|Sohn Receiving the Simsan Prize|
The Simsan Kim Chang-sook Research Society awarded the Simsan Prize to Sohn Suk-hee, the President of News at JTBC, on November 3rd, in the International Hall at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU).
The Simsan Prize is an award that was established in 1986 to commemorate Kim Chang-sook, who was an independent activist and the first president of SKKU. He is considered to have been the most passionate nationalist during the Japanese colonial era, along with Han Yong-un and Shin Chae-ho. Although he was a Confucian scholar, he took the lead of the national debt redemption movement and other campaigns. In addition, he went directly to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and forwarded the message that Korea was eagerly seeking independence by sending independence petitions to foreigners. After independence, he warned President Rhee Syng-man three times because the president tried to continue his long-term rule through fraudulent
means such as illegal elections. To inherit the spirit of Kim Changsook, the Simsan Prize is awarded once a year to individuals or groups who resist injustice, and make contributions to academic and practical activities. The significance of the Simsan Prize lies in the feature that it connotes the spirit of the Japanese colonial era. The first Simsan Prize was awarded to Song Gun-ho, who was the founder of the Hankyoreh. The Simsan Kim Chang-sook Research Society awarded Simsan Prizes until 2006 and abruptly suspended awarding of the prize for several years. Indifference of society and the school foundation was the reason. Soon, however, people once again felt the need to award those who resisted the injustices of this era and contributed to academic and practical activities. Thus, it was revived and has been awarded since 2015.
The Simsan Prize committee was founded in February 2017, composed of the former and current board members of the Simsan Kim Chang-sook Research Society as well as associated professors. It looked for suitable candidates and received recommendations from elders. Three candidates were selected after three meetings over two months. During this process, if there was even a minor connection that existed between the candidate and the research society, he or she was excluded from the candidate list. It was through this process that Sohn Suk-hee was selected. The committee judged Sohn Suk-hee as a suitable person for the prize as he played an important role in disclosing the reality behind Choi Soon-sil gate. During his acceptance speech, Sohn Suk-hee said “The prize given in someone’s name feels more burdensome and heavier because the receiver has to live up to that name. I have thought of Kim Chang-sook as a person who lived a perfect life, so it is a great honor to receive a prize in his name. Thank you.”
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