Younghill Kang’s Murder in the Royal Palace as a Political Satire

  • Wook-Dong Kim


This article explores how Younghill Kang (1903–1972), one of the most important Asian American writers, wrote Murder in the Royal Palace, an unpublished four-act play. It reveals Kang’s writing process, transitioning from novel to play. This article regards Kang as one of the first novelists turned playwrights in Korean American literature in particular and Asian American literature in general. It also discusses the play as a political satire of the political scene in Korea in the 1960s. In addition, it examines how the earlier version of this play was performed in the United States in 1964 and how the final version was later translated into Korean and put on stage in Seoul in 1974.


  1. Cumings, Bruce. 1997. Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  2. Dickens, Charles. 1988. The Speeches of Charles Dickens: A Complete Edition. Ed. K. J. Fielding. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  3. Far East Festival Program Scheduled for ESSC Campus, East Stroudsburg. 1969. The Pocono Record, November 1, p. 13.Google Scholar
  4. Heo, Gyu. 1991. Minsokgeukgwa Jeontong Yesul [National Drama and Traditional Art]. Seoul: Munhak-segyesa.Google Scholar
  5. In Memoriam: Sir Mort Clark. 2007. The Alumni News of Westchester Community College, April 1, p. 4.Google Scholar
  6. Kang, Younghill. 1931. The Grass Roof. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 1937. East Goes West: The Making of an Oriental Yankee. New York: Charles Scriber’s Sons.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 1948. How It Feels to be a Korean in Korea. United Nations World 2: 18–21.Google Scholar
  9. ———. n.d. Murder in the Royal Palace. Unpublished typescript. Now in the possession of Wook-Dong Kim.Google Scholar
  10. Kim, Elaine H. 1977. Searching for a Door to America: Younghill Kang, Korean American Writer. Korea Journal 17 (4): 38–47.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 2001. “These Bearers of a Homeland”: An Overview of Korean American Literature, 1934–2001. Korea Journal 41: 149–197.Google Scholar
  12. Kim, Ji-hyun. 2004a. Kang Yong-heului Long Island Byeonjugok [A variation by Korean American Writer Younghill Kang]. Sindong-a Monthly 543: 624–654.Google Scholar
  13. Kim, Wook-Dong. 2004b. Kang Yong-heul: Geuui Samgwa Munhak [Younghill Kang: His Life and Work]. Seoul: Seoul National University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kim, Elaine H. 2005. Younghill Kang 1903–1972. In The Heath Anthology of American Literature, ed. Paul Lauter, 5th ed., 1747. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Google Scholar
  15. Kim, Wook-Dong. 2016. The Eternal Thread: Gunsam Lee’s First Play in English. Asian Theatre Journal 33 (1): 36–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Knadler, Stephen. 2005. Unacquiring Negrophobia: Younghill Kang and Cosmopolitan Resistance to the Black and White Logic of Naturalization. In Recovered Legacies: Authority and Identity in Early Asian American Literature, ed. Keith Lawrence and Floyd Cheung, 98–119. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lee, Gunsam (Yi Geun-sam). 1974. Gongyeon Gidae Doineun Jipnyeomeui Daejak [A Masterpiece of Tenacity: Performance Expectations]. Munhak sasang 16: 252–253.Google Scholar
  18. ——— (Yi Geun-sam). 2008. Yi Geun-sam Jeonjip [The Complete Works of Gunsam Lee]. Vol. 6. Seoul: Yeongeukgwa Ingan.Google Scholar
  19. Lew, Walter K. 2001. Grafts, Transplants, Translation: The Americanizing of Younghill Kang. In Modernism, Inc.: Body, Memory, Capital, ed. Jani Scandura and Michael Thurston, 171–190. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Oh, Seiwoong. 2001. Younghill Kang (1903–1972). In Asian American Autobiographers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook, ed. Guiyou Huang, 149–158. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  21. Oliver, Robert T. 1955. Syngman Rhee: The Man behind the Myth. New York: Dodd, Mead.Google Scholar
  22. Our Own Hall of Fame: Five New Stars in the Firmament of Korean Scholarship. 1934. Korean Student Bulletin 12 (1): 7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wook-Dong Kim
    • 1
  1. 1.UlsanKorea (Republic of)

Personalised recommendations