The first period drama (set in ancient time with fictional main characters) that I saw was "Byul dang Assi" (The Lady under veil - my English title ; literal translation could be "the Lady in the outbuilding") aired in TBC during 1976-1977. I was very very young at that time, but I remember yet its story and some scenes. It was an adaptation of "Lady Pak's Story", the famous Korean folklore tale which was influenced by the 17th century novel "General Im Kyung-up". I saw this drama with my grandmamy. She explained what was going on. It remains as one of my best memories of my youth.
I searched a Korean drama data base and found some more infos of this old drama.
- producer : Kim Jae-Hyung - writer : Shin Bong-Seung - actors and actresses : Hong Se-Mi, Kim Se-Yun, Kim Sung-Won, Kang Buja.
(I have no idea of Korean historical or period dramas between 1977-1980. I didn't view any of them during this period.)
* The first Korean historical drama (based on facts) I viewed was "Dae Myung (Great Vocation, KBS, 1981). - see below.
** The following list is about Korean historical dramas aired during 1981-2005. It's not a complete list and I didn't and couldn't see all of dramas on this list. But I tried to find infos on web.
*** It's a kind of the history of Korean historical dramas. ;D
- circa 1627-1659 - Manchurian invasions and King Hyojong's unaccomplished plan to conquer Qing empire.
- Kim Heung-Ki (Chung Jung-Bu in AOW) played the hero role, Prince Bong-Rim, 2nd son of King Injo (1623-1649), who became King Hyojong (1649-1659). - The role of General Im Kyung-Up (1594-1646) was played by Baek Il-Sup. Gen. Im was the famous anti-Manchurian general in the reign of king Injo.
- producer : Yu Gil-Chon - writer : Im Chung - in the series of "Women's History" of MBC in the early 80's.
- set in circa 1680-1701 - The famous story of Lady Chang who was the concubine and spouse of King Sook-jong (1661-1720). Became a queen after expelling the noble class queen (from the Westerner faction), Lady Chang was the unique queen of Chosun who was from the middle class family of the Southerner faction. Demoted and executed by poison under Southerner-Westerner conflicts. Has been considered as evil female figure, she is a historical subject of rehabilitation (or re-estimation) by recent historical researches.
- Perhaps one of the most beautiful women in Korean history, Lady Chang is the only one whose beauty is mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Chosun. This old drama shows traditional image of Lady Chang as femme fatale. Very popular and well-known story, her biography has been dramatized on TV five times. This is the only one that I saw among Hui-bin stories.
- Yi Mi-Sook played the role of Lady Chang Hui-bin and Yu In-Chon King Sook-jong.
3) The Queen of West Palace (Suh Gung Mama, MBC, 1982)
- producer : Pyo Jae-Soon - writer : Hong Jong-Won - in the series of "Women's History" of MBC.
- circa 1602-1623. - Biographical drama about Queen In-Mok, second spouse of King Sunjo (1567-1608, the king in IYSS).
- Based on traditional images of historical figures : Queen In-Mok is protagonist, good and positive character, and Prince Gwang-hae and Lady Kim Gae-shi as antagonists, evil and negative characters.
4) Hwang Jin-yi (MBC, 1982-1983)
- producer : Choe Jong-Su - writer : Im Chung - in the series of "Women's History" of MBC.
- circa 1520-1560. - Biographical drama of Hwang Jin-yi, the famous poet and Gisaeng lady in mid 16th century. (She was a contemporary of Jang-Geum.) - Yi Mi-Sook (Lady Chang in the previous series) played the heroine role.
5) The Foundation of Chosun Dynasty (Gae Guk, KBS, 1983)
- producer : Jang Hyung-Il - writers : Yi Tae-Won, Yi Eun-Sung
- End of 14th century.
- About the fall of Koryo dynasty and the foundation of Chosun dynasty by Yi Sung-Gye (King Taejo), the hero of the drama.
- Im Dong-Jin played the hero role of Yi Sung-Gye.
6) The King of Chu-dong Palace (Chu dong gung Mama, MBC, 1983)
- producer : Lee Byung Hoon (DJG) - writer : Shin Bong-Seung - First episode of "500 Years of Chosun Dynasty".
- Late 14th - Early 15th century. - Fall of Koryo dynasty and foundation of Chosun kingdom. - Kim Mu-Saeng played the role of King Taejo (1335-1408, reigned between 1392-1398). He played the same role in "Tear of the Dragon (KBS, 1997)".
