The New Tales of Gisaeng News: Lim Soo-hyang

Source: Star Today

Lim Soo-hyang who plays Dan Sa Ran in The New Tales of Gisaeng appeared on an SBS entertainment show on the 16th June and she brought her high school graduation album with her!  Apparently there have been rumours that she is quite a bit older than she claims to be. She is (Korean age) 22 and graduated from high school in 2009 but it seems some netizens have suggested that she is more like 29!  Some have commented on internet forums things like “there’s no way she’s younger than me.”

So to clear up the issue she revealed her high school pictures in the interview. She says that in the graduation photo she is actually wearing a wig so the hairstyle is a bit weird. (wow I would never have thought of wearing a wig for a school photo! Actually I’ve never worn a wig, but I’m starting to think about it now…) The comment on the bottom of the group picture (above) 포즈도 조숙한 ~ ( pose do cho-suk han ~) means that she looks more grown up than her friends in the picture. (cho-suk ha da = precocious / early maturity).Lim Soo-hyang also added that this is her first appearance in a drama and she got the role by auditioning – not through the back door with connections.

I suppose she does look more grown up than the others in the picture but I hadn’t really thought about her age while I was watching the drama.. I wonder if this will now clear up the rumours.

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All About Eve episode 3

In this episode Sun Mi meets Hyung Chul in the UK and Young Mi decides that she needs a job that pays more money than the usual hourly wage, so she goes to work as a hostess in a karaoke bar.

Sun Mi arrives in the UK. She has to go to the college office to sort some things out for her course but she can’t make herself understood. Hyung Chul happens to be in the office too and notices that she is Korean. But he doesn’t say anything to her. Then she goes off to join her very weird 60’s style English class! Afterwards on the bus on the way home she is thinking about Woo Jin and Young Mi. She is not concentrating and so when she gets off the bus she starts crossing the road on a red light and ends up getting hit by a car. Hyung Chul happens to be driving the car and is shocked that he has hit someone. Meanwhile Young Mi and Woo Jin and family are enjoying themselves and eating in a restaurant. They have just helped Young Mi move into a flat. But Woo Jin’s mum is still suspicious of Young Mi. She knows she’s trouble.

All About Eve 2000 MBC Episode 3

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All About Eve episode 2

In episode two of All About Eve Young Mi starts to dig her claws into Woo Jin, and Sun Mi is not amused, especially since she goes to the UK to study and has to leave Young Mi alone with Woo Jin..

Sun Mi and Young Mi All About Eve 2000, MBC episode 2

Mr. Jin goes to the workshop to see Young Mi. She is grateful for all he has done for her and starts to cry. As he hugs her Mrs. Song walks in and sees them in an embrace. Continue reading

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All About Eve episode 1

All About Eve is still one of my all-time favourite dramas. For classic rivalry this drama is still hard to beat. It was a romantic drama that aired in 2000 on MBC and starred Jang Dong-geon and Chae Rim (Oh My Lady) with Kim So-yeon (Iris, Prosecutor Princess) playing the jealous villain. Two young women from very different backgrounds end up on the same course at the same university. They both want to become newsreaders. One of the girls, Sun Mi, (Chae Rim) is sweet and kind and has led a sheltered and happy life with her father who runs a construction company. She has a good friend Woo Jin (Han Jae-suk) who she has a crush on. Young Mi (Kim So-Yeon) on the other hand has had a hard life growing up in poverty with an alcoholic father. She has had to be tough to survive and envies Sun Mi’s nice life. But from the beginning Young Mi decides that she wants to take away everything that Sun Mi has. The rivalry between the two young women begins.This was the last drama Jang Dong-geon did before concentrating on films. (Too bad!) Here’s a summary of episode 1.

The rivals Sun Mi (Chae Rim) and Young Mi (Kim So-yeon) in the MBC drama All About Eve 2000 Continue reading

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The New Tales of Gisaeng Episode 1

I found episode 1 of the SBS drama The New Tales of Gisaeng quite a mix. The two leads Sa Ran and Da Mo are sullen and serious and have issues with their parents. Sa Ran’s spoilt friend Ra Ra looks like she is capable of creating lots of trouble along with her materialistic aunt. And there is the classic K-drama feature of identity issues and family secrets to be discovered. The episode jumps around filling in the story from three different families plus the gisaeng house. And there are some bizarre humour elements too.

Episode 1 has a quirky start. We see Dan Gong Joo, Sa Ran’s step sister, in pajamas and curlers dancing to funky music in her bedroom in the evening. She looks sullen and seems to be taking her dancing very seriously, twisting her hips and throwing her arms in the air. The scene goes on for quite a long time to the point where I’m wondering why it’s going on for so long! At this point I’m thinking she must be the lead. Then suddenly we see a thief on the roof outside her room with a stocking over his head and he’s staring in at her through the window. It’s dark outside and she’s oblivious to the fact that she’s being watched. Then the stockinged man (still on the roof) starts dancing too! Gong Joo’s friend Son Ja is walking outside and calls her mobile. When she stops dancing to answer the phone she glances out of the window and sees the thief dancing on the roof and their eyes meet. At the same time Son Ja looks up from the street and sees the thief too. The fast paced music stops and Son Ja shouts “thief” into the silence.

