Dae Jang Geum

Dae Jang Geum (Korean대장금; Hanja大長今; RRDae Jang-geum; MRTae Chang-gǔm; literally "The Great Jang-geum"), also known as Jewel in the Palace, is a 2003 South Korean historical drama television series directed by Lee Byung-hoon. It first aired on MBC from September 15, 2003 to March 23, 2004, where it was the top program with an average viewership rating of 46.3% and a peak of 57.8% (making it the 10th highest rated Korean drama of all time). Produced for US$15 million, it was later exported to 91 countries and has earned US$103.4 million worldwide, being known as one of the primary proponents of the Korean Wave by heightening the spread of Korean culture abroad.[1][2][3]

Dae Jang Geum
Dae Jang Geum endtitle.png
End title of Dae Jang Geum in episode 32
Also known asJewel in the Palace
GenreHistorical fiction
Written byKim Young-hyun
Directed byLee Byung-hoon
Opening theme"Changryong"
Ending theme"Onara"
Country of originSouth Korea
Original language(s)Korean
No. of episodes54
Executive producer(s)Jo Joong-hyun
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)MBC self-production
BudgetUS$15 million
Original networkMunhwa Broadcasting Corporation
Picture format480i SDTV
Original releaseSeptember 15, 2003 (2003-09-15) –
March 23, 2004 (2004-03-23)
External links
A film set of the royal kitchen, later converted into Daejanggeum Theme Park

Starring Lee Young-ae in the title role, it tells the tale of an orphaned kitchen cook who went on to become the King's first female physician. In a time when women held little influence in society, young apprentice cook Jang-geum strives to learn the secrets of Korean cooking and medicine to cure the King of his various ailments. It is based on the true story of Jang-geum, the first female royal physician of the Joseon Dynasty. The main themes are her perseverance and the portrayal of traditional Korean culture, including Korean royal court cuisine and traditional medicine.[4]


The story is set in Korea during the reigns of King Seongjong (1457–1494), King Yeonsan (1494–1506) and King Jungjong (1506–1544). The epilogue also spans through the reigns of King Injong (1544-1545) and King Myeongjong (1545-1567), with the last scene from March, 1550.

At the outset, King Seongjong has ordered the execution by poisoning of his wife Deposed Queen Lady Yun, the mother of the crown prince (the future Prince Yeonsan). After carrying out the execution, one of the royal guards, Seo Cheon-soo, is haunted by it. 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 has already met, but he killed her; 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, Park Myeong-yi (Seo's eventual wife) and Jang-geum (Seo's daughter). Haunted by the curse of the executed deposed queen 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. Park Myeong-yi is a palace girl and apprentice cook of the royal kitchen. 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 them. The officers, fearful that Myeong-yi might reveal their conspiracy, attempt to murder her by framing her committing adultery with a royal guard, then executing her with poison. Myeong-yi's best friend, Han Baek-young, manages to save her by secretly diluting the poison with an antidote and leaves the unconscious Myeong-yi a letter explaining what had happened. As Seo Cheon-soo wanders through the forest, he stumbles upon the half-conscious Myeong-yi, rescues her, and the two fall in love and marry. They end up living peacefully in a remote village as lower caste commoners and raise a clever daughter named Seo Jang-geum.

When Jang-geum is eight years old, king Yeongsangun learns about the murder of his mother and vows revenge, seeking and killing people who were previously involved. Among them is Jang-geum's father, who so far managed to hide his identity. However, following an incident, Jang-geum accidentally causes him to be arrested. Her mother, rushing on the way to Hanyang to visit her husband, is spotted by Choi's family and eventually killed by an arrow. Jang-geum, now an orphan, is adopted by Kang Duk-gu and Na Joo-daek, a family making a living through selling wine. Two years later, Jang-geum enters the palace after king Jungjong ascends to the throne. She is committed to be able to enter the middle kitchen (where her mother used to cook) to uncover her mother's letter written for her. During this time, she meets Lady Han and they form a mother-daughter bond. 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, the 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 to Jeju, Lady Han dies from her injuries. Lady Choi replaces her as the head court lady of the royal kitchen, while Jang-geum vows revenge. Official Min Jeong-ho, who's in love with Jang-geum, follows her to Jeju Island and offers to help her escape, but she refuses since doing so would mean never being able to return to the palace to not only clear Lady Han's name, but obtain justice for her mother's death. Min Jeong-ho declares he will wait for her and help her out throughout her stay in Jeju.

