As you all know I’m attending the K-pop Academy in London. For me is a really nice experience. Here I’ve met wonderful people who share the same passion, Korean culture.
This 12 week program wants to show us different aspects of Korean culture as history, dramas, k-pop, food, etc
In the first week, we presented ourselves. For me it was really “scary”because I hate to present myself in front of people. But in the end it was alright. After this, we had a quiz about Korea culture and k-pop. We were put in different teams. I was in the BIG BANG team..LUCKY…hahaha. Even though the questions were really hard, I had a lot of fun. PHOTOS ( FIRST WEEK)
In the second week, we studied about Korean history and historical dramas. It was really interesting. After the lecture we had to draw Korean flag, TAEGEUKGI. I’m really rubbish at drawing..PHOTOS(SECOND WEEK)
So,if you’re interested, here is my homework:
Watch a historical Korean film or drama and produce a review about what you have seen. Include your opinion on the film/drama and what you have learnt about Korean history from watching it.
Deep Rooted Tree
Deep Rooted Tree is a drama that combines the mystery with history.
I chose this subject because it’s relevant for Korean history. It’s about the creation of HANGUL. When I started to learn hangul, I never knew that to create a language implies sacrifices and dedication.
This drama takes its name from a poem called Youngbieocheonga that says that trees with deep roots do not sway.
The writer of this story is Lee Jeong-myeong. He wrote the novel Painter of the Wind, which was also turned into an important Korean sageuk in 2008.
I was really impressed by the cast. In my opinion, the actors played their roles very good. I was immersed in the action and I even shed a tear when Kang Chae Yoon and So Yi died for their cause. I really loved the way Jang Hyuk portrayed his character ( Kang Chae Yoon) . He was passing from comedy to sadness. Also, Shin Se Kyung played very well her role. She had a really tough task to give the proper emotions without talking. And, there is the role of the King. In the first part of the drama, Song Joong Ki played the frail king-to-be, a person who couldn’t do anything to stop the murder of his in-laws. But after he met Ddol-Bok, the son of a slave, he started to change, becoming the King Sejong. In the second part, Han Suk Kyu showed a king who wants to give more power to his people by creating a new alphabet.
Some historical facts about Hangul
This drama shows the creation of an alphabet. But it’s a fiction. What really happened in history?
Hangul was created in the mid 15th century under King Sejong. This new alphabet was seen as an alternative to the Sino-Korean Hanja.
Like in the drama, Hangul was denounced by the educated people as eonmun (vernacular writing) and it only became the primary Korean script after the independence from Japan in the mid 20th century.
Hangul is an alphabet written in morpho-syllabic blocks, and it was designed for both the Korean and Chinese languages. Sejong’s scholarly institute, The Hall of Worthies, is often credited with the work, and at least one of its scholars was involved in its creation. But it was also a personal project of the King. It was completed in late 1443 or early 1444 and published in 1446 in a document titled Hunmin jeong-eum (“The proper sounds for the Education of the People”).
According to Sejong Silrok (The Annals of King Sejong), the alphabet was created by the King himself. This fact is backed up by a phrase at the end of the section for December 1443 or the 25th year of King Sejong’s reign. So, what was shown in the drama is also a reality:
“By this month, the King finished the work of creating the 28-letter alphabet for the people of the country. The shape of each letter imitates olden-day Tenji (small seal style by brush). Each letter is composed of a leading consonant, a middle vowel and a trailing consonant. It can represent everything that can be written down, including unrefined terms. The letters look simple and terse, but can represent virtually all sounds. The alphabet was named Hunmin jeongeum.”
My personal opinion
I was captivated by this drama since I saw the first episode. It showed comedy, sadness, happiness and the struggle for a better life. Also, it was a lesson on Korean history. I have learnt that the creation of the alphabet was just the obvious fact. The other one is the Korean independence from the Chinese influence. China had a big cultural influence due to the language. The creation of a new alphabet was a way of getting the independence.
Another thing I’ve learnt is that the status of slaves was really low. They were persecuted and sold as the master ordered or just arrested because of their owner. This fact was because they were afraid to express themselves and to fight for their cause. The King gave them this possibility through the alphabet. Now, they could fight for themselves.
Even thought hangul was promulgated, there were obstacles. Like in the drama, there were factions that didn’t want this alphabet to be created. So, they fought to denigrate it.
For me, Deep Rooted Tree was a lesson. It showed me that the language is not a tool it’s the culture. The language is an important key in defining a culture so I have to study it properly. Also, I saw how important is to have people on your side to help in making something that at first sight might be crazy and out of the ordinary. Last, but not the least, the self sacrifice for a good cause. We, modern people, tend to forget about it and we stop doing it. So, it was a history and life lesson.
 Literally means Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heave and it was the first work written in hangul.
 사극- historical drama
 Using the native language of a region, especially as distinct from the literary language.