OWL Magazine Korea

Central High School in Bukchon Village, Seoul

Central High School is a self-governing private boys’ high school located at the end of Gye-dong-gil in Bukchon Village. It was founded on June 20, 1908, and received accreditation as a self-governing private high school on July 14, 2009.

With its establishment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it holds a rich history and tradition. It is a privately-funded institution founded with contributions from patriots and citizens from all over the country during the late Joseon period.

“A Proud History of Planning and Leading the March 1st Movement”

Central High School, in line with its history and tradition, played a significant role in planning pivotal events in Korean history. It was a place deeply connected to the planning and execution of the March 1st Movement, and a memorial hall for the March 1st Movement can be found within the school grounds.

The March 1st Memorial Hall was originally the faculty lounge where leaders of the March 1st Movement gathered for meetings. It was originally located right in front of the auditorium entrance, but was relocated to its current position after the construction of the auditorium.

“Founding Movement for Private Universities, March 1st Movement, and Pro-Japanese Collaborators”

Central High School was established as a result of the movement for the founding of private universities. It is fitting that it was also the birthplace of the March 1st Movement. However, one downside is that the founder, Kim Sung-soo, was posthumously awarded the Order of Merit for National Foundation in 1962 for his contributions to the independence and skill development movements during the Japanese colonial period. Yet, the Committee for Investigating Pro-Japanese Collaborators’ Misdeeds recognized his pro-Japanese activities towards the end of the Japanese colonial era, leading to the revocation of his honors by the government in 2018.

While he was an independence activist during the period of Japanese rule, he later deviated, cooperating with the Syngman Rhee regime after liberation. His later actions were marked by a complex trajectory of involvement in anti-authoritarian movements.

This tainted Kim Sung-soo’s legacy with accusations of pro-Japanese collaboration. His statue on the school grounds serves as a poignant reminder of this complex figure who embodies both nationalist activism and pro-Japanese collaboration.

“Similar Atmosphere to Korea University”

The buildings of Central High School bear a striking resemblance to those of Korea University. This may be attributed to the fact that both institutions were established by the same individual, Kim Sung-soo, who was a founder of both.

“A Setting for Various Movies and Dramas”

Central High School has served as a backdrop for a variety of movies and dramas. It is particularly well-known as the filming location for “Winter Sonata,” which played a pivotal role in initiating the Korean Wave.

Thanks to this, even now, you can find memorabilia related to Bae Yong-joon, who played Yonsama in the series, being sold at a small stationery store in front of Central High School. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a steady influx of Japanese tourists.

Additionally, various works such as music videos for “Back in Time,” “Cheese in the Trap,” “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (Goblin),” and more have been filmed here.

  • Winter Sonata
  • Back in Time Music Video
  • Cheese in the Trap
  • Goblin: Central High School is featured as the school attended by the main character played by Kim Go-eun.
  • A-Teen: Central High School is featured as the school attended by the main characters during their middle school years.
  • Mal-Moi: Central High School is featured as the school attended by Kim Deok-jin, the son of Kim Pan-su.
  • Love Alarm (Drama): The majority of indoor scenes are filmed at Central High School.
  • True Beauty (Drama): The school attended by the main characters is featured here.
  • Along with the Gods: Central High School is featured as the school attended by Choi Woo-sik and Kim Hyang-gi’s characters during their school days.
  • My ID is Gangnam Beauty (Drama)
  • Anaerobic Teacher Ahn Eun-young (Drama)
  • Navillera (Drama)
  • Under Armour Ad (2022)
  • MLB Kids Ad (2022)
  • Samsung Galaxy Book Ad (2023)
  • Third Person Revenge (2023)
  • 19/20 (Drama): Scheduled to be released on Netflix in 2023.

With its long history, Central High School has been a starting point for events that left their mark on Korean history. As the epicenter of Hallyu content starting with Winter Sonata, it stands at the picturesque end of Gye-dong-gil, adding to the charm of the street.

“Seoul Bukchon Village, Central High School at the End of Gye-dong-gil”