This article examines the transmission and dissemination of the 16 pieces of “Hunminga (訓民歌),” a stanzaic sijo (three-line verse) written by Jeong Cheol (鄭澈) whose pen-name is Songgang (松江). The results show that the 10 pieces were mainly transmitted in anthologies and were not widely popular in performance spaces until the 20th century when they started to be transmitted and disseminated again. Considering that the majority of the remaining 6 pieces were well represented in various collections, it can be said that transmission and dissemination were made effectively in performance spaces. In particular, the fact that a single siJo text was transmitted in many collections implies that it underwent transformations and was sung as different works by those who newly enjoyed and appreciated them, highlighting the significance of such transmission and dissemination.
“Hunminga (訓民歌)” has been performed on actual performance stages, with changes in lyrics and variations in musical compositions, and it has been transmitted to future generations, while at times the transmission has been interrupted. Furthermore, if Songgang Jeong Cheol wrote “Hunminga (訓民歌)” not simply as a creation but from the perspective of hierarchical theory, the significance of this siJo genre is immense.
When Songgang Jeong Cheol composed “Hunminga (訓民歌),” he did not aim for the hierarchical perspective of oppressive conversion imposed by the state on the people in the Gangwon Province, but rather wished to help the people to undergo self-conversion through singing “Hunminga (訓民歌).” This is why despite being a didactic siJo genre, it continued to be transmitted in later collections as a song. In later records related to “Hunminga (訓民歌),” it is highly valued to the extent that it is consistently recited to rural children and their mothers, even to the point of teaching the essence of righteousness. Considering that anyone could easily sing and understand the genre of poetry when understanding it as a song, it becomes evident why Jeong Cheol chose the genre of siJo composition for “Hunminga (訓民歌),” given the propagating power of songs. If it were simply written from a hierarchical perspective in a top-down style, it would have been easier for Jeong Cheol to issue instructions to the people for conversion rather than composing “Hunminga (訓民歌).” Nevertheless, he must have considered that using the genre of poetry and allowing the people to realize something on their own would lead to their self-conversion. Therefore, even later literati believed that by continuing to recite it to "women, children, and everyone," they would undergo self-conversion.
Through this article, I hope that new and more valuable research on “Hunminga (訓民歌)” will be made.