Shin had earlier denied allegations that she had plagiarised passages in her 1996 short story Legend from the Japanese author Yukio Mishima’s Patriotism. The accusation was made by the poet and novelist Lee Eung-jun in the Huffington Post; Lee cited lines from both pieces, calling it “a clear case of plagiarism, a dishonest act of a literary work which cannot be acceptable to any professional literature writer”.
Last week, Shin released a statement from her publisher to the Korea Times, saying that she had only read Mishima’s The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, that she felt “sorry to let my readers undergo such a commotion”, and that “as I have weathered hardships (together with my fans), I want my fans to believe me”. According to the Korea Times, Shin’s collection of short stories The Strawberry Field, and her novel The Train Departs at 7, were the subject of previous plagiarism allegations– also denied – in 2000.
But now the novelist, whose Man Asia-winning novel Please Look After Mother has sold more than 2m copies worldwide, has backtracked on her earlier denial, and apologised to her readers.