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Shin, Tong-yop 1930-1969

Shin, Tong-yop 1930-1969
(Tong-yop Sin)


Born August 8, 1930, in Puyo, Chungchongnam-do, South Korea; died, 1969. Education: Attended Chonju College of Education and Konkuk University, South Korea; Dangook University, South Korea, B.A.


Poet, journalist, and educator. Reporter for Kyoyuk Pyongron-sa, beginning 1950; teacher at Chungnam Chusan Agricultural High School, beginning 1958, and Myongsong Girls' High School, 1961-69.



Nuga hanul ul poatta hanun'ga, Changjak kwa Pipyongsa (Seoul, South Korea), 1979.

Sin Tong-yop chonjip, Changjak kwa Pipyongsa (Seoul, South Korea), 1985.

Kkot kac'i kudae ssurojin, Silchon Munhaksa (Seoul, South Korea), 1988.

Cholmun siin ui sarang, Silchon Munhaksa (Seoul, South Korea), 1989.

Kumgang, Changjak kwa Pipyongsa (Seoul, South Korea), 1989.

Sin Tong-yop: 60-yondae uimimang ul wihayo, Konguk Taehakkyo Chulpanbu (Seoul, South Korea), 1997.

Also author of collection titled Asanyo.


Shin Tong-yop was, according to Korean Journal contributor Yu Jongho, "one of the most widely discussed and enthusiastically eulogized Korean poets in the latter half of the twentieth century." Writing in East Asia: An International Quarterly, Paik Nak-chung noted that "the issues that had been close to the poet's heart … [included] anti-imperialism and anti-militarism, Korea's reunification, and the emancipation of the oppressed masses." Nak-chung added, however, that "his poetry endures precisely because it rises above ‘political literature’ in any simple sense. Certain transcendent, identifiably Daoist inspirations merge with a rare lyrical gift to make his best works a living presence even under changed circumstances."

Shin may be best known for his epic poem "The Kumgang River," sometimes referred to as "The Kum River." In the poem, Shin follows the revolutionary character and martyr Shin Ha-nui. Jongho explained how "Shin Tong-yop was a firm believer in the coming revolution, an undoubting revolutionary optimist, and in "The Kumgang River" he acts as what Friedrich Schlegel, referring to historians, termed a ‘retrospec- tive prophet.’ He rages, aches, howls, and yearns as he reconstructs retroactively the prelude to a failed revolution from the perspective of a prophet who never doubted its advent and eventual victory." Jongho continued, "With the ardor of a ‘retrospective prophet,’ Shin Tong-yop dreamed intensely, protested intensely, and sang robustly. He howled his entreaty that nothing had changed since the days of old and so now was the time to follow in the footsteps of the Tonghak Peasant War. The message was powerfully charged with the fascination of taboo, and electrified readers from the younger generation in particular."

The Shin Tong-yop Fund for Writers was established in South Korea in 1982 to offer financial support of young, talented writers.



East Asia: An International Quarterly, winter, 1999, Paik Nak-chung, "The Living Shin Tongyop, (1930-1969)," p. 144.

Korean Journal, winter, 1999, Yu Jongho, "Shin Tongyop: A Retrospective Prophet," pp. 164-186.

ONLINE, (April 13, 2006), "The Character of Korean Literature," includes discussion of Shin's work.

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