To us, what are stories?
- Waiting for the first international storytelling event in 2018
This year in October, the International Storytelling Festival will finally take its first steps in Korea. It is an event where storytellers from around the world demonstrate their talents, and people listen to the stories and enjoy them. Stories are the main focus in this festival.
Looking at other international storytelling festivals in the US or Canada, I was very envious. In many European towns, it was really good to see stories spread out daily in places like small squares on holidays. Korea can do the same. Our story culture tradition is as rich and vibrant as other countries’.
When we ask what stories are in our lives, we answer that they are like the trees in a field in one’s mind. Life without stories is as desolate as a field with no trees, and life with good stories is beautiful and abundant, like a forest full of trees and fresh grass. Beautiful flowers and appetizing fruit, clear water and birds singing... That life is full of vitality.
Among stories, folk stories are truly precious. Many myths, legends, and folk tales in the world are stories that flow naturally from life, and they are 'real stories' that have been proven throughout history. When you recite and listen to old stories, you will feel and understand the hidden truths of humanity and the world while they freely cross the wide imaginary world.
Our society has been ignoring these precious stories for a long time. Since the modern era, with the emphasis on rational thinking and material value, the viewing of old stories as fictional, futile and worthless has spread. There was even a saying, "If you like stories, you will become poor!" The desperate survival experience of the Japanese colonial period and the Korean War era also seemed to have removed stories from people’s minds. Anyway, after spending a long time avoiding stories, we can hardly see people telling and listening to old stories in daily life.
Now is the time to start telling stories again. In addition to all kinds of experiences and stories about the world, we have to publish imaginary stories. As you know, the age of imagination has already begun. The beginning of that imaginative culture is in our everyday lives, and its subjects are stories. Talking about old stories to other people is a bit awkward, but you'll soon find out how fun and precious it is. People are happy when they talk and listen.
If you think that all countries are the same, it’s a mistake. Depending on the country, a lot of storytellers are actively involved in the development of a unique story repertoire. There are also many professional storytellers. In the world's leading storytelling festival, dozens of professional storytellers and huge audiences come together for a few days to immerse themselves in the story world. It is a very comfortable and happy festival story. Listening is really fun!
In this autumn's international storytelling event in Korea, influential storytellers from all over the world will gather together to celebrate special stories. In Seoul and Chuncheon, there will be new stages to tell stories that never existed before. It will be very new and amazing. Listening to storytellers is an opportunity to see who storytellers are and what stories are presented in front of you. By participating in the event, I believe that anyone will open his or her eyes to the true value of speaking and listening.
There are 'talents' in the minds of Koreans and there are many 'joys'. I think all that was revived by the K-pop that shook the world. They are not just songs. I believe that there is a strong 'story gene' in the minds of Koreans, more than in people from other nations. Korea's drama culture, is it not equal to other countries’? I think it is a matter of time before the story gene survives as a storytelling culture. One meaningful occasion is necessary. It would be great if this International Storytelling Festival event would be a powerful occasion. K-STORY love to make our lives rich and happy, is it not worth raising this once?
There is one prerequisite for story culture to survive. It is not enough with only storytellers to tell stories well. It is essential that there are people who open their minds and listen happily. No matter how interesting the story is, if people close their minds and close their ears, how can they be able to do it? The feelings of the people who listen are more important than the person who speaks. One good listener is said to create two story tellers.
Listening. It is not hard nor does it require money, right? It is not just fun itself, but it can allow people to feel and learn a lot. It is a unique opportunity for storytellers from around the world to visit and tell a special story. I hope you will come and be willing to join me. You can make a historical inflection point that changes the flow of culture in Korea. The beginning of K-STORY. Come and become the main character!
Chairman of the Korean Association of Korean Literature