Ten Thousand Lives
Born in 1933 in a small rural village in Korea's North Cholla Province, Ko Un grew up in a Japanese-controlled land that was soon to experience the horrors of the Korean War. He became a Buddhist monk in 1952, and began writing in the late 1950s.
Ten Thousand Lives is his major, ongoing work which began during his imprisonment with his determination to describe every person he had ever met. Maninbo, as it is known in Korea, is now in its 20th volume, and he has plans for five more volumes before its completion. The selection in this volume—from the first 10 volumes—represents one of the major classics of 20th century Korean literature, published for this first time in English. Ko Un has been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize for Literature.