Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Amazing Korean 78rpm Record Auction

A couple of hours ago, there was a sensational auction result of a Korean 78rpm record - on Japanese Yahoo auction page. The record in question is Nitto 2249, recorded in August 1926, and issued September of the year. It contains two sides by Korean soprano, Yoon Shimdeok (Korean ; 윤심덕, 1897 ~ 1926). The A side contains a song called "The Praise of Death" (Korean ; "사의 찬미, Saui Chaanmi"), and the B side contains "Jesus Christ is Risen Today" , the famous Easter Hymn written by Charles Wesley. The final price of this record was 5,213,111 Yen (or $42,000), no other Korean 78rpm record had ever reached this price so far. Here is the background story of this record. Some people out there might find this boring, but I think some of them might find the story quite fascinating.
The singer, Yoon, was one of the earliest Korean female singer trained in Western operatic voice, but after several personal crisis and depression, she committed suicide with her lover, playwright Kim Woojin (Korean; 김우진), by jumping off from the ferryboat in the ocean, on August 4th, 1926. Her suicide created a national sensation at that time, and there were a couple of TV dramas and two films based on her life and death ever since.
Just before her suicide, between July and August 1926, she recorded 32 sides for Japanese Nitto Record company, most of which consisted of some operatic arias (Traviata, Aida, etc.) and few songs (including a couple of Stephen Foster songs and few Christian hymns). All of them were issued after her death, between October 1926 and February 1927. Most of them, however, apparently had dismal sales, judging by their current near non-existent status. Out of those 32 sides, there are only 4 sides of her known to exist, with two sides coming from the only known copy...
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