History of Changbi


The Quarterly Changbi registrered on december 10.


Published the first issue of The Quarterly Changbi (winter issue). The inaugural issue of The Quarterly Changbi printed by Munu Chulpansa (address: 122 Gongpyeong-dong, Jongro-gu, Seoul). Publisher: O Yeong-geun; editor: Paik Nak-chung. Paik’s “A New Stance on Creation and Criticism” published as the opening article. Korean translation of Arnold Hauser’s “The Film Age” (final chapter of the Social History of Art) published in the autumn issue.


The serialization of Bang Yeong-ung’s novel A Record of Bunnye begun in the summer issue. Starting with the winter issue, the printing house switched to Ilchokak (address: 229-1 Cheongjin-dong, Jongro-gu, Seoul). Publisher: Han Man-nyeon; editor: Paik Nak-chung.


Poems published for the first time in the quarterly (spring issue).


Established Chanjak-Kwa-Bipyongsa. In November, the Literary Council for Liberty was founded. Editor Paik Nak-chung signed his name to the “National Declaration for the Restoration of Democracy”, and refused to present a letter of resignation to Seoul National University. In December, he was reprimanded and discharged by the Ministry of Education.


In accordance with Emergency Measure No. 9, the spring issue of The Quarterly Changbi was withdrawn from the bookstands. In June, Paik was arrested by the Korean CIA (KCIA) for publishing The Complete Works of Shin Tong-yop and the books were banned. In July and August, Homeland, a collection of poems by Cho Tae-il, and the summer issue of The Quarterly Changbi were banned in succession.


In February, editor Yom Mu-woong was dismissed from Duksong Women’s University. Professor Kang Man-gil first proposed the concept of the “age of national division” in his article entitled “A Reflection on ‘Nationalist Historiography’”, which appeared in the spring issue of The Quarterly Changbi.


The entire text of the proceedings of the symposium “Close Inspection for the 1980’s” was deleted through censorship exercised by the Marital Law Command. In March, Paik Nak-chung, Kim Yoon-su and Yom Mu-woong returned to their former positions as university professors. In April, Yang Sung-u’s A Drumming Cripple was banned. An enlarged edition of The Complete Works of Shin Dong-yup was published but again banned through censorship by the Martial Law Command. At the end of July, Changbi was forced to stop publication in accordance with the decision of the National Security Committee.


In order to compensate, at least partly, for the absence of the quarterly, Our Yearning, a collection of new poems by thirteen writers, was published.


With a similar intention, a new collection of literary critiques entitled The Current Stage of Korean Literature (vol. 1) was published, followed by vols. 2-4 in 1983, 1984, and 1985, respectively. With Parching Thirst, a collection of Kim Ji-ha’s poems, was published but banned and confiscated. The Office of National Tax Administration imposed a ten million won penalty on Changbi. South (vol. 1), Kim Ji-ha’s long poem, was published but banned and all copies were sealed off.


A new collection of novels was published. In 1985 and 1987, consecutive volumes were published.


The Quarterly Changbi (no. 57) was published as a non-periodical (irregular publication). In December, however, Changbi’s registration was cancelled on the charges of “illegal” publication of the periodical. A pan-intellectual and nationwide signature campaign was held in protest against the cancellation of Changbi’s registration. Intellectuals and literary and human rights groups overseas also participated in the campaign.


In June, at the World PEN Club Conference held in Hamburg, Germany, a resolution in solidarity with the Changbi circumstances was adopted. In August, the publishing house was newly registered as Changjak-sa.


In July, Changbi 1987, a non-periodical (irregular publication), was published.


In February, The Quarterly Changbi was registered again and Changbi Publishers regained its title, officially. The first issue of the revived quarterly (spring issue) was published.


“People Were Living There”, an essay by Hwang Sok-yong on his visit to North Korea, appeared in the winter issue of The Quarterly Changbi, for which Lee Si-young, the co-editor, was arrested and indicted.


Tong’i Pogam[Handbook of Eastern Medicine], a novel concerning a traditional Korean pharmacopoeia of the same name, was published in three volumes. Approximately 3,600,000 copies have been sold up to now.


Selected Modern Korean Poems (in three volumes) and My Exploration of Cultural Heritage (written by Yu Hong-june) were published. In the latter work, the value and beauty of Korean cultural heritage are carefully explained in a fluent style. The book has greatly attracted readers and consecutive series have been published in three volumes. 1,500,000 copies have been sold.


In May, the publishing house became a corporate body and made a fresh start as Changbi Publishers, Inc. At 30, The Party Is Over, a collection of poems by Choi Young-mi, was published. With provocative language and a modern sensibility, the author boldly and candidly recounts the lives of her generation that participated in the flood of ideologies in the 1980s. This collection was immensely popular and sold more than 1,000,000 copies, a rare phenomenon in the field of poetry.


