History of Changbi


The Quarterly Changbi was registered in December.


Edited by Paik Nak-chung and printed by Munu Chulpansa, the inaugural issue of the Quarterly Changbi (winter 1966) was published. It included Paik’s substantive article “A New Stance on Creation and Criticism,” which stated the case for a new era of progressive intellectual thought and discussion.

In its autumn issue, the Quarterly Changbi published a Korean translation of Arnold Hauser’s “The Film Age,” the final chapter in his The Social History of Art.


Began serializing Bang Yeong-ung’s novel A Story of Bunnye in the summer issue.
The Quarterly Changbi switched its printing house to Ilchokak in the winter.


Established the publishing house Changjak-gwa-Bipyeongsa, which brought out epochal books, such as Hwang Sok-yong’s Gaekji (Away from Home) and Lee Young-Hee’s Jeonhwansidae’ui Nolli (Logic of the Transitional Period).

In November, the Council of Writers for Freedom and Activism was established, with the active participation of Changbi editors and contributors; editors Paik Nak-chung and Yom Mu-woong also added their signatures to the organization’s “National Declaration for the Restoration of Democracy.” Defying pressure by the authorities, Paik refused to present a letter of resignation to Seoul National University; as a result, in December he was reprimanded and discharged from his professorship by the Ministry of Education.


In accordance with Emergency Measure No. 9, the spring issue of the Quarterly Changbi was withdrawn from bookstands. In June, the Complete Works of Shin Dong-yop were banned, and Paik Nak-chung was arrested by the Korean CIA for this publication. In July and August, Homeland, a collection of poems by Cho Tae-il, and the summer issue of Quarterly Changbi were also banned immediately after publication.


In February, Quarterly Changbi editor Yom Mu-woong was dismissed from his professorship at Duksung Women’s University.
Professor and Korean historian Kang Man-gil proposed the concept of the “age of national division” to define the current stage in Korean history, in an article titled “A Reflection on ‘Nationalist Historiography,” in the spring issue of the quarterly.


Launched the Changbi Children’s series with three books, by Lee Won-su, Lee Ju-hong, and Ma Hae-song.
After the publication of Conversations with 800 Million People, edited and translated by Lee Young-hee, both editor Lee Young-hee and publisher Paik Nak-chung were detained and indicted for allegedly violating the Anti-Communism Law.


In March, Paik Nak-chung, Kim Yoon-soo, and Yom Mu-woong were reinstated in their former positions as professors.
The entire text of the proceedings of the symposium “Critical Reflections in Anticipation of the 1980s” was deleted from the spring issue of the Quarterly Changbi through censorship by the Martial Law Command. In April, Yang Sung-u’s book of poetry A Drumming Cripple was banned. An enlarged edition of The Complete Works of Shin Dong-yop was published, but then banned by the Martial Law Command.
At the end of July, Quarterly Changbi was forced to discontinue publication by 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 works by 13 poets, was published. The series continued in 1982, 1984, 1985, and 1987.
Together with the publication of a translation of Jean Ziegler’s The Hatred of the West, Changbi launched its Third World series, retrospectively naming the 1978 publication of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, brought out in two volumes, as the first and second volumes in the series.


In order to fill the gap in literary criticism due to the discontinuation of Changbi, a new collection of literary critiques, The Current Stage of Korean Literature 1, was published, and followed by vols. 2 to 4 in 1983, 1984, and 1985.
With Parching Thirst and Other Poems, a collection of Kim Ji-ha’s poems, was published but banned and confiscated immediately. South: The Great Story 1, Kim Ji-ha’s book with an experimental new poem, was published, but banned and all copies were sealed. The Office of National Tax Administration imposed a penalty of 10 million won on Changbi. Intellectuals protested and formed a movement to buy Changbi books.


In an effort to fill the gap in the publication of Korean fiction, a new collection of short stories was published, You Know, I Know, and the Heaven Knows. This series continued with second and third volumes, published in 1985 and 1987.


