Kim Ji-ha


May 29, 2022

Kim Ji-ha (February 4, 1941 – May 8, 2022) was a South Korean poet. He was born in Mokpo, Jeollanam-do, with his hometown in Gimhae. His real name is Kim Young-il. He is the son-in-law of the novelist Park Kyung-ri, who wrote The Land. He was imprisoned for resisting the Yushin dictatorship in the 1970s. From 1980, he advocated the 'ideology of life' that encompasses Eastern and Western philosophies and Korean traditional ideas. His poetry collections include 『By Burning Thirst』, 『Ojeok』, 『Three Baeks of Poems』, and there is a memoir 『The Road of the White Shadow』 and a book 『The Complete Collection of Kim Jiha’s Thoughts』.



Born in 1941 at 1044 Sansan-dong, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do. He is the 24th generation descendant of Mok Gyeong-pa (牧 卿 派) of the Gimhae Kim clan, and has lived in Deeum-ri, Amtae-myeon, Sinan-gun, Jeollanam-do for generations. His great-grandfather Kim Young-bae (金永培) took his family from Amtaedo (岩泰島) after a fight over a battle board and moved to the old hometown of Gimje, where his cousin Kim In-bae (金仁培), who was the head of Donghak at the time, lived. Afterwards, his great-grandfather joined the cousin's brother's organization and was seriously wounded in the Battle of Gwangyang in the 5th year of the year and fled to Yeonggwang Beopseongpo, where he died. Afterwards, his grandfather lived in Beopseongpo and then settled in Mokpo. His father, Maengmo Kim (金孟模), went to Osaka, Japan to study electrical technology, then returned home and worked as an electrician in Mokpo. After graduating from Mokpo Sanjeong Elementary School and attending the second year of Mokpo Middle School, he moved to Wonju with his father in 1954. After graduating from Wonju Middle School, he studied in Seoul and entered Middle East High School. After that, he entered the Department of Aesthetics at Seoul National University, graduating from the Department of Aesthetics at Seoul National University in 1966. While attending Seoul National University, he experienced the April 19 Revolution and the May 16 military coup, and when he encountered the June 3 incident, he became deeply involved in the student movement. Even after graduating from Seoul National University in 1966, he joined and participated in the movement against the long-term government of the Park Chung-hee regime.

After Paragraph Debut

In 1969, he published the poem Hwangtotgil and officially debuted in the literary circles. His pen name was 'Chi-ha' (地下), which solidified and used as a name, and he came to call his name 'Chi-ha' (芝河). In 1964, he actively participated in student protests against the Korea-Japan summit, but was arrested and imprisoned for four months. Arrested and imprisoned, then released. This is referred to as an erroneous writing incident. In April 1973, he married Kim Young-joo, the daughter of novelist Park Kyung-ri, and had two sons, Kim Won-bo and Kim Se-hee. However, in April 1974, he was accused of being involved in the Mincheong Hakryun case and sentenced to death at the Emergency Ordinary Military Court for violating Emergency Measure No. On November 18 of this year, the Free Astronomy Writers' Council, in solidarity with foreign writers and intellectuals, such as Sartre and Beauvoir of France and Noam Chomsky of the United States, set out to prevent the 'judicial murder' of poet Ji-ha Kim to save Kim Ji-ha. His sentence was commuted to prison, but he was released on a suspended sentence in February 1975. However, after revealing the truth of the 'Inhyukdang Incident', on March 13 of the same year, he came out from Seoul on his way to Wonju's house, and was arrested again by the Central Intelligence Agency. He was later tried and sentenced to life imprisonment and another 7 years in prison. He was released on a suspended sentence in December 1980.

Since 1980s

After the 1980s, he accepted the respect for life of each religion and worked hard to launch a life movement. At the time of self-immolation in 1991, Kim Ji-ha wrote in the Chosun Ilbo on May 5, 1991, 'Young Friends! What do we learn from history?