[KS] Mok Sun-Ok

Brother Anthony ansonjae at sogang.ac.kr
Fri Aug 27 03:33:53 EDT 2010

I am sorry to report the death on August 26 of Mok Sun-Ok, the widow of the poet Chon Sang-Pyong. Some members of this list will have been to the little cafe "Kwichon" which she first opened in Seoul's Insa-dong in 1985 and which she kept open every day of the year until very recently, although the original shack was demolished and replaced by a concrete bunker several years ago, with loss of most of the original charm. Her life-story with that of Chon Sang-Pyong (which she told in a book I translated, "My Husband the Poet") is a remarkable tale. Having survived the Hiroshima atom bomb which killed her father, she agreed to become the wife / carer of her brother's friend Chon Sang-Pyong after his 1971 breakdown and shared his poverty until he died in 1993. After that she played the leading role in maintaining and promoting his memory, which finally resulted in the annual arts festival bearing his name held in Uijeongbu each April. She was still looking after her mother, who was born in 1910, when she died. Her niece operates a second "Kwichon" cafe in Insadong, serving the same home-made fruit teas, but for many people Mok Sun-Ok was a unique witness to a bygone Seoul, expressed by the flow of older writers, artists, musicians and youger workers and students coming to pay their respects. The funeral will be this Sunday.

Brother Anthony
Sogang University, Seoul

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