A non-periodical volume, the Quarterly Changbi (No. 57), was published. In reaction, Changbi Publishers’ registration was revoked on charges that this book continued the periodical series. In protest, a pan-intellectual and nationwide signature campaign erupted. Intellectuals and literary and human-rights groups worldwide participated in the campaign.


In June, a resolution in support of Changbi Publishers was adopted at the PEN International Conference in Hamburg, Germany. In August, the publishing house was newly registered as Changjak-sa.


In July, Changbi 1987(No. 58), a non-periodical title, came out.


On the heels of the 1987 June uprising, the Quarterly Changbi was registered again and in February, Changbi Publishers officially regained its name. The first (spring) issue of the revived quarterly was published.


“People Were Living There,” an essay by Hwang Sok-yong concerning his recent visit to North Korea, appeared in the winter issue of the Quarterly Changbi, for which Lee Si-young, the editor-in-chief, was arrested and indicted.
Began publishing the bi-annual journal Law and Society, edited by the Law and Society Research Society (altogether 15 volumes were published, until 1997).


Dong’uibogam: A Novel, a work about a classical Korean medical text of the same name, was published in three volumes. Since then, more than 3.5 million copies of it have been sold.
Began publishing the annual journal Women and Society, edited by the Research Society of Korean Women (16 volumes published until 2005).


In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the publication of the Quarterly Changbi, a commemorative issue was published in spring, as well as a book of new short stories, Friendship of a Half Century.
Also, in celebration of the publication of 100 books in the Changbi Poetry series, a symposium, “Korean Poetry, Past, Present and Future,” was held in the Gangnam Cultural Center.


The three-volume Selected Modern Korean Poems and My Exploration of Cultural Heritage, by art historian Yu Hong-june, were published. Meticulously describing the significance and beauty of Korean cultural heritage, in elegant prose, the latter work was an immediate success. It was followed by the publication of a 16-volume series that includes both Korean and world cultural heritages; four million copies have sold as of 2019.


In May, the publishing house became a corporate body and started anew as Changjak-gwa-Bipyeongsa, Inc.
Published At 30, The Party Is Over, a collection of poems by Choi Young-mi that recounts the lives of her generation, which was swept up in fierce and controversial currents of ideological exploration in the 1980s. Written in provocative language and with a modern sensibility, it was immensely popular and sold one million copies—a rarity in the field of poetry.


The 30th anniversary commemoration issue of the Quarterly Changbi(spring) was published.
To celebrate this event, Changbi Publishers held an international conference in April, “Toward a New Global Civilization.” Major participants included Perry Anderson, Bruce Cumings, Wada Haruki, Norma Field, Boris Kagarlitsky, Paik Nak-chung, and Choi Won-sik.
A nine-volume Selected Modern Korean Short Stories was published.
In November, the bi-annual journal In/Outside: English Studies in Korea, edited by the Scholars for English Studies in Korea, was published.


The 100th issue (summer) was published, with various special features, including articles on “Capitalist Modernity Revisited in the Age of the IMF.”
In commemoration of the publication of this 100th issue, Changbi held an academic conference in March, “Our Task in the Age of the IMF and Cultural Shifts at the End of the Century.”
Established Changbi website and homepage (www.changbi.com) and began to provide information services about Changbi.


In commemoration of the publication of the 200th volume of the Changbi Poetry Series, the publisher held a literary symposium in October, “The Directions of the 21st Century Literature: The Digital World and the Poetic.” Participants included Ko Un, Hwang Sok-yong, Kim Byeong-ik, Chung Nam-young, Ra Hee Duk, and Paik Nak-chung.


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


In celebration of the 200th book in the Changbi Children’s series, Changbi organized a commemorative performance and original children’s book illustration exhibit tour, and published a children’s literature sourcebook.
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Korea-China diplomatic relations, Changbi editorial board members and the Korean Literature Research Institute at Yanbian University in China held an international scholarly symposium on the “History and Prospects of Korea-China Literary and Cultural Exchanges.”


The Changbi Review of Children’s Literature was founded (summer 2003). Changbi completed the construction of and relocation to a new building in Paju Book city, Gyeonggido province in June. The relocation ceremony was held in September, and the company name was changed from Changjak-gwa-Bipyeongsa, Inc. to Changbi Publishers, Inc.