The 30th anniversary commemoration issue of The Quarterly Changbi (spring issue) was published. In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the foundation of The Quarterly Changbi, Changbi Publishers, Inc. held an international conference in April entitled “Toward a New Global Civilization”, which was attended by Perry Anderson, Bruce Cumings, Wada Haruki, Norma Field, Boris Kagarlitsky, Paik Nak-chung, Choi Won-sik, and others.


In commemoration of the publication of the 100th volume of the quarterly, Changbi held an academic conference in March entitled “Our Task in the Age of the IMF and Cultural Shifts at the End of the Century”. The 100th volume (summer issue) was published.


In commemoration of the publication of the 200th volume of the Changbi Selected Poems Series, Changbi Publishers, Inc. held a literary symposium in October entitled “Tendencies in the 21st Century: the Digital World and the Poetic”, which was attended by Ko Un, Hwang Sok-yong, Kim Beong-ik, Chung Nam-young, Ra Hui-deok, Paik Nak-chung, and others.


The 35th anniversary commemorative issue of The Quarterly Changbi (spring issue) was published.


The Quarterly Changbi Children’s Literature Series was founded (summer 2003 issue).

Changbi completed the construction of and relocation to a new company building in Paju Book City, Gyeonggi Province (in June). The relocation ceremony was held in September, and a new CI was announced.


Five Changbi books were selected among the “100 Books of Korea” to be translated and exhibited at the 2005 Frankfurt International Book Fair in October: A Revised History of Contemporary Korea (by Kang Man-gil), Dictatorship in the Name of Development and the Park Chung Hee Era (by Lee Byeong-cheon, et al.), The Division System in Crisis (by Paik Nak-chung), An Account of a Journey to the DMZ (by Lee Si-woo), and Peasants’ Dance (by Shin Kyung-rim).

Changbi was selected as the publisher with the greatest contribution to Korean society since the liberation from Japan in 1945 (the daily, Segye Times).

North Korean writer Hong Seok-jung was selected as the winner of the 19th Manhae Prize for Literature, which is organized by Changbi, for his novel Hwang Jini, and the award ceremony was held at Mt. Geumgang (Diamond Mountains) in North Korea. This was the first instance of a North Korean writer being awarded a literary prize established since the national division in South Korea.


Professor Paik Nak-chung, the editor of The Quarterly Changbi, was selected as the South Korean Chair of All-Korean Committee for Implementation of 6/15 Joint Declaration. The festivities were successfully held in June and August.

Changbi and the Civil/Citizens’ Action Network organized a joint symposium entitled “To Overcome the 1987 System: A Critical Reflection on the Constitution and Social Structure”.

Changbi participated in the Frankfurt International Book Fair, which was held in October, with Korea as the guest of honor (literature, children’s books, and works selected from among the “100 Books of Korea” were exhibited).


The 40th anniversary commemoration issue of The Quarterly Changbi (spring issue) was published.

April Japanese webzine of The Quarterly Changbi founded (http://www.changbi.com/jp/).

May Publication of Changbi Weekly Commentary, a weekly online medium, begun (http://weekly.changbi.com). Professor Lee Il-young’s “The US-Korea FTA: Is It the Roh Moo-hyun Administration’s Suicidal Act?” and poet and novelist Lee Jang-wook’s piece published in the inaugural issue.

June “East Asia as Solidarity and the Role of Magazines: International Symposium of the Editors of Progressive Journals in East Asia,” commemorating the 40th anniversary of the foundation of The Quarterly Changbi, to be held at the Korea Press Foundation (KPF) and Yonsei University.

July Final installment of 20th-Century Korean Fiction, edited by Choi Won-sik, Lim Kyu-chan, Jin Jeong-seok, and Baik Ji-yeon (20 vols.), to be published.
Over 1,500 titles including single-volume works and periodicals published to date.


[The [Segyo Institute], an encounter between literature and the social sciences, was founded]

On January 6, the Segyo Institute held its inaugural general assembly and was officially launched. A sister organization of Changbi, the Segyo Institute is a private research institute established to contribute to the development of South Korean literature and society through joint research on the issues of the age by writers, critics, and humanities and social sciences scholars.

2009 [Changbi Poetry Series vol. 300 was published]

A collection of selected verse was published to commemorate the 300th volume in the Changbi Poetry Series, which has presented representative South Korean poetry. Begun in 1975 with Shin Kyung-rim’s Peasants’ Dance, the Changbi Poetry Series celebrated its 35th year. Under the theme of people and lives, vol. 300 consists of the choicest works by the 86 poets whose poems were published in vols. 201-299.

