‘Jingbirok’ sheds new light on Imjin War

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Feb 6, 2015 - 19:33
  • Updated : Feb 6, 2015 - 19:33

Most Koreans are familiar with Adm. Yi Sun-sin, one of the nation’s most revered heroes. Last year’s record-breaking flick “Roaring Currents” centered on a historic battle led by Adm. Yi during the Japanese invasion of Korea in the 1590s, also known as the Imjin War. 
(From left) Lee Jae-yong, Im dong-jin, Kim Sang-joong, Kim Tae-woo and Kim Hye-eun, the cast of the upcoming KBS period drama “Jingbirok,” pose at a news conference in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

A new period TV drama ― set against the backdrop of the Joseon era ― projects to center on a lesser-known figure, Yu Seong-ryong, to shed light on a different facet of the Imjin War.

“Jingbirok,” produced by local TV channel KBS, is based on Yu’s eponymous war memoir, which translates as “book of translation.” Yu, who served as prime minister and held another position overseeing the military, wrote the book after the war.

He hoped that through examining the mistakes of the past, people could avoid similar tragedies in the future. Just like the book, the drama ― in 50 episodes ― delves into what went inside the royal court of Joseon prior, during and after the seven-year war.

“Clearly, a disaster struck the nation, but if there is no one taking responsibility to fix it, what would future generations learn?” said actor Kim Sang-joong, who plays the protagonist Yu in the drama, sharing one of his memorable quotes with the press on Thursday in Seoul. “Just like this phrase, the drama will show us what to reflect upon and what to prepare for the future.”

“A lot of content in the past have dealt with the Imjin War,” said Kim Sang-hui, producer of the drama. “But this time, it will display different angles. He said that the drama ― through Yu’s eyes ― would emphasize areas of military, politics and diplomacy that are less known to the people. “There will be lots of new, interesting stories.”

Actor Kim Tae-woo stars as King Seonjo, regarded as an incompetent king, who fled to Uiju County in North Korea during the peak of the war.

“The drama illustrates the king’s inner struggle during the war,” added Kim. However, the producer emphasized that the drama was not trying to make excuses for the king nor change the facts; it is simply exploring the king’s side of the story.

Veteran actor Im Dong-jin ― after 10 years away from TV ―will join the cast as Yu’s political rival Yoon Doo-soo, while actress Kim Hye-eun will play the king’s mistress.

Actor Lee Jae-yong, featuring as Yu’s political allies Lee San-hae, said he hoped many politicians will watch the drama.

“Jingbirok,” commemorating the 70th anniversary of Korea’s independence from Japan, will hit the airwaves on KBS 1TV at 9:40 p.m. on Feb. 14.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)