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Dong Yi - MBC Korean Historical Drama

Dong Yi

Dong Yi


MBC Korea has one new Saeguk (Historical) drama series. The title is "Dong Yi". This series replace "Pasta" and "The Great Queen Seon Deok".
Directed by Mr. Lee Byung Hoon who had been directed many hits and phenomenal Korean Historical Dramas like "Yi San" and "Dae Jang Geum or Jewel in The Palace" and Mr. Kim Sang Hyub. The Screenwriter is Kim Yi Young who also wrote "Yi San" and "Marrying a Millionaire". 50 episodes long.

The drama is still airing and just entering their 8 episode. First broadcast : March 22, 2010, on Monday & Tuesday 21:55 (Korean Time)
The rating is still under 20% but I think this drama is quite promising.

Little Choi Dong Yi and her daddy Choi Hyo Won

Little Choi Dong Yi and her daddy Choi Hyo Won

Korean Drama

The Story

So, what is the drama all about? The story is about Lady Choi Suk Bin the concubine of King Sukjong of the Joseon Dynasty who is the mother of 21 st King of Joseon, King Yeongjo. But before all of the glory, Lady Choi Suk Bin had a very difficult and a hard life story. It a little bit like Dae Jang Geum series, it's about the struggle of young lady who is smart, bright, honest, little bit stubborn, and never give up with a big luck to survive and restore her family name.

Before she become Lady Choi Suk Bin she was known as Choi Dong Yi, a little girl from the lowest class of the society. The Historical background is Joseon dynasty in the era of King Sukjong (1674–1720, 19th King of Joseon Dynasty). Choi Dong Yi is energetic, smart, brave, stubborn, and always curious little girl. Her family is a lowly commoner in the society. Her father, Choi Hyo Won is a coroner and he is very bright one. Her big brother is Choi Dong Joo is a palace musician, he plays Haegeum, a traditional Korean string instrument, resembling a 2 stringed fiddle. But without Dong Yi knowing, her father and brother involved in a secret organisation called Geumgae, in fact the leader of Geumgae is Choi Hyo Won himself. But Geumgae is not a rebel organization, Geumgae is just an organization to help lowly class people who treated unfair or injustice, for instance, lower class people are used to be made as scapegoats and the nobles just sent them as slaves.

So, the Geumgae organization help them escaped and provided some protection, like Robin Hood I think. Sukjong is a great King but there were many struggles between faction in his reign, the Namin faction (Southerners) and Seoin faction (Westerners). Sukjong tried to appease them with many ways, like marrying women from both factions to balance the political power. One of his concubine is Lady Jang Ok Jung, later she become Jang Hui bin. The hui bin title is given after she gave birth to a son (King Gyeongjong of Joseon). Lady Jang and Choi Dong Yi will compete in the struggle for the throne.

Choi Hyo Won and his son were wrongly accused as murderer, they were accused to kill Seo Jeong Ho (a nobleman, Seo Yong Gil's father). Seo Yong Gil is a Police Officer who really trust Choi Hyo Won and respect him as teacher and friend although Choi Hyo Won is from Chonmin class (lowest class in society).  Seo Yong Gil felt betrayed and lost confidence with Choi Hyo Won. Though Choi Dong Yi confronted Seo yong Gil and said that her father is not guilty, Seo Yong Gil still in doubt.

Finally, Choi Hyo Won and Choi Dong Joo were executed. Before Choi Hyo won died, he asked his subject that like his own son, Cha cheon Soo to rebuild the Geumgae organization. Choi Dong yi left alone as orphan, she thought not only her father and brother, but Cha Cheon Soo were also died. Dong Yi decided to hide herself in Jang Ak Won which is palace music academy, the place where her brother used to work.

Dong Yi met with Sukjong by accident. Dong yi is so curious about the changes in music instrument that influnced the music's octave, and the Royal Court decided that this is a bad omen to the Royal Household. The Queen Dowager Myeongseong agreed that this is a bad omen and it caused by Lady Jang Ok jung. So she liked to expell Lady Jang. Dong Yi investigated this case and she met Sukjong who also investigated the same case. But that time Dong Yi never realized that "the Nobleman" is Sukjong, the King himself.

The King impressed by her warmth and smartness and later chose her as his concubine.