[The Changbi Prize for Young Adult Fiction was established]

The Changbi Prize for Young Adult Fiction was established, and writer Kim Ryeo-ryeong’s Wandeuk was published as the first winner. Becoming the most noted work in 2008, the novel led to a boom in young adult literature.

2010 [The publication of 10,000 Lives was completed]

Evaluated in poetry circles around the globe as the “most extraordinary project in today’s literature” (Robert Hass), 10,000 Lives was completed in a total of 30 volumes and over 4,000 poems. A who’s who in verse penned by poet Ko Un over 25 years, this work is a monumental tour de force unprecedented even in the history of world literature.

2011 [An English translation of Professor Paik Nak-chung’s The Division System in Crisis: Essays on Contemporary Korea was published]

An English translation of The Division System in Crisis: Essays on Contemporary Korea by editor Paik Nak-chung (published by Changbi; 1998) was published by the University of California Press as a volume in the Seoul-California Series in Korean Studies.


[Picture book A House of the Mind: Maum received the BolognaRagazzi Award]

A House of the Mind: Maum (written by Kim Heekyoung, illustrated by Iwona Chmielewska) received the BolognaRagazzi Award for non-fiction presented by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.


[Shin Kyung-sook’s Please Look after Mom was translated and published worldwide, starting with the publication of an English translation]

A novel by million-selling South Korean prose fiction writer Shin Kyung-sook, Please Look after Mom was translated into English and published by the American publisher Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in April. It has been or is scheduled to be translated into languages including French, Chinese, and Spanish and published in over 30 countries worldwide.

2012 [Shin Kyung-sook’s Please Look after Mom received the Man Asian Literary Prize]

Shin Kyung-sook’s novel Please Look after Mom received the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize. The award is presented by the Man Group, which sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, to Asian writers. The novel was assessed by the judging panel as a “beautiful, poignantly told tale” with a “compelling structure” that differentiated it from other works.


[A festival was held to celebrate the sales of 1 million copies of Sister Mongsil]

Kwon Jeong-saeng’s novel for children, Sister Mongsil surpassed 1 million copies in sales since the publication of the first edition in 1984. A revised edition was published and a festival was held to celebrate the sales of 1 million copies of the work.

2013 [Eyes (written and illustrated by Iwona Chmielewska) received the BolognaRagazzi Award (grand prize), a first for a South Korean work]

A picture book published by Changbi, Eyes (written and illustrated by Iwona Chmielewska) won the BolognaRagazzi Award (grand prize) for fiction at the 2013 Bologna Children’s Book Fair.


[2 million copies of Children of Kwaeng-i-bu-ri Village were sold]

Kim Jung-mi’s novel for children, Children of Kwaeng-i-bu-ri Village surpassed 2 million copies in sales since the publication of the first edition in 2000.


Editor Paik Nak-chung, publisher Kim Yoon-soo, and co-editor Baik Young Seo of The Quarterly Changbi retired from their respective posts.

2016 [The Quarterly Changbi celebrated its 50th anniversary]

In January, The Quarterly Changbi celebrated its 50th anniversary, with Paik Nak-chung, Han Ki-wook, and Kang Il-woo as the editor emeritus, editor-in-chief, and publisher-cum-editor, respectively. Dreaming of a better world, the journal will always stand by readers in the next 50 years as well.


[Changbi School was founded]

Upon the 50th anniversary of The Quarterly Changbi, Changbi established Changbi School, a popular education institution, in order to respond to changes in the media environment surrounding books and contents and to meet and communicate with the reading public more closely. Yom Mu-woong and Lee Il-young were inaugurated as the director and the principal, respectively.


[Han Kang’s The Vegetarian received the 2016 Man Booker International Prize]

Han Kang’s multi-part novel published by Changbi, The Vegetarian was selected as the winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize. Novelist Han Kang and translator Deborah Smith jointly received the award. On May 16, the judging panel for the Man Booker International Prize (chair: Boyd Tonkin) gave its reason for the selection: “[The Vegetarian is a] compact, exquisite and disturbing book [and] will linger long in the minds, and maybe the dreams, of its readers.”

2017 [Literature 3 was founded]

Literature 3 is a literature platform that Changbi launched in January 2017 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Quarterly Changbi. Under the motto of literature of public interest, praxis, and experimentation, the platform consists of three aspects: publication of a paper magazine, online communication, and offline activities. Literature 3 seeks to tear down the boundaries among authors, publisher, and readers and to pursue a new way of literary praxis.