A Record of Presidential Life: Kyu-hah Choi’s House
With the emergence of a new military faction at the same time as the death of the Yushin regime on December 12, 1979, the turbulent circumstances of this era led Kyu-hah Choi, the tenth president of the Republic of Korea, to become the president who spent the shortest time in office. Kyu-hah Choi’s House (located in Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu) was renovated and opened to the public as part of the effort to renovate government-related historical relics, including Gyeonggyojang (residence of Kim Gu) and the residence of Jang Myeon. It was here that Choi lived in seclusion after stepping down from the presidency until his death, during which time he led a frugal lifestyle free of corruption. The house consists of three floors (one basement floor and two aboveground floors) and was built in the 1970s as part of the movement to build “new style” homes. Construction began in 1972, when former president Choi was serving in the government, and he lived in the residence for the next 30 years. After serving as a talented diplomat who prepared the foundations for Korean diplomacy and worked hard to overcome the global oil crisis by securing crude oil, Choi rose to the presidency after serving as prime minister. During his term, Choi and his wife lived a quiet, frugal life. During the oil crisis, after returning from an inspection of the coal mines in Gangwon-do, Choi famously declared to the miners that he would use charcoal briquettes for the rest of his life.