The Korea Times

The Korea Times is the oldest of three English-language newspapers published daily in South Korea. It is a sister paper of the Hankook Ilbo, a major Korean language daily; both are owned by Dongwha Enterprise, a wood-based manufacturer.[1] It had been published by the Hankook Ilbo Media Group but following an embezzlement scandal in 2013-2014[2][3] it was sold to Dongwha Group, which also owns Hankook Ilbo.[4][5]

The Korea Times
TypeDaily newspaper
FormatPrint, online
Owner(s)Hankook Ilbo, under Dongwha Enterprise
Founder(s)Helen Kim
FoundedNovember 1, 1950 (1950-11-01)
Political alignmentCentre
The Korea Times
Revised RomanizationKoria Taimseu
McCune–ReischauerK'oria T'aimsŭ

It is not to be confused with the Korean-language newspaper of the same name based in Los Angeles, USA catering to the Korean-American community. Two previous newspapers bore the name The Korea Times.

Former President Kim Dae-jung famously taught himself English by reading The Korea Times.[6]

The president-publisher of The Korea Times is Lee Byeong-eon.[7]

Newspaper headquarters

The newspaper's headquarters is located in the same building with Hankook Ilbo on Sejong-daero between Sungnyemun and Seoul Station in Seoul, South Korea.


The Korea Times was founded by Helen Kim five months into the 1950-53 Korean War. The first issue on November 1 was a two-page tabloid. It was printed six days a week, skipping Mondays, and cost 100 won.[8]

Kim set out to start the paper in 1949 when she became president of Ewha Womans University, and the initial editorial team came from Ewha's English literature professors. The paper maintained close relations with the Syngman Rhee administration, but began to criticize the president due to his interference in its publication. On April 23, 1954, the paper was acquired by Chang Key-young, then president of the Chosun Ilbo and later founder of the Hankook Ilbo.[9]

On Sept. 26, 1958, The Korea Times managing editor Choi Byung-woo died at age 34, becoming the first Korean war correspondent to die while on duty. A boat carrying Choi and other foreign correspondents covering the Communist Chinese bombing of the Nationalist-led Quemoy and Matsu islands capsized. The Korea Times and the Hankook Ilbo held a memorial service for Choi at Kyonggi High School, his alma mater, on Oct. 11, 1958. The service was attended by hundreds of mourners. Choi was the main inspiration for the founding of the Kwanhun Club, a fraternity of senior journalists. Choi also played a leading role in the designation of April 7 as "Newspaper Day," which is observed by Korean journalists to this day.[10]

On Tuesday, February 27, 1968, a fire completely gutted the main office of The Korea Times and its sister papers in Junghak-dong, Jongno-gu, downtown Seoul, killing seven workers and injuring three others. After the fire, The Korea Times managed to publish an abbreviated edition on February 28. During the restoration period, a number of readers and foreign organizations, including the American Embassy and the U.S. Operations Mission (a U.S. aid mission), either loaned or donated typewriters to The Korea Times. The newspaper took refuge in a nearby office in Chungmuro, where production was performed for years.[11]

The Korea Times published the official Olympic newspaper named “The Seoul Olympian” for the 1988 Summer Olympics.[12][13]

Notable columns

In 1968, the "Thoughts of the Times" column debuted, providing column space for members of the community. The first column was by Helen Kim. Over the years, the column has produced highly controversial articles.

The column "Scouting the City" ran from 1964 to December 1974, covering numerous controversial topics and criticizing others, including the United States Forces Korea. Under the penname Alf Racketts, the column was really by newspaper staffer James Wade.[14] The author Ahn Junghyo wrote a column in the 1960s and 1970s.[15]

Notable columnists today include Donald Kirk, Michael Breen and Emanuel Pastreich. Detective novelist Martin Limón has also contributed a few articles.


Twice in history Korea Times managing editors have been detained over the "Thoughts of the Times" column. Managing editor Henry Chang published “Definition of a Gambler"[16] under a penname on July 30, 1958, leading to his imprisonment for 16 days under sedition charges.

On June 11, 1973, Bernard Wideman wrote a satirical article in response to a Time article on Japanese tourists and kisaeng,[17] he put forth outrageous proposals governing the control of women.[18] In response, Orianna West, an American housewife living in Seoul, wrote a response piece calling for the subjugation and exploitation of Korean boys.[19] In response, local newspapers reprinted translations of the satirical articles, criticizing the foreigners. Managing editor Chang Soon-il was taken to the intelligence authorities in response.

Columnist Michael Breen contributed a satirical column lampooning various South Korean public figures, including President Lee Myung-bak, singer Rain, and Samsung. Displeased with Breen's allusions to their corruption and arrogance, Samsung filed civil and criminal suits against him and the paper for libel.[20] After an apology and after Breen told prosecutors during interrogation that the column was his own idea, the paper was dropped as a respondent, but the suit against Breen himself remained.[21] One South Korean media outlet claimed that the entire column as an insult to the country of South Korea itself.[22][23][24] Samsung dropped the civil suit after an apology by Breen. The criminal case went to trial but was thrown out by the judge on the grounds that there was "no victim."

