(pen name, Pyokcho). Born 1888 in Kwesan, Chungchong-pukto Province; died 1971 in Pyongyang. Korean writer and state and public figure.
Hong Myong-hi attended college in Tokyo from 1908 to 1910 and lived in China as an émigré until 1918. Upon returning to Korea he took part in the popular uprising of March 1919 and spent several years in prison. In 1927 he helped organize the patriotic New Korea Society (Singanhoe). In 1945, Hong Myong-hi took up cultural and educational work in South Korea. From 1948 he lived and worked in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). He served as deputy chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and chairman of the Central Committee of the United Democratic Fatherland Front. From 1953 to 1956 he was president of the Academy of Sciences of the DPRK.
Hong Myong-hi is the author of the multivolume historical novel The Biography of Im Kok-chong (vols. 1–4, 1939–40; revised edition, vols. 1–6, 1954–56), which, for its rich use of folk language and its depiction of customs and manners, is rightly regarded as an encyclopedia of Korean life in the 16th century. The novel’s patriotic spirit and sense of social purpose echoed the Korean people’s struggle against the Japanese colonialists in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
L. R. KONTSEVICH