When Buckwheat Flowers Bloom

When the Buckwheat Flowers Bloom[1][2] (Korean: 메밀꽃 필 무렵) also translated as The Buckwheat Season[3][4] is a 1936 short story by Korean writer Lee Hyo-seok. That story has been described as "widely known to Koreans for its lyrical qualities",[5] "outstanding"[6] and a "modern classic",[7] and even "the pinnacle of literary art in Korea",[1] and has been adopted into a movie directed by Lee Song-gu in 1967.[8]

The story has been subject to studies by Korean literature scholars.[9][5]


Mr. Heo is a middle-aged itinerant vender, who goes market to market to sell his products with his friend, Mr. Jo. Heo has never had a serious relationship with a woman, despite his age, and has no family. The only memory he has and cherishes is about the night in Bongpyeong when he met a woman and spent the night with her. He tells this story to his friend Jo over and over again on their journey. And one night, under a luminous moon, Heo and Jo walks on a mountain road covered with full-blown buckwheat flowers, with a young itinerant vendor, Dong-i, who has decided to travel with them for a moment. Naturally, Heo repeats his story once again, and Dong-i tells the story of his mother. She is from Bongpyeong, but she had to leave her hometown after she had sex with a stranger and got pregnant with her son, Dong-i. Heo listens to the story carefully until he trips and falls into a creek. Dong-i carries Heo on his back, and Heo feels 'the warmth sinking deep into his bone.' Then he finds out that Dong-i is left-handed, just like himself.


The story has been adapted into several works in Korean:

  • 이성구, <메밀꽃 필 무렵>, 1967. (영화) /  Lee Seong-gu, Memilggot pil muryeop (When the Buckwheat Flowers Bloom), 1967. Film.
  • 김하림, <TV문학관: 메밀꽃 필 무렵>, 1982. (드라마) / Kim Ha-rim, TV munhakgwan: Memilggot pil muryeop (TV Literature Hall: When the Buckwheat Flowers Bloom), KBS, 1982. TV Series.
  • 홍윤정‧동희선, <HDTV문학관: 메밀꽃 필 무렵>, 2005. (드라마) / Hong Yun-jeong and Tong Hui-seon, HDTV munhakgwan: Memilggot pil muryeop (HDTV Literature Hall: When the Buckwheat Flowers Bloom), KBS, 2005. TV Series.
  • 안재훈‧한혜진, <메밀꽃, 운수 좋은 날, 그리고 봄봄>, 2014. (애니메이션) / Ahn Jae-hun, Han Hye-jin, Memilggot, unsu joeun nal, geurigo bombom (Buckwheat Flowers, a Lucky Day, and Spring, Spring), Yeonpillo Myeongsang Hagi, EBS, Gimyoungsa, 2014. Animation.
  • 김도연‧김별아 외 4, 《메밀꽃 질 무렵—메밀꽃 필 무렵 이어쓰기》, 단비, 2018. (재창작 소설) / Kim Do-yeon, Kim Byeora and four others, Memilggot jil muryeop—memilggot pil muryeop i-eo-sseugi (When the Buckwheat Flowers Are Falling: Rewriting When the Buckwheat Flowers Bloom), Danbi, 2018. Reworked short story collection.

It has also received a number of translations, including at least three into English language.[5]


  1. ^ a b Sumi Chang; Hee-Jeong Jeong; Ho-min Sohn; Sang-Seok Yoon (31 December 2018). Integrated Korean: High Intermediate 1. University of Hawaii Press. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-8248-7792-7.
  2. ^ Jieun Kiaer (10 August 2017). The Routledge Course in Korean Translation. Taylor & Francis. pp. 42–. ISBN 978-1-317-21027-6.
  3. ^ Seoul Selection (26 September 2017). SEOUL Magazine October 2017. Seoul Selection. p. 35. GGKEY:G2P23AX9F6L.
  4. ^ Chung (12 October 2012). Modern Korean Literature. Routledge. pp. 17–. ISBN 978-1-136-16065-3.
  5. ^ a b c Park, Ocksue (March 2011). "Universalizing the Particular in Korean-to-English Translations :The Case of a Korean Short Story, 'Memilkkot p'il muryŏp'". Journal of Universal Language (in Korean). Retrieved 2020-10-14.
  6. ^ Korean Culture. Korean Cultural Service. 1996. p. 14.
  7. ^ Pictorial Korea. Korean Overseas Culture and Information Service. 2003. p. 31.
  8. ^ Yŏng-il Yi (1988). Hanʾguk Yŏnghwa Chujosa. Motion Picture Promotion Corporation. p. 175.
  9. ^ Choi, San; Park, Seung-Chul (2019). "A study on anlysis of modeling from the short story 'When Buckwheat Flowers Bloom' of Lee Hyoseok". Journal of Digital Convergence. 17 (8): 373–378. doi:10.14400/JDC.2019.17.8.373. ISSN 2713-6434.

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