Jung Soon-cheol

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Jung Soon-cheol

Jung Soon-cheol (1901~195?)

As a grandson of Choi Si-hyung, a leader of Donghak, Jeong Soon-cheol was born in Gyopyung-li, Cheongsan-myeon, Okcheon-gun.

Jeong Soon-cheol (1901 ∼ ) Jeong Soon-cheol who composed a national children's song, 'chakchakkoong (clapping hands)', was regarded as Korea's representative composer of 1920s along with Yun Geuk-young of 'Bandal (half moon)', Park Tae-jun of 'Opahsenggak (think of my brother)', and Hong Nan-pa of 'Bongsunhwa (balsam)'. As a grandson of Choi Si-hyung, a leader of Donghak, Jeong Soon-cheol was born in Gyopyung-li, Cheongsan-myeon, Okcheon-gun. He established Saekdonghoe with Bang Jeong-hwan and Jeong Byung-ki. In 1929, he published a children's song book called, 'Galnippeeri' and it included a song 'Uriagihaengjingok (our child's marching song)' which was widely sang across ages. Composed after the liberation from Japan, 'Jolupsiknorae (graduation song)' also became a famous song in the country.

In 1930s, Jeong Soon-cheol, along with Jeong In-sup and Lee Hun-gu, established a children song association called Nokyanghoe and published 'Saekdongjuhgori', 'Baeksulhoe', 'Emilejong', and 'Huhsuabi'.

Jeong Soon-cheol, regarded as a pioneer of children's song, especially stayed close with Bang Jeong-hwan and lead early Children Movement. However, his kidnap to North Korea during June 25th Korean War made his achievements to nothing.

The birthplace of his first ancestor is Yeonil. The name he used in childhood is Boondap and other given name is Sungchoon. He went to elementary school in Cheongsan but quit and ran off to seoul by himself on a train. With the help of Sohn Byoun-hee, 3rd leader of Donghak, he entered Bosung Middle school and joined Chondoist Youth Party, established by Kim Ki-jeon and Bang Jeong-hwan.

Chondoist Youth Party published a journal called 'Gaebyuk' and actively lead the feminist movement, farmers movement, and physical movement in order to enlighten the public. Its subordinate party published a journal called, 'Children' on March, 1923 to initiate Youth Enlightenment Movement. This movement was the first youth movement to protect children's right in the country.

Jeong Soon-chul and Bang Jeong-hwan established a children movement association called "Saekdonghoe" when they were in school together in 1923. "Saekdonghoe" was officially established on March 16, 1923 and with Bang Jeong-hwan leading, Jeong Soon-cheol, Yun Geuk-young and Ma Hae-song joined on May 1. Since then, May 1 has been set aside as "Children's Day". Jeong Soon-cheol spent time with Yun Geuk-young in Japan and attended the Tokyo University of Music together.

Jeong published children's songs through a journal called, "Children" and worked actively to spread his work. Even after his study at Tokyo, he operated various children's movements from Chondoist Daegyodang in gyoungun-dong, Seoul. His first composed album, 'Galnippiri', has songs like 'Chakchakkoong' 'Kachiya' 'Summer Rain' 'Leaf Boat' and 'Galnippiri'. The songs which can be attributed to him with certainty up to the present time number a total of 36, and they include 'Brother Star(1923)' 'Cradle Song' and 'Graduation Song'. Also adding 'Sigolbam' 'Baby Star' and 'Uggaedongmu', which are songs published in '100 Josun Children's Songs(1946)', increases that number to approximately 40.

Jeong held office in Gyoungsung School from 1931 to 1934 and for his second musical study, went to Tokyo from 1939 to 1941. In 1948, he held office in Seoul Sungshin Women's High School and was called 'Beethoven of Korea'. At that period, 6.25 Korean War began and on September 28th, he was kidnapped by retreating North Korean People's Army when he was keeping a watch of the school by himself. His family honors the memory of him on September 29th and holds a memorial service. He is regarded as an important composer even in North Korea.