On Jeju, Jang-geum meets a woman named Jang-deok, a famous female doctor. Jang-deok's blunt and forthright manner at first offend her, but as time goes by, she begins to see that the female doctor is dedicated and caring. As the days go by, Jang-geum realizes that her only way back to the palace is to become a female physician, and begs Jang-deok to teach her medicine. Jang-geum's friend, Jeong Woon-baek, an eccentric royal physician, disapproves of her decision to pursue medicine in order to take revenge, but, in spite of this, she perseveres and earns herself a post as a female doctor-in-training at the palace. Here she encounters her former friend Choi Geum-young, who has been promoted to head lady of the kitchen, while the ruthlessly ambitious Lady Choi is now in charge of all the women working in the palace. Jang-geum's childhood best friend, Lee Yeon-saeng, has caught the king's eye, and is now his concubine. Jang-geum endures many trials at the palace, but manages to accomplish great feats.

With Jang-geum's status rising, several events ensue that lead to an investigation of the Choi clan, resulting in the prosecution of Lady Choi, her elder brother and several high-ranking officials, including the Chief State Councillor. Everyone tries to escape, but only Lady Choi manages to evade the guards. Jang-geum finds her and asks if she is willing to sacrifice her niece, Geum-young, to the authorities while she herself escapes. Having abandoned her ethics and conscience for the sake of the Choi clan a long time ago, Lady Choi is unable to respond. Torn between self-preservation and guilt, she wanders the countryside hallucinating, ends up falling off a cliff off Mount Dongin and dies. Choi Geum-young loses her position and is exiled along with the other officials.

Through her dedication, perseverance and medical skills, Jang-geum saves the royal family from re-occurring ill fortune. After giving birth to a stillborn child, Queen Consort Munjeong remains ill. Jang-geum correctly identifies a second stillborn fetus in her womb and saves her life. She convinces the Dowager Queen Mother to undergo medical treatment at the risk of being beheaded, and she also cures Grand Prince Gyeongwon of smallpox, which earns her the permanent gratitude of the Queen Consort.

For her achievements King Jungjong makes Jang-geum a 6th rank official and appoints her to be his personal physician, the first woman to hold such a position. The court is in uproar and the state councillors unanimously oppose the appointment on the grounds that it violates the country's constitution. When the Dowager Queen Mother humiliates herself to express her disapproval, the king revokes his decision. She urges the king to take Jang-geum as one of his concubines. Although he is in love with Jang-geum, he refrains from making her one of his concubines against her will. Jang-geum contains a small pox epidemic, and the king finally decrees her his personal physician. She is granted the honorific Dae (meaning "The Great"), as well as the position of a third rank official. The ministers and scholars of the court bitterly accept the decree, but demand that the king punish Min Jeong-ho for supporting Jang-geum's appointment. Seeing an opportunity to separate the lovers, the king agrees and Jeong-ho is sentenced to exile.

Eventually, the king's previous medical condition re-emerges. Jang-geum attempts to heal him using all the medical equipment and knowledge available 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 the court unanimously opposes this new procedure, and the king decides not to allow the operation. Knowing Jang-geum's life will be in danger after his death, the repentant king grants her escape to be with Min Jeong-ho. The two of them live as fugitives and have a daughter, So-hoon.

Eight years later, King Jungjong is dead and Grand Prince Gyeongwon has been enthroned, while his mother Queen Munjeong is now both the Great Royal Dowager Queen and the Regent, wielding enormous power. When she learns that Jang-geum is still in the country, she 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 decide to live outside the palace for the sake of their family. Jang-geum leaves the palace not before seeing her friends from afar. As they return to their previous routine, Jang-geum comes across a pregnant woman, and successfully uses her surgical skills to deliver the woman's baby via Caesarean section. While she celebrates her success, Jeong-ho laments the repressive social climate of Korea, and its inability to accommodate a woman with ambitions.


Main charactersEdit

Cut-outs of the main characters Jang-geum and Min Jeong-ho, at the film set, later converted into Daejanggeum Theme Park

An intelligent, beautiful, and extroverted woman whose outgoing nature and enthusiasm allow her stand out from the crowd. Ever since her parents died during a political massacre, she has suffered many hardships and obstacles, especially in the palace, but she overcomes them with strong determination and perseverance.

