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Korean Publishers


Publisher Hyohyung

Dreaming of a warm city where art breathes




Publisher Hyohyung has been printing books on architecture, space, and art for 30 years, just like building a house brick by brick. Perhaps the key to this longevity is Hyohyung’s passion for these fields. Indeed, its publishing list is filled with authentic books on architecture, space, and art. Every book is worthy of its own value, but Hyohyung’s books are more valuable to the readers as they are written with the mission of the creators and the sincerity of the writers. Hyohyung plans various content and events so that readers can encode books in their minds and even have experiences through them, and conveys liberal arts knowledge that will help future generations. Following is an interview with Hyohyung, a publishing house that produces books with the utmost sincerity so that the scent of art can permeate our daily lives, and so that our society can become a warm city where art breathes.


Logo of Hyohyung

Logo of Hyohyung

Logo of Hyohyung



It’s a pleasure to have you with us on K-Book Trends. Please introduce Hyohyung to our international readers as well as the meaning of the company’s name.


The name “Hyohyung” reflects our dedication to future generations. It was named after the CEO’s two sons, Hyo-Keun and Hyung-Keun, one letter after the other. The company started with the dream of becoming a publisher that produces books that you won’t be ashamed to give to your children, a publisher that will continue to exist for generations.


Hyohyung celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Congratulations! How do you feel? Could you also please briefly tell us about the path that Hyohyung has been walking on?


The 1990s was a time when we made headway in the field of popular humanities by presenting stylish editing skills under the banner of “democratizing the humanities,” as well as releasing “hybrid” features that crossed the boundaries between the humanities, arts, and sciences. Several timeless titles, such as I Go to Museums to Study, published in 1997, Architect: Listen Like Music and Look Like Art by architect Seo Hyun, beloved for more than 20 years, All Live Beings Are Beautiful, a natural science essay by chair professor Choi Jae-Cheon at Ewha Womans University, and Bernard Olivier’s Longue Marche, the bible of walking tours, are still loved by many readers.


* K-Book Trends Vol. 44 – Go to the article about professor Choi Jae-Cheon


In addition, we have published a variety of projects that showcase the beauty and depth of Korean culture. The pinnacle of these projects was Painting Depicting King Jeongjo’s Visit to Hwaseong in 1795, which has been called “the culmination of the Joseon Dynasty Renaissance.” It is a masterpiece revived by the late Han Young-Woo, former director of Seoul National University’s Gyujanggak Library (a professor emeritus at Seoul National University), who applied contemporary colors to the black-and-white woodcut “Banchado” (court painting of royal processions). It is a celebrated book that is still often talked about when you talk about publisher Hyohyung.
In 2003, we set up our office in Paju Book City and have been publishing a wide range of content in books that help to further permeate our society and everyday life with the fragrance of art. We are a publishing house built on the robust humanistic spirit of our founder and the artistic touch of our designer, Choi Woong-Rim, who has been with us for over 20 years.


I Go to Museums to Study

Architecture: Listen Like Music and Look Like Art

All Live Beings are Beautiful

I Go to Museums to Study, Architecture: Listen Like Music and Look Like Art, and All Live Beings are Beautiful



Your major focus has been humanities books about architecture, space, and art. Is there a special reason for it?


The book Architecture: Listen Like Music and Look Like Art, published in 1998, was quite a sensation at the time. It expanded the field of architecture from the realm of civil engineering to the humanities and arts. Since then, collaborations between architects and architectural scholars increased, and books about architecture, city, and space have naturally followed.
As a publisher, Hyohyung aims to publish books with a humanistic texture and artistic touch. Our architectural books fit in well with this philosophy. Architecture is a multidisciplinary field that encompasses engineering, philosophy, social sciences, science, history, travel, and other humanities fields. There is a saying that “architecture is the bowl that holds the human spirit.” As such, architectural books require a lot of hard work in editing and design. It is also an area that other fast-publishing publishers cannot easily get into. The low sales volume compared to the effort also plays a part. These days, there are very few publishers who publish architecture books considering the general public. Therefore, we take publishing with a sort of mission in mind.