This drama is awesome although just entering their 8 th episode, I love because there are many kind of Korean traditional music instruments. From Dong yi we can learn how the Chonmin - the lowest class of Joseon dynasty had been treated. Nobody recognized them as a person, they are treated as an asset for the Noble. How the Chonmin class struggle with their hardness of life and their hope. There are also cntradictions of person's born hierarchy of 18th century Joseon dynasty. This series portrays the life of Lady Choi Suk Bin who really brilliant to transform her son to be the next King and she is so wise through the deadly political infighting in Royal Courts.

Lady Choi manages to survive and protect her son, Prince Yeon Ing (Later become King Jeongjo of Joseon). She raises her son into a well-balanced and educated person though very strict discipline. 

The one that attract me more is the Geumgae organization, the secret Chonmin class swordsman organization of Joseon dynasty. Maybe because I love watching martial arts movies so much :)

This drama is like Korean CSI I think and I love CSI!

Choi Hyo Won and Choi Dong Joo had wrongly accused as murderer

Choi Hyo Won and Choi Dong Joo had wrongly accused as murderer

People from lowest class suffered from mistreated.

People from lowest class suffered from mistreated.

The Lady Ranks in Joseon Palace

Live as a King in Joseon dynasty is so amazing, even the King's woman also has a rank in the palace. Here are the ranking tops on the list is Wangbi (王妃 Queen Consort, address as Jungjong). There is only primary Consort at a time.

Then comes to other Consorts which is difference between Jeong is equivalent to upper 1st class or right honour) & Jong (equivalent lower 1st class or the left honour).
Heebin (禧嬪1st rank Jeong, this is the rank that Jang Ok Jung will assume later & becomes the notorious Jang Hee Bin)
Sukbin (淑嬪1st rank Jong), this is the title that Choi Dong Yi will assume later after she gave birth to a son (King Yeongjo of Joseon)
Then comes (Gwiin 貴人1st rank Jong but lower than the “Bin”)
Soeui (昭儀 2nd rank Jeong)
Sukeui (淑儀 2nd rank Jong)
Soyong (昭容 3rd rank Jeong)
Sukyong (淑容 3rd rank Jong)
Sowon (昭媛 4th rank Jeong)
Sukwon (淑媛 4th rank Jong)

With so many members in the house, the Royal Household's budget could be really huge.

Dong yi played the Haegeum courtesy:

Dong yi played the Haegeum courtesy:

Music Instruments in the Palace

This series definitely stressed on the Korean traditional music instruments. Like in Dae Jang Geum, we may learn about Korean cuisine and medicine, business things in Sangdo, and in Dong yi we can learn that music is divided into 3 Parts,

1. A ak, is often called "elegant music" brought to Korea in 1116 through a large gift of musical instrument from the Song Dynasty (China) Emperor Huizong
2. Hyang ak, are traditional folk dances of Korea performed in front of audiences. Hyang ak includes a sort of oboe called a piri and various kinds of stringed instruments.
3. Dang ak, is a a genre of traditional Korean court music. The name means "Tang music," and the style was first adapted from Tang music during the Unified Silla period in the late first millennium. It was continued through the Goryeo (935-1394) and Joseon (1394-1910) dynasties, when along with hyangak and aak it made up the three approved genres of court music.

Source : statemaster/Music-of-Korea

There are many music instruments in Dong yi, like :

1. Haegeum, is a traditional Korean string instrument, resembling a 2 stringed fiddle. It has a rodlike neck, a hollow wooden soundbox, and two silk strings, and is held vertically on the knee of the performer and played with a bow. The instrument is played in performances of court music and folk music. The haegeum is one of the most indispensable of instruments in almost any ensemble. The haegeum is related to similar Chinese instruments in the huqin family of instruments, such as the erhu. Of these, it is most closely related to the ancient xiqin, as well as the erxian used in nanguan and Cantonese music. Choi Dong Joo is Haegeum musician. Choi Dong yi is also plays this instrument.

2. Daegeum, is a large transverse Korean bamboo flute, dated back to 7th century Shilla dynasty. It is one of the Samjuk (three transverse bamboo flutes), which consists of daegeum (large one), joongeum (medium one), and sogeum (small one). Of the three, joongeum is not currently played any more.
Daegeum has one blowing hole, six finger holes, and an extra hole covered with a thin membrane called ‘cheong’ (located between the blowing hole and finger holes). Cheong is a white resonant membrane cut from a reed’s inner film. There are also one or two more additional holes, called ‘chilseong-gong’, which lies in the end of the instrument. Chilseong-gong is used only to adjust pitches. There are two different types of daegeum: Jeong-ak daegeum (for classical/court music) and sanjo daegeum (for folk music).

