[KS] Chinese "control", Pung and Samhwangje

David Mason mntnwolf at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 3 11:03:46 EDT 2006

Dear colleagues,

I know i'm coming back very late on this, but it took
me a while to dig up my own article and old photos
from the messy archives of my new office, scan those 
photos and get them properly posted...

I like to add my thanks to the others expressed for 
all the excellent comments in this thread, that have
added a lot of good perspective to the subject.

Adam Bohnet was correct that I overspoke in describing
all of the celebrants of this ceremony as not knowing
much about and uninterested in the modern world -- that
characterization certainly should not have been extended
to Mr. Pung Yeong-seop.  Now that my memory is jogged,
I do recall that Pung seemed much more sophisticated
and was the effective leader (and seemed to always 
have more money in his pockets than the others, which
I'm sure enhanced his leadership role).

My main contact with this group was the devoted Neo-
Confucian scholar "Song-heon" Jeong Hae-seung (i'm sorry
for mistakenly calling him "Kim" in my first post; shows
that you should never press 'send' before checking your
old notes; everyone just knew him as Song-heon seon-
saengnim).  I had extensive contact with him 1988-91; 
the above characterization applies to him and some of 
his comrades that we also met and talked with while 
attending these events.  I remember laughing with my
translator because whenever Song-heon mentioned Korea's
current president, he used the old-fashioned term for
"the King".  It seemed so charming...  But really my
memories of those days are all too cloudy, and fairly
sepia-tinged as some of you might understand.

Song-heon and his "brothers" were also associated with
the private shrine for Korean Heroes located deep in 
the southern valley of Mani-san on Ganghwa Island; he
took my friends and I to a ceremony there, I think in 
90 or 91.  He said that they had hidden out there in 
the late 1930s ~ early 40s, hiding from the colonial 
police, maintaining ceremonies for Dan-gun & etc, their
lineage and the three Ming Emperors.  I have photos 

However, I have to speak against Gari's suspicion that
the Samhwang-je ceremony at the Daetong-haengmyo and 
the Jojong-am might not really have much of anything to
do with Song Shi-yeol and his followers, that connection
having rather been artificially made by the Pung family
and other Ming-refugee families.  Song-heon took me and
my friends to the ceremony that he and his comrades
held at the Mandong-myo in Hwayang-dong for Song and 
the lineage of scholar-teachers that reached down to
themselves (and unfortunately ended there).  One of
Song's direct disciples was an official in the Gapyeong
area, and one branch of the teacher-student lineage was
always present in the Gapyeong/Chuncheon area, and they
were associated with the Jojong-am and its ceremonies.

It seems that they made a gradual alliance with the
descendents of the nine "righteous" Ming officials, 
and the two groups combined their interests, as a sort
of alliance, and by the 1980s Mr. Pung had become the
leader of the Jojong/Samhwangje activities as I said
(though he was not otherwise involved with the lineage
from Song, did not attend the many annual ceremonies
they held memorializing the teachers of that lineage).

I'll let you historians sort that all out.  I have put
some of my photos from the 1989 ceremony up on my web-
site for those of you who are interested in this:  
and then another page of associated photos.

Following my own interests over the years, I am now 
teaching and researching Korean Tourism, and I'm
not really sure if that is really a part of "Korean 
Studies" or not -- doesn't seem to be included in any 
of the K-S or AAS conferences.  But now that I have been
reminded of this minor cultural phenomenon, I'm led to
wonder whether it could become some kind of attraction
for Chinese visitors to Korea...  speculating whether 
they would care, and be interested to watch?

David A. Mason  
Professor of Korean Tourism, KyungHee University
Office #710, College of Hotel and Tourism Management
Phone: 02-961-0852    Mobile: 011-9743-9753

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