SEOUL, Feb. 27 (Korea Bizwire) – With the #MeToo movement continuing to grow, a recent survey has revealed a strong majority of South Koreans to be in favor of removing the work of writers and artists suspected of committing acts of sexual violence from textbooks.
Among those alleged to have engaged in sexual impropriety is South Korea’s preeminent poet Ko Un, an elderly man who has consistently been named as a candidate for bringing the country its first ever Nobel Prize in Literature.
However, going by public opinion Ko stands nearer to suffering the disgrace of seeing his work expunged from school curricula than he is to receiving the honor of a Nobel Prize.
In a survey by pollster Realmeter, 71.1 percent of 505 adult South Koreans’ responses could be summarized in the following statement: “Since the work of individuals suspected of committing sexual violence must not be taught, it must be deleted from textbooks.”
Conversely, 22.5 percent said, “The work of artists and their actions in their personal lives must be considered separately and so it should remain in textbooks,” while 6.4 percent were unsure which side to take in the debate.
Women (74 percent) were more in favor of wiping the textbooks than men (68.2 percent). Those in their 40s were most supportive of the measure (77.9 percent).
On February 22, the Writers Association of Korea, the largest collective of its kind in South Korea, said that punishment for Ko Un and fellow suspect of sexual misdemeanor Lee Youn-taek would be discussed and decided upon at an upcoming March 10 board meeting.
It appears probable that Ko Un will be expelled from the Writers Association of Korea. Ko has already said that he will step down from his position as standing advisor in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations.
Born in 1933, the 84-year old Ko Un’s first poetry collection titled “Otherworld Sensibility” was published in 1960. A survivor of the Korean War, a former Buddhist monk, teacher, and pro-democracy activist, entering the 21st Century the possibility of Ko becoming a Nobel laureate has been frequently mentioned.