Life Ideology and Life Literature
Literature of Wonju features Life Ideology. What is Life Ideology and Life Literature?
Life Ideology is construed as follows. It starts with sympathy toward neighbors who undergo sorrows or sufferings of their life. We console each other by holding hands affectionately or sympathizing with them. We bring comfort to one another. We are back on our feet again with hope. We have a warm smile on our face.
We understand one another and take care not to upset anyone around, based on the beliefs and philosophies of our own. This keeps going and accumulating on, and we respect other people. This way, the life grows, people have more empathy, these are passed down, all of which make our life far richer in many ways and perspectives possible in our daily lives. It is Life Ideology as we call it. When we express Life in the form of literature, including poetry, we come to call it is Life Literature.
Let us have a look at the brief history of how Life Ideology and Life Literature originated.
Won Cheon-seok(1330- death year unknown), who was born in Wonju and one of admired, great scholars of the late Goryo Dynasty and the early Joseon Dynasty period, was loyal only to kings of the Joseon Dynasty even though he was coerced and did not fall for wealth and honor, material and political comforts and conciliatory measures of the new nation, Goryo Dynasty that later requested Won Cheon-seok to work as a king’s teacher and advisor.
Won Ho(1396-1463), who was also born in Wonju, was the icon of the loyalty to only one king whom he served and kept the fidelity to one king for his lifetime.
Lee Dal(1539-1612) was born in Wonju. His father was from a noble family but his mother was a Kisaeng(Korean Geisha, if to be clarified for easier understanding). So, though he was a talented poet, he was not able to become a member of high social class through written exams administered by the central government. However, he elevated his life sorrows and pains higher using poetry and taught Heo Gyun, who later became a prominent politician and poet, novelist, scholar, and writer of the Joseon Dynasty.
Kim Chang-il(1548-1631) was a writer and served under the king in the palace. When he was almost 80 years old, the Joseon peninsula was invaded by China(one of nations of China in the early 17th century that was established in the north eastern part of China. China was divided by many nations back then.). Kim Chang-il raised an army of ordinary people in the cause of loyalty to the nation to pull the invading Chinese army out of Joseon and went to war with them to defend the nation.
These are some historical examples of constancy and unyielding spirit whose values are said to be equal to Life, as we call it.
These have led to ideologies and philosophies that originated in Wonju after 1960.
Daniel Tji Hak Soun(1921-1993), bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wonju, led social cooperative movement, the first case ever in Korea, illiteracy eradication campaign in Wonju, democractic movement of Korea in Wonju.
Jang Il-soon(1928-1994), calligrapher and social movement activist who was born in Wonju and lived his life in Wonju, established ‘Hansal-rim’(meaning Life for all), initiated Life Ideology campaign, and carried out democratic movement of Korea with Daniel Tji Hak Soun.
Pak Kyongni(1926-2008), one of respected, iconic writers of the Korean literature and one of writers, started living in Wonju in 1980, and completed ‘Toji’, her 20 books of epic family saga reflecting the Korea’s modern history(1897-August 15, 1945, Korea’s Independence Day from the Japanese Colonialism and ruling).
As such, Daniel Tji Hak Soun, Jang Il-soon, and Pak Kyongni are some representative modern figures of Life Ideology, Life Movement(Campaign), and Life Literature.
More specifically speaking, Daniel Tji Hak Soun was a figure that represented the religions of Korea that dedicated to and sacrificed to realize the grass-root democracy against the unjust practices, irregularities, violence, oppression of all kinds done by the military government.
Jang Il-soon initiated Social Cooperatives Movement for the first time in Wonju in the late 1960s, which later expanded its movement into all parts of Korea and Wonju became the mecca of social cooperatives in Korea. Based on Social Cooperatives Movement, he put ideas of Life Ideology into practice in his daily life in Wonju and influenced tens of thousands of Wonju citizens, led the democratic movement, and carried out social activities.
Pak Kyongni was one of influential writers who reflected the preciousness of all life forms in her works.
As such, ‘Life’ does not simply mean life we are living as human beings. It became an established ideology and the literature based on life has come into being since the 1960s-1970s, which continue to affect many aspects of life, including the literature of Wonju.