There’s a dramatic shift in mood and pace as the modern music changes to slower, sedate traditional Korean music. Now we are in a wealthy home where the dance student Sa Ran is dressed in elaborate hanbok doing a traditional dance in front of her teacher’s friend (Da Mo’s grandmother). Sa Ran performs slowly and gracefully and we can assume she has spent hours perfecting this at her dance school. Da Mo’s grandmother sits on the floor in her hanbok watching Sa Ran with an appreciative gaze. Continue reading

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Who’s Who in The New Tales of Gisaeng

I’ve just had a short K-drama break, but now I’m trying to get up to date with the weekend drama now airing on SBS, New Tales of Gisaeng. The story is about a modern day gisaeng house and this appealed to me – mixing modern life with the traditional gisaeng element. I’ve watched the first ten episodes and so far I’m enjoying this drama. There are some quirky elements to it, but I’m liking the romance that’s building between the two main characters Da Mo and Sa Ran. There are lots of new faces in this drama and at times some of the acting seems a little stiff, and sometimes the humor interludes seem a bit odd to me. But I’ll look more into that later. So far we are learning about the intertwined relationships of the characters so there hasn’t been that much about the lives of the actual gisaengs yet. But I’m guessing there will be more of that to come.

Anyway, here’s an overview of the families involved in the story and a little bit about the plot and characters. Everything revolves around three families and a gisaeng house.

Ah Da Mo is the son of  a rich family. (top left) He begins to date Dan Sa Ran a poor dance student. (top right) But Sa Ran’s friend Ra Ra likes him too. The couple date in secret so what will Ra Ra say? (bottom left) Continue reading

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Another walk to the film location of What Happened in Bali

Last spring, while out for a walk, we stumbled over one of the locations in the SBS 2003 drama What Happened in Bali, starring Ha ji-won, So Ji-sup, and Jo In-sung. The one-room houses that Ha-ji won’s and So ji-sop’s characters lived in are located on a mountain  on the outskirts of an area in Sangdo-dong, Dongjak-gu which is now being developed. There were many other small houses like this in the area and we wondered if they would survive now that a large apartment complex was being built nearby.

2 sides of Seoul – small houses on the mountain with large apartment blocks in the background

Well, we went back and walked the same route recently and sure enough many of the little houses on the mountain had signs on them to show they were going to be demolished.

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Did Dong Yi and King Sukjong really have a long romance?

Did Dong Yi and King Sukjong really have a long romance?

Well, the answer is – we don’t know.  Because there’s very little information to be found about Dong Yi in the history books. All that’s known about her is that she came from the cheonin, servant class, then was noticed by the king, became a concubine, and eventually received the title Bin – the top rank for a royal concubine – when she gave birth to King Sukjong’s son. She was given the name Sukbin and her son became King Yeongjo who reined for 52 years and was the longest reigning king in Joseon history.

Dong Yi and King Sukjong blend in with the crowd, Dong Yi, MBC

One of the reasons there is so little information about her in the history books is that she came from the servant class. In the introduction to the novel Dong Yi, I read that Continue reading


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Is Dong Yi too slow?

I’ve just come back from a few weeks in the UK for a holiday and there was a pile of recorded Dong Yi episodes waiting for me. Normally I’d sit down and keep watching one episode after another, but this time I watched a couple of episodes and then took a few days break. This means that this drama is still not gripping me as much as Lee Byeong Hoon’s previous ones did. It’s slower and not as exciting and I was asking myself why.


King Sukjong at the daily meeting, Dong Yi, MBC

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The Romanization of Korean Names

hi, i have a question about the romanization of korean.

for han hyo joo, on wikipedia it lists:
revised romanization: han hyoju
mccune-reischauer: han hyo-ju

hmm, that is not so different. consider also ji jin hee.
revised romanization: ji jin-heui
mccune-reischauer: chi chin-hŭi

specifically, what is the romanization that is often seen, the form han hyo joo and ji jin hee?


Thanks for the question. I’ll take this opportunity to try to tackle the complicated and confusing world of romanizing Korean names. Over the years there have been several systems created to romanize Hangul, but since 2000 the Revised Romanization system became the official system taking over from McCune-Reischauer. BUT still, names and place names don’t always follow the new (or old) rules, so I’ve been trying to work out the best way to spell names too. For example, I’ve used the spelling “Jang Hee Bin” in my blog but elsewhere I’ve also seen her name spelt “Jang Hui-bin” or “Chang Huibin”. Where to use capital letters and when to hyphenate or not to hyphenate are more problems. On Wikipedia Ji Jin Hee is written as Ji Jin-hee and Ji Jin Hee.I know this is only a minor difference but still….(sigh)

Ji Jin Hee as King Sukjong, Dong Yi, MBC

As you’ve pointed out, Ji Jin Hee should technically be written as Ji jin-heui in Revised Romanization and I can’t find any rule in any romanization system (see this chart) that suggests that 희 should be written as Hee! The same is true for Han Hyo-joo which would be Han Hyo-ju in Revised Romanization.

According to my Korean friend, Continue reading

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