The Story of Chunhyang

Informant SW is a USC student who went to high school in Hong Kong but his nationality is Korean, so he grew up hearing a lot of Korean folk stories and doing a lot of Korean traditions.

SW: “This is a love story okay thats like pretty well known in Korea. So once upon a time there was a guy called Mongryong who was walking around when he see this girl and instantly falls in love. The girl’s name was Chunhyang. So Mongryong finds out who this girl is and asks her mother for her hand in marriage. Her mother says yes, even though Chunhyang doesn’t want to, and they get married.

However, Mongryong’s father is a government official and has to leave to another city, so Mongryong has to follow him. Before leaving, Chunhyang gives Mongryong a ring as a token and reminder of love. After Mongryong leaves a guy called Pyon replaces his father. Pyon is a super greedy person and just drinks and parties every day. Eventually Mongryong places first in his exams and because a spy for the government to find corrupt government officials. Mongryong, in disguise, goes back to his hometown to see Pyon ruining his village. At Pyon’s birthday, Mongryong reveals himself and arrests Pyon. However, Chunhyang doesn’t believe that Mongryong is who he says he is. Mongryong shows Chunhyang the ring she gave him and she is shocked and then they live happily ever after.”

To me this story is very generic, I felt like I have heard this story a billion times. Love stories in Asia is always about a guy and girl falling in love but then they end up getting separated, then something bad befalls the girl and the guy comes back but the girl does not recognize him until he proves to her that he is who he says he is. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other similar stories all across Asia and maybe even in Western society.