Five Changbi books were selected for “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), Developmental Dictatorship and the Park Chung Hee Era (by Lee Byeong-cheon, et al.), The Division System in Crisis (by Paik Nak-chung), Life on the Edge of the DMZ (by Lee Si-woo), and Farmer’s Dance(by Shin Kyung-rim). The daily newspaper Segye ilbo selected Changbi as the publisher that had made the most significant contribution to Korean society since liberation in 1945. North Korean writer Hong Seok-jung was selected as the winner of the 19th Manhae Prize for Literature, organized by Changbi, for his novel Hwang Jini. The award ceremony was held at Mt. Geumgang (Diamond Mountains) in North Korea. It was the first time a North Korean writer had been awarded a literary prize established in South Korea.


Professor Paik Nak-chung, editor of the Quarterly Changbi, was selected to be the South Korean Chair of the All-Korean Committee for the Implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration. Festivities were held in July and August.
Together with the Citizens’ Action Network, Changbi co-organized a joint symposium, “For the Overcoming of the 1987 System: A Critical Reflection on the Constitution and Social Structure.” Participated in the Frankfurt International Book Fair, in October, with Korea as the guest of honor, where literary works, children’s books, and works selected from the “100 Books of Korea” were exhibited.
Completed the publication of the 50-volume 20th-Century Korean Fiction, edited by Choi Won-sik, Lim Kyu-chan, Jin Jeong-seok, and Baik Ji-yeon (20 vols.). To date, Changbi had published over 1,500 titles, including single-volume works and periodicals.


Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of theQuarterly Changbi, a commemorative issue was published in January and an international symposium, “Solidarity in East Asia and the Role of Magazines: International Symposium of the Editors of Progressive Journals in East Asia,” was held in June.
Changbi expanded its online presence by launching the Japanese webzine for of the Quarterly Changbi (http://www.changbi.com/jp/) in April and the weekly online Changbi Weekly Commentary (http://weekly.changbi.com) in May. 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 “Karatani Kojin and the ‘End’ of Modern Literature” were published in the inaugural issue of the Changbi Weekly Commentary.
Established the Segyo Institute, a private institute for interdisciplinary research on contemporary social issues and Korean literature.


Established Changbi Textbook department in September, which became a leading force in transforming Korean language and literature textbooks and other educational materials.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Changbi Children’s series, the publisher held an exhibit of original children’s book illustration.
Launched Changbi Young Adult series.


Co-sponsored “Kim Su-yeong and 40 Years Since,” a symposium in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the death of poet Kim Su-yeong. The Segyo Institute held a public symposium in September, “Unbalanced Division System—It’s Time for an Alternative: Inter-Korean Alliance and the Foundation of an Advanced Society on the Korean Peninsula.” The first winner of the Changbi Prize for Young Adult Fiction, after its establishment in 2007, Kim Ryeo-ryeong’s Wandeugi was published. Recognized as the most significant book for young adults in 2008, the novel led to a boom in young adult literature in South Korea.


A collection of selected verse was published to commemorate the 300th volume in the Changbi Poetry series, which continues to represent the most accomplished works in South Korean poetry, since its first volume in 1975, featuring Shin Kyung-rim’s Farmer’s Dance. Under the theme of people and lives, vol. 300 consisted of the best works by the 86 poets whose poems were published in vols. 201-299.


In celebration of the publication of the 150th volume of the Quarterly Changbi, the publisher produced an electronic edition of all issues of the magazine. Evaluated in poetry circles around the globe as “one of the most extraordinary projects in world literature so far this century” (Robert Hass), Ko Un’s Ten Thousand Lives was completed, in 30 volumes and over 4,000 poems. A who’s who of both famous and ordinary lives in verse, penned by poet Ko Un over 25 years, the work is monumental and unprecedented in world literature.


