Apr 5, 2011

The succesful rise of a female - Dae jang geum (Jewel in the Palace)

This is the drama that make me really fall in love with K-Drama and Kpop, not Winter Sonata nor Full House. But it's a legendary and historical drama base on true story. For me this drama really touch my heart, it's full with courageous and bitterness of reality.

The TV miniseries Daejanggeum, or Jewel in the Palace, which aired on MBC from September 15, 2003 to March 23, 2004, set many new records. The miniseries, whose viewer rate averaged 47%, and even reached a high of 57.8%, is based on the story of a real historical figure (Jang-geum) who was the first and only woman to serve as head physician to the King in the rigidly hierarchical and male-dominated social structure of the Joseon Dynasty.
Daejanggeum, in English, “the Great Jang-geum,” caught the attention of Korean TV viewers with its unique combination of two themes: the successful rise of a female, which is rarely covered in historical genre, and the elements of traditional food and medicine. These days, the main filming locations on Jeju Island, at the Korean Folk Village, Naganeupseong, Suwon Hwaseong Haenggung Palace, and Changdeokgung Palace are crowded with this drama fan all over the world.

Let see some preview about this story.
The story is set in Korea during the reigns of King Seongjong (1457–1494), King Yeonsan-gun (1494–1506) and King Jungjong (1506–1544).At the outset, King Seongjong has ordered the execution by poisoning of his deposed wife Deposed Queen Lady Yun, the mother of the first-born son, the young crown prince (the future Prince Yeonsan). After carrying out the execution, one of the royal guards, Seo Cheon-soo, is haunted by the execution. On his way home, he suffers an accident and is rescued by a mysterious hermit with a cryptic message—that his life will revolve around three women: the first he will be forced to kill; another he will save, but will die because of him; and the third will kill him, but will go on to save many lives. It doesn't become clear until later in the story that the three women are the poisoned Deposed Queen Lady Yun, Park Myeong-yi (Seo's eventual wife and the mother of Jang-geum) and Jang-geum (the main character and Seo's only daughter). Haunted by the curse of the executed deposed Queen Consort, and his prophesied fate at the hands of the third woman, he abandons his post and also becomes a hermit, refusing to take a wife.
After many years, the former king dies and the Crown Prince ascends the throne as the 10th King of Joseon. Park Myeong-yi is a palace girl (or gungnyeo) and apprentice cook of the royal kitchen (sooratgan). She witnesses a fellow apprentice, a girl from the powerful Choi clan named Choi Seong-geum, slip poison into the Great Royal Dowager Queen's food. Unaware that the senior kitchen officers are part of a conspiracy against the said Queen, Myeong-yi informs the head kitchen officer (choigosanggung). The officers, fearful that Myeong-yi might reveal their conspiracy, attempt to murder her. Myeong-yi's best friend, Han Baek-yeong, witnesses the crime and manages to secretly save her (by hurriedly diluting the poison with an antidote). She leaves the unconscious Myeong-yi a letter explaining what had happened. As Seo Cheon-soo wanders through the forest in his self-imposed hermitage, he stumbles upon the half-conscious Myeong-yi. He rescues her and the two fall in love and marry. They end up living peacefully in a remote village as lower caste commoners (Seo Cheon-soo posing as a butcher and village weapon smith) and raise a clever daughter named Seo Jang-geum.


In 1504, Prince Yeonsan orders the execution of people responsible for his mother (Queen Consort Jeheon)'s death, thereby launching the notorious Literati Purges of 1504. Jang-geum is warned by her parents to never reveal their true identities to anyone or they will all die. One day Jang-geum and her father go to a village fair. In a wrestling match she blurts out to the jeering crowd that her father is not a low-born butcher but a former guard of the royal palace. Words spread, and the king's guards arrest Seo Cheon-soo and execute him. Mother and daughter flee but are captured by the guards. As they are taken away, the group is ambushed by mercenaries hired by the Choi clan patriarch, who is determined to kill Myeong-yi and her daughter. Myeong-yi is injured and before she dies she tells Jang-geum her last wish: that she become the choigo sanggung of the royal kitchen and record the crime in a journal that is passed down through every generation of the choigo sanggungs.

