Like daisy bending nine times to bloom, Like cucumber herb petals seen pure when bowed, Jung walks single path to making good books

안정희 기자l승인2020.07.27

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▲ Jungmun Publishing / Chairman Jung Yoon-gon

"I think it's time to look back the path I've walked as a publisher. In fact, I'm just giving a simple advice at this moment. I want to talk about my story to youngsters. Maybe I want to deliver it on a book with my thought into the publishing industry of the past, present and future and a simple record of how I conclude my path" says Jung.

Jung founded Jungmun Publishing February 1976 and has passionately worked as publisher, editor, planner and printer over the last 40 years. He is proud of creating something from nothing, from the worst to the best which is well credited and recognized among many fellow publishers.

Having settled down in Yangpyeong County recently, Jung started painting right before he reached the age 70. His love of art has been great since childhood and he is now fulfilling his 'put-aside-awhile-dream' in addition to his long time hobby of collecting ornamental stones. <PowerKorea> met him and heard about his story in Q&A.

Q. Jungmun Publishing is famous for its motto 'readers are our future'. Tell us about it.
A. It means we should pay attention to our clients who give orders while at the same time observe carefully the readers so that we create 'something' rather than just print a volume of paper. I value highly of 'virtue' whether in business or in society. The word virtue comes alive when it is put into action and the action means sharing what we have with others. In this same respect, the word 'sharing' means sharing the priorities of each generation to achieve a harmony. My grandfather's generation, for example, were driven by 'independence of the nation', my father's by anticommunism as they lived the Korean War, me by democracy as dictatorship was prevalent, and the generation now by fairness and public ownership. So the sharing between generations can be made by understanding of each era we lived.

Q. Jungmun Publishing has such a long history. What is the driving force of your company?
A. I started with type printing and moved onto stencil to computer as of today. If my memory serves me right, we are the first who adopted computerized typesetting system. So I might say that adopting things step head of others is our driving force. It is a principle of nature to be left behind if not surpass or walk front at least. This has been very important as publishing industry has changed fast. One day it was manual and the next day it was automated. So moving one step ahead is rather sensible. 

Q. Didn't change often involve fear?
A. Of course I had a fear of change. My fear, however, is to be left behind if I don't move quickly. Change is natural. Everything changes; the time, the things and the way we live. A frog in a beaker would jump out instantly if we pour hot water but a frog in a beaker filled with cold water but heated up with fire beneath slowly would die without himself knowing he's dying. So we need to look at a current trend.

Q. Jungmun is also recognized overseas?
A. Indeed. I had an ambition to spread excellence of Korean printing technique to the world. Korea is a small country on earth and the global market is far bigger. So it all started with establishment of the Russian Federation back in the days and to Mexico in 2001 followed by China, Slovakia and Indonesia and Austria as the latest to run the factories. We also run baby goods and logistics businesses in Slovakia at the moment. 

Q. There is some worry that paper industry would soon disappear. How do you predict the future on this?
A. On the contrary! Paper started with history of mankind. Paper and printing accelerated civilization. It is true that the industry is shrinking since the advent of smart phone on which people seem to be fixed considerable amount of time. Is paper going to be useless? My answer is paper and digital are two different means of media. Each has its own value and function. The feel of the paper is different from that of the screen and it is notable, and encouraging, that paper is evolving three dimensionally. 

Q. We learned that your love of ornamental stones are great. Can you tell us about your opinion?
A. My love of ornamental stones started in 1977 during which I worked day and night. Work was overloaded and so was my body and mind. I drank Korean rice wine one day with my senior Jo Nam-byeong and Park Ki-pyo who encouraged me to join them discovering ornamental stones tomorrow. I was instantly enchanted and made myself onboard of the excursion buses and taxis, if I can put it that way. What I found is my body freshen up and my mind eased. Since then, I had this feeling that I  hold the whole world in my hand when I grasp a stone in it. I still visit the very place we visited time to time. In the same respect, painting 6 to 8 hours a day these days also gives me as much as the same feeling of finding ornamental stones. I remember someone said this: "Daisy blooms with fragrance in winter after bending nine times." I think we also have this knuckle and joint to bend in which means we sometimes must let it go and sometimes must hold it firm. 

Q. So you are willing to move forward your zeal for art?
A. My grandfather was a renowned writer in Naju City and my father was a teacher and I'm a publisher. I think it is all related to art and culture so I venture to say that the blood has been flowing in us. I held a solo exhibition for my collection of ornamental stones 10 years ago. And now I'm planning to have another solo exhibition for 30 to 40 of my paintings I've finished.

Q. Thank you very much for your time today. Lastly, would like to say an encouraging word or two to <PowerKorea> readers?
A. Sharing my experience, knowhow, knowledge and story with others is such an honor and meaningful thing to do in life. That's why I'm working on my own book, the stone collecting and painting. There is this flower called cucumber herb. It is a wild flower and is everywhere. Because it is so small, we have to bend down to appreciate the flower. And I think bending deep to appreciate such a small flower on a nameless road should be the very attitude of life, at least for me now. So let us be humble and thankful. I would like to show my sincere thanks especially to my fellow colleagues who have walked the same path with me for many years.


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