Sonagi – “Rain Shower” by Hwang Sun-won

Heh, I found a modern video remake of a modern-classic Korean story, Sonagi.

Rain Shower, also called Shower in English, 0r Sonagi (in Romanized Korean), is a short story written by Hwang Sun-won in 1959 (Hwang also wrote the seminal novel The Descendants of Cain – a horrific story of greed and betrayal). Sonagi is a brief but a heavy rain shower that suddenly comes down usually on a hot afternoon. In Hwang’s story, the rain shower both causes and symbolizes the short and tragic love of the boy and the girl. The story begins with the boy encountering the girl playing by the stream on his way back home. By the end, the girl is… well, read it for yourself. You can read Sonagi at Brother Anthony of Taize’s excellent website here.

For now, here is the excellent modern video version. It contains Korean, but you don’t need to know any Korean to follow the plot (It actually ends at about 5:15, the remainder is blooper stuff and credits).

3 thoughts on “Sonagi – “Rain Shower” by Hwang Sun-won

  1. Here’s what I always wonder: why don’t Korean use Korean for the title of the products (from literature to business) even if it’s not necessary. Because you know, Sonagi sounds really beautiful. In case of Japan, they use Japanese for the title unless it’s really necessary. I’m not saying follow what Japanese do but I do think not all names should be translated. Sonagi. It’s really beautiful to spell out. It’s exotic but not hard to spell. It makes readers want to read. It has Korean odor in it. It sounds beautiful as its story. After readers read the story, they will remember the impressive title, Sonagi. I’m just sad that Koreans are turning all titles into English even though it is not necessary all the time. I wish Sonagi is Sonagi, not Rain Shower.

  2. Ad,

    LOL at your second comment. For Sonagi, I’d agree, for all off the reasons you give. But I think that only works in some cases. Imagine “어두운 기억의 저편” on a cover. It would send potential foreign readers screaming away in anguish. In cases like that, therefore, the translation “The Other Side of Dark Remembrance,” is necessary.

    There is a fine line, and it moves around from case to case, about what you can do to balance the authenticity (or “koreanness” as it is often referred to) and the readability.

    At this point, I’m happy for best-sellers just because the question of Korean literature is being raised in front of English-reading eyes.

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