WORK IN PROGRESS – This page is in the process of being made, new data will be added regularly, but it might take time before it is completed!
First Korean detective novel known today
LEE Hae-jo 이해조 (1869-1927) wrote the first detective novel known today in 1908: 쌍옥적.
쌍옥적 was first serialised in 1908 in the magazine Jeguk shinmun (제국신문). It was published as an independant volume in 1911 under the title 정탐소설 쌍옥적.
LEE Hae-jo wrote 쌍옥적 during the last years of the Korean Empire, and his story features a 별순건, an inspector who in civil clothes to collect information. The 별순건 was a characteristic of the Korean Empire.
Under Japanese colonial rule
First Korean author of detective novels: KIM Nae-
seong 김내성 (1909-1957)
KIM Nae-seong is the first Korean writer who specialised in detective novels.
KIM Nae-seong was born in 1909. He studied in Japan and started writing crime fiction while he was studying at Waseda University. His works were serialised in Japanese magazines.
In his short story 가상범인, KIM Nae-seong introduced his detective YU Bul-ran, who became the first Korean fictional detective.
His major works include 마인, 인생화보 and 청춘극장.
Other authors who wrote detective novels
BANG In-geun 방인근 (1899-1975)
(Created the detective 장비호)
CHAE Man-shik 채만식 (1902-1950)
Like KIM Nae-seong, CHAE Man-shik, alias Baek-reung (백릉), studied at Waseda University. He left it to work as a journalist at Dong-a ilbo and started writing novels and made his debut in literature.
CHAE Man-shik is a prolific author who wrote all kinds of works, including detective novels. 염마 is considered to be the first modern detective novel.
BANG Jeong-hwan 방정환 (1899-1931)
BANG Jeong-hwan is well known for his combat for children’s right and the establishment of the Children’s Day. He wrote children literature and detective novels for children such as 칠칠단의 비밀.
He also participated in the March 1st Movement.
After the Liberation
Greatest author of Korean detective novels: KIM Seong-jong 김성종
KIM Seong-jong is by far considered to be the greatest author of detective novels from the 70s to the 90s.
In 1963, KIM Seong-jong studied international politics at Yonsei University, at a time where finding enough money to eat, get dressed and sleep was a much more worrying concern than studying.
In 1969, his short story 경찰관 was published in Joseon
His works include 최후의 증인, 여명의 눈동자, 제5열, and 국제 열차 살인사건.
He now lives in Busan with his family.
Contemporary genre fiction
Literary Prize for Korean Crime Fiction: 한국추리문학상
Presented by the Korean Crime Authors Association (한국추리작가협회), the Korean Literary Prize for Crime Fiction was first established in 1985.
This is a list of the winners from 1985 to today:
|Year||Author’s name |
|Author’s name |
|Original Title |
|Meaning of the title |
(not a translation)
|1986||KIM Seong-jong||김성종||비련의 화인||The cause of fatal love|
|1987||LEE Sang-u||이상우||악녀, 두 번 살다||Femme fatale, lives twice|
|1988||No Won “No One”||노원||위험한 외출||A Dangerous Leave|
|1989||LEE Won-du||이원두||폭군의 아침||The Tyrant’s Morning|
|1991||HAN Dae-hui||한대희||분노의 계절||The Season of Anger|
|1992||KANG Hyeong-won||강형원||서울 에펠탑||The Eiffel Tower of Seoul|
|1993||YU U-je||유우제||불새의 미로||The Labyrinth of the Phoenix|
|1994||LEE Su-guang||이수광||사자의 얼굴||The Face of the Lion|
|1995||LEE Gyeong-jae||이경재||일본을 재판한다||Judge Japan|
|1997||BAEK Hyu||백휴||사이버 킹||Cyber King|
|1999||KIM Yong-sang||김용상||살인자의 가면무두도회||The Murderer’s Masquerade|
|2005||JEONG Hyeong||정형||맨해튼의 이방인들||Foreigners of Manhattan|
|2009||SEO Mi-ae||서미애||인형의 정원||The Doll’s Garden|
|2012||KIM Jae-hui||김재희||경성 탐정 이상||LEE Sang, Detective of Gyeongseong|
|2013||CHOE Hyeok-gon||최혁곤||B 파일||B-file|
춤 추는 집
|The Star of Judas|
The Dancing House
|2015||PARK Ha-ik||박하익||선암여고 탐정단||The Detective Club of |
Seonam high school for girls
|2017||JEONG Ga-il||정가일||신데렐라 포장마차||Cinderella’s Carriage|
It is hard to find a complete list on the Web, and I was not able to find the winner for 2016. It also seems that the Prize was awarded every year until 1995, then once every two years until 2012, then every year…?