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Ko Un’s ‘Maninbo Library’ to be removed in three months

Ko Un’s ‘Maninbo Library’ to be removed in three months

Posted March. 01, 2018 07:39,   

Updated March. 01, 2018 07:39


The Seoul metropolitan government has decided to remove the “Maninbo Library,” dedicated to Korea’s renowned poet Ko Un. The Maninbo Library, which had been located on the third floor of the Seoul Metropolitan Library, was covered in a white sheet as of Tuesday afternoon with the poet’s handwritten literary works all gone.

The decision came after the Seoul metropolitan government first implied the removal of the library last Wednesday amid snowballing controversy over Ko’s alleged sexual misconduct, made public by female poet Choi Young-mi with her poem released last year newly gaining attention on the waves of the “#MeToo” movement in the country.

The city government had reportedly mulled over the timing of tearing down the Maninbo Library, but as controversy flared up with other writers joining Choi in revealing their experience and eyewitness accounts of Ko’s explicit sexual harassment and molestation through The Dong-A Ilbo, the government decided to shut down the space right away.

“We started to close the space in the afternoon of Tuesday as we couldn’t delay the decision any longer with more people speaking up and revealing what the poet did in detail,” said a city official on Wednesday. “When we sent him a text message to inform him that the Maninbo Library will be shut down, Ko sent a reply, ‘Thank you for everything you’ve done for me.’”

At the Maninbo Library, named after Ko’s series of poems “Maninbo: Ten Thousand Lives,” the poet’s old study in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, had been recreated. As one of the projects commemorating the 100th anniversary of the March 1st Movement next year, the city government had spent 300 million won to complete it in November last year.

Dan-Bee Kim kubee08@donga.com