Uzbeks are experts in Korean history!

Written by on May 3, 2011 in Arts, Worldwide Korea Bloggers

* This post is written by Elleonora Ibragimova, one of the Korea Blog’s Worldwide Korea Bloggers. 

Sounds shocking, right?
It is truth, though.

Recently I caught myself discussing Korean history with an Uzbek person who has never been to Korea, or studied Korean history at school, or has no relations with the country or whatsoever (except for a friend who is living in Korea, i.e. me =). But you know what? He really seemed to know it all – we were arguing about the Joseon dynasty, about Japan’s invasion and the relationships in South East Asia, and why Korean women wear hanbok… I was pretty amazed by all the knowledge. What is the secret, you ask?

Watch Korean dramas!

For the past several years, the Uzbek national TV has been showing various historical dramas which depict interesting episodes of Korean history.

Many teachers at school say that Uzbek students know Korean history better than Uzbekistan’s history. Although, that is a joke, but proves a point that history can indeed be fascinating in the form of movies and dramas. Finding out what happens in the next episode is a great motivation of learning the actual events in the past.

One of such historical dramas is  The Queen Seondeok of Silla (or “The emperor woman”), “선덕여왕.”

The drama is, as the title says, about the Queen Seondeok of Silla, who reigned from 632 to 647 as Queen of Silla, which at the time was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. She was the first queen in the history. The story in the drama goes as following. Deokman (Queen Seondeok’s childhood name) was born as Princess Cheonmyeong’s twin and a member of the Silla royal family, but a prophecy leads to her abandonment as a baby. She was later brought back to the Silla palace, where she joined forces with her twin sister to oppose Mi-shil, a royal concubine who wanted to seize power. Mi-shil devised sinister plans to have the two Silla princesses exiled from the kingdom, and in a secretive battle, she assassinated Princess Cheonmyeong. But Princess Deokman shrewdly enlisted the help of General Kim Yusin and eliminated, Mi-shil, becoming the first female ruler of the Silla kingdom.

Another historical drama that is popular in Uzbekistan is Jumong (“주몽”).

The drama is about the time of Goguryeo dynasty. The drama portrays the life of Jumong Taewang, the third prince of Buyeo and founder of Goguryeo. As he is born, he does not know that he is the son of General Hae Mo Su, a hero who fought against the Han to save the refugees. When Jumong learns the truth, he vows to fullfill his father’s dream and fights to become the first king of Goguryeo dynasty. Many of the myths in the drama coincide with real events in the history, although some of the original myths surrounding Jumong have been replaced with more down-to-earth storylines, such as that concerning his birth.

Jumong’s name means legendary archer. It is interesting to observe how his character develops into a hero throughout the drama and how he obtains the love of his life :)

A fun fact about the cast is that the character who plays Jumong’s mom is the same age as the character who plays Jumong in real life, both born in 1971! ;)

Another great example of a Korean historical drama is Dae Jang Geum, aka Jewel in the Palace (대장금). This drama is based on the historical figure during the reign of King Jungjong of Joseon Dynasty. Jang-geum, the main character of the drama is the first female royal physician of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. You can observe authentic Korean cuisine, traditional medicine and other items of cultural significances.

Jewel in the Palace (http://intnavi.com/tc/itme/955)

All of these great historical dramas extend the Korean wave into the world, including my country Uzbekistan. I believe this kind of cultural exchanges contribute to the improvement of understanding of the world and will reduce any possible conflicts. It is great that we can learn so much about a country’s culture, history and people by watching an episode of the drama or a movie. I would recommend all of you, if you have a chance, watch these amazing history pieces!
And, how about you?

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DRAMA?

* The original piece can be read at http://ellacino.blogspot.com/2011/03/uzbeks-are-experts-in-korean-history.html

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WKB

The Worldwide Korea Bloggers (WKB) is a gathering of people from different parts of the world, all having affection for Korea. Currently, there are 50 bloggers from 17 different countries and they share their own precious experiences with Korea and its culture on Korea Blog.