[KS] Mein Kampf in Korean

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Sat Jun 22 07:34:01 EDT 2013

Brief note to add to Hana Kim's note (quoted below):

In 1986 I saw a Korean translation in a book store in front of Yonsei U 
main gate. That was a 1983 publication (or a later print of the same 
edition) by publisher 한그루 (it must have been this publication, I 
recall the title image which you see here: 
--> middle of that page … and also have a look at the photo right 
below that). Newer prints are now listed at the Kyobo website. It was 
at the time sold "under the table," together with translations of 
Marx's Capital, a Lenin biography, and other such classics--and illegal 
reprints of Bruce Cumings first volume on the Origins of the Korea War. 
Being a little shocked about the Hitler book, when talking to friends 
and the young book store owner, who was always in and out of jail at 
the time, it became quickly evident that the only reason for that 
translation and for selling it was the urge for basic freedom of 
thought and information, and no more--a pure reaction, where everything 
'forbidden' seemed interesting and worth exploring. Even today, if you 
have a closer look at the book cover designs of that Hitler book, e.g. 
that one that was posted here earlier, or others that you will find 
when doing an image search, it is clear how very remote even the book 
jacket designers (the publishers) are from the dirt they publish there: 
some look like typical poetry book dust covers, with dreamy bold Comic 
Sans or elegant Adobe Garamond. Other jackets remind us more of late 
1940s leftist books and/or works about the anti-Japanese resistance 
with very similar titles, the title (in Han'gŭl) set in calligraphic 
style and in stark red color. Such designer faux pas alone do already 
show the remoteness of the entire theme in Korea--or, if you want, the 
complete different discourse in which such a "work" is consumed. (Do a 
Google image search for the Korean title and you see some of those 
examples I just described.) 

The Nazis, by the way, paid very much attention to typefaces in later 
years--after continuing to use Fraktur, for 300 years the favorite 
typeface for newspaper publishers in Germany. In 1940 or 1941 Fraktur 
was banned because of its "Jewish origins," replaced by either the new 
Germanic font or the more modern looking Antiqua. 
As a footnote: If you want to have some fun, the Korean Japanese artist 
Towa Tei (정동화) did a beautiful video about the typeface-culture 
relation (from the 1990s): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77rKwBUfzH8


On Fri, 21 Jun 2013 15:26:47 +0000, Hana Kim wrote:
> Dear Michael,
> When you do a simple search on the Kyobo Mun'go website by using the 
> following title "나의 투쟁", then you will be able to browse most of 
> the translations of Mein Kampf in Korean. However, many of them are 
> out of stock.  In OCLC WorldCat, it seems that  a couple of 
> translations are available in North America: Hitler, A. (1989). Na ŭi 
> t'ujaeng. Sŏul-si: Pŏmusa. & Hitler, A. (1988). Na ŭi t'ujaeng. Sŏul: 
> Hongsin Munhwasa.
> Hope this helps,
> Hana
> Hana Kim | Korea Studies Librarian, University of Toronto | 
> 416-978-1570 | http://guides.library.utoronto.ca/koreanstudies 

Frank Hoffmann

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list