Being strong-willed, Jang-geum strives to reach her goal regardless of the obstacles she is facing. It is with her extraordinary medical skills and knowledge, as well as her integrity and high ethics to only use her knowledge to heal and cure, that she becomes the first female physician to the king, and named Dae ("the Great") Jang-geum, becoming a third-ranked official, something unheard of at the time for a woman during the Joseon era.

An educated, very intelligent and good-looking man, he is an outstanding scholar who combines both learning and the martial arts. Jeong-ho is a judge of the Hang Sung Boo, the ministry governing the affairs of the capital Hansung. Unaware of who he is, Jang-geum saves him upon being shot at. They then meet again when she approaches him to borrow books. They become romantically involved as he moves to Nae Geum Wee (the Royal Military Guard) as Jong Sa Gwan, a senior officer.

Ambitious and arrogant, Choi Geum-young starts her life in the palace as the niece of the influential Lady Choi, a former friend that becomes Jang-geum's lifelong rival. Although she is with the Choi clan, she yearns to find her own way - never really accepting the Chois' way of doing things but unable to find her own independent identity. Her intelligence and talent often put her head-to-head with Jang-geum and she competes with her in order to become better than her. Eventually Lady Choi's influence and her unreciprocated attraction to Min Jeong-ho prompt her to keep mostly to the Choi clan's ways.

The 11th king of the Joseon Dynasty, he is very gentle but extremely irresolute and indecisive. He is a kind man who, after his first wife was forced to be commit suicide by cabinet ministers for political reasons, has shut down his heart. The king deeply mourns over his beloved wife, powerless to protect her. He is constantly aware that he is only a puppet to the appointed ministers and angry that he is helpless to do anything about it. The king gets to know Jang-geum in the midst of his aggressive efforts toward pushing for political reform and grows fond of her warm personality and outstanding talents. He finds an understanding companion in her and later, for the first time in a decade, becomes attracted to her.

As one of the sanggungs working in the royal kitchen (soorakgan), she possesses a talent in culinary art and is able to identify the source of the ingredients in a dish. Best friend to Jang-geum's mother, she often misses and regrets not being able to save her friend. She is a rigorous, steadfast person who is not to be swayed from her purpose. Although obdurate in nature, she is actually very kind-hearted. Jang-geum's presence allows her to open up and she treats her as both a strict teacher and a kind mother figure.

Choi Pan-sul's younger sister and Geum-young's aunt. With her family hierarchy and bloodline, she is expected to be the successor of the soorakgan's highest sanggung rank. She learned and was being taught about the delicacy of food from a young age. Arrogant and too proud, she has a fierce need to get what she wants and will stop at nothing until she gets what she wants. Sharp-minded and quick to act, she is always a step ahead of plotting against Jang-geum and Han Sanggung ("Lady Han"). She hasn't been nice to Jang-Geum, Jang-Geum's mother and Lady Han.

Supporting charactersEdit

Early life
  • Park Chan-hwan as Seo Cheon-soo - Jang-geum's father
  • Kim Hye-sun as Park Myeong-yi - Jang-geum's mother
  • Im Hyun-sik as Kang Duk-gu - Jang-geum's adoptive father
  • Geum Bo-ra as Na Ju-daek - Duk-gu's wife and Jang-geum's adoptive mother
Time as a palace chef
Time as a Jungjong's royal queen consorts
Time as a medical woman
  • Jeon In-taek as Doctor Jeong Yoon-soo
  • Maeng Sang-hoon as Professor (and Doctor) Jeong Woon-baek
  • Kim Yeo-jin as Jang-deok - a known physician from Jeju
  • Han Ji-min as Shin-bi
  • Lee Se-eun as Park Yeol-yi (Her "adoptive" mother was the previous choi-go sanggung Lady Park Yong-shin)
  • Professor and Physician Shin - one of the trainer of Jang-Geum and Shin-Bi when they enter the palace to become a physician. He became Queen Dowager's Physician but Queen Dowager doesn't trust him at first as her physician. He is also became King's Physician, when Jang-Geum found the cause and cure of King's illness.
  • Professor Lee - is also Jang-Geum and Shin-Bi's trainer when they enter the palace to become a physician lady. He calls physician trainees to become dancers when there is a special event. He is also Queen Dowager Jasun's relative.


