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[Eye Plus] Tracing footsteps of beloved author Kim Yu-jeong

After an hour and 20 minutes’ ride on a train from Cheongnyangni bound for Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, you reach a small station named after a 20th-century novelist beloved by many Koreans: Kim Yu-jeong.

Originally called Sinnam Station, it was renamed in 2004, as part of a local project to commemorate the author, who hailed from a rural village called Sile, just a few minutes’ walk from the station. 

Surrounded by Geumbyeongsan, the town has preserved his birth house and a memorial hall, where visitors can learn more about the author who left a deep imprint on Korean literature. The facilities constitute the Gim Youjeong Literature Village.

The author’s name in English varies a lot, and the station is called Gimyujeong. 

The town is immortalized in 12 of Kim’s works, including his seminal novels like “Spring, Spring (1935),” and “The Camellias (1936).” He left behind about 30 novels -- mostly short stories -- before his premature death at the age of 29 in 1937.

In Sile, there still stand the night school that Kim built, as well as a zelkova tree that he planted, which is now a full-grown tall tree.

Nearby, an old station building, referred to as the old Gimyujeong Station by many, greets visitors, decorated in the same theme. 

Two railway carriages of the now-retired diesel-engine Mugunghwa train stand on old railroads. One of them has been turned into a book cafe.

Both the old station and the literature village are closed on Mondays. A docent tour is provided seven times a day.

Photographed by Park Hyun-koo

Written by Shim Woo-hyun