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Misaeng (Hangul미생 - 아직 살아 있지 못한 자; RRMisaeng - Ajik sala ittji mothan ja) is a 2014 South Korean television series based on the webtoon series of the same title by Yoon Tae-ho. It aired on tvN from October 17 to December 20, 2014 on Fridays and Saturdays at 20:30 for 20 episodes.[1][2][3][4][5]

Promotional poster for Misaeng
Also known as An Incomplete Life
Genre Workplace
Based on Misaeng
by Yoon Tae-ho
Written by Jung Yoon-jung
Directed by Kim Won-seok
Starring Im Si-wan
Lee Sung-min
Kang So-ra
Kang Ha-neul
Byun Yo-han
Kim Dae-myung
Shin Eun-jung
Park Hae-joon
Composer(s) Kim Jun-seok
Park Seong-il
Country of origin South Korea
Original language(s) Korean
No. of episodes 20
Executive producer(s) Kim Mi-na
Lee Chan-ho
Producer(s) Park Ji-young
Choi Jin-hee
Lee Jae-moon
Ham Seung-hoon
Location(s) Korea, Jordan
Cinematography Choi Sang-mook
Editor(s) Kim Na-young
Running time 65 minutes
Fridays and Saturdays at 20:30 (KST)
Production company(s) Number 3 Pictures
Original network tvN
Picture format 1080i
Audio format Dolby Digital 2.0
Original release October 17 (2014-10-17) – December 20, 2014 (2014-12-20)
Preceded by Plus Nine Boys
Followed by Heart to Heart
External links

The title translates to Go terminology meaning "an incomplete life" (literally "not yet" (미) "birth" (생), meaning "not yet alive"). Misaeng was the first Korean drama to film on location in Jordan, where actors Im Si-wan and Lee Sung-min shot the series's prologue in Amman, Petra, and Wadi Rum.[6] Yim reprised his role as Misaeng's protagonist, which he played in an earlier film adaptation, Incomplete Life: Prequel (2013).[7][8][9]

Misaeng became a cultural phenomenon and recorded high viewership ratings for a cable network program in Korea. tvN is known for its record breaking dramas. [10][11][12][13][14][15] [16]



Since he was a child, the board game baduk has been everything to Jang Geu-rae.[17] But when he fails at achieving his dream of becoming a professional baduk player, Geu-rae must leave his isolated existence and enter the real world armed with nothing but a high school equivalency exam on his resume. Through an acquaintance's recommendation, he gets hired as an intern at One International, a large trading company.

There, Geu-rae meets his boss, manager Oh Sang-shik, who's a workaholic and has a warm personality; fellow intern Ahn Young-yi, who attracts her colleagues' ire because of her impressive educational credentials and by being extremely competent at any task; and Jang Baek-gi, a geeky co-worker whose anxious nature masks his inner ambition. Geu-rae learns to navigate and adapt to corporate culture, with baduk as his guide.[18]


  • Im Si-wan as Jang Geu-rae[19][20]
  • Lee Sung-min as Oh Sang-shik
  • Kang So-ra as Ahn Young-yi[21]
  • Kang Ha-neul as Jang Baek-gi[22]
  • Byun Yo-han as Han Seok-yool
  • Kim Dae-myung as Kim Dong-shik
  • Shin Eun-jung as Sun Ji-young
  • Park Hae-joon as Chun Kwan-woong
  • Yoon Jong-hoon as Lee Sang-hyun
  • Yeo Eui-joo as Jang Ki-seok
  • Kim Jong-soo as Kim Boo-ryun
  • Ryu Tae-ho as Go Dong-ho
  • Kim Hee-won as Park Jong-shik[23]
  • Kim Kyung-ryong as Lee Shin-tae
  • Park Jin-soo as Assistant manager Hwang
  • Nam Kyung-eup as CEO of One International
  • Lee Geung-young as Choi Young-hoo
  • Son Jong-hak as Ma Bok-ryul
  • Jung Hee-tae as Jung Hee-seok
  • -- as Cha Jung-ho
  • Jang Hyuk-jin as Moon Sang-pil
  • Choi Gwi-hwa as Park Yong-gu
  • Shin Jae-hoon as Yoo Hyung-ki
  • Jeon Seok-ho as Ha Sung-joon
  • Oh Min-suk as Kang Hae-joon
  • Tae In-ho as Sung Joon-shik
  • -- as Cha Soo-jin
  • Park Jin-seo as Shin Da-in
  • Hwang Seok-jeong as Kim Sun-joo
  • Jo Hyun-sik as Kim Seok-ho
  • Kim Jung-hak as Lee Seok-joong
  • Kwak In-joon as Audit team leader
  • Han Kap-soo as One International Jordan branch manager
  • Choi Jae-woong as One International Jordan branch employee
  • Sung Byung-sook as Geu-rae's mother
  • Nam Myung-ryul as Geu-rae's baduk teacher
  • Lee Si-won as Ha Jung-yeon
  • -- as Senior colleague Kim
  • Oh Yoon-hong as Oh Sang-shik's wife
  • Lee Seung-joon as Shin Woo-hyun
  • Seo Yoon-ah as Lee Eun-ji
  • Cho Hunhyun (cameo)
  • Yoo Changhyuk (cameo)
  • Oh Jung-se as Husband of Chungsol's CEO (cameo, ep 20)