- Interesting feature : KBS and MBC made historical drama on the same subject in the exactly same period at the same time in 1983. lol
- Shin Bong-Seung is the historical drama writer who read the Royal Chronicles in original Hanja version when it was not translated yet into modern Korean (Hangeul). "500 years of Chosun Dynasty" is the Chosun history series based on official history.
7) The Deep-Rooted Tree (Puri gipeun namu, MBC, 1983)
- producer : Lee Byung Hoon - writer : Shin Bong-Seung - Second episode of "500 Years of Chosun Dynasty".
- The first half of the 15th century during the reign of Great King Sejong (1418-1450). - Han In-Su played the role of King Sejong.
8) The Ume Tree in the midst of snow (Seol jung mae, MBC, 1984)
- producer : Lee Byung Hoon - writer : Shin Bong-Seung - Third episode of "500 Years of Chosun Dynasty".
- From the reign of King Mun-jong (1450-1452), the first son of King Sejong, to the reign of Prince Yeon-San (1494-1506). - The ume tree in the midst of snow represents Queen In-Su, heroine of the drama. She was daughter-in-law of King Sejo (1455-1468), mother of King Seong-jong and and grandmother of Prince Yeon-San. She died after being beaten by his crazy grandson because she had let his mother killed.
- The most popular of "500 Years" series along with "Imjin Waeran (1985-1986)". But it also provoked protest among a part of Korean viewers at its time of airing because it gave a new positive historical interpretation on King Sejo's coup and his favorite official Han Myung-Hoe. (From traditional confucian view, they had been considered as negative figures.)
- Chung Jin was the legendary Han Myung-Hoe. His another famous role was Toyotomi Hideyoshi in "Imjin Waeran". Recently he played the role of Chun-Su's father in IYSS (2004-2005).
- The role of Queen In-Su was played by Ko Du-Shim.
- producer : Chang Ki-Oh - writer : Lee Chul-Hyang
- from the 1894 Peasant War to the fall of Chosun in 1910.
10) The Wind Orchid (Pung Ran, MBC, 1985)
- producer : Lee Byung Hoon - writer : Shin Bong-Seung - Fourth episode of "500 Years of Chosun Dynasty".
- Fist half of the 16th century in the reign of King Jung-jong (1506-1544) and of King Myung-jong (1544-1567). - The heroine is Chung Nan-Jung (? - 1565), concubine of the Prime Minister Yun Won-Hyung. She was daughter between an aristocrat man and a slave woman. (So her social status was a slave.) She became wife of Minister Yun after having poisoned his legitimate spouse. This notorious evil and corrupt woman was banished with Minister Yun in 1565 after death of Queen Munjeong, mother of King Myung-jong and sister of Minister Yun. (Cf. Their downfall is briefly mentioned in IYSS. Mijin's family is rehabilitated after their exile.)
- The same period with "Women in the Palace (Yeo In Chun Ha, SBS, 2001-2002)" and with "DJG" (MBC, 2003-2004).
Neofinetia falcata (Wind Orchid aka Japanese Wind Orchid)
(* The photo has no relation with the drama. It's just a floral info. ;D )
11) The Imjin War (Imjin Waeran, MBC, 1985-1986)
- producers : Yu Gil-Chon, Lee Byung Hoon - writer : Shin Bong-Seung - Fifth episode of "500 Years of Chosun Dynasty".
- circa 1590-1598. - The whole history of the Imjin War with diplomatic stuffs. YSS's naval battles are only a part of the drama.
- The role of YSS was played by Kim Mu-Saeng, that of Hideyoshi by Chung Jin. (I don't remember who and how King Sunjo was. lol)
BD, did you see "West Palace" made in 1995 ? I couldn't view it. I only know the old production in 1982, "West Palace Mama (The Queen of West Palace)". But the intrigue and main story telling are certainly identical even though there can be differences of historical interpretation. Because they are historical dramas ! (So Queen In-mok cannot live in East Palace instead of West Palace and Lady Kim cannot slash Prince Gwang-hae in a historical drama. ;D )
I also viewed a period drama featuring Lady Kim Gae-Shi as one of main characters. It's "Once upon a time" aired by MBC in 1981. (I didn't mention it in my historical drama list, because it's purely fictional story despite of historical setting.) It was an one-act drama which was a kind of "Chosunese Back to the Future". A university student of history was thrown back to the past because of an accident. (I guess it was an accident of auto-bicycle.) He fell into the time of Prince Gwang-hae and met Lady Kim Gae-shi, etc. Silly but funny with culture shocks and misunderstandings between them. Finally, he received a death sentence from the king because he met Queen In-mok confined in West Palace and told her that she would be rehabilitated soon. Naturally, and as almost of viewers were expecting it, he came back to his epoch before being executed (or at the moment of execution). lol Fortunately, the dramatists didn't use a time machine device. Dieu merci !
