(pseudonym Minch’ on). Born May 29, 1895, in the village of Hoeryong, near Chonan. Korean writer, statesman, and public figure.
Yi Ki-yong grew up in a poor family and became a teacher. In 1922–23 he lived and studied in Japan. One of the organizers of the Korean Federation of Proletarian Art, he was frequently persecuted. His works were first published in 1924, when he began working for the literary magazine Choson chigwang. In his early novellas (including The Village of the Commoners, 1925), he emerged as a writer who describes the everyday life of the Korean peasantry. In the educational novels Native Land (1934; Russian translation, 1964) and Virgin Soil (1939), he created pictures of the life of the Korean people. In the novel The Earth (part 1, 1948; Russian translation, 1953), written after the liberation of Korea (1945), Yi Ki-yong interprets the changes that have occurred in the Korean village as a result of agrarian reform. During the Fatherland Liberation War of 1950–53, Yi Ki-yong published articles imbued with pain for his ruined homeland and calling for revenge. The second part of the novel The Earth (1960) deals with the war of liberation. The history of Korea’s enslavement by Japan and the people’s struggle against the colonizers are reflected in the novel The Turnen River (1954-64). Yi Ki-yong also wrote the book Through the USSR: Travel Notes (1963). In 1950 he became a member of the World Peace Council. In 1946 he became chairman of the Society for Korean-Soviet Friendship. He was awarded the Soviet Order of the Red Banner of Labor.
WORKSSonjip, vols. 10−15. Pyongyang, 1960–64.
In Russian translation:
In the collection Rozhdenie mira. Moscow, 1956.
In the collection Tainoe pis’mo. Moscow, 1965.
In the collection Zhili takie liudi. Moscow, 1971.
REFERENCEIvanova, V. I. Li Gi En: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo. Moscow, 1962.
V. I. IVANOVA