Theme songEdit

The theme song, Onara (Korean: 오나라) is in Old Korean. This produced arguments about the lyrics and how they should be interpreted. As a result, different interpretations surfaced. Eventually the songwriter, Im Se-hyeon, revealed the lyrics.[5]

The song is in the pansori style, a particular type of Korean music that emerged during the Joseon Dynasty and was very popular in the 19th century. It utilizes the vocals of one singer, a sorikkun, and one drummer, a gosu, to tell a themed story. The refrain ("He-iya di-iya he-iya naranino") is called chu-imsae and, in traditional pansori, it is supplied by the drummer to give rhythm to the song in addition to the beat. Chuimsae consists of meaningless vowel sounds or short words of encouragement. Chuimsae is analogous to scat singing in jazz nonsense syllables such as "La, la, la," or "Shoop, shoop ba doop" in English-language popular songs.

Korean versionEdit

The end of each episode of Dae Jang Geum features "Onara" sung by three Korean children, Kim Ji-hyeon (Korean김지현; Hanja金智賢), Baek Bo-hyeon (Korean백보현; Hanja白寶賢), Kim Seul-gi (Korean김슬기; Hanja金슬기), who were elementary students learning Korean classic music at the time. The Dae Jang Geum soundtrack album also features a slower version of the song sung by E Ahn (Korean이안; Hanja李安; his real name is Lee Dong-hee (Korean이동희; Hanja李冬熙)), a Korean traditional music singer who graduated from the Korean classical music department at Seoul National University.

Foreign versionsEdit

"Onara" has several other versions that were used with Dae Jang Geum's release outside of Korea. "Hope" (希望 Hèimohng) was the version sung by Kelly Chen in Cantonese for the Hong Kong release. "Baby" (娃娃 Wáwá) was sung by Angela Chang in Mandarin Chinese for the Taiwan release. "Calling" (呼唤 Hūhuàn) sung by Tang Can, and "Hope" (希望 Xīwàng) sung by five winners of the Super Girl singing contest were among those used for the China release.

For the Philippine release, Faith Cuneta sang an entirely different song (in contrast with her earlier work for the Philippine broadcast of "Winter Sonata"), titled "Pangarap na Bituin" (a remake of the original sung by the singer's 2nd cousin Sharon Cuneta as the theme song for her 1984 film "Bukas Luluhod Ang Mga Tala"). Shamrock sings a soundtrack title "Alipin" and Regine Velasquez also sings that soundtrack in another TV Release.

In Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese version was sung by Angeline Gunathilake and written by Athula Ransirilal; it was titled "Gaha kola mal gal gesee bala sitinawa" (The trees and flowers are looking at her). A Tamil version was also released with the title "Maramilay pukkal urindu parkinrana." Local musical instruments such as the raban were used in the recording, and both songs were very popular among children.

Original soundtrackEdit

  1. 고원 (高原)
  2. 창룡 (蒼龍)[6]
  3. 하망연 (何茫然) Hamangyeon - feat. Safina
  4. 오나라 II
  5. 0815 (空八一五)
  6. 연밥
  7. 덕구
  8. Hamangyeon feat. Safina
  9. APNA
  10. 다솜
  11. 비 (悲)
  12. 단가 (短歌)
  13. 연도 (烟濤)
  14. 오나라 I
  15. The Legend Becomes History
  16. 자야오가 (子夜吳歌) Techno Ver.
  17. 하망연 (何茫然) Hamangyeon-Instrumental


2003 MBC Drama Awards[7]
2004 Baeksang Arts Awards

International broadcastEdit

Following its initial broadcast in South Korea, Dae Jang Geum was syndicated in over 60 countries around the world, under the titles Jewel in the Palace and The Great Jang-Geum

