Home > Interviews


Written by Ayo Onatade

Lee Jung-Myung has sold hundreds of thousands of copies of his books in his native Korea. One, Deep Rooted Tree, was made into a popular TV series.


Ayo Onatade – What made you decide to write a novel using Yun Dong-Ju’s poetry in The Investigation? 

 Lee Jung-Myung  - In 1989 during a trip to Kyoto I didn’t at that time understand Japanese very well but I met a student and he became my guide and subsequently my friend.  He took me to Doshisha University where I saw a statue that has been raised in memorial for him.  My friend was a junior student to Yung Dong Yu at the university but had never heard of him.  Yung Dong Yu was arrested by Japanese police and died in jail at the age of 27.  I went to the Doshisha Library and found two collections of poetry one in Korean and the other translated into Japanese.  I had to read the poems in the library and my friend also felt that he should have known about Yung Dong Ju and read his work.  I then felt that I should study both the Japanese and South Korean versions of his poems more closely.  After I left the university I never for got the experience.  Whilst I worked as a journalist I was determined to find out why he died so young but I never expected to write about him.  He is quite famous in South Korea and there is nothing new to write about him.

 After writing seven novels I realised that I still hadn’t forgotten about him so I decided that if I was not going to write about his life then I should write about his death instead.  There was no information available about his death and that only a few people knew about him.

 AO – Comparisons have been made with your novel to Carlos Ruiz’s Shadow of the Wind & Shawshank Redemption.  Do you think this is fair?

 LJM - In some ways it makes sense.  I think there are common themes within each book but there are other themes in The Investigation.  The story is about silence and the victim, crime and punishment, humanity and barbarian.  I like the fact that my book is being compared to Shadow of the Wind and Shawshank Redemption however I also hope that UK readers will enjoy the book and the themes.

 AO - How would you like The Investigation to be remembered?

 LJM - I hope that it comforts and heals readers because we live in a harsh world.  The difficult situation that we have and live in with the economic crises with the rich verses the poor, racial discrimination and poverty.  All society’s problems are characteristic of the book.  The characters confront one another but by the end of the novel confront the cruelty together.  They didn’t have anything to use but poetry and music to confront guns and knives. I believe that readers can be healed.

 AO - What are your views on the war and had they changed by the time you had finished writing The Investigation.

 LJM - It was the darkest history in most of Korea as the Japanese invasion lasted thirty-six years and they banned the use of the Korean language.   It was the harshest period.  There was however a tiny slip of light as most Koreans expected independence.  Young Koreans registered to join the Japanese.  Yung decided to study in Japan.  He wanted to study the military technique and wanted to fight the Japanese.  South Korea is now seen as a developing country.  Personally the war should not have taken place under any circumstances.

 AO - What are you working on at the moment?

 LJM - I am working on a novel with the title The Boy who Escaped from Paradise.  It is a story about a North Korean who escaped a North Korean prison camp.  The hero is a twelve-year-old autistic boy who is a gifted mathematician who escapes to China and then wanders around the world for a period of 8 years.  He confronts the world filled with evil with his own talented insight.  He solved problems with numbers and maths.  Numbers are the key clue.

 AO - Why Paradise?

 LJM - Paradise is a metaphor for North Korea.  North Korea insists its country is “Paradise” whereas this is not the case.  More and more people are trying to escape that paradise.  I think that the second book is more interesting than The Investigation.


The Investigation by Lee Jung-Myung  
Publisher: Mantle (27 Mar 2014)

Fukuoka Prison, 1944.  Beyond the prison walls the war rages; inside a man is found brutally murdered.  Yuichi Watanabe, a young guard with a passion for reading, is ordered to investigate.  The victim, Sugiyama - also a guard - was feared and despised throughout the prison and inquiries have barely begun when a powerful inmate confesses.  But Watanabe is unconvinced; and as he interrogates both the suspect and Yun Dong-ju, a talented Korean poet, he begins to realise that the fearsome guard was not all he appeared to be . . . As Watanabe unravels Sugiyama's final months, he begins to discover what is really going on inside this dark and violent institution, which few inmates survive: a man who will stop at nothing to dig his way to freedom; a governor whose greed knows no limits; a little girl whose kite finds her an unlikely friend. And Yun Dong-ju - the poet whose works hold such beauty they can break the hardest of hearts.  As the war moves towards its devastating close and bombs rain down upon the prison, Watanabe realises that he must find a way to protect Yun Dong-ju, no matter what it takes.  This decision will lead the young guard back to the investigation - where he will discover a devastating truth . . .

Photo © Ayo Onatade 2014

I cheated on my wife my boyfriend cheated on me quotes website
online open why women cheat on men
reasons why women cheat on their husbands my husband cheated with a man what to do when husband cheats
unfaithful wives how many guys cheat go
how much are abortions click here online
why women cheat in relationships why men cheat click here
my wife cheated on me now what do i do tracyawheeler.com your wife cheated on you
my husband cheated open women cheat on their husbands
walgreens photo online link walgreens in store photo coupons
celecoxib pill sildenafil citrate pill temovate 0.05%
prescription drugs coupons viagra 2016 coupon coupon for free viagra
coupons prescriptions site prescription coupon card
abortion pill costs link walk in abortion clinics
coupon for bystolic read forest patient assistance
diabetes mellitus treatment site 10mg cialis dosage
cialis.com coupon is-aber.net free discount prescription card
losartan jubilant losartan jubilant losartankalium bivirkninger
how many abortions can a woman have site abortion clinic in atlanta
cialis discount coupons online myvisajobs.com coupon for prescriptions
lamisil spray lamisil lamisil spray
prescription discount coupons abcomke.sk discount coupon for cialis
second trimester abortion achi-kochi.com spontaneous abortion pill
herbal abortion pill unbosqueparaelplanetatierra.com abortion pill information
abortion pill information cost for an abortion abortion pill is murder
duphaston 10 mg duphaston i ovulacija duphaston tablete za odgodu menstruacije
information about abortion pill the abortion pill cost average cost of abortion
how to get an abortion pill how much do abortion pill cost abortion pill centers
amoxicillin 1000 mg amoxicillin 1000 mg amoxicillin antibiyotik fiyat
abortion pill services aero-restauration-service.fr home abortion pill
feldene precio news.hostnetindia.com feldene flas
naltrexone implant australia go who can prescribe naltrexone
where can i buy low dose naltrexone link naltrexone uses
how long does naltrexone work naltrexone and pregnancy injection for alcohol craving
shot for alcohol cravings charamin.com naltrxone
naltrexone and alcohol low dose naltrexone side effects naltrexone pregnancy

Lee Jung-myung

Book Reviews
About Us
Contact Us

Privacy Policy | Contact Shots Editor