During my resting breaks, there come times where I delve back into my likings for historical korean dramas.  I especially love the ones with a strong female protagonist with “coincidental” beauty and wise, sage-like intellect, despite the low-class origin of most of these characters. Dramas like Dae Jang Geum, Hwang Jinee, and the series of dramas that are all directed by Byung-hoon Lee, come to mind

I realized last night that I have finally come to a point where I have watched enough that not only are the characters from past and present dramas that I’ve watched RELATED to each other, but I’ve also seen those same characters acted out by different actors/actresses in each drama.

This is MADNESS! 😀

So King Sukjong who is the 19th king of the Joseon Dynasty had many wives (n=10) who became Queen (n=5). Two of which were from low-low-low class (i.e., slaves).

In the newest drama, Jang Ok Jeong, Kim Tae Hee plays Lady Jang who was King Sukjong/Lee San’s 3rd wife and the love of his life (married without any political means)


Look how cute they look. Man… the King here is really handsome hahaha you should check out his voice- even my grandma’s impressed haha

I’ve read that there are many many many remakes of retelling Lady Jang’s story (9th remake, to be exact) but it is difficult to gather actual truths because there isn’t too much details written about her since she is of low-class blood. She was known as the most beautiful women Joseon has ever seen and the rumors of her as a seductress obviously followed. This particular recent remake rather focuses on her struggle to get out the bindings of her class status with her skills in fashion and her true love for the king.


Anyhoo, here’s my AH-HA!! moment:  the fourth wife that comes along in the drama and tries to seduce the King and she is called Lady Choi (the middle girl- She’s from Kara). I was wondering WHO IS SHE?! She is portrayed as the character that is sly, like what history made out Lady Jang to be like.

And I found out she was DONG-YI!!!!  Did anyone see/remember that drama starring Han Hyo Joo?! It’s the one about music!! And the King has a concubine who is beautiful and aids him with political decisions.


It’s crazy!!  So in this drama Dong-yi is the kind peasant girl who doesn’t have an ounce of yearn for power and yet the king adores her and brings her in. AHHH!!!

This is total mind boggling stuff!! 😀

Makes you wonder how much of these dramas truly portray what these characters were like in real life and why the writers believe these protagonists must be pure hearted to be loved by the fans. I think I’m actually leaning towards wanting the truth over the girl who is naive and selfless.

All in all, I’m happy that I’ve watched enough that I have a somewhat of a grasp of who was alive in the royal family of Joseon and the political events.

I was talking to J over the phone explaining JOJ & Dong Yi’s differences and he said it’s like Wizard of Oz and Wicked 🙂 He’s right! Two perspectives on the same story….”story”.

“That’s all for now!” , says Minnie.



❤ R

P.S. Keep an eye out for my upcoming make up looks. I developed a look that I will be sporting for this summer and many years to come (whoops, early commitment hahaha)


10 thoughts on “Jang Ok Jung (2013) v. Dong-yi

  1. I just recently realized that JOJ is the same story as Dong-Yi also (with different main characters, of course)!
    It is an interesting thought about how portrayals of historical people can be so varying. I’ve seen many movies about Queen Elizabeth where she is the good and genuine person – but if you watch any movies about Queen Mary of Scots (who was beheaded by Queen Elizabeth), suddenly Elizabeth is a baddie in the movie, lol.
    I think I would like the truth also, but entertainment often stretches things, so I guess we have to take it for what it is. 🙂

    • I know right! I found out last night and it was so pleasantly surprising that I went on a Wiki rage 😀 So JOJ’s son becomes king first and then Dong Yi’s son and then either the next gen or next next gen is Yi San, which has another drama out hahaha

      Did you like the recent movie on Queen Elizabeth or do you recommend a specific one? I’m very interested in watching some movies about her as well 🙂

      So glad to meet someone who’s interested in historical dramas 😀

      • I love talking about historical dramas too, 🙂
        I recently watched “Elizabeth – the Golden Age” (its the sequel to the first Elizabeth movie starring Cate Blanchett). Though I haven’t seen the first movie, this movie was still easy to follow and so beautiful with gorgeous costumes and great acting. I’d say the movie was a little bit slow, but Cate portrayal of Elizabeth was the best I’ve seen.
        I also recently watched “The Virgin Queen” (a mini-series starring Anne-Marie Duff). Because its a mini-series the quality is not as good as the Cate Blanchett movie, but it showed me so much of her Queen Elizabeth’s life I never knew that I found it a fascinating watch.
        I’ve also seen “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex” (1939), “The Sea Hawk” (1940), “Mary of Scotland” (1936) – which have Elizabeth as a major or minor character, but these are old classics, so you kinda have older movies to watch these, hehe.

  2. I saw your pingback on the new “Jang Ok Jung” series over at my blog post on the Hangjung Mallok, and I too was surprised they would go back over that ground after “Dong Yi.” Although I haven’t seen the new series, I also love the genre, especially “Yi San” and “Dae Jang Geum” (Jewel of the Palace?), and I can speak to your question as to how true to life the portrayals are at least a little. The reality is that many of these low-born concubines don’t appear to have much about them in the historical record.

    In relation to the memoir I’m discussing that mostly covers “Yi San”, Song-yeon Seong only shows up in the Haboush translation in the footnote about the death of Jeongjo’s first-born son Munhyo in 1786, which can be found in this particular memoir of 1802. She is only referenced as Lady Seong in that footnote, the text doesn’t even mention her by name but uses an oblique reference to her death, and the footnote has a few other historical records it cross-references, but I would suspect those don’t have that much information on her either. A lot of the reason why these dramas are popular is because the writers are wickedly good, and they use these historical figures that the records are largely silent about as a way to enter history and still have some artistic license.

    It would be interesting to see them do a complete portrayal of these memoirs instead of rehashing Sukjong.

    • Thank you for your post 🙂 It was very interesting to read actual examples of how history was written in favor of the royals and nobles. Footnote, wow… o.o.

      And yes, wow, a drama solely on King Sukjong.. that would be a great idea! He strikes me as someone who is either very indecisive or just likes to overturn everything every once in a while to keep everyone on their toes.. hahaha like he did with his 10 wives and his political moves. It would be very interesting to see how these savvy writers can justify his actions to match the naive image of the archetypical protagonist. Please, director Lee, DO IT! 😉

  3. Since I don’t see any more discussion of K-Drama on your blog, I will just leave a mention here that I’m really enjoying the new modern K-Drama, “The Master’s Sun.” Do you watch any modern shows? Have you seen this one? Please post more on this topic soon. Thanks.

  4. I would prefer the truth to be in Jang Ok Jung movie. Although its bitter and sad. And yes, I also was surpriced not finding out anything about lady Sung Yi San’s concubine. I mean he was married to her and didn’t have anyone else until her death and had children, there probably was some love between them, but unfortunately we can not know. Even with Sukjong, no matter how bad his wife was, he just poisoned her probably without any doubts, which is just so sad. Would be much better if it was the way the movie Jang Ok jung showed us.

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