The Ku˘mo sinhwa by Kim Sisup is today regarded as one of the major cornerstones of Korean literature. However, leading intellectuals of Korean colonial modernity like Ch`oe Namson and Kim T`aejun criticized the work for its close resemblance to the Jiandeng xinhua by Qu You. Claiming that the Ku˘mo sinhwa was an ill-written copy of its Chinese predecessor, they merely acknowledged its alleged Korean national spirit and local Korean color. In this article it is argued that through the diffusion and circulation of knowledge between Ming China and Choson Korea the Chinese work`s critical content as well as the biography of its author were well known in 15th century Korea. It is hypothesized that Kim Sisup did not simply imitate the Jiandeng xinhua due to a lack of literary ability, but that he rather consciously selected the Jiandeng xinhua in order to utilize it as a foundation for his own personal thoughts on certain contemporary individuals and political issues. It is suggested that Kim Sisup`s decisions to model his Ku˘mo sinhwa after the Jiandeng xinhua and to set his novellas in a specifically Korean context had a profound influence on the way the collection was received and understood by a contemporary Korean readership.