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.
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.
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.
It’s been more than three years since the first post about hanbok was posted on this blog. Time does fly very fast nowadays, huh? After doing the introductory post, I also made several short posts focusing on the court attires and ornaments used during Joseon Dynasty. In fact, this was supposed to be the the third installment to the Joseon’s Court Attire posts, but I decided to change it into the second part of the main post, that was the Traditional Korean Clothing: Kdrama Style. Thanks to the world wide web and the never ending interest in hanbok, I have found more details about traditional Korean clothing and I feel that it should be shared with fellow enthusiasts about hanbok, especially those featured in the dramas. I still love to spot the ornaments and the attires worn by the cast, so for those who are in the same boat as me, this detailed post focusing on the court attires might be for you!
We are familiar with the men of the Joseon Dynasty, especially the kings and the famous figures since their names were recorded in the Annals of Joseon Dynasty, but for the women during that era, not many facts were known about them. I think it’s good to introduce some facts about the women of Joseon Dynasty, especially their ranks and their roles in the society. The women lived according to their spouses’ ranks and in some circumstances, their social statuses also depended on their line of job, such as court ladies and entertainers. I have written two posts; one about the general settings of Social Strata in Joseon Dynasty and another one about Royal Titles and Styles in Joseon Dynasty. These two posts might give you a good introduction before you continue to read this post. But there’s no pressure, if you want to know about the women first, then let’s get dizzy together with this one~
I can’t resist myself from writing another post about the hanbok worn inside the court during Joseon Dynasty, simply because of the awesome hanbok galore in Jang Ok Jung: Live in Love and Cruel Palace: War of the Flowers. Both sageuk portray the ladies as the main focus of their plots and just like the women nowadays, the female characters cannot live without the beautiful clothes and accessories. But it doesn’t mean that the male characters are left behind; they also have their own share of gorgeous hanbok shown in the dramas.
I’m sure most of kdrama lovers are somehow familiar with the period dramas, or sageuk. In the sageuk, there will be characters based on the people who were part of the royal family of Joseon Dynasty. Various terms, such as jusang jeonha (주상 전하), are used to address these characters according to their ranks. Some of them are commonly heard in the dramas while others are just being mentioned once in a while.
Joseon Dynasty was known as a dynasty with a rigid social system, not to mention that the lives of the people greatly depended on their statuses and ranks. The royal family of Joseon Dynasty or Jeonju Yi Family was at the top of the hierarchy, but the ranks also existed among the royal family members as well.