Since your field of publication is very specific, it seems that promotions and marketing are crucial to increasing the number of readers. What are some of your promotion and marketing strategies to better communicate with readers?


In addition to the basic elements like influencers, YouTuber placements, newspaper ads, and magazine features, we try to find our own way. If a book is just a series of words, it is dead content. We want to make sure that the print gets into the readers’ heads and turns into an experience, and there are many ways to do that - book talks, book parties, book concerts, experiences, and more. We have a cafe in our Paju Book City office called “Book Cafe Noon.” Book Cafe Noon aims to be a space where books, readers, and writers can come together, which is why we organize various events there. The strategy is to plan events that fit the content of the book, the needs of the readers, and the season, and to approach those who have already become readers as a more intimate publishing brand.
And that’s for offline. For online, we take a different approach. We go after value-oriented new media readers, not bookstore-bound old media readers. We mostly utilize crowdfunding projects. You can think of Wadiz or Tumblbug, where we give the book a curative makeover so that it reaches people with the same values as the book’s message. To date, we have done three curated, reprint projects through Wadiz, and they have all been very successful.



We hope to introduce content from various fields, to be a strong support for readers.



Since you publish books on architecture, space, and art, the Paju office building seems very cool. Book Cafe Noon is also the first cafe in Paju Book City. What is Book Cafe Noon like as a reading space?


Since Paju Book City started as an industrial complex, most of the buildings are technically factories. It is nothing more than pretty factories. So, the area would only be bustling with people during rush hour, and the rest of the time, it would be like a ghost town. We thought that the first step to transforming the “book factory district” into a “book city” was to create book cafes, and we were the first to open a book cafe that was open all the time. Later, regulations got loosened, and other publishers and businesses followed suit - and here we are today.
Book Cafe Noon shows off its charms from mid-April to early November, when it promotes itself as a “shelter for strollers,” and its outdoor terrace turns into an open-air square, embracing the architecture and nature of the Book City. Visitors interact with the warm sunshine and cool breeze while reading books they have brought with them or from Book Cafe Noon’s collection. Inside, the space is relaxing and welcoming, creating an atmosphere perfect for reading. To take advantage of the concrete nature of the building, the columns are not decorated with any decorations. The wood and concrete are the basic materials, and the space is mainly decorated with muted and calm colors. The CEO’s hand paintings surround the space. Very few people make noise because of the calm and warm atmosphere. On weekends in autumn and winter, many readers come to read architecture-related books.


Outside views of Hyohyung

Outside views of Hyohyung

Outside views of Hyohyung


Inside views of Book Cafe Noon

Inside views of Book Cafe Noon

Inside views of Book Cafe Noon

Inside views of Book Cafe Noon



It is impressive that the publisher’s introduction reads, “Dreaming of a warm city where art breathes.” What is the “warm city where art breathes” that Hyohyung dreams of, and what criteria do you follow to plan and publish your books to achieve this?


We don’t think of the approaching era of AI as a “crisis of the humanities,” but rather as an “era of threatened humanity.” Perhaps the last defense of humanity will be the field of art. Recently, there have been quite a few gloomy forecasts of the future, such as “low birthrate,” “disappearing jobs,” and “disappearing rural areas.” We want to give a message with a sense of humanity that can serve as a light to those who are worried about the future. We hope to introduce content from various fields such as philosophy, art, and music, centered on architecture, to be a strong support for them. So, our publishing house emphasizes art, talks about compassionate humanity, and speaks about the city, which is the architectural space we live in. And all that in one sentence: “We dream of a warm city where art breathes.”
The criteria for publication are slightly different for each manuscript, but the message of the book must be future-oriented. We do not publish content that is limited to exploring the facts of the past. We seek liberal arts knowledge, attitudes toward life, and orientations that will benefit future generations.


New title Urban Controversialist was published last January. Could you please introduce this book to our readers?


The book Urban Controversialist can be shortened to “a spicy reading of cities by humanistic architect Seo Hyun.” It is a book that takes a microcosmic and specific look at the landscape we encounter in our daily lives, as we walk down the street, and relentlessly takes a scalpel to its absurdities and dissonances. While it tackles serious topics like politics and elections, it is still a fun read with punchy sentences and hilarious phrases. It is a great follow-up to Red City, which came out in 2014. It is not a criticism for critique’s sake - it helps establish a “healthy perspective of an architect reading our society.”