On September 11, 2015, The Thoughts of the Times column published an article titled "Why won't you sit next to me on the subway?"[25] The article was quickly uncovered as a practical joke.[26] Chief editorial writer Oh Young-jin apologized to readers, threatening law enforcement involvement in future cases, and pledging to keep the paper's open-door policy, inviting readers, professional or untrained, to contribute.[27]

On June 2, 2017, managing editor Oh Young-jin published a contentious article titled "Holocaust vs. comfort women."[28] On June 5 he published a selection of reader feedback, including one holocaust denier.[29] On June 14, he published a letter titled "Holocaust happened."[30]

The Korea Times has been criticized for republishing tabloid news, especially on cryptozoology[31] and UFO sightings. It has reposted articles from Weekly World News and The Onion, including a widely spread article naming Kim Jong-un "The Onion's sexiest man alive" for 2012.[32][33][34]

Modern Korean Literature Translation Awards

The Korea Times established the Modern Korean Literature Translation Awards on its 20th anniversary in 1970, to lay the groundwork for promotion of Korean literature internationally and ultimately to produce a Nobel literature laureate from Korea.[35]

Other publications

The Korea Times published The Seoul Olympian in 1988, the official newspaper of the 1988 Summer Olympics.[36]

See also


  1. Park, Jin-hai (22 September 2015). "About Dongwha Group". The Korea Times. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  2. Kim, Hee-jin (7 August 2013). "Hankook Ilbo chairman is arrested for corruption". Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  3. "South Korea newspaper owner arrested for embezzlement". 6 August 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  4. Park, Jin-hai (22 September 2015). "About Dongwha Group". The Korea Times. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  5. "Seung Myung-ho named chairman of Korea Times". The Korea Times. 1 November 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  6. Kristof, Nicholas (23 February 1998). "A New Kind of Leader for Korea, and Asia Too". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  7. "Lee Byeong-eon appointed Korea Times president and publisher". The Korea Times. 18 March 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  8. Yun, Suh-young (1 November 2011). "Helen Kim: Mother of the Korea Times". The Korea Times. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  9. Park, Chang-seok (31 December 2007). "Korea Times History". The Korea Times. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  10. "A managing editor's death while on duty (1958. 09. 26)". Dongwha. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  11. Park, Chang-seok (31 October 2007). "Fire Guts Korea Times Building (7 Dead, Inaugural Copies Burned in 1968 Blaze)". The Korea Times. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  12. Yun, Suh-young (15 December 2013). "Former Korea Times President Chung Tae-yun passes away". The Korea Times. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  13. Kim, Jong-deok (2 April 2015). "Tourism is Korea's new driving force". The Korea Times. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  14. VanVolkenburg, Matt (23 January 2018). "Critic without pity who wrote 'Scouting the City'". The Korea Times. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  15. VanVolkenburg, Matt (11 September 2018). "[Korea Encounters] Weekly scribbles reflect life in Seoul in 1970s". The Korea Times. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  16. Chang, Henry (30 July 1958). "Definition of a Gambler". The Korea Times.
  17. "SOUTH KOREA: The Seoul of Hospitality". Time magazine. 4 June 1973. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  18. Wideman, Bernard (11 July 1973). "Thoughts of the Times". The Korea Times.
  19. West, Orianna (14 July 1973). "Thoughts of the Times". The Korea Times.
  20. Glionna, John M. (10 May 2010). "Samsung doesn't find satirical spoof amusing" via LA Times.
  21. “What People Got for Christmas” (full text) by Michael Breen December 25, 2009 (Note: Original publication was in the Korea Times, but later the original column was removed.)
  22. 한국 ´조롱´ 마이클 브린, "사과한 것 맞아?" (Michael Breen mocking Korea, Is he really going to apologize to us?)(in Korean)2010-05-14. EBN News
  23. "Samsung Sues Satirist, Claiming Criminal Defamation, Over Satirical Column Poking Fun At Samsung". Techdirt. 2010-05-11. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
  24. Glionna, John M. (2010-05-10). "Samsung doesn't find satirical spoof amusing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
  25. McCook, Lawrence (11 September 2015). "Why won't you sit next to me?". The Korea Times. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  26. Revere, Stephen (11 September 2015). "Sex Offender Photo Used in Korea Opinion Article". 10 Magazine. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  27. Oh, Young-jin (16 September 2015). "Letter to our dear readers". The Korea Times. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  28. Oh, Young-jin (2 June 2017). "Holocaust vs. comfort women". The Korea Times. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  29. Kat, Yvette (5 June 2017). "Diverse views on Holocaust vs. sex slavery". The Korea Times. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  30. Bergmann, Michael (14 June 2017). "Holocaust Happened". The Korea Times. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  31. "Is this bigfoot?". The Korea Times. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  32. "Kim Jong-Un Named The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive For 2012 [UPDATE]". The Onion. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  33. Griffiths, James (27 November 2012). "People's Daily doesn't understand The Onion, congratulates Kim Jong-Un on being named Sexiest Man Alive (UPDATE)". Shanghaiist. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  34. Wright, Jennifer (27 November 2012). "Korea Times Believes Onion Article About Kim Jong Un Being The Sexiest Man Alive". The Gloss. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  35. Kwon, Mee-yoo (2017-11-17). "New generation leads 48th Translation Awards". The Korea Times. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  36. Yun, Suh-young (1 December 2013). "Former Korea Times President Chung Tae-yun passes away". The Korea Times. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.