Through a series of lucky coincidences (one involving Prince Yeonsan's half-brother Grand Prince Jinseong), Jang-geum manages to enter the palace. She is unknowingly apprenticed to Han Baek-young, her mother's best friend now raised to the rank of sanggung. Jang-geum endures many ordeals and is bullied because she is more skilled and works harder than the other girls. During her time as a palace girl, Jang-geum befriends a young seonbi named Min Jeong-ho, who falls in love with her. Her rival is Choi Geum-yeong, another gungnyeo and Choi Seong-geum (also raised to the rank of sanggung due to her association with her aunt the former choigo sanggung)'s niece. While not a cruel person, Geum-yeong's conscience is slowly eroded by Lady Choi's ruthless behavior. Min Jeong-ho urges Geum-yeong to maintain her integrity and stand up to her evil relatives, but an angry Geum-yeong accuses Jeong-ho of not loving her and being by her side.
Many years pass and Lady Choi schemes to win the position of choigo sanggung of royal kitchen. The Choi women have successively occupied the choigo sanggungposition for five successive generations, allowing the clan to become exclusive suppliers of goods and produce to the royal kitchen, making the clan immensely wealthy and powerful. Eventually a cooking competition is declared and Lady Choi and Lady Han vie to become the choigo sanggung. When Lady Han wins (and becomes choigo sanggung), and the King suddenly falls ill during one of his trips to a hot spring, Choi Pan-sool (Lady Choi's elder brother, and main supplier of the royal kitchen) and the Right Minister Oh Gyeom-ho (the Choi clan's ally within the Royal Cabinet) frame Lady Han and Jang-geum as traitors in league with Jo Gwang-jo, famous Joseon reformer. In an effort to save Jang-geum, Lady Han declares that she alone is guilty of treason. Nonetheless, both are judged guilty and sent to Jeju Island to work as government slaves. On the way there Lady Han dies from her injuries. Lady Choi replaces her as the choigo sanggung, while Jang-geum vows revenge.

Escape, & Fugitives from the Law

Eventually, the king's old illness returns. Jang-geum attempts to heal him using all the medical technologies known at the time. The other doctors offer advice but nothing works; the king is dying. Jang-geum resorts to her last option—an experimental technique using newly 'discovered' anesthesia and surgery. However, the king's body is considered sacred and he refuses. Knowing Jang-geum's life will be in danger after his death, the repentant king sends her to escape with Min Jeong-ho. Jang-geum and Jeong-ho live as fugitives.

8 years later, Jang-geum is spotted by her adoptive father, who alerts Jang-geum's friends in the palace. By this time Jungjong had long passed away, along with his appointed Crown Prince (who became Injong, who ruled for less than a year due to a life of illness. The second-in-line to succeed the throne is the child Grand Prince Gyeongwon, only son of Queen Munjeong, who is now both the Great Royal Dowager Queen and the Regent, wielding enormous power. She hears that Jang-geum is still in the country and invites her and Jeong-ho to return to the palace and be reinstated to their previous positions. Jang-geum and Jeong-ho joyfully return, but they decide for the sake of their family to live away from the palace.

As they return to their normal lives, Jang-geum comes across a pregnant woman, and successfully uses her surgical skills to deliver the woman's baby via Caesarean section, thus becoming the first physician in Korea to do a surgical procedure. While Jang-geum celebrates her success, Jeong-ho laments the repressive social climate of Korea, and its inability to accommodate a woman with ambitions.

I wish i can be like 'Jang Geum' the best character i know. Those who didn't watch this series, PLEASE do i really recommended it. Here is the link for your reference Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in The Palace)


  1. I also like this drama very much. Know so much about the Korean food and medicines. I like both the lead actress and the actor too as I think they are very pretty and handsome respectively. Do u know that the actress had gave birth of twins abt 2 months ago, a girl and a boy! Glad for her! :)

  2. Oh really..good for her. Who her husband?. i like the actor too ^_^ i think they suit to each other

  3. Yeah...!! Love this teledrama... very heart touching TV Series....
    Thank you for your feedback remember it again... :(

    From :- Srilanka


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