Park Chun-seok Dies

Park Chun-seok, one of Korea’s most beloved songwriters, died March 13 from the effects of a stroke he suffered 16 years ago.

Park, 80, was a specialist in the traditional pop form known as trot, which developed during the Japanese colonial period.

He composed an estimated 2,700 songs during his lifetime.

Park started his career when he was just out of high school and worked as a pianist at the famous Gold Club in Seoul during the 1950s. He wrote his first song in 1954, “Elegy for a Sunset,” which launched a string of hits, much of them in collaboration with the singer Lee Mi-ja. Their partnership lasted 40 years and some 500 songs.

Park was the first Korean songwriter to receive a commission from abroad when he was asked in 1978 to write a song for Hibari Misora, Japan’s greatest postwar pop singer. He remains the record holder for the most songs registered with the Korea Music Copyright Association with 1,152. He never married.

In recent years, trot has made a strong comeback with younger singers who have tried to meld something more indigenous to the contemporary Western-flavored dance music that has dominated K-pop since the mid-90s.