September 23, 2023

Why a South Korean publisher could face years in prison for printing a memoir

Critics say the ban on North Korean materials is outdated and a violation of free speech

In April this year, a small publisher in Seoul began to list books that had never before been readily accessible to most South Koreans: the memoirs of Kim Il Sung, the founding leader of North Korea.

The publisher, Kim Seung-kyun, set the price at around $250 for the eight-volume set, called “With the Century.” But within weeks, police had raided the office and private home of the publisher and seized all copies of the book. Kim now may face up to several years in prison for violating South Korea’s National Security Act.