Country Network(s)/Station(s) Series premiere Title
  South Korea MBC September 2003 대장금 (Dae Jang Geum)
  Afghanistan Tolo TV August 2007 جواهر در قصر (Jewel in the Palace)
  Algeria EPTV 2008 جوهرة القصر (Jewel of the Palace)
  Australia TVB Jade September 2005 The Great Jang-Geum
  Bangladesh BTV 2012 Jewel in the Palace
  Barbados CBC TV 8 January 2012 Jewel in the Palace
  Bosnia and Herzegovina TVR1 January 2010 Dragulj u Carskoj Palati (The Jewel in the Imperial Palace)
  Brunei RTB2 April 2007 Jewel in the Palace
  Bulgaria BNT 1 July 2018 Съкровище в двореца (Treasure in the palace)
  Cambodia TV5 June 2005 ជីវីតនាងចំាងគឹម (The Life of Jang Geum Lady)
  Cameroon CRTV (Jewel In The Palace)
  Canada Fairchild TV July 2005 The Great Jang-Geum
  China Hunan TV September 2005 大长今 (Great Jang Geum)
  Colombia Canal Capital March 2010 Una Joya en el Palacio (The Jewel in the Palace)
  Costa Rica Canal 13 October 2009 Una Joya en el Palacio (The Jewel in the Palace)
  Ecuador Ecuador TV June 2009 Una Joya en el Palacio (The Jewel in the Palace)
  Egypt ERTU June 2006 جوهرة القصر (Jewel in the Palace)
  Ethiopia Ethiopian TV 2008 Jewel in the Palace
  France France 2 November 2016 (Jewel In The Palace)
  Ghana TV3 February 2006 Jewel in the Palace
TV Africa October 2009 Jewel in the Palace
  Greece TV 100 December 2013 Το Κόσμημα του Παλατιού
  Grenada GNN January 2012 Jewel in the Palace
  Hong Kong TVB September 2005 大長今 (Great Jang Geum)
  Hungary m1 October 2008 A palota ékköve (The Jewel in the Palace)
  India DD National September 2007 घर का चिराग (The Lamp of the House)
  Indonesia Indosiar December 2005 Jewel in the Palace
  Iran Channel 2 November 2006 جواهری در قصر (Jewel in the Palace)
  Israel Viva October 2008 היהלום שבכתר (The Diamond in the Crown)
  Japan NHK October 2005 宮廷女官チャングムの誓い (The Vow of Palace Court Lady Jang Geum)
  Jordan MEM June 2006 جوهرة القصر (Jewel in the Palace)
  Kenya GBS October 2009 Jewel in the Palace
  Malaysia 8TV December 2005 Jewel in the Palace
  Mexico Canal 34 October 2009 Una Joya en el Palacio (The Jewel in the Palace)
  Mongolia UBS March 2004 Дэ Жанг Гүм
  Myanmar Myawady TV (MWD), MRTV-4 June 2018 Jewel of the palace ("Flower in the Palace")
  New Zealand Triangle TV October 2009 The Great Jang-Geum
  Nigeria AIT August 2008 Jewel in the Palace
  Pakistan PTV January 2015 (Nageen)
  Peru TV Perú November 2008 Una Joya en el Palacio (The Jewel in the Palace)
  Philippines GMA November 2005
May 2014
Jewel in the Palace / Ang Katangi-tanging Hiyas ng Palasyo / Ang Tunay na Yaman ng Palasyo
TeleAsia 2013 Jewel in the Palace
GMA News TV October 1, 2018 Jewel in the Palace / Ang Katangi-tanging Hiyas ng Palasyo
  Puerto Rico WIPR-TV September 2010 Una Joya en el Palacio (The Jewel in the Palace)
  Republic of China (Taiwan) GTV May 2004 大長今 (Great Jang Geum)
  Romania TVR1 April 2009 Giuvaierul Palatului (Jewel in the Palace)
  Russia DTV March 2007 Жемчужина дворца (The Jewel in the Palace)
  Saint Lucia GNN January 2012 Jewel in the Palace
  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines GNN January 2012 Jewel in the Palace
  Saudi Arabia Saudi 1 October 2007 جوهرة القصر (Jewel in the Palace)
  Singapore VV Drama July 2005 Jewel in the Palace
Mediacorp Channel U March 2006 "大長今 Jewel in the Palace"
  Spain TVE November 2010 Una Joya en el Palacio (The Jewel in the Palace)
  Sri Lanka Rupavahini October 2012 සුජාත දියණි (Sujatha Diyani)
Nethra TV August 2013 சுஜாத தியனி (Sujatha Diyani)
  Tanzania Independent Television (ITV) August 2008 Jewel in the Palace
  Thailand Channel 3 October 2005 แดจังกึม จอมนางแห่งวังหลวง (Great Jang Geum)
  Trinidad and Tobago CCN TV6 July 2011 Jewel in the Palace
  Turkey TRT 1 January 2008 Saraydaki Mücevher (Jewel in the Palace)
  United Arab Emirates Dubai TV October 2007 جوهرة القصر (Jewel in the Palace)
  United States AZN June 2005 The Great Jang-Geum
  Uzbekistan Uzbekistan channel November 2005 Saroy Javohiri (Jewel in the Palace)
  Vietnam VTV1 September 2005 Nàng Dae Jang Geum (Miss Dae Jang Geum)
  Zambia AIT August 2008 Jewel in the Palace
  Zimbabwe AIT August 2008 Jewel in the Korean Palace
  Tunisia M Tunisia June 2015 جوهرة القصر (Jewel in the Palace)

Cultural impactEdit

As part of the Korean Wave of South Korean culture in East Asia, Dae Jang Geum's immense popularity has had significant cultural impact.


