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Tuesday,August 20,2019
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"Nationalism" Is Only One Theme of My NovelsInterview with novelist Kim Jin-myung

Kim Jin-myung has an excellent ability to draw readers into his novels through strong messages based on a speedy and powerful style. He has published five works: A Rose of Sharon Bloomed, Kazuo's Homeland, The Korean Peninsula, Heaven and Earth and recently Korea.com.
The Post met with Kim Jin-myoung to learn about his literary world and hear him answer criticism toward him....................................................Ed.
  
Post: You have written novels related with Korean problems and you always concluded that Korean people are superior to those of other countries. In Korea.com, the ancient Korean book chunbukyung solves the conspiracy of "free-masons" to control the world through the Internet. Why do you think that you are called a "nationalist" or "ultra-nationalist"?
Kim: It is wrong to say that my novels are written by a nationalist. Korean people do not have the time to think about themselves while Korea is experiencing strong financial pressure by failing to adapt to a capitalistic economy. Despite 5000 years of history, Koreans have devalued themselves. We need to take  pride in Korean history and its excellence.
I think that my duty as a writer is to make people aware of Korean excellence.
  
Post: Many historic and scientific events are used in your novels. I wonder whether these stories are based in real events or from your own imagination.
Kim : That is the reason why my novels can attract people's interest. I have selected a novel's material from real social and historic events so that I can develope it more interestingly.
I think a writer not only observes social currents but examines how something happens or works. An interest in current issues and a complete examination about the problem are needed.

Post: In your novels, you use the names of real people, such as Bill Gates and Rockefeller, for your protagonists. That can possibly bring disgrace on those persons because they are portrayed as conspirators.   Do you have any special reasons for using well-known names? 
Kim: It is more realistic that a protagonist is a real person. Lots of protagonists in my novels have the power to manage the world, and their decisions can determine the fate of society. It is intriguing to think that these powerful people conspire to control the world. Who knows their ambitions? 

Post: A Rose of Sharon Bloomed ends with the dropping of a bomb on nearby Japan. Readers believe the bomb should be dropped on central Tokyo. As in A Rose of Sharon Bloomed, your novels have a quick and simple ending after a well-developed and thrilling story.
Kim: My novels are fiction that frequently visits between the actual and the imagined. People should know what is actual and what is imagined.
Thrilling feelings and dramatic strains are important, but a novel must not forget real situations. My novels have dealt with sensational current issues. If I ended a novel by dropping a bomb on Tokyo, people might feel very gratified but it would lead the readers to a wrong conclusion. It is a role of a writer to give realistic, correct solutions to readers.

Post: You are a very popular writer, but serious literary writers and critics criticise you for being too  commercial.
Kim: There is no rule that says a novel must be written this way or that way. And I don't think my writing style is wrong. I am satisfied with my present  fame and popular appeal. All writers who achieve  commercial success are criticized and called "commercialist." However, it's not shameful to me. I respect writers who advocate pure literature, but popular literature is entwined with commerce, and that is what I write. Regretfully, it is impossible to pursue sincere art in an economically weak situation.
Post : Your novels often reflect on current issues. When Korea was under the IMF yoke, you published Heaven and Earth, which deals with financial disturbances and national identity. You recently published a new novel, Korea.com, dealing with conspiracy through the Internet, at a time when the Internet is the spearhead of globalization. Are there any current events that can serve as background to your new novel?
Kim: The relationship between South and North Koreas is making rapid progress after the historic summit meeting between the two Korean leaders. However, we need to consider events leading up to the meeting once more. How did it happen so suddenly? We need an explanation about how this meeting was accomplished. My new novel will be focused on that process.
From my viewpoint, the Korean summit meeting was  Jiang Zemin's stratagem to take the U.S.A. out of Eastern Asia so as to increase China's influence. Most people are affirmative about the summit meeting, but don't notice what went on behind the scenes. The summit meeting should be analyzed as a power game between the U.S.A. and China.
I am planning to present the relationship and political aspects at issue between North and South Kor -eas through this novel.

Park Jin-seon  jinseony@korea.com

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