The Chunhyangjeon (춘향전; 春香傳; lit. "The Story of Chunhyang" or "The Tale of Chunhyang") is one of the best known love stories and folk tales of Korea. It is based on the pansori Chunhyangga, the most famous of the five surviving pansori tales.[1]

Revised RomanizationChun Hyang-jeon
McCune–ReischauerCh'un Hyang-chŏn

Date of composition and author are unknown and the present form took shape 1694~1834.

Main charactersEdit

  • Chunhyang, Sung (Spring Fragrance) is the main female character, kisaeng Wolmae's daughter. She is very beautiful and also talented in poetry and arts. She fell in love with Mongryong.
  • Mongryong, Yi is the main male character who is the son of a government official (Magistrate). He is an intelligent and handsome man. He fell in love with Chunhyang at first sight.
  • HyangDan is Chunhyang's servant. She is devoted to Chunhyang.
  • PangJa is Mongyong's male servant.
  • Wolmae (Moon Plum) is Chunhyang's mother and used to be a kisaeng.
  • Pyon is the replacement official of Mongyong's father.

Plot summaryEdit

Yi Mongryong, who always studies hard, goes out to get some fresh air. He sees Chunhyang on a swing and he falls in love with her at first sight. He orders his servant, PangJa, to ask Chunhyang to come to him but she refuses. Yi Mongryong then goes to talk to Chunhyang's mother, Wolmae, to ask permission to marry Chunhyang; Wolmae gives her permission and the two young people marry that day.

Yi Mongryong's father, a government official, has to move to another region, Hanyang (Seoul now) so Yi Mongryong has to leave Chunhyang to follow his father. Chunhyang gives Yi Mongryong a ring as a token of her love for him and promises to stay faithful to him and wait for him to come back in the future and take her to Seoul. After he leaves, a replacement for Mongryong's father comes to Chunhyang's village. The new replacement is Pyon, a greedy and selfish person- he always wastes his time partying with courtesans. Chunhyang, renowned for her beauty, is forced to come to his party. Although Chunhyang is not a courtesan, Pyon treats her like one because her mother is a courtesan. He orders her to sleep with him, but Chunhyang keeps refusing because she is married. Pyon gets angry and imprisons her. He decides to punish her on his birthday.

Yi Mongryong wins first place in a state examination and he becomes a secret royal inspector, or Amhaeng-eosa, who investigates and prosecutes corrupt government officials as an undercover emissary of the king. Under disguise, he comes to Chunhyang's village and finds out what has happened to Chunhyang and the misbehavior of Pyon. He must conceal his real identity so he acts like an insane person and wears mendicant clothes. Despite his mendicancy, Chunhyang still loves him and asks her mother to take good care of him.

At Pyon's birthday celebration, Yi Mongryong comes in and makes a satirical poem about the misbehavior of Pyon, but he does not understand the poem. Yi Mongryong discloses his real position and punishes the lord. At first, Chunhyang cannot recognize Yi Mongryong and he tests her fidelity by asking her to spend a night with him. Chunhyang, who still cannot recognize him, refuses him as well. Deeply moved by her faithfulness, Yi Mongryong orders a courtesan to show her the ring Chunhyang gave him. She is shocked that he is Yi Mongryong and they live happily ever after.

Important featuresEdit

  • Love between Courtesan's daughter and Government official's son
  • The selfish lord being punished by Mongryong
  • Chunhyang, who keeps her integrity until the end

Like any other literature, The Tale of Chunhyang also reflects its society. Although the author is unknown, it is deducible that every nation was involved. The common people might get vicarious pleasure from the main characters who get over the difference of social standings and punish the greedy lord. Also keeping female's integrity is the traditional Korean's conservative moral.


  1. ^ William E. Skillend Kodae Sosol
The text of this article from main characters onwards is translated from the Korean Wikipedia article, which itself is based on the contents of Global World Encyclopedia which is distributed by Daum Communication. 본 문서에는 다음 커뮤니케이션에서 GFDL 또는 이에 준하는 라이선스로 배포한 글로벌 세계 대백과사전의 내용을 기초로 작성된 내용이 포함되어 있습니다.