2017 Module 1: Korean Historical Dramas Open Forum

khdWelcome to Korean Historical Dramas Forum 1, 2017!

Module 1: February 14 – April 14 (9 weeks).

See general info on Korean Historical Dramas and 2017 Modules.

No homework or prerequisite. Please feel free to enter in “Leave A Reply” at the end of this page your questions, comments, and suggestion on any of dramas and/or Korean Historical Dramas in general. Or you can send a message in Contact Form below.


Note: Romanization of Korean words: In principle, we follow the Revised Romanization of Korean (RR). However, because most websites that we are using do not follow any system consistently, we are accommodating the conventional ways of Korean-Romanization.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Korean (Romanization of Korean)

What’s in this page?

Syllabus (Required and Recommended Dramas, their info and websites to watch, etc.)

Study Guides on King’s Daughter Subaekhyang (Subaekhyang Forum and Essay Contest)

Contact Form

Find the PDF khd-syllabus-module-1-2017 or see below.


KMS 100 Korean Historical Drama

Elective Course

Korean Magoist Studies Certificate Program

Mago Academy (http://magoacademy.org)

Syllabus for Module 1 (Modified for Mago Associates)


Period: Module I (February 14-April 14, 2017)


Facilitators: Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, Ph.D. and Anna Tzavona, M.A.


Description: This course offers a series of Korean Historical TV-dramas or Sageug (사극) and discusses the traits of female characters as well as general features of Korean history, culture, art, aesthetics, thought, customs, and people. What makes Korean drama so unique? What is the “secret recipe” that makes it so popular internationally? Why is it that, after a few episodes, one can‘t wait to see the next one or the next new drama? Those questions have made many wonder, from audiences to journalists and critics. Participants are invited to explore answers to these questions and more. Our emphasis is on woman’s place in history, as well as her role as creator, healer and leader; her strife to discover and reinvent herself, her inherent wisdom, her abilities to surrender, without giving up, and her potential to adapt, thrive, and ultimately transform the world she is in. Our selection of dramas qualifies high criteria in story content, character development, actor portrayal, multiplicity of ideas and values, and abilities to educate, while engaging and entertaining the viewer. Facilitators (Dr. Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Ms. Anna Tzanova) will provide articles and audio-video materials concerning salient themes.


If you consider enrolling Magoist Certificate Programs, we strongly encourage you to email us (magoacademy@gmail.com) for a full participation.


Required Dramas for view and discussion (Choose two from below)

Hwang Jin Yi (24 Ep.)

Kings Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang (108 Ep.)

The Iron Goddess (78 Ep.)


Recommended Dramas for view and discussion

Painter of the Wind (20 Ep.)
Damo: The Legendary Police Woman (14 Ep.)


Hwang Jin Yi (황진이) KBS, 24ep., 2006

(art & culture, female character, social issues, gender & sexuality)

This award-winning drama is based on the life of the legendary Joseon-era poet, musician, dancer, and gisaeng (a courtesan). Ha Ji Won shines in her role as the charismatic gisaeng, and is supported by a star-studded cast including Jang Geun Suk, Kim Jae Won, Ryu Tae Joon  and Lee Shi Hwan.  Wang Bit Na stars as Bu Yong, Hwang Jin Yi’s rival in both life and love.

The illegitimate child of a noble and a noted musician gisaeng, Hwang Jin Yi is taken into a gisaeng home to train as a courtesan. The road to becoming a successful gisaeng is not easy, and she struggles to perfect her art. Hwang Jin Yi’s beauty and her spirit attract the attention of the Magistrate’s son Eun Ho (Jang Geun Suk), but class differences prevent her from ever being with him. This drama follows her path to becoming one of the most well-renowned gisaeng in Korean history, and the four men who love her but can’t have her. ~ dramafever.com


King’s Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang (제왕의 , 수백향) MBC, 108 ep. (30 min), 2014

(female character, social issues, gender & sexuality)

A historical drama depicting the life of ‘Soo Baek Hyang’, the daughter of King Moo Ryung. This drama covers the turbulent history of the Baekje Dynasty and its royal family: desperate story of love and survival. ~wiki-daddicts.com


The Iron Empress (천추태후), KBS, 78 ep, 2009

(female character, international conflict, dynastic transition)

Based on a true historical figure, Chae Si Ra takes on the role of Empress Chun Chu of Goryeo Dynasty. A warrior queen, Chun Chu is the granddaughter of Wang Gun, the legendary first king of Goryeo. Wishing to protect her lands from outside Chinese forces and the other kingdoms in Korea, she battles alongside her soldiers in support of her brother, King Seongjong. But despite their united front for the good of her country, she wages a personal war against her own brother over the raising of her son, Mokjong. When Seongjong is left heirless, he decides to take his nephew and raise him as his own. Chun Chu struggles to win back her son amidst the wars and political intrigues in the palace. A sweeping epic of the early Goryeo Dynasty, The Iron Empress depicts a strong woman who is willing to give up love and family for the good of her empire.


The Painter of the Wind (바람의 화원) SBS, 20ep., 2008

(art & culture, gender & sexuality)

“The Painter of Wind” is based on the fictional historical novel “The Painter of the Wind” by Jung-myeong Kee.  The novel examines the life of 18th century painter Yun-bok Shin. Although highly regarded for his erotic & satrical paintings, there are few documents relating to the painter’s life in the present day. Jung-myeong Kee’s novel then presents the hypothetical question, “What if Yun-bok Shin was actually a girl dressed in men’s clothes?”


Damo: The Legendary Police Woman (다모) MBC, 14ep, 2003

(female character, culture, social issues)

“Long time ago in Korea, during the time of Cho-Sun Dynasty, there was a group of women called ‘Da-Mo’. ‘Da-Mo’ is the name of the job meaning the police woman. ‘Da-Mo’ was regarded as the low class but they had the privilege to investigate lady’s private room and interview the ladies of the high society where no man could approach. Da-Mo’s who are working in the Palace were even privy to the ongoing political intrigue.  But Da-Mo, being the low class and women, they were treated no better than the humble servants in the society. They were not free from the suffocating society full of prejudice on class and sex. This drama depicts one life of Da-Mo named Chae-Ok. She possesses the advanced idea for living which could not be accepted by the convention of the society and this is where the touching story of this drama ‘The Legendary Police Woman’ comes. This Special Drama Series produced for HD TV, has been under production for 1 full year before the first air. Military Art and vast scenes of Sword Fighting will be a pleasure for eyes and the tragic love story will touch the heart of the viewers.” ~ asianwiki.com


Websites to view dramas with English subtitles:

Hwang Jin Yi





King’s Daughter Soo Baek Hyang or Subaekhyang



The Iron Empress



Painter of the Wind





Damo: The Legendary Police Woman




The first link is for free on-line viewing. For DramaFever you can watch on your TV with a subscription.

Study Guides for King’s Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang (제왕의 딸, 수백향)

Go to Subaekyang Forum.

Go to Subaekyang Essay Contest.

Brief synopsis: “A historical drama depicting the life of ‘Soo Baek Hyang,’ the daughter of King Moo Ryung. This drama covers the turbulent history of the Baekje Dynasty and its royal family: desperate story of love and survival.” wiki.d-addicts.com


Characters and their relations, script and production crew:

• What is the meaning of “Soo Baek Hyang”?
• Who is the real Soo Baek Hyang figure in ancient Japan’s texts, the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki?
• When and where did the drama take place?
• Who are the two kings of Baekje?
• What are the names of main characters?
• What is the historical background of Baekje in the late 5th and early 6th century?

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