Monthly Archives: July 2010

Dong Yi, court lady sang-gung

So if all goes well, Dong Yi will soon move up the ranks to become a concubine.

Dong Yi, MBC

At the moment she is a court lady, sang-gung, rank 5, (top rank for a court lady but below the concubines). But of course she is different to the other sang-gung. First of all, she’s different because she hasn’t worked her way up the ranks like the other court ladies have had to do. Dong Yi has gone from no rank to sang-gung thanks to her relationship with the king and so her title is not just sang-gung but sung-un sang-gung 승은 상궁 承恩尙宮. This is a special title for sang-gung who are intimate with the king and are likely to move up to concubine status. Jang Hee bin (currently the queen) was this level at the beginning of the drama and we saw her ceremony when she became a concubine, hu-gung 후궁 後宮, rank 4 Sook-won.

Lady Jang becomes concubine Jang Sook-won, episode 17, Dong Yi, MBC source

Because of this special status, the sung-ung sang-gung doesn’t have to work  like the other sang-gung do. The regular sang-gung have jobs to do around the palace – in the drama we see sang-gung leading the court lady investigation bureau. It seems that all that the sung-un sang-gung has to do is look nice and wait for the king!


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Searching for original portraits of King Sukjong

This post was inspired by a question I was asked about where we can find portraits of King Sukjong and Dong Yi. I began a search, although I was not too hopeful as I had heard that a lot of Joseon royal portraits were damaged during wars and natural disasters over the years. I didn’t find anything on King Sukjong but I did find a portrait of Choi Dong Yi’s son, King Yeongjo, (see further below) along with several other kings. In this post I’ll take a quick look at the process of portrait painting in the Joseon court and the reasons for portrait painting and which royal portraits are still around.

King drinking coffee. OK so I couldn’t find an original portrait of King Sukjong but here’s a more contemporary image. Source: MBC Dong Yi blog

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Pok-nal is here

It’s the first day of pok-nal today in Korea and it’s traditional to eat samgetang, chicken and ginseng soup.

samgetang, chicken and ginseng soup.

There’s a whole chicken in the soup with ginseng and glutinous rice, jujube fruit, garlic, ginger, and lots of leek. It has a mild flavour and comes with a small bowl of salt to dip pieces of chicken in.

So what’s pok-nal?

The hottest part of the summer in Korea is considered to be around mid July to the beginning of August. The first day of this hot season is called cho-bok (초복)  and it’s today, July 19th. The temperature in Seoul at the moment is 86ºF (30ºC) so not too bad, but hot enough. The middle of the hot season is chung-bok (중복) on July 29th and the end is called mal-bok (말복) on August 8th. Because it’s hot in the summer people can feel sluggish and low on energy so as this dish is full of good things, it’s supposed to make us healthy and strong during this period.

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Dong Yi Actor Quits Drama

Choi Chol-ho as Oh Yoon in Dong Yi, MBC

Dong Yi actor, Choi Chul-ho (40) who plays Oh Yoon, (the nephew of the leader of the southern faction Oh Tae Suk)  held a press conference on the 11th and voluntarily quit the drama in response to public criticism over an incident he was involved in one evening last week. Continue reading

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Who is Watching Dong Yi?

According to this article about the viewer ratings of Dong Yi in Korea, there was a lot of interest in Dong Yi when it first aired because it is directed by Lee Byung hoon who as we know also directed the hit palace kitchen drama Dae Jang Geum, (Jewel in the Palace). However, although Dong Yi has a loyal following, it has not been able to keep the interest of many other viewers. So why is this?

It seems that due to the leisurely pace of the plot and lack of thorough historical research the drama has not been able to keep the interest of middle aged men and younger viewers in their 20s. According to TNS Media Research, the drama is mainly watched by female viewers in their 30s and 40s. Followed by ladies in their 50s and 60s and then men in their 40s.

Seo Jang geum (Lee Young-ae) with her cooking teacher Han Baek young (Yang Mi kyung) in the 2003 MBC drama Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace)

Dae Jang Geum also had a female lead and was popular with women in the same age group as Dong Yi viewers. However Continue reading

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Dong Yi Star Han Hyo-joo gets presents from fans

I read that Dong Yi heroine Han Hyo-joo has been getting lots of gifts from her fans and that last weekend she put some pictures up on her gallery on along with a thank you note. Due to all night filming fans have been worried about her health so have sent health presents including red ginseng, mosquito repellent, pain relief packs and snacks. On her gallery page she writes that two large boxes of presents arrived for her and that she was touched by the fans’ concern. She also says that she will take lots of ginseng to try and get rid of the dark circles under her eyes! And ends by encouraging everyone to take care in the summer heat and promises to do her best for the rest of the filming and for us to look forward to Dong Yi becoming Suk Bin soon.

The pictures in the gallery show her trying the health drinks. There’s also a picture of a birthday cake given to her by fans on her birthday, February 22. The figures on the cake are all characters that she has played in various dramas.

Visitors to the gallery have had a chance to respond to the pictures. There has been some criticism too. One comment is that the photographs are sloppy and not taken with care. Another wonders if the pictures are an advert for red ginseng. Positive comments remark on her kindness and thoughtfulness for responding to the fans and that other young celebrities don’t put photos up like this to show their gratitude to their fans. (My initial reaction to the photos was that it was refreshing to see natural pictures that were not staged.)

Han Hyo-joo writes that she uses all the presents sent her with the greatest of care. The ginseng she was given for her dark circles (다크서클) she uses every day during filming and she feels gratitude every time she uses any of the gifts.

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