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Choi Nam-sun and his writing

Posted August. 10, 2018 07:48,   

Updated August. 10, 2018 07:48


“We, hereby, declare Joseon to be an independent country and ourselves to be a sovereign nation,” so goes the preamble to the Korean Declaration of Independence, which was written by Choi Nam-sun known by his pen name Yundang. He hailed as one of the three geniuses in the era of new culture along with Lee Gwang-soo and Hong Myung-hee. Choi refused to sign the declaration as a representative because he wished to stay as a scholar for the rest of his life, but he was arrested for his writings in the declaration and put behind bars for two and a half years. In 1943, however, Choi contributed an article to the Daehan Maeil Shinbo daily, encouraging student soldiers to take part in the Greater East Asia War, leaving a stain of pro-Japanese activity.

As evidenced in the handwritings of Albert Einstein or Marie Curie, the letters of scholars’ writing tend to be smaller and show regular patterns. Small letters are associated with a thorough and careful personality. Regularity represents self-training, focus, restraint of emotions and impulse, dexterity, logic, calm, and perfectionism. Choi Nam-sun’s writings are large and dynamic. Large-sized letters typically belong to those with passion, desire for success and expansion, a sense of adventurism and enterprise, boldness, excitement, drive, ego, a strong desire for expression‎, openness and sociable personality. However, larger letters can also translate into arrogance, impulse, and vanity. Choi Nam-sun’s flamboyant writing suggests that he may have been very conspicuous. Well versed in Confucianism and Buddhism, Choi’s books are laced with pedantic expressions.

After Korea’s liberation, Choi went through a trial on anti-national charge, during which he penned the book titled Jayeolseo. “When I deserted my cause, that is, when I had to choose between the fidelity and the pursuit of studies, the public told me to hold onto my fidelity, but I turned it down, and chose my studies and abandoned the other,” says Choi in the book. "I understand that this is where the public anger against me starts and is generated." However, his decision was not for his academic passion; it was because of his lack of inner strength. The strokes in his writing are loose and lack energy, indicating that his mentality was far from strong.