Episode Original airdate AGB Nielsen[24]
Average Rating Peak Rating
01 October 17, 2014 1.6% 2.8%
02 October 18, 2014 2.35% 3.1%
03 October 24, 2014 3.11% 4.6%
04 October 25, 2014 3.49% 4.9%
05 October 31, 2014 4.55% 6.0%
06 November 1, 2014 3.70% 5.4%
07 November 7, 2014 5.15% 6.4%
08 November 8, 2014 4.67% 6.6%
09 November 14, 2014 5.06% 6.7%
10 November 15, 2014 5.49% 7.0%
11 November 21, 2014 5.95% 7.1%
12 November 22, 2014 6.13% 7.8%
13 November 28, 2014 5.80% 7.9%
14 November 29, 2014 5.81% 7.9%
15 December 5, 2014 7.02% 9.4%
16 December 6, 2014 7.03% 8.6%
17 December 12, 2014 7.37% 9.7%
18 December 13, 2014 7.90% 9.5%
19 December 19, 2014 7.24% 9.3%
20 December 20, 2014 8.24% 10.3%

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result
9th Cable TV Broadcasting Awards[25]
Grand Prize (Daesang) Misaeng Won
Star Award - Best Actor Im Si-wan Won
Kang Ha-neul Won
51st Baeksang Arts Awards[26]
Best Drama Misaeng Nominated
Best Director (TV) Kim Won-seok Won
Best Actor (TV) Lee Sung-min Won
Best New Actor (TV) Im Si-wan Won
Kim Dae-myung Nominated
10th Seoul International Drama Awards
Best Miniseries Misaeng Won
Best Director Kim Won-seok Nominated
8th Korea Drama Awards
Best Drama Misaeng Won
Best Production Director Kim Won-seok Nominated
Best Screenplay Jung Yoon-jung Nominated
Top Excellence Award, Actor Im Si-wan Nominated
Excellence Award, Actor Kim Dae-myung Won
Special Jury Prize Im Si-wan Won
4th APAN Star Awards
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Lee Sung-min Won
Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Im Si-wan Won
Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Kang So-ra Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Kim Dae-myung Nominated
Lee Geung-young Won
Best New Actor Byun Yo-han Won
Kang Ha-neul Nominated
tvN10 Awards
Best Actor Lee Sung-min Won
Best Content Award, Drama Misaeng Won
Made in tvN, Actor in Drama Im Si-wan Nominated
Made in tvN, Actress in Drama Kang So-ra Nominated
Scene-Stealer Award, Actor Byun Yo-han Nominated
Kang Ha-neul Nominated

Source materialEdit

With his webtoon, author Yoon Tae-ho drew an analogy between life in modern society and the game of baduk, a chess-like strategy board game. He also wrote vivid descriptions of the everyday life and struggles of Korean corporate culture as his flawed characters deal with the fierce competition for survival, interpersonal work relationships and office politics. Misaeng gained immense popularity among Korean white-collar workers in their twenties and thirties largely because its realism resonated with their experiences. It drew 1 billion hits when it was published on online portal Daum from September 2012 to October 2013, and the nine-volume paperback version sold 900,000 copies. It is now considered a must-read comic in the country.[27][28]

