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[Newsmaker] Govt. seeks to take Ko Un’s poetry out of textbooks amid sexual misconduct allegations

March 2, 2018 - 15:38 By Yonhap
The government has begun to take steps to remove works by world-renowned South Korean poet Ko Un from school textbooks amid growing sexual misconduct allegations, multiple industry sources said Friday.

The Ministry of Education sent an official letter earlier in the day to the Korea Authorized & Approved Textbooks, in which it requested the association to ask its member publishers if they have plans to delete any of the content in the textbook that belongs to a person of “public controversy.”

The ministry requested to be notified of the plan by next Wednesday, according to the sources.

Although the ministry did not specify the person by name, it is assumed to be targeted at Ko, since some publishers have already decided to delete parts about other high-profile artists involved in alleged sexual assaults, the sources added. 


Ko Un is at the center of a ballooning sexual misconduct scandal in the art and cultural fields. The allegations came to light when female poet Choi Young-mi described an experience of being groped by an unnamed senior poet in a poem she released early this month. Media and many industry sources have pointed to Ko to being the alleged offender.

Ko offered to leave his home and writing studio, which were provided by a provincial city government, but has kept mum about the allegations.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has also shut down a section of its library where a collection of Ko‘s work had been displayed for public access.

Ko, 84, is regularly mentioned in local media as a potential candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His works have been translated and published in more than a dozen countries. Currently, at least seven poems and essays written by Ko have been published in 11 different high school textbooks. (Yonhap)