- producers : Kim Jong-Hak, Yu Gil-Chon, Jang Su-Bong - writer : Shin Bong-Seung - Seventh episode of "500 Years of Chosun Dynasty".
- between 1624-1674 during the reigns of King Injo, King Hyojong and King Hyunjong.
14) Queen In-hyun (In hyun Wang Hu, MBC, 1988)
- producers : Lee Byung-Hoon - writer : Shin Bong-Seung - Eighth episode of "500 Years of Chosun Dynasty".
- circa 1681-1701. - Third Hui-bin drama made by MBC. (Cf. MBC dramatized Chang Hui-bin story three times, in 1971, 1981 and 1988. Are they Hui-bin maniacs ?)
- Queen In-hyun (1667-1701) became second spouse of King Sook-jong in 1681. She was repudiated in 1689 by the king because she gave no heir of throne, while the King's concubine Lady Chang gave birth of the future king Kyung-jong (born in 1688, reigned 1720-1724). Rehabilitated in 1694 when the Southerners lost political power, but died in 1701 because of unknown illness. She has been considered as good and virtuous woman in contrast of the wicked Hui-bin.
- Jeon In-Hwa attained stardom with the role of Hui-Bin. Famous production, but unfortunately I never viewed it. Jeon's another famous role was Queen Mun-jeong in "Women in the Palace" (Yeo In Chun Ha, SBS, 2001-2002).
Jeon In-Hwa featured as Queen Mun-jeong in "Women in the Palace (SBS, 2001-2002)"
Great stuff, Florel. I'm really in the need for a good historical drama series. The things on T.V. now just are not cutting it. I didn't know the dramas were so organized into different eras.
"The 500 years of Chosun Dynasty"? So I'm guessing the dramas went until the 19th century,right?
The drama that got me very interested is The Foundation of Chosun Dynasty (Gae Guk, KBS, 1983)
Ages of warriors gave some hints on what happen after the Koryo dynasty and the mongol invasion but not enough details. They really need to do this particular drama series over again to better understand IYSS and DJG.
I only saw two historical dramas:
Ages of Warriors IYSS
Meaning, I saw the last part of the Koryo era series (Emperor Wang Guhn was the first drama to start it off) and the middle of the Chosun era dramas in IYSS.
THE ONLY WAY TO DEFEAT TERRORISM IS TO SEND IN MAN-EATING ROBOTS, BUSH LETS GET STARTED ON THIS NOW
"The 500 years of Chosun Dynasty"? So I'm guessing the dramas went until the 19th century,right?
Yes, Skinz, the title of the last episode "Daewongun" refers to Yi Ha-Eung, Prince Heung-Seon (1820-1898). He was father of King Kojong (1852-1919, reigned between 1863-1907). I don't know if it ended with the death of Daewongun or with the fall of Chosun dynasty.
"The Foundation of Chosun Dynasty" (Gae Guk, KBS, 1983) was not politically neutral. It's certain that the hero Yi Sung-Gye was paralleled with General Chun Du-Hwan and his Coup in December 1979. Except this political implication, it was good as a drama.
Among Korean viewers, "Tear of the Dragon (KBS, 1996-1998)" is more famous than "The Foundation of Chosun Dynasty". They cover same period with identical characters. I guess there would be more opportunity to find some tapes of "Tear of the Dragon" in Korean video shops. Perhaps Moresighe knows if there are subtitled video tapes of Korean historical dramas in New York.
After the end of IYSS, I'm only viewing the last part of AOW. I don't know what I will watch after it. **sigh**
KBS should continue their Koryo history project.
Soju : I didn't view "Sang Do". I heard the title, but I was thinking that it would have been a fictional story. But after a little bit of research, I find that it's about a rich merchant who is a historical personage. Thanks for the comment.
Autumn : I couldn't view any of them. Oh... I missed lots of masterpieces. I'm crying.
* addenda :
I inserted one more drama on a previous posting. It's "Independance Gate" (Dongnimmun), aired in 1984. It treats the the period between late 19th - early 20th century. I never viewed it and didn't know even its existence. I'm dicovering many Korean historical dramas I haven't known. Amazing.