“Kugok” in Korea means a kind of traditional landscape, located along a river, that is composed of nine beautiful spots with given names. Generally, it starts from the first spot downstream and ends up at the ninth spot upstream. Since the C16th during the Yi Dynasty, Neo-Confucianism scholars retreated to valleys in the mountains to study and teach their disciples. There, they often selected nine beautiful spots as Kugok and enjoyed their views, painted their scenery, and wrote poetry about them. So far, about 90 places in Korea have been recognized as Kugok.
The concept of Kugok comes from a great Chinese Confucianism scholar, Zhu Xi (1130~1200), who settled down in Wuyi Valley and composed the poems known as “the Wuyi－Boat Songs” which described nine beautiful spots there: “Wuyi-Kugok”. The Neo-Confucianists in the Yi Dynasty who longed for a life like Zhu Xi, set up their own Kugoks following the example of Wuyi-Kugok. No Kugok place following Wuyi-Kugok has been recognized in China as yet.
A great Korean Confucianism scholar, Yi Yulgok (1536~1584), who dwelled with his disciples in Kosan Valley, set up “Kosan-Kugok” and composed the poems known as “Kosan-Kugokka” (the Songs of Kosan-Kugok ) in the traditional Korean style of poetry.
The aim of this paper is:
(I) to geographically clarify the nine Kugok spots in the locationof Kosan- Kugok and
(II) to show how Yulgok conceived the landscape of Kosan- Kugok in connection with his way of living.
(I) So far there seems to be no studies that have clarified Kosan-Kugok's geographical location. This is probably because it is located in North Korea and no useful map seems to have been found.
This 2nd section ascertained Kosan-Kugok's location by means of a map made by the Japanese government during the period of Japanese rule in Korea in 1913.
(II) By analyzing Kosan-Kugokka, this paper showed Yulgok’s conception of the landscape of Kosan-Kugok in two phases: (1)time and (2)space.
(1) With the exception of the 5th spot poem, it is known that each spot poem of Kosan-Kugokka represented time : the time of day (morning, afternoon, sunset and night) and the four seasons. The 3rd section showed that the 5th spot poem implicitly represented eternity. This was by means of the paradigmatic comparison to the Wuyi-Boat Songs.
Yulgok saw the circulation of the eternally repetitive time and seasons in the landscape of Kosan-Kugok. In addition, as another aspect of time, the same section showed that Yulgok intended to go back to the past, longing for the Confucian preceptors. It is the most outstanding characteristic of the Yi Dynasty Kugok that differs from Wuyi-Kugok.
(2) Concerning the concept of space, the 4th section showed that Yulgok's intensions, as represented on the downstream side, were not to live in seclusion but open to the society. On the other hand, his intensions, as represented on the upstream side, were going toward the spring (which meansthe origin of nature).
At the same time, he could enjoy the origin of nature at each spot of Kugok along the river.
Thus we knew that Yulgok conceived the landscape of Kosan-Kugok corresponding closely to his way of living. He did not see the various landscapes objectively with a focus on distance, but saw them unified with his intentions and emotions in the deep layer of his experience.