This might have been circulating in media for few days already, but I only found out about it earlier yesterday! That is how out of touch I am with kdramaland these days >.< KBS is gathering the lineup for its first primetime sageuk this year, entitled Seven-Day Queen (7일의 왕비) and word is out that the main cast has already confirmed to star in the romance sageuk. The title is what makes me super excited at first, because there is no other queen in Joseon Dynasty other than Queen Dankyung who fits the title, plus the cast is already promising!
Marriage can be regarded as one of the most important events in our lives. It is not simply the union of two people but actually symbolizes the union of the two families of the bride and groom. Thus, the wedding that is the beginning of the holy matrimony is treated with respect and care across all cultures through the ages of human civilization. The practice of traditional marriage rituals and customs still continue to this day despite the tendency for younger couples to opt for modern wedding ceremonies. This time, I will try my best to highlight the traditional wedding ceremony of Korea, focusing on Joseon’s Confucian practice with regard to the ceremony and the marriage institution as well.
It’s official: I’m under the spell of Mirror of the Witch and I don’t think I can escape easily now that I am this deep into the drama. How did I know? Well, you know you are just infatuated with a show when you can’t stop thinking about it on the day it airs and you are literally staring at the clock waiting for the show to be out, then waiting for both episodes to be available. Forget about subs, because I can’t wait anymore.
Living up to its tagline ‘Joseon youth fairy tale’, Mirror of the Witch leaves people in awe of its first outing this week, despite the strong competition it had in Dear My Friends, tvn’s rival drama on the same time slot. I try not to set my anticipation too high in case it falters halfway into the story, but at least the pilot left a deep impression on me. As a scaredy cat myself (who can’t even watch any horror movies/dramas with ghosts alone), I can attest that the first two episodes are dark and eerie but with a sad, beautiful undertone in the shots.
Titles and ranks are big issues, be it in the modern or ancient setting. The ranks for the royal members of Joseon Dynasty often make me confused, so I figured out that I have to put them in one place for easy reference. This is just a short list of the ranks and titles for the immediate family members of the King, and there might be more (read: complicated) terms for the extended family and relatives of the royal house. This is what I have found so far, and hopefully you will find it useful 😉
If there’s a running theme for this year’s historical Kdramas, it should be the continuous appearance of unfortunate and ill-fated princes of Joseon. So far, we had Crown Prince Sohyeon (1612-1645) in Three Musketeers, Crown Prince Sado (1735-1762) in Secret Door and another addition to the club: Gwanghaegun (1575-1641) in the recently premiered King’s Face. If tales about the fighting consorts of the kings and the drama in the harem were once popular among the viewers, stories about these unfortunate princes who faced difficulties during their days serving as the nation’s heir to the throne are gaining popularity among the youth viewers nowadays. Although the dramas are made with several tweaks here and there for the sake of dramatization, the history behind these princes is still worth reading, for those who are curious about the real historical figures.
This is the last part of the history bits column (?) about Secret Door on this blog, so I hope that these lacking translations can give rough ideas on the history behind the leading figures featured in the drama. There’s another one article related to Sado’s effort to conduct a reform on the state examination and I will translate that one when I have the time to do so. For now, enjoy this post!
The history bits delve into the weekly issues presented in the drama and with Secret Door already at its halfway mark, things could only go awry and worse for Yeongjo and Yi Sun. As much as I am dreading the ending, these little things about the historical background of the characters distract me a bit from the impending heartbreak. History presents its complicated points and the endless possibility of interpretations in these articles, so I hope that this will be an eye-opener for us, learning about other’s interpretation of the history. After all…
There is not just one truth out there. Everyone involved carries their own form of the truth.
Women lived their lives being excluded from the outer realms readily available to their male counterpart during Joseon Dynasty. Their existence was recorded in the history with respect to their natal families or their husbands, and the records were mostly focused on the royal ladies and noble women. This was mainly due to the historians at that time being closely related to the upper class and they had little to no interaction with the lower class citizens. Although they were not as rich as the aristocrats, commoners and the humble births were the main contributors to Joseon’s economy as they were larger in number compared to the yangban. Women of the lower class in Joseon also played important parts in shaping the dynasty to become the Joseon we know today.
I chanced upon several articles discussing the history behind Secret Door, and thought that the mix of history and the author’s view on the current politics in South Korea are worth the time spent to read them. I realize that the author, Kim Jung-sung, also wrote a series of articles (one of them can be found here) in response to the historical drama airing in 2011, Tree with Deep Roots. One thing that I like about historical dramas is that they have the power to generate the public’s interest in the history used as the settings. As a foreigner, this is an opportunity for me to gain more insights regarding the fascinating history of South Korea.