This is a story about kokdu, a gift for the dead whom we loved.
- Book Intro
Where do people go when they die? In the old days, people had many ideas about the afterlife. Ancient Egyptians believed that the dead become stars, and ancient Japanese people believed that they become gods and stay with us always. So what about Koreans?
Koreans believed that people enter the next world after their lives end in this world. However, Koreans thought that the journey to the next world would be a long and tough one, which is the reason their ancestors made kokdu, so that their loved ones have their company while they take the journey into the next world. A kokdu is a wooden figure that is usually hung on a bier and is believed to be the guardian spirit that ushers the dead into the next world and serves them there. It has the shape of a person, but when you look closely into it, each has a different appearance. Why is that?
A kokdu is a wooden figure that can accompany a loved one so that they do not feel lonely, frustrated, or frightened. Each has their own roles for the dead: some of them play the role of guidance, some are for protection, some serve, and some entertain. Kokdu shows how the ancestors felt about others and how they acted toward one another.
A Long, Final Journey with the Kokdu is a picture book that features kokdu, a Korean tradition. Readers can learn about the meaning and roles of kokdu through a journey to the next world that is neither scary nor sad with a grandmother and a kokdu. Readers can also gain a better understanding of the thoughts and culture of ancestors behind death.
- About the Author
Lee Yun-min is a mother of three children and a writer who loves picture books. She has written and illustrated books including A Long Final Journey with the Kkokdu and Books Live in the House: The History of Books. Books illustrated by Lee Yun-min include Mythology: House-Keeping Gods and Shin Saim-dang Loved Flowers and Butterflies.