An English translation of The Division System in Crisis: Essays on Contemporary Korea, by Paik Nak-chung (Changbi; 1998) was published by the University of California Press as a volume in the Seoul-California Series in Korean Studies.
A House of the Mind: Maum(written by Kim Heekyoung, illustrated by Iwona Chmielewska), published by Changbi, received the BolognaRagazzi Award for non-fiction, presented at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
A novel by million-selling South Korean writer Shin Kyung-sook, Please Look After Mom (Changbi, 2008), was translated into English and published by U.S. publisher Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in April. It has been translated into numerous languages, including French, Chinese, and Spanish, and published in more than 30 countries.


Shin Kyung-sook’s novel Please Look after Mom received the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize, an award for Asian writers by the Man Group, which also sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. The judging panel described the work as a “beautiful, poignantly told tale” with a “compelling structure,” distinguishing it from other works.
Kwon Jeongsaeng’s novel for children, My Sister Mongsil, sold over 1 million copies, since the publication of the first edition in 1984. A revised edition was published and a festival held to celebrate the occasion.
Launched Changbi World Literature series, to introduce the finest world literature, with the publication of 10 books in 11 volumes.


Established the podcast “Radio Book Café,” hosted by law scholar and author Kim Doo-sik and fiction writer Hwang Jung-eun.
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.
Kim Jungmi’s novel for children, Children of Gwaeng’iburi Village, has sold more than two million copies since the publication of its first edition in 2000.


Established two podcast programs: “Chin Jung-kwon’s Culture Café” and “Kim Sa-in’s Poetry Café.”


Editor Paik Nak-chung, publisher Kim Yoon-soo, and co-editor Baik Young Seo of the Quarterly Changbi retired.
In November, the construction of a second home for the publishing house, Changbi Seogyo Building, was completed; Changbi Education and Media Changbi moved into it. Café Changbi opened on its first floor.
Launched a podcast series about childrearing, “Seo Cheon-seok’s Child and Me.”


In January, the Quarterly Changbi celebrated its 50th anniversary, with Paik Nak-chung, Han Ki-wook, and Kang Il-woo as honorary editor, co-editor, and publisher-cum-editor, respectively. To commemorate the occasion, and look forward to another half-century of literary explorations, with the goal of a better world, Constant But Always Renewed: Fifty Years of Changbi published.
On the 50th anniversary of the Quarterly Changbi, Changbi established the Changbi School, an on-site educational institution for the general public, in response to the changing media environment, and to more intimately meet and communicate with the reading public. Yom Mu-woong and Lee Il-young were inaugurated as its director and principal, respectively. The English translation of Han Kang’s novel, published by Changbi, The Vegetarian was selected as winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize, with novelist Han Kang and translator Deborah Smith jointly receiving the award. The judging panel, chaired by Boyd Tonkin, described the novel as “a compact, exquisite, and disturbing book [that] will linger long in the mind, and perhaps also the dreams, of its readers.”


Media Changbi launched the first curated poetry application in Korea, “Siyoil,” which met with an enthusiastic response from a younger generation of poetry lovers. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Quarterly Changbi, in January, Literature 3 is launched: a platform that crosses boundaries and promotes engagement among authors, publishers, and readers, pursuing new literary practices. Under a motto of promoting a literature of public interest, activism, and experimentation, Literature 3 has three components: a print magazine, an on-line communication, and off-line activities.
Opened a separate homepage for the Quarterly Changbi.
The Segyo Institute held a public symposium, “The Candlelight and Korean Society: For the Evolution of the Public Square.”


Published two volumes by Paik Nak-chung, et. al.: Studying a Changing Age: The Division System and the Transformative Middle Way and Toward a Great Turn in Civilization: The Double Project of Modernity. The volumes capture two series of seminars held at the Changbi Discourse Academy in 2017 and 2018, in which leading Korean scholars examined the current state of Korean and world civilization and explored realistic, forward-thinking alternatives. Former publisher of the Quarterly Changbi and art critic Kim Yoon-soo died in November.


Celebrated the publication of the 300th and 301st volumes in the Changbi Children’s series. Opened the Changbiedu Educational Institute, to offer remote training for teachers. The copyright of Sohn Won-pyung’s novel Almond exported to 12 countries simultaneously.