The Korea Tourism Organization promotes Dae Jang Geum-oriented tourism in East Asia and the United States and the main outdoor sets built by MBC for the shooting of the drama were purchased by the South Korean government. The Daejanggeum Theme Park was opened in Yangju, Gyeonggi Province in December 2004 at the site of these sets where much of the filming occurred.[8]

Korean cuisineEdit

Dae Jang Geum rekindled public interest in traditional Korean cuisine, both locally and abroad.[9][10][11][12]

References in other showsEdit

In an episode of King of the Hill, Kahn and Minh were watching Dae Jang Geum (which is dubbed in Laotian).

In episode 1 of Princess Hours, Chae-gyeong's family is watching episode 30 of Dae Jang Geum (Yeon-saeng being scolded for playing with the King's puppy).

In episode 32 of Love Truly, Yeo Bong-soon's mother (played by Geum Bo-ra) is watching Dae Jang Geum. Geum Bo-ra played Jang-geum's adoptive mother Na Joo-daek in Dae Jang-geum.

In episode 9 of Who Are You, there is a large Dae Jang Geum poster on the side of a building.

In episode 2 of Silence, a Taiwanese drama starring Park Eun-hye, Dae Jang Geum is mentioned as a famous Korean drama.

In episode 8 of Playful Kiss, Dae Jang Geum is mentioned despite the bad cooking skills of the main character.

In the final episode of the 2007 series, Yi San, a character played by Lee Ip-sae and her colleague has a moment of deja vu in the royal kitchen and came to believe that they worked there in their previous life. The same series takes place two centuries later in the Joseon Dynasty after Dae Jang Geum. Coincidentally, Lee Ip-sae also starred in Dae Jang Geum and the other series is also produced by the same company and director.

Musical theatreEdit

In 2007, Dae Jang Geum was made into a stage musical titled "The Great Janggeum," staged at the Seoul Arts Center from May 26 to June 16. Following the same storyline, it condensed 54 episodes of the original TV drama into a two-and-a-half-hour-long musical which combined Western orchestral music with traditional Korean group dances. An eye-catching 400 different traditional Korean costumes enhanced the beauty and scale of the stage, coupled with beautifully detailed stage settings. Producer Han Jin-sup said the musical used music to substitute for visual effects, "rhythm and melodies that replace the enjoyment of watching beautiful sets of Korean food and also have lots of Korean colors and styles to amaze audiences". For example, when girls in the royal kitchen made dumplings to win the cooking competition, "plate dances" expressed the enthusiasm of the girls and the variety of dumplings. A total of 40 songs for the musical were arranged and written by Cho Sung-woo, a famous film composer. This was the first time that Cho had written vocal and background music for a musical, saying, "This is a great opportunity and an honor for musicians like me to have a chance to write songs for musical productions. I tried to make songs that have both the Korean and Western melodies." Asked about how to deliver a storyline that requires some knowledge of Korean history to foreign audiences, co-chairman of PMC Production Song Seung-hwan cited the familiarity of most Asian viewers with the drama's plot and said the musical will highlight "love," as a universal theme in the musical.[13][14][15]

The musical was again staged at Sungjeon Hall in Gyeonghui Palace on September 5–30, 2008. Hosted by the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture and the Seoul City government, it was the foundation's idea to put the ancient palaces to added use beyond mere preservation and protection for viewing. Gyeonghui Palace was one of the "Five Grand Palaces" built in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897); about ten kings of the era stayed at the palace from King Injo to King Cheoljong. In the latter Joseon period, the palace served as a secondary palace ― a place where the king moves in times of emergency, as it was situated on the west side of Seoul. The palace was built incorporating the slanted geography of the surrounding mountain and boasts traditional beauty along with architecture rich with historical significance. The upgraded version of the musical highlighted the musical elements to better portray each character based on the more historical facts, reinterpreting the work through a new theme rather than the episodes. Keeping the colors, patterns, touches of the structures intact, the production used the natural backgrounds, traditional atmosphere and the outdoor characteristics.[16] Audiences were surprised by the unconventional modern setting. While the story revolved around an historic palace from the Joseon Dynasty, the musical incorporated hip hop, fast tempos and a dynamic staging. The actors even broke into rap, creating an imaginative, gutsy and intense show.[17]


