Jeong Do-jeon (TV series)

Jeong Do-jeon (Korean정도전) is a 2014 South Korean television series starring Cho Jae-hyun in the title role as Jeong Do-jeon, a real-life historical figure (1342–1398) who was one of the most powerful scholars and politicians of his time and a close supporter of King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty.[2] The period drama shows the crucial role Jeong had in the planning and founding of Joseon and the obstacles he faced in the process, as well as his lasting impact on Joseon's politics and laws.[3][4] It aired on KBS1 from January 4 to June 29, 2014 on Saturdays and Sundays at 21:40 for 50 episodes.

Jeong Do-jeon
Jeong Do-Jeon poster.jpg
GenrePeriod drama
Written byJung Hyun-min
Directed byKang Byung-taek
Lee Jae-hoon
StarringCho Jae-hyun
Yoo Dong-geun
Seo In-seok
Park Yeong-gyu
Im Ho
Ahn Jae-mo
Country of originSouth Korea
Original languageKorean
No. of episodes50
Executive producerKim Hyung-il
Production locationSouth Korea
Running timeSaturdays and Sundays at 21:40 (KST)
Production companyKBS
BudgetUS$12.5 million[1]
Original networkKBS1
Original releaseJanuary 4 (2014-01-04) –
June 29, 2014 (2014-06-29)

Jeong Do-jeon received solid ratings and was hailed by critics as one of the most "authentic and realistic" Korean historical dramas in the new millennium.[1] The series won the Grand Prize (Daesang), Best Director and Best Writer at the 41st Korea Broadcasting Awards, and Cho Jae-hyun won Best TV Actor at the 50th Baeksang Arts Awards.[5]


The drama begins in 1374, the final year of King Gongmin of Goryeo. Those times were marked by abuse of power, corruption and political chaos, as government officials and scholars dream of a new dynasty and a new era.

Jeong Do-jeon was an aristocrat and politician who assisted Yi Seong-gye (later King Taejo) when he seized power and established a new dynasty, Joseon. After Taejo became the first king of Joseon, he left all state affairs to Jeong, making him the most powerful and influential man who shaped the 500-year-long dynasty by laying down Joseon's ideological, institutional, and legal foundations. Deciding all policies from military affairs, diplomacy, and down to education, he laid down Joseon's political system and tax laws, replaced Buddhism with Confucianism as national religion, moved the capital from Kaesong to Hanyang (present-day Seoul), changed the kingdom's political system from feudalism to highly centralized bureaucracy, and wrote a code of laws that eventually became Joseon's constitution. He even decided the names of each palace, eight provinces, and districts in the capital. He also worked to free many slaves and reformed land policy.

Jeong died just six years after the foundation of Joseon, killed in 1398 by his political archenemy Yi Bang-won, Taejo's fifth son. Yi killed his two half-brothers (including the crown prince) as well as Jeong and his supporters in a coup that came to be known as the "First Strife of Princes", eventually becoming King Taejong, the third king of Joseon.


Main charactersEdit

Supporting charactersEdit

People surrounding Jeong Do-jeonEdit

  • Lee Ah-hyun as Lady Choi, Jeong Do-jeon's wife
  • Lee Choon-shik as Deuk-bo Ah-beom
  • Im Dae-ho as Nam Eun
  • Lee Byung-wook as Yoon So-jong
  • Jeon Hyeon as Jo Joon
  • Park Yoo-seung as Shim Hyo-saeng
  • Kim Jung-min as Jung Jin
  • Lee Doo-seok as Jung Young
  • Yoo Jang-young as Jung Yoo

People surrounding Yi Seong-gyeEdit

Goryeo Conservative PartyEdit

  • Jung Ho-keun as Im Kyun-mi
  • Kim Min-sang as Uhm Heung-bang
  • Bang Hyung-joo as Ji Yoon
  • Kwon Tae-won as Ahn Sa-ki

Goryeo Royal HouseEdit

Young Scholars/IntellectualsEdit

People of Geopyeong BugokEdit

  • Jang Tae-sung as Hwang Cheon-bok
  • Lee Dae-ro as Hwang Yeon
  • Kang Ye-sol as Yang Ji


Jeong Do-jeon was broadcaster KBS's response to mounting criticisms against historical dramas that have come to rely too much on fiction rather than facts. Korean TV critics called for the restoration of authentic period pieces, which had become increasingly rare since the beginning of the new millennium. Hoping that the drama can simultaneously entertain and retain historical integrity, Jang Seong-hwan, a KBS executive said during the press conference, "We have been eager to produce this project for a long time. As a public broadcaster, we felt that we had a duty to create dramas that promote a proper awareness of history."[3]

