dis­course on youth cul­ture. Prior to Choi, this sub­ject was rarely touched upon by other Korean au­thors.

“There was no such thing as youth cul­ture in Korea,” says Kang In-suk, Di­rec­tor of the Young-In Literary Mu­seum. “The au­thor who dis­cov­ered it was Choi In-ho.” Kang also praises Choi for main­tain­ing his youth­ful per­son­al­ity and writ­ing style through­out his ca­reer. She con­sid­ers “Whale Hunt­ing” as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive work of this youth cul­ture and pro­tag­o­nist Byeong-tae as the em­bod­i­ment of a young adult striv­ing to reach his dreams.

Due to Korea’s in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive na­ture, the Sampo Gen­er­a­tion — the cur­rent young gen­er­a­tion that has given up on love, mar­riage and hav­ing chil­dren — has been re­named as the N-Po Gen­er­a­tion, which has given up on even more as­sets such as hob­bies and in­ter­per­sonal re­la­tion­ships. Through the re-re­lease of this book, pub­lish­ers hope to give strength to the young adults of to­day and in­spire them to reach their goals.

“Whale Hunt­ing” by the late au­thor Choi In-ho

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