The animated rendition of Dae Jang Geum, called Jang Geum's Dream is much the same story but focuses on Jang-geum in her younger years.[18]


In September 2012, MBC announced its plans to produce a sequel, Dae Jang Geum 2.[19][20][21] In his opening speech at a cultural contents forum in Seoul in October 2013, MBC president Kim Jong-guk reaffirmed the project, saying, "We'll push for the production in the first half of 2015 after a year of pre-production."[1][22][23][24]

In March 2014, writer Kim Young-hyun confirmed that the series would be aired in October 2014, and that lead actress Lee Young-ae who had previously turned down offers of a sequel since her semi-retirement from acting in 2006, is "positively considering" reprising her role.[25] In Kim's synopsis, Jang-geum will reportedly lose her husband and her daughter will be kidnapped and taken to China, leaving Jang-geum to try to find her. The first half of the series will be about her journey to China, where the original series has a big following, and filming will take place there. But Jang-geum will return home without success, and resume her life by looking for a young successor to take under her tutelage. Jang-geum will choose to train the daughter of Geum-young, Jang-geum's rival from the first series.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Daejanggeum II to be produced". The Korea Times. January 8, 2014. Archived from the original on January 8, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Yang, Sung-hee (March 22, 2014). "Lee Young-ae could return to iconic series". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  3. ^ Hua, Vanessa (August 31, 2005). "Japanese soaps cleaning up". Asia Times.
  4. ^ "10 Years On, Lee Young-ae Looks Back at Jewel in the Palace". The Chosun Ilbo. September 14, 2013.
  5. ^ Lyrics Archived February 13, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ This is the opening theme, and plays during scenes of practicing medicine and the return to the palace.
  7. ^ Kim, Tae-geun (December 29, 2003). "TV Dramas' Actresses Line up for Award Ceremony Takeover". The Chosun Ilbo.
  8. ^ "Overseas Press to Participate in the Hallyu Promotion Event" Archived April 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine at the Korea Tourism Organization website. October 10, 2005.
  9. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (March 20, 2008). "Vive La Korean Food! Hallyu Revitalizes Culinary Tradition". The Korea Times.
  10. ^ Michot, Alexandra (November 3, 2007). "Slow food à Séoul" [Slow food in Seoul]. Madame Figaro (in French).
  11. ^ "French Discover Korean Cuisine". The Chosun Ilbo. November 5, 2007.
  12. ^ "Lecture: Korean Royal Cuisine in Korean Drama, Jewel in the palace". Korean Cultural Service NY. May 27, 2010.
  13. ^ "Daejanggeum Musical to Debut on Stage This Year". The Chosun Ilbo. February 6, 2007.
  14. ^ Cho, Chung-un (February 7, 2007). "Musical Great Janggeum unveiled". The Korea Herald.
  15. ^ Lee, Woo-young (May 31, 2007). "MUSICAL REVIEW: Great Janggeum offers a feast with unfilled dishes". The Korea Herald.
  16. ^ Chung, Ah-young (August 21, 2008). "Royal Palaces Open Wide". The Korea Times.
  17. ^ Choi, Min-woo (December 20, 2008). "High notes and discord in the musical world". Korea Joongang Daily.
  18. ^ "Daejanggeum Week Draws Diehard Fans". The Chosun Ilbo. May 31, 2007.
  19. ^ "MBC to make sequel to popular TV drama Daejanggeum". The Korea Times. September 17, 2012. Archived from the original on March 24, 2014.
  20. ^ "MBC to make sequel to popular TV drama Daejanggeum". The Korea Herald. September 17, 2012.
  21. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (September 19, 2012). "MBC plans Dae Jang Geum sequel". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  22. ^ "MBC president plans to produce sequel to Daejanggeum in 2015". The Korea Herald. October 18, 2013.
  23. ^ Kim, Peter (October 18, 2013). "Sequel to Jewel in the Palace set for 2015". The Korea Observer.
  24. ^ Chung, Ah-young (January 10, 2014). "Epic dramas to rule small screen in 2014". The Korea Times.
  25. ^ "Jewel in the Palace Sequel in the Works". The Chosun Ilbo. March 21, 2014.

External linksEdit