Professor keeps account of every film, cigarette, drink consumed

Posted on : 2007-02-10 14:32 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
He hopes personal log will become a record for future historians

21,098 packs of cigarettes. 21,194 bottles of soju. 227,423 pages of manuscript papers. A life of 70 years can thus be broken down into its component parts.

Kim An-je, 70, a chair-holding professor at Dankook University, has published a book marking his 70th year. His 2,700-page book contains nearly 360 items of his personal data. Over his long career, Kim has written 25 books and 780 research papers, and until August 2004 served as the chief of the presidential office’s commission on the relocation of Korea’s administrative capital. According to his records, he has taught 18,327 students.

Kim started to make records in 1948, during the second semester of fourth grade. He began by listing books he had read so that he would not accidentally read them again. Kim added the category of "cinema" after viewing the film Shimcheongjeon when he was a fifth-grader. He included another category, "drink," beginning when he was 27 years old. In this way, the items on his personal logbook soon reached 360.

One such diligently recorded item is finances: Professor Kim has earned a total of 12,691,104,000 won (US$13 million) over his lifetime and has spent 11,906,868,000 of it. That leaves him 784,236,000 won in the black.

He fine-tuned his methodology through trial-and-error. He makes daily notes in the evening and at the end of every month, he copies them into a binder. He has a total of seven such binders. Looking into his records, one can see that he ate his first banana at the age of 11, and the first time he dined outside of his home, he was 21 years old.

Kim expressed hope that his book would incite people to follow suit, in a societal climate in which individuals are not encouraged to keep records of their daily existence. Kim predicted that his records would one day be historical documents through which readers could look at the social aspects of an era, as well as the deeds of a person who had lived through it.

"While honestly recording my accounts, my life changed into a planned and satisfying one, and I have come to be careful of my words and behavior," said Kim.

However, he also says that he feels like standing out on the street and stripping off his shirt.

According to Kim, his tomes are not "a record for me," but rather "a ‘me’ for the record."

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