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a great man, great writing and poet

Cho Chi-hun

시인 조지훈 모습

  • Cho Chi-hun (1920-1968)
  • A poet of Pure Green Color School, writer and Koreanology researcher who perfected the mainstream of modern poems in Korea
  • Contributed to folklore and national movements
  • Published the first Korean cultural history
  • Major publications: Cho Chi-hun poems, Korean National Movements, etc.
  • Born in Yeongyang of Gyeongbuk in 1920, Cho Chi-hun perfected the mainstream of modern poems in Korea that started from Sowol and Yeongrang, Seo Jeong-ju and Yu Chi-hwan to Pure Green Color School to complete the continuity in Korean literature history in the early and late 20th century.

Extreme modern combination of traditional cadence and the beauty of serenity is the characteristic of poems by Cho Chi-hun.

His collections of poems including 'Cheongrokjib', 'Pulipdanjang', 'Poems by Cho Chi-hun', 'Before History' and 'Lingering Images' are highly praised as the gem of national language. In particular, poems including 'Buddhism Dance', 'Falling Flowers' and 'Gosa' are masterpieces of national poems frequently recited until today. Modern combination of traditional cadence and the beauty of serenity is the characteristic of poems by Cho Chi-hun. The position of Cho Chi-hun in the modern literature history of Korea is solid and invincible. Followed by Maecheon Hwang Hyun and Manhae Han Yong-un, Cho Chi-hun showed the typical patriot who values virtue as important as his own life.

When Manhae Han Yong-un retrieved dead Ilsong Kim Dong-sam from Seodaemun Prison, Cho Chi-hun was only 17 (1937) when he attended the ceremony of Simujang. This shows that he established his will in his early days. Cho Chi-hun regarded Korean cultural history built on folklore and history as his major area. He learned Chinese classics and fidelity from his grandfather Jo In-seok and father Jo Hyun-young, and the buddhist scriptures and zen meditation he learned from Hyehwa and Woljeongsa Temple were his lifelong study. Added by the Korean linguistics knowledge learned naturally from organizing the big Korean dictionary of Joseon Language Society, the academic background of Cho Chi-hun was wide and deep to the extent that it is hard to even imagine by people on modern education. After the liberation, he became the compilation member of Korean textbook for Korean Language Society in October, and in November, he became the compilation member of national history at the Diagnostic Society to compile the first Korean textbook and national history textbook of Korea. Afterward, in 1968, until he passed away from bronchodilatation, his writings including 'Research of Style', 'Korean Cultural History Journal', 'Korean National Movements' and 'Principles of Poetery' became eternal masterpieces in Koreanology research. Cho Chi-hun sternly distinguished between the truth and false or justice and injustice, and knew where to go forward and back off. The abstract reprimand revealed in 'Theory of Principle' was the cry of the conscience that he could not hide for the survival of the whole race.

Cho Chi-hun was a modern scholar who was diligent, relaxed, sincere, generous, dignified and easygoing. As Maecheon contemplated his own death by the 'candlelight lighting the sky' even in the moment of death, Cho Chi-hun had the belief that 'there was style from the beginning' even in the era of Japanese invasion and did not lose aloof grace. To Cho Chi-hun, style was the standard of life to be kept even in the place of resistance and death. Cho Chi-hun was a great man of talent, refinement and personality harmonizing on top of easygoing style and dignified principles.

  • Birthplace of Cho Chi-hun
  • Jihunsibi