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Yi Eun-sang
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Yi Eun-sang
His pen name was Nosan. Sijo poet, essayist, historian.
  Yi was born in 1903 in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do. He graduated in 1918 from the Masan Changshin School, founded by his father Yi Seung-gyu. In 1923, he dropped out of Yeonheui College and moved to Japan, where he studied at Waseda University’s History Department from 1925 to 1927.

 Yi began his literary career as a frequent contributor of poems and critical essays to Joseon Mundan (Joseon Literateurs), a literary magazine inaugurated in 1924. In 1931, he became a professor at Ewha Women's College, while remaining active as a reporter for the Donga Ilbo (Dong-a Daily) newspaper, as editor of the magazine Shin Gajeong (New Family), and as weekly editor for the Joseon Ilbo (Joseon Daily) newspaper. His first collection of sijo poems appeared in 1932. Titled Nosan Sijojip, it included such typical themes as longing for the hometown and admiration for nature. In 1942, having been implicated in the Joseon Language Society Affair, he was detained in Hamheung Prison.

 Immediately after National Liberation in 1945, Yi was released from custody at the Gwangyang Police Station where he was held as a thought criminal. He served as the president of the Honam Shinmun newspaper from 1945, and from 1950 was a professor at Cheonggu University while lecturing at several other universities. As an historian and essayist, Yi inspired patriotism through his popular travel accounts and biographies of past Korean patriots, always penned with the author’s extensive historical knowledge and elegant writing style. In 1954, he gained membership in the Academy of Arts, and in 1959, he assumed the position of president of the ‘Chungmugong’ organization to commemorate the great Joseon admiral Yi Sun-shin. From 1965, he likewise served as president of the An Jung-geun Association, further exemplifying his commitment to enlightening the public about the country’s national heroes. In 1969, Yi became president of the Korean History Society and also served as editing chairman of the Society for the History of the Independence Movement. In 1972, he was appointed chairman of the Sookmyung Women's University Foundation. He passed away on September 18, 1982.

 Yi’s sijo collections include Nosan’s Collected Sijo, A Collection of Nosan’s Sijo (1958), Will of the Blue Sky (1970), and Prayer (1982). He left behind a large corpus of sijo poems that are descriptive yet simple. He once attempted to “linearize” the sijo through promotion of the so-called “yangjang sijo”, in which the middle section of the conventional sijo is omitted. He also left over 100 books, including Writings By Nosan (1954), Collection of Nosan Poetry (1960), and Musang (1962) an essay collection. He also published Collected Stories from Joseon History (1936), A Tamra Journey to Halla Mountain (1937), The Bloody Six Hundred Miles (1962), and A Life of Master Yi Chung-mu (1946).

※ We wish to thank Yi’s family who allowed us to publish Yi Eun-sang's writings and related materials, and Byun Gi-tae, President of the Corean Alpine Club, for his efforts.
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