3. Ajaeng, is a large Korean bowed zither having seven strings. Its body is about 160 cm (62 inches) long and 25 cm (10 inches) wide and is made of paulownia wood. The ajaeng’s strings, made of twisted silk, are supported by separate movable bridges. The bow with which it is played, some 65 cm (25 inches) long, is fashioned from a peeled forsythia branch that has been hardened with pine resin. The instrument, which is placed in a transverse position on the floor, is supported on its bowed end by a stand. The player sits on the floor behind it and moves.

4. Pyeongyeong, is a stone chimes. There is an insident about this stone chimes in episode 5-7. The Pyeongyeong is constructed of two rows with eight L-shaped stones in each row. Imported from China as a court instrument. 

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5. Teukgyeong, is a single stone chime. The teukgyeong is a single L-shaped stone and is used exclusively in court ceremonial music.
and many more.

Little Choi Dong Yi played by talented Kim Yoo Jung

Little Choi Dong Yi played by talented Kim Yoo Jung

Korean Food Recipes

The Casts

Dong yi / Han Hyo Joo
She is very smart, witty, and bright. With warm heart and kindness. Her father and brother was executed bitterly and she became orphan. She's been chased by a police officer Seo yong gil and she hide herself in Jang Ak Won, the Royal Music Academy with the help of a nice Gisaeng who's in love with her big brother.

Dong Yi is chosen as a helper in the palace from the slave position. There is also Cha cheon Soo, her brother's friend who always protect her with his life. Later, Choi Dong Yi is picked up by Sukjong to sleep with and become his concubine. Queen In Hyeon trust Dong yi so much. Dong yi later has the King's son and her son Prince Yeon Ing later become  King Yeongjo.

Dong yi becomes embroiled in a fierce battle against Queen Jang Hee Bin over whose son will ascend the throne. The fact, Queen Jang's son will become King Gyeongjong (the 20th King) and Dong yi's son will become King Yeongjo (the 21st King).

Sukjong/ Ji Jin Hee
The 19th King of Joseon Dynasty (1661-1720)

Absolute monarch of Joseon. He has powerful leadership and wide knowledge, he controlled his subjects and used the power game among his subjects. Sukjong was a scary King to his subjects but he is very smart and fantastic King to the numerous Lady in the inner court. Sukjong met Dong Yi when he was on his disguise to investigate a case and impressed with her warmth and smartness.
Cha Cheon Soo / Bae Soo Bin

The New leader of Hanyang Geumgae, the secret Chonmin class swordsman organization.

He worked as corpse inspector at the royal police station during the day and acted as a key member of Gumgae, whose purpose was cleaning the governmental disorder during the night. He has academic ability and can use sword very well.

He is trusted very much by Choi Hyowon, Dong yi's father. He was a young staff of Gumgae organization and best friend of Dongju, who is brother of Dongyi. When Mr Choi and Dongju were executed, they ask him to take care of Dongyi.

Afterwards, he took care of Dongyi for his whole life. After Choi Hyowon died, he rebuilt Gumgae organization and became a new leader. He never forgets the word of little Dong yi, which is, “When I grow up, I will marry with Cheon soo”. He loves Dongyi with his whole life.

Queen In Hyeon/ Park Ha Soon
She is the First Queen of Sukjong, but Sukjong had no attention to her. She has warm heart. She trusted Dong yi very much and gave many helps to her. Queen In Hyeon died early.

Jang Hee Bin/ Lee So Yeon
Second Queen of Sukjong. Jang Hee Bin or Jang Ok Jung enter the Palace with the help of Oh Tae Seok. Lady Jang had Sukjong's love but she was expelled by Sukjong's mother. (The Queen Dowager, Myeongseong)

She comes out of exile later on and returns to the palace, whereupon she bears a son to the king. She has a bitter rivalry against Dong Yi throughout the episodes and always opposes Dong Yi on every matter they confront.Finally she died by the penalty of death.

Seo Yong Gil/ Chung Jin Young

A police officer who has fair and straight character. Very careful and valued high Choi Hyo Won's ability as corpse inspector, which is the lowest job. Seo Yong Gil treated Choi Hyo Won as a Yangmin class/commoner person in spite of his low society position.

But after his father was killed by Oh Tae Seok's men and unfortunately was founded by the Geumgae, he feel betrayed and swear to eliminate Geumgae. When Dong yi become the helper of police, He met her again and he helps her lots of times.

Dong Yi..fighting..!!

Dong Yi..fighting..!!

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