BYU Asian Studies Journal


Gerrit van Dyk


BYU Asian Studies, Kim Chi-ha, poetry


I n the 1970s, the Korean poet Kim Chi-ha was perhaps the most internationally well known Korean artist. During this time, Kim wrote many poems speaking out against the Park Chung Hee regime which began with Park’s coup in 1961. One of Kim’s most famous works, “The Five Bandits” (The Golden-Crowned Jesus and Other Writings) was so politically charged that it began a series of incarcerations of the poet on allegations of communist sympathies. Many international organizations and dignitaries defended Kim and called on Park to release the poet from prison. After Park’s death, Kim was released, and the democratic society Kim promoted began to be realized. Today, South Korea enjoys many freedoms that were unheard of in the 60s and 70s.