[Small group tour review] Nonsan Donam-Seown Neo-confucian Academy tour


On a hot day in July, 7 members of the KOCIS Honorary Reporters and Marcella, the cast for last year’s K-UNESCO Adventures, visited the Donam Seowon in Nonsan. A ‘Seowon’ is an educational facility for studying Neo-Confucianism and at the same time, a place for ancestral rites. Shall we see what kind of experiences the members had?


First, everybody changed into the appropriate student attire so that they could learn Confucian etiquette at the Eungdodang. The members practiced doing the traditional full bow following a demonstration from the teacher and learned how men and women had different postures when greeting each other. Marcella stands out in the group with her white clothes. What kind of special mission do you think she has been given?


‘Almyo’ refers to a form of ritual honoring the ancestral tablets of Confucian sages performed by male scholars in the past. Now, women also participate in the Almyo, as Marcella, dressed in white, demonstrated, performing the rituals for the group. When the ceremony was over, the participants had the opportunity to ask questions about the Donam Seowon and other Confucian academies.


While the members were busy participating in the Seowon’s many programs, an interview was filmed with the director of the Donam Seowon. He carefully explained the significance of the academy, which is also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. His interview will be included in our video of Donam Seowon, so keep an eye out for it!


After lunch, members had the opportunity to learn calligraphy. They poured the ink into the inkstone, dipped their brushes in ink, and following a demonstration from the teacher, practiced writing calligraphy on the paper in front of them. After writing ‘Donam Seowon’, they learned to write their own names in Korean as well.


Ssangyuk-nori is a game played using two dice and was enjoyed by many upper-class women during the Joseon Dynasty, who rarely had the opportunity to leave the household. Everybody seemed to enjoy playing Ssangyuk-nori, as they enthusiastically rolled their dice in hopes of getting a double.


“Jukbang-nori” requires a lot of patience and concentration from its participants. A traditional Korean game that involves balancing a wooden double-wheeled disk on a piece of string by pulling on and coiling the string, it is much more difficult than it looks.


Sunshine Studio is a drama theme park that recreates the scenery of Hanseong during the early 1900s and is famous for being the filming location where many scenes from the Korean TV show “Mr. Sunshine’ were filmed.


The participants of the tour replicate the wistfulness of the main characters during the finale of ‘Mr. Sunshine’ in the very spot that the final train scene was filmed. Despite the dreary weather, everybody was so invested in reenacting each episode of the TV show at the theme park, that they completely lost track of time.