Jo Jihun

Jo Jihun 趙芝薰 (1920.12.3~1968.5.17)

  • Definition:Poet, scholar, patriot
  • Childhood Name: Dong-tak
  • Born-died:1920-1968 the second son of Haesan Jo Heonyeong
  • Achievement:Korean poet, critic, and activist
  • Collection of Poems:
    'The Blue Deer' (Cheongnokjip), 'Short Lines over Grasses'(Puripdanjang), 'Standing Before History' (Yeoksa apeseo), 'Lingering Resonance'(Yeoun), 'Principles of Poetry', 'Poem and Life', [Collection of Translated Poems in Tang Dynasty]
  • Books:A Theory on History of Korean Culture, Histoty of Korean Independence Moverment, Theory of Integrity

Jo Jihun was born in Yeongyang, Gyeongsangbuk-do, with birthname Dong-tak. In the strict home environment, he learned Chinese classics and finished secondary education by himself. He graduated from Hyehwa College, which later became Dongguk University. He started his literary career as "Antique Costumes"(Gopunguisang) was recommended by Munjang. In the same year, he published "The Dance of Buddhist Nun(Seungmu)", and "The Grief of Phoenix" (Bonghwangsu) in 1940. These first poems of Cho Jihun, capturing the lyrical expression of Korea's traditional and national consciousness, are contained in 'The Blue Deer' (Cheongnokjip), written by the poet along with two others, Park Dujin and Park Mokwol. He served as a Korean teacher in Kyunggi girls' high school, and a professor in the Korea University.

He published "Puripdanjang"(Short Lines over Grasses) in 1952, and "Jojihunsiseon"(Selected Poems of Cho jihun) in 1956. Under the regime of the Liberal Party, Cho Jihun emphasized that only those who guarded a purely poetic aesthetic could be considered poets, and asserted that the protection of individual freedom and the quest for the liberation of human nature was the essence of poetry. This literary purity and nationalistic fervor are proclaimed in the poet’s patriotic voice in his anthology, 'Standing Before History'(Yeoksa apeseo). The work criticizes, with a lucid historical consciousness, the political corruption and social irrationality engendered by the national division and internal strife of the day. Cho was appointed the first head of the Korea University National Culture Research Institute and wrote theses on the cultural history of korea . However, he could not finish his project and died at the age of 47. A memorial to him stands on Namsan in Seoul.