Lee O-young, who helped South Korea see magnificence, dies aged 88

SEOUL — Celebrated and erudite South Korean critic Lee O-young, who served because the nation’s chief tradition minister, died on February 26 after years of battling most cancers. He was 88.

Born in Asan, a metropolis in South Chungcheong Province, Lee taught at universities and wrote many articles and books as a literary critic.

Lee first caught the eye of the nation’s literary circles as an rising critic whereas learning Korean literature at Seoul Nationwide College. He was promoted to editor-in-chief of Seoul Shinmun, a South Korean every day, when he was in his late twenties. He additionally contributed a variety of articles and opinion items to different main newspapers, together with the JoongAng Ilbo and the Chosun Ilbo. He based Literature and Thought journal and wrote greater than 60 books, ultimately being hailed as “the brightest thoughts in Korea at this time.”

His most well-known ebook, “The Compact Tradition: The Japanese Custom of ‘Smaller Is Higher'”, was initially written in Japanese in 1982, whereas Lee was a visiting researcher on the College of Tokyo. Within the ebook, which grew to become a bestseller in Japan, Lee argued {that a} distinguishing function of Japanese tradition is a bent to cherish small issues and attempt to make all the things smaller. He quoted quick haiku poems, bonsai, orizume bento lunches packed in small bins and varied scaled-down industrial merchandise.

The ebook is taken into account the most effective research of Japanese tradition written by a foreigner, together with American anthropologist Ruth Benedict’s “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword”.

Lee led the opening and shutting ceremonies for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. It was the primary Olympics in 12 years to function athletes from the Western and Japanese blocs since US-led western nations boycotted the Moscow Video games in 1980, and the Soviet-led Japanese bloc retaliated by internet hosting the Olympics in Russia. Los Angeles 4 occasions skip. years later. Lee took the slogan “past the wall” for the ceremonies, a name for the top of the Chilly Struggle, which got here three years later.

Close to the top of the opening ceremony, which drew 70,000 spectators and was broadcast worldwide, a younger boy ran from one nook of the garden to the opposite as he rolled on a metal hoop. It was a powerful creative expression, exhibiting how South Koreans might admire the fantastic thing about a clean canvas and the way the nation had achieved exceptional financial progress, often known as the miracle on the Han River.

In 1990, Lee grew to become the primary chief of the Ministry of Tradition, based by former President Roh Tae-woo. In that capability, Lee led the nation’s coverage efforts to advertise Korean tradition. His biggest achievement as tradition minister was the institution of the Korea Nationwide College of Arts, the nation’s solely nationwide artwork college. Lee argued that current educational establishments couldn’t play an efficient position in nurturing creative expertise and developed particular curricula for artwork college students.

Former President Kim Dae-jung, who was in workplace from 1998 to 2003, took benefit of Lee’s academic legacy to develop the nation’s content material business. Kim claimed that tradition can be a mainstay within the twenty first century and established movie and music departments at quite a few universities.

Many movie administrators, music producers and actors who’ve acquired worldwide audiences realized their commerce in these departments. The School of the Arts, based by Lee, laid an academic basis for the worldwide hallyu Korean tree.

South Korea’s emergence as a cultural powerhouse with a rising worldwide presence in music, TV dramas and films might not have been attainable with out Lee’s contribution.

In later years, as a college professor, Lee continued to suggest new concepts and approaches in lots of fields, together with tradition and historical past. A South Korean newspaper reporter who knew Lee in his final years says Lee was all the time thoughtful and sympathetic to others, together with younger individuals. “He spoke with a humorousness about his ideas and emotions,” the reporter mentioned. “No different commentators in South Korea are as versatile and versatile as he’s.”

Lee maintained his ties to Japan for a very long time. He served as honorary president of Nara Prefectural College. Nara Gov. Shogo Arai, who really helpful Lee because the prefectural college’s first overseas president, mentioned, “I want he might have led the prefectural college along with his deep understanding of historical past and unparalleled erudition.”

As a member of the Northeast Asia Trilateral Discussion board, an everyday convention of sensible males involving distinguished political, enterprise and educational figures from Japan, China and South Korea, Lee continued to emphasise the significance of the peaceable improvement of the three nations, which he mentioned have widespread options. cultural backgrounds.

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