Man Asian Prize Winner Shin Kyung-sook Caught in Plagiarism Scandal

Posted on June 25, 2015

Man Asian literary prize winner Shin Kyung-sook has admitted to plagiarism in what has become a huge scandal for the popular and influential South Korean author. Shin won the prize four years ago and had denied repeatedly that she had plagiarized passages directly from the book Patriotism by Japanese author Yukio Mishima.

The Guardian reports that the plagiarized passages are found in Shin's short story "Legend."

Shin has issued an apology of sorts saying that she really does not remember reading Patriotism, but that it's possible she did read it. She said, "After comparing the sentences from Yukio Mishima's "Patriotism" and "Legend" several times, I now think that (my accusers) were right to raise the issue of plagiarism," she said. She has asked her publisher to remove the short story "Legend" from the book of short stories. But she says she is not giving up writing. She told her local newspaper, "No matter how hard I think, however, I can't announce the end of my writing career."

It doesn't look like Shin is done apologizing. University literature professor Huyn Tac-soo has alleged that Shin lifted full passages from German author Luise Rinser's book The Middle of Life and used them in her prize-winning novel Please Look After Mother. The Professor has filed a formal complaint against her. He is quite unimpressed with her apology saying it was not a real apology at all. The accusations have rocked the South Korean literary world.

There seems to be a pattern here. Whenever a plagiarist is discovered it is rare that there is only one incident. The allegations seem to multiply . We really don't understand how any writer could think she could blatantly plagiarize and not get caught. Perhaps in the old days you could nab the words of an author from another country and pass them off as one's own, but in the Internet age that is not possible.