International broadcastEdit

Country Network(s)/Station(s) Series premiere Title
  Thailand PPTV October 28, 2015 หนุ่มออฟฟิศพิชิตฝัน (Num Office Pichit Fun[29])
  Malaysia 8TV (Malaysia)


  1. ^ An, So-hyoun (1 September 2014). "ZE:A's Im Si Wan, Kang Ha Neul, Kang Sora and More Gather for Misaeng Scripts Reading". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  2. ^ Lee, Sun-young; Chung, Joo-won; Ahn, Sung-mi (16 September 2014). "New TV dramas to look out for". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  3. ^ "Misaeng Teasers Revealed; Im Si Wan, Kang So Ra, Kang Ha Neul Pose For Cosmopolitan". KDramaStars. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  4. ^ "Office grunts clock in at Misaeng's press conference". Dramabeans. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-08. 
  5. ^ Baek, Byung-yeul (12 October 2014). "Cartoon-inspired TV dramas on the way". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-11-21. 
  6. ^ "Misaeng teases realistic portrayal of salaryman's life". Dramabeans. 22 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  7. ^ Chung, Ah-young (5 June 2013). "Webtoon give inspiration to films". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  8. ^ "Incomplete life: Prequel". PiFan. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  9. ^ Sung, So-young (17 November 2014). "K-pop stars find success on screen". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-11-21. 
  10. ^ "New Soap Becomes Instant Hit Among Salarymen". The Chosun Ilbo. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-06. 
  11. ^ Baek, Byung-yeul (11 November 2014). "Misaeng soars in ratings: Webtoon-based TV drama gains explosive response from office workers". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-11-21. 
  12. ^ Ahn, Sung-mi (12 November 2014). "Misaeng syndrome grips the nation". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-11-14. 
  13. ^ Park, Hye-min; Kim, Hyung-eun (19 November 2014). "Office drama strikes a chord with workers". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-11-21. 
  14. ^ "Im Si-wan, Kang So-ra to Promote Trade". The Chosun Ilbo. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-15. 
  15. ^ Ahn, Sung-mi (16 January 2015). "Weekender: Office theme prevails on TV". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2015-01-17. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Geu-rae could either mean 그렇다 ("yes"), or 그래 of 그래도 ("nevertheless" or "however").
  18. ^ Hwang, Hye-jin (7 August 2014). "ZE:A's Im Si Wan, Kang Ha Neul, Kang Sora and More Confirmed for Misaeng". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  19. ^ "Im Shi-wan: "I had to take Misaeng"". Dramabeans. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-06. 
  20. ^ Park, Hyun-taek; Sung, So-young (5 January 2015). "Misaeng star stays modest amid hype". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  21. ^ "Kang So-ra Gets a Taste of Salaried Workers' Life". The Chosun Ilbo. 3 January 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-04. 
  22. ^ Park, Ji-ryun (27 December 2014). "Interview: Misaeng Kang Ha Neul Expresses His Love for ZE:A's Im Si Wan, Kang Sora and Byun Yo Han". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-12-27. 
  23. ^ "Kim Hee-won Comes Out of Obscurity with Villainous Characters". The Chosun Ilbo. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-16. 
  24. ^ AGB 닐슨 미디어리서치 홈페이지. Archived 2013-12-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ "Cable TV Awards: Incomplete Life and producer Na Young-seok sweep awards". Hancinema. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  26. ^ Lee, Hoo-nam; Kim, Hyung-eun (28 May 2015). "Baeksang honors new, veteran stars". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2015-05-28. 
  27. ^ Lee, Claire (28 March 2014). "Telling stories of 'incomplete lives'". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  28. ^ Ki, Sun-min (19 February 2013). "Misaeng creator makes art from company malaise". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  29. ^ "MISAENG หนุ่มออฟฟิศพิชิตฝัน". (in Thai). 23 October 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 

External linksEdit