Chinese contemporary literature now a hit in South Korea

Updated: 2014-06-30 09:29


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The extraordinary life of Xu Sanguan, a famous Chinese fictional character who sells his blood over the years to support his family, will soon be adapted in South Korea as a blood merchant.

South Korea's popular actor Ha Jung-woo recently started directing and starring in a film adaptation of a renowned Chinese author Yu Hua's 1995 novel"Xu Sanguan Mai Xue Ji" or " Chronicle of a Blood Merchant".

The original story of the novel depicted Xu Sanguan's struggle with life in China in the 1950s. Now the background was transferred to the Korea peninsula with only South Korean actors and actress involved. Ha Jung-woo himself plays the role of Xu Sanguan, the poor blood merchant, while another notable Korean actress Ha Ji-won, plays the role of his wife.

It was the first film adaptation of the novel that many other directors around the world have competed to dramatize for years. Yu Hua's first novel that has been adapted to film entitled "To Live,"directed by Zhang Yimou which won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes in 1994. "The reason why Ha Jung-woo chose to adapt the novel is its popularity among Korean readers. Besides, the director also favors the work's combination of comedy and tragedy and interested in the similarity between China and South Korea culture," Jeon Hyung- Jun, professor of Chinese language and literature department in Seoul National University, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The Korean edition of the novel "Chronicle of a Blood Merchant" was among 100 must-read books listed by South Korea's Joongang Daily. The story was also adapted as a Korean opera early in 2003. By now, most of Yu Hua's works have been translated into Korean and have a huge following here. "Yu Hua's novel was popular in South Korea because of its focus on China's reality," said Ahn Chang-hyun, professor of culture contents department of Hanyang University. In the past, most Korean people were more interested in China's ancient culture, preferring to read history story such as "The History of the Three Kingdoms" or "Journey to the West". But now they are eager to read China's contemporary literature to know Chinese people's current thoughts and lives.

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