Atomix 2021 Menu Card Story

The four images created for this season's menu cards were inspired by South Korean flag intermixed with Korean folklore. The Korean flag, Taegukgi, has three parts: a white background, a red and blue circle in the center, and four trigrams on each corner. These four trigrams called geon, gon, ri, gam each represent four distinctly beautiful seasons in Korea as well as four natural elements; heaven, earth, fire, and water.

The history of Korean folktales goes back to several thousand years. Most of these stories were passed down orally through generations and remain deeply embedded in the arts and culture. And among these wondrous stories, the four tales chosen to be included in the series are as follows: Sister Sun and Brother Moon, The Fox Sister, The Story of Janghwa and Hongryeon, and The Story of Shimcheong.

The first image was inspired by spring, heaven, and Sister Sun and Brother Moon

Once upon a time, there was a single mother, raising a daughter and son. One day, returning home from work, she was devoured by a tiger. Disguising himself with the mother’s clothes and headwrap, the tiger went to the home where the mother’s children were waiting and asked them to open the door. The brother and sister quickly realized that it’s a tiger and ran out through the back door and climbed up a tree. The tiger immediately followed after them. The brother and sister prayed to the heavens, upon which a metal chain was sent down for them and they climbed up. The tiger also tried to come after them on a crumbling straw rope, but the rope broke which then killed the tiger. Feeling compassion for the poor children, the heavens appointed the sister as the sun and the brother as the moon.

The Second image was inspired by summer, earth, and The Fox Sister

There once was a family that longed to have a daughter. They earnestly prayed to god and miraculously gave birth to a girl. As the daughter grew up, however, the cattle in the village died one after another. Thinking it strange, the parents asked the sons to find out the reason. One night, the youngest son in the family saw her sister turning into a fox and eating the liver of a cow and reported back to his parents. In disbelief, the family rejected this information and expelled the son from the village. The son wondered around village after village and finally settled down to marry a woman. When he told his wife the story of his family, she advised him to go save his family, handing him three magic bottles. When he revisited his hometown, the village had not trace of humans except for his sister who alone ate up all the cattle and his family. Running away from his fox sister, he threw the three bottles at her; the first bottle made a great big river appear; the second made spiny thornbush; and the last one created blazing fire which ultimately burned and killed the fox sister.

The third image was inspired by autumn, fire and  The Story of Janghwa and Hongryeon

Once upon a time, a couple gave birth to two beautiful daughters, Janghwa and Hongryeon. At a very young age, however, their mother died from illness and their father remarried a woman who seemed kind at first but showed her true colors after she gave birth to her sons. Full of spite, the vicious and evil stepmother ordered her son to murder the older sister, Janghwa. Agonizing the death of her sister, Hongryeon later followed her sister, unable to bare her stepmother’s abuse and cruelty. After their deaths, the village was haunted by the lingering souls of the two sisters as they murdered the mayors of the town one after another. One day, a newly appointed young mayor bravely decided to meet the ghosts and listened to their story. Realizing the reason behind their deaths, he successfully avenged the sisters and their souls finally rested in peace.

The fourth image was inspired by winter, water and The Story of Shimcheong

There once was a blind single father who raised a beautiful daughter named Shimcheong. In the year Shimcheong turned 13, he went out by himself and got into trouble, whereupon a Buddhist monk rescued him and told him that he will regain his eyesight if he gave 300 sacks of rice as an offering to Buddha. He promised the offering to the monk and returned home. Shimcheong later found out about her father’s promise and volunteered to become a sacrifice in return for 300 sacks of rice. When Shimcheong threw herself into thee sea of Indangsu, she got summoned by the Dragon King and got resurrected in a lotus flower, becoming an empress. The king hosted a feast to celebrate Shimcheong’s inauguration where she reunited with her father. Overjoyed at the reunion with his daughter, the father regained his eyesight.

© 2023 Dani Choi. All rights reserved.