Visiting the Hwang Sun-won Sonagi Village (소나기마을) in Yangsu

This weekend I had a chance to visit Sonagi Village in Suneung-ri, Seojong-myeon Yangpyeong. Sonagi Village is a 7.5 hectare (18.5 acre) outdoor literature park in Gyeonggi province. The village is the literary museum of noted Korean author Hwang Sun-won, who wrote Sonagi, Cranes, The Dog of Crossover Village, and a variety of other classic Korean short stories (May of which are reviewed here).

The area is absolutely beautiful, and between the village and the Yangsu stop on the Jungang Line (which you can catch in Yongsan, Oksu, or Cheongnyangri) there are tons of pensions.

When we went into the museum, we were quickly spotted by the friendly staff, who whisked us upstairs and played us a short video on Hwang and the area. They also told us that although Hwang has been dead since 2000, his 97 year old wife is stil alive!.

This is a short clip from the movie:

OOPS… removed at copyright holder’s request..

In the story Sonagi, a young boy and girl meet in the course of a rainstorm, and huddle together in a shelter of millet stalks. Thus the grounds are dotted with small teepees of millet stalks and the section of the museum and a part of the fountain are structures of the same shape. In the movie below, the when the fountain is active, we are to see the glass semi-pyramid as representing a sheave of millet stalks. It’s quite pretty.

The museum itself is three stories tall, with about 4 sections. One section recounts the life and writings of Hwang Sun-won, and has pictures of him as well as a reproduction of his office. The next section has life-sized dioramaettes of some of his most important works, including  The Descendants of Cain, Cranes, The Dog of Crossover Village and The Old Potter. Sonagi is given its own section, and there is an e-room which has web access, videos and sound files. Tying it all together is a central room with a timeline of Hwang’s life and an art exhibit consisting of representations of scenes from Sonagi. On the thrid floor is the movie theater mentioned previously, and two outdoor ‘lounges’ that offer excellent views of the valley, and a place to smoke cigarettes if you have them.  Outside, to the left of the building, sits Hwang’s tomb.

The Center of the Museum

Each September there is a Hwang Sun-won festival, and KTLIT will be sure to visit that next year.

NOTE: There are busses that run from Yangsu Station to the Village, but they seem to run on very uncertain timestables. We sat waiting for over a half an hour, before splitting a taxcab with two Korean women. The bus stop in front of the train station will take you to Seojeong-myeon, from which you can catch a second bus, or walk about 4 kilometers by following the signs).

9 thoughts on “Visiting the Hwang Sun-won Sonagi Village (소나기마을) in Yangsu

  1. Great article but the Winter Olympics will not be held in Yangpyeong, they will be held in Pyeongchang in Gangwon Province.

  2. Speaking of LOL, here is an example of Korean satiric humor:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiLA6Bk_ivs

    What role in Korean literature does satire play?

    We know that “Gulliver’s Travels” by Swift, or “Animal Farm” or “Twelve Chairs” by Il’f & Petrov are Western examples of satire.

    Are there Korean satiric literary works?

  3. LOL.. that immediately went totally viral here…. there was some discussion that it was done in NY, but I haven’t seen any proof.

    In the book “Humor in Korean Literature” (Si-sa-yong-o-sa Publishing) two Korean professors argue that satire in Korea is substantively different than satire (and parody) in the US in that its source is “meditative” while Western humor is “piercing” and “unpleasant.”

    I don’t see the same kind of satire, particularly historically, in the translated work (Kim Young-ha does some in “Whatever Happened to the Guy in the Elevator” and “My Innocent Uncle” by Ch’ae Man-sik is also a classic).

  4. “two Korean professors argue that satire in Korea is substantively different than satire (and parody) in the US in that its source is “meditative” while Western humor is “piercing” and “unpleasant.””

    That would seem to be the rankest form of bigotry.

    I hear similar things from Japanese regularly.

    Japanese rice is assertedly healthy and robust, while non-Japanese rice is “acrid and unhealthy”

  5. Wow, will definitely have to go visit, not onlly to pay my respects to Hwang, but b/c it looks to be just a kilometer or two from the best restaurant in all of Korea, 풍년목장가든……

  6. Check out the bottom of this web page. Independent production company in Brooklyn. Thought I don’t know anything more about them.

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