Urban Controversialist

Red City

Urban Controversialist and Red City



You also have a separate brand called Nabizang Books, although it doesn't have many published books. What kind of brand is Nabizang Books?


Nabizang Books launched as a lifestyle publishing brand, but hasn’t released a new book in nearly a decade. In the early 2000s, it was the brand that put out relatively lighter and trendier books while Hyohyung published in-depth humanities and arts books. At some point, the line between Hyohyung and Nabizang Books got blurry, and it ceased operation. In the past, Nabizang Books used to publish books about cooking recipes, movies, and illustrated travel essays.
Among the titles from Nabizang Books, the one we would most like to recommend is Stealing the Great Masters’ Notes. It is a book that summarizes the best bits of the film masters that Laurent Tirard, who later became a master of French cinema, met when he was working as an editor. It has become a classic among filmmakers. On the other hand, in terms of Korean books, there is Drawing Morocco by artist Eom Yu-Jung. It is a travel essay filled with early drawings by Eom Yu-Jung, who is now a world-renowned artist.


Could you please introduce the book on Hyohyung’s philosophy to our readers as the company celebrates its 30th anniversary?


The book King Jeongjo’s Eight-day Procession to Hwaseong was written by the late Han Young-Woo, professor emeritus at Seoul National University, a master of Korean studies, which revisits the meaning of King Jeongjo’s procession to Hwaseong in 1795, the culmination of the culture of the Joseon Dynasty. Published in 1998, the book made us look back on King Jeongjo’s achievements and a glorious moment in our history. Since its publication, interest in King Jeongjo and “banchado” has permeated every corner of our society. The book has proven the power of published content and how art can change our daily lives. Also, Painting Depicting King Jeongjo’s Visit to Hwaseong in 1795, which Professor Han Young-Woo and his research team restored to life in King Jeongjo’s Eight-day Procession to Hwasung, was reprinted as a cultural art product and selected as one of the “100 Most Beautiful Books in Korea” at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2005.
Meanwhile, A Class on Spatial Power talks about the power of space across 18 topics. It also talks about attitudes that can enrich your life. It is set in an urban space. It teaches us about the mindset we need to have to live in a city where capitalism and competition are everything. The book features spaces and their stories collected by interior architect Park Jin-Bae, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, as he traveled around the world. The message is that if you have discerning eyes, even ordinary places can read like extraordinary spaces.


King Jeongjo’s Eight-day Procession to Hwaseong

A Class on Spatial Power

King Jeongjo’s Eight-day Procession to Hwaseong and A Class on Spatial Power


Painting Depicting King Jeongjo’s Visit to Hwaseong in 1795


Painting Depicting King Jeongjo’s Visit to Hwaseong in 1795

Painting Depicting King Jeongjo’s Visit to Hwaseong in 1795

Painting Depicting King Jeongjo’s Visit to Hwaseong in 1795



We look forward to dreaming together of a city that will be warmer with Hyohyung’s books. Last but not least, tell us about your new book or future goals.


We envision a warm city where art breathes as much today as it did yesterday. We plan to present a variety of space, art, and philosophy content to Korean society for future generations. In 2024, starting with Urban Controversialist, we will publish books such as Beyond Art, which explores stories beyond music and art, Seoul is Architecture, a travel book that explores the beauty and meaning of modern architecture in Seoul, and Palace and Scenery, which teaches readers how to appreciate the five palaces from the Joseon Dynasty. We also have two upcoming essays on food. It will teach us what it means to live a flavorful life. Plus, we are working on a new book about the living spaces of people who live in places other than apartments.
We also have some offline events coming up. Starting in May, we'll be hosting a series of events. The specific dates are still under wraps, but you can expect to see an announcement on Hyohyung’s official Instagram soon. Please stay tuned as we continue to prepare various projects to bridge writers, books, and readers as well as for future generations.




#Publisher Hyohyung#Architecture#Space#Art#Book Cafe Noon
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