The drama sets itself from others in the same genre by focusing on the life of a politician rather than the lives of monarchs. It underwent a two-year pre-production and had a budget of ₩13.5 billion (US$12.5 million). To create Jeong Do-jeon, the production team formed an advisory panel that consisted of history experts, all with doctorates or master's degrees in Korean history, concentrating on the era in which Jeong lived. The cast members also attended a four-month course taught by famed historian Lee Deok-il on Confucianism and the various government regulations that were created with the start of the Joseon era (while Goryeo's national religion was Buddhism, Joseon was built strictly upon Confucian values). The words quoted by Jeong Do-jeon, "If you capture the hearts of the people, the people obey you. But if you fail to win their hearts, they will indeed betray you," were in the production notes on the drama's website.[1]

Head writer Jeong Hyeon-min in particular perused many books on the Goryeo times, as well as biographies of the figures in the drama. Jeong had previously worked for a decade as an aide to 10 Korean lawmakers from both the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party, and his ability to approach the drama's plot from a political spectrum was the reason executive producer Kim Hyeong-il hired him to write the TV series. Some cultural observers noted that the current political situation in Korea - with liberals and conservatives locked in power games - was quite similar to the setting of Jeong Do-jeon. Director Kang Byung-taek called Jeong "rational and practical. The two are important values in Korea today."[1]


Jeong Do-jeon received solid average ratings of 12 percent (according to AGB Nielsen Korea), and the drama's official website received 500 posts in its first two weeks. Unlike other Korean dramas, its primary viewer demographic are men over 40.[1]

Another factor that has contributed to its success is the recent publication of books on Jeong's life. The history books led another broadcaster MBC to also plan a drama about the pivotal scholar. However, the success of KBS's program has caused MBC to postpone its plans indefinitely.[1]

In addition, KBS worked to create synergy with its history talk show, The Day, History Journal, which runs at 10:30 p.m. on Sundays, right after Jeong Do-jeon finishes. Since the drama's first episode, the history talk show has dealt with Jeong, the fall of Goryeo and the rise of Joseon over three consecutive episodes. The history talk show invites not just historians as panel members, but also poets, film directors and pop culture critics.[1]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2014 Best Actor (TV) Cho Jae-hyun Won
41st Korea Broadcasting Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Jeong Do-jeon Won
Best Director Kang Byung-taek Won
Best Screenplay Jung Hyun-min Won
Grand Prize (Daesang) Cho Jae-hyun Nominated
Best Drama Jeong Do-jeon Nominated
Best Screenplay Jung Hyun-min Won
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama Cho Jae-hyun Won
Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama Park Yeong-gyu Nominated
Grand Prize (Daesang) Yoo Dong-geun Won
Top Excellence Award, Actor Cho Jae-hyun Won
Yoo Dong-geun Nominated
Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama Cho Jae-hyun Nominated
Yoo Dong-geun Nominated
Park Yeong-gyu Won
Best Supporting Actor Im Ho Nominated
Best Young Actor Jung Yoon-seok Nominated
PD Award Cho Jae-hyun Nominated
Best Writer Jung Hyun-min Won
2015 Platinum Remi for Dramatic TV Series Jeong Do-jeon Won[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Yang, Sung-hee; Kim, Hyung-eun (4 February 2014). "Unique historical drama tries putting history first". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
  2. ^ Lee, Yeong-hee (4 February 2014). "Why people are so fascinated by Jeong Do-jeon". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
  3. ^ a b Do, Je-hae (3 January 2014). "Joseon founding seen in unique angle". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
  4. ^ Chung, Ah-young (10 January 2014). "Epic dramas to rule small screen in 2014". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 10 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
  5. ^ Chung, Joo-won (27 May 2014). "Song Gang-ho, Jun Ji-hyun get top nods at Baeksang Awards". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  6. ^ "Actress Lee Il-hwa boasts coke bottle bodyline". The Korea Herald. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
  7. ^ Son, Ho-jung (23 April 2015). "KBS 드라마스페셜 '괴물'·'정도전', 휴스턴 국제영화제 대상" [KBS Drama Special 'Monster' and 'Jeong Do-jeon', Houston International Film Festival Grand Prize]. TV Report (in Korean). Retrieved 23 January 2022.

External linksEdit