Korean history dramas' audience growing
The historical Korean drama "Jumong"
is a production of one of the three largest networks in South Korea, where its ratings are
Contemporary Korean dramas have taken center stage in Hawai'i,
but historical dramas, too,
have a huge following — particularly among local men.
Men have taken a big interest in dramas such as "Emperor
of the Sea"
and "Immortal Yi Soon Shin
." Now, at 9:30 on Wednesdays and Thursdays, "Jumong
" has taken the
The story of "Jumong" dates to the foundations of Korea in the 2nd century B.C., when three kingdoms existed:
Goguryeo, Silla and Baekje.
The English name for Korea was derived from the Goryeo dynasty, which had a large territory
in what is now northeast China.
Jumong, or Chumong, was the name of the founding king of Goguryeo, played in the historical
drama by Song Il Gook.
This series is a production of MBC, one of the three largest networks in South Korea,
and a special program developed to celebrate its 45th anniversary.
In South Korea, the ratings of "Jumong" are soaring
in prime time. The MBC network plans to turn its multi-acre set into a tourist attraction after the program is over.
is some confusion as to how to spell the lead character's name; it's spelled "Chumong" in the subtitles. In the late 1990s,
South Korea adopted a standard for English-language spellings that reflect the pronunciation of the place name. So Cheju Island
is now Jeju Island and Pusan is now Busan. The old spelling of the founding king's name was "Chumong," but it's pronounced
with a "J" sound.
Whoever did the translation at the network did not follow the standardization, instead using the
old way of spelling; the drama is subtitled using the spelling Chumong when it should have been Jumong.
Since the network
chose to use this format, KBFD had to be consistent when providing schedule information and promotion.
Adding to the
confusion, Jumong is also known as "Jungmo" and "Chumo," depending on which Chinese character is used to spell the name.
has a mythical background, as he is said to have been the son of Hae Mosu, the son of the Sun God. Jumong's mother was the
daughter of a river god, Habek, named Yuhwa. Yuhwa gave birth to an egg from which came Jumong.
The word jumong is
supposed to have meant skilled in archery, as Hae Mosu was extremely talented with the bow.
Jumong is said to have
had tremendous archery skills from birth and to be a natural leader, but in the TV program, Jumong is played as more of a
quiet and subtle character.
In the opening action of series, Jumong's palace brothers are trying to get the title of
crown prince, currying favor from the king. And Jumong marries a woman named Ye Bu-young, who bears him his son Yuri.
in fear for his life from his palace brothers, leaves for Jolbon land, where he befriends leaders in Gaeru. After gaining
the support of Gaeru provincial leaders, he joins with other neighboring tribes and establishes Goguryeo, changing his surname
from Hae to Go.
"Go," which means "high" in Chinese characters, is the "Go" in Goguryeo. Jumong was also known as King
Jumong then marries Soseuno, a princess of Gaeru who bears him two sons. His first wife and son Yuri
escape to Goguryeo, and Jumong then gives the title of crown prince to Yuri.