A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be chosen by Arirang for a filming opportunity. One of the places I was taken was a relatively out of the way and unknown (to English speakers) literary shrine, the Kim Satkat Culture Hall.
This was cool to me, because Yi Munyol wrote a book, The Poet (“시인” I think) about Satkat, which chronicled not only his poetry, but his rather varied life. “The Poet” is rather charmingly reviewed on this clever site.
The Hall is outside of Yeongwol (Gangwando) in a relatively sprawling valley. Up the left fork is a restaurant and the Culture Hall, up the right fork is Kim Satkat’s burial mound, and further up it is Kim’s house. This was pretty interesting. There is a full-time Kim imitator/performer who lives there. Because we had all this camera equipment, we were allowed to take a road up to the house. This was a mixed blessing, as the road was being worked on and was extremely difficult. At one point the van got stuck in the mud, and we all had to hop out and push (well, I took pictures).
At another point we got stopped by construction equipment. Mr. Satkat jumped out of his 4-wheel drive vehicle and, staff in hand, ran up to the backhoe like Gandalf facing down a Balrog.
We finally got up there and then I “interviewed” Kim as the cameras rolled and we all sweated profusely.
Then it was down to the burial mound, where we filmed a bit more.
Then, we had to rush-rush to the Culture Hall because we were told we were far behind schedule. I jammed through the two-story hall in about 10 minutes, and didn’t really get the whole feel of the place. The Kim Satkat Remains Site, is about 6 kilometers away, but we didn’t get a chance to visit it.
In the Culture hall there books and sculptures of Kim Satkat and research data from Park Youngguk a scholar who studied Kim Satgat for a lifetime. This is all in Korean, so don’t expect to spend a lot of time reading there, unless you are fluent. There is a Kim Satgat Remains Site as well as a park nearby. Yeongwol gun holds a festival to remember Kim Satkat every October, and I think I need to get down to see it this year.
The site is so outstanding that it is worth visiting even if you don’t care about Korean poetry.
Location: Wasuk-ri Hadong-myeon
Reference: Nango Kim Satgat Culture Hall (033-375-7900), Culture and tourism section, Yeongwol-gun (033-370-2255)
Hours: from 09:00 to 18:00 (Closed for 1st of January)
Entrance Fees: Adult 2,000 won/ Juveniles/soldiers 1,500won/ Children 1000 won
Getting There: Cross the Gossi Cave from Yeongwol-eup and pass the Joseon Folk Art Museum located in Kim Satgat Remain Site