Korean Publishing Reels from Summer Scandals

In Feature Articles by Edward Nawotka

Korean author Kyung-sook Shin.

Korean author Kyung-sook Shin.

First, author Shin Kyung-sook apologizes for plagiarism; now, the founder of Gimm-Young Publishers is accused of embezzlement and cultish mind control.

By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief

Park Eun-joo

Park Eun-joo

Earlier this summer a Korean book critic discovered international bestselling author Shin Kyung-sook had plagiarized passages of her 1996 short story “Legend” from from Patriotism, written by Japanese writer Yukio Mishima in 1960. Shin is best known for her Man Asia-winning novel, Please Look After Motherwhich has sold more than two million copies worldwide. She apologized, but it has besmirched the international reputation of one of Koreas’s literary lights.

Now, the Korean JoonGang Daily is reporting that Park Eun-ju, the former CEO and President of Gimm-young Publishers, who resigned last May after being credited with turning it into one of the top trade publishing houses in Korea — and  has filed a lawsuit against the publishing house’s founder and Chairman Kim Gang-yoo with a series of scandalous accusations.

In the lawsuit, Park is alleging systematic mismanagement of the firm’s accounts, as well as a form of what can only be described as religious, cultish mind control. Park told another newspaper, the Chosun Ilbo, that from the years 1984 to 2003, Park “ate and slept at a religious temple Kim co-directed”. She donated her salary to the temple, while living off of only hundreds of dollars a month. Some $30 million is under dispute, says the Korea Times.

Gimm-young was among the first Korean companies to get into ebooks, as far back as 2000, and has created a strong niche for itself with mass-market business-interest titles, mysteries, self-help and entertainment titles.

Park has received numerous awards including the Korea Publishers Society’s Publisher of the Year Award in 2004. She served as President of The Korea Publishers Association from 2013-2014.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.