The story is set in Korea during the reigns of King Seongjong (1457–1494), King Yeonsan (1494–1506) and King Jungjong (1506–1544).
At the outset, King Seongjong has ordered the execution by poisoning of his wife Deposed Queen Lady Yun, the mother of the first-born son, the young 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; 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 Lady Yun, Park Myeong-yi (Seo's eventual wife and the mother of Jang-geum) and Jang-geum (the main character and Seo's only 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 as the 10th king of Joseon. Park Myeong-yi is a palace girl (or gungnyeo) and apprentice cook of the royal kitchen (soorangan). 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 the fragrance kitchen officer Kim sanggong (choi-go sanggung). The officers, fearful that Myeong-yi might reveal their conspiracy, attempt to murder her. Myeong-yi's best friend, Han Baek-young, witnesses the crime and manages to secretly save her (by hurriedly diluting the poison with an antidote). She leaves the unconscious Myeong-yi a letter explaining what had happened. As Seo Cheon-soo wanders through the forest in his self-imposed hermitage, he stumbles upon the half-conscious Myeong-yi. He rescues her and the two fall in love and marry. They end up living peacefully in a remote village as lower caste commoners (Seo Cheon-soo posing as a butcher and village weapon smith) and raise a clever daughter named Seo Jang-geum.
Jang-geum soon enters the palace after both her parents die. She is committed to be able to enter the middle kitchen (where her mother used to cook) to uncover her mothers letter written for Jang-geum. During this time, she meets Lady Han who then uncovers Jang-geum as Myeong-yi's daughter. 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 choi-go sanggung, while Jang-geum vows revenge.
Min Jeong-ho follows Jang-geum to Jeju Island. He offers to help Jang-geum 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 Island, Jang-geum meets a woman named Jang-deok, whom she first mistakes for a fellow slave. She soon discovers that Jang-deok is 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 (uinyeo). She 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 on the Choi clan. In spite of this, Jang-geum perseveres and earns herself a post as a female doctor-in-training at the palace.
Upon returning to the palace, Jang-geum encounters Choi Geum-young, who, during Jang-geum's absence has been promoted to choi-go sanggung. The ruthlessly ambitious Lady Choi has ousted the former head officer of the palace (jae-jo sanggung; one of their former allies), and now occupies that position herself. Min Jeong-ho is a lieutenant and a member of the King's Royal Cabinet. Jang-geum's childhood best friend, Lee Yeon-saeng, also a gungnyeo, has caught the king's eye, and is now his concubine (sook-ui). Jang-geum endures many trials at the palace, from being forced to wash the feet of Geum-young, to a backstabbing uinyeo named Park Yeol-yi. In spite of this, Jang-geum manages to accomplish great feats, such as halting an epidemic and saving the king's life when the king's own physicians fail.
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, Lady Choi wanders the countryside hallucinating. She ends up falling off a cliff off Mount Dongin and dies (but not before speaking and paying respects in front of the memorial grave of her former friend Park Myeong-yi, Jang-geum's mother). Choi Geum-young loses her position as choi-go sanggung and is exiled along with the other officials.
Through her dedication, perseverance and medical skills, Jang-geum saves the royal family from re-occurring, seemingly never-ending ill fortune. After giving birth to a stillborn child, Queen Consort Munjeong remains ill. Jang-geum correctly identifies a second stillborn fetus in the Queen Consort's womb and saves her life. She convinces the Dowager Queen Mother to undergo medical treatment at the risk of being beheaded. She also cures Grand Prince Gyeongwon, only son of Queen Consort Munjeong, of smallpox, which earns 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 the king 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 3rd rank official.
Jang-geum fears that accepting this position will endanger her friends and family. However, with Min Jeong-ho's support, she accepts. 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. Jang-geum and Jeong-ho live as fugitives.
Eight years later, Jang-geum's daughter, Min So-Hoon, is spotted by her adoptive father, who, following her and seeing Jang Geum, alerts Jang-geum's friends in the palace. By this time King Jungjong has been dead, along with his appointed Crown Prince (who became King Injong, who ruled for less than a year plagued by a life of ill health. The second-in-line to succeed the throne is Grand Prince Gyeongwon, the only child and son of Queen Munjeong, who 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 for the sake of their family to live outside the palace. Jang-geum leaves the palace not before seeing her friends, Lee Suk-Won, Queen Consort, and a few others 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, thus becoming the first physician in Korea to undertake such a surgical procedure. While Jang-geum celebrates her success, Jeong-ho laments the repressive social climate of Korea, and its inability to accommodate a woman with ambitions.Lee Young-ae as Jang-geum
An intelligent, beautiful, and introverted 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 during the Joseon era.Ji Jin-hee as Min Jeong-ho
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 goes to 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.Hong Ri-na as Choi Geum-young
Ambitious and arrogant, Choi Geum-young starts her life in the palace as the niece of the influential Lady Choi, 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.Im Ho as King Jungjong
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.Yang Mi-kyung as Han Baek-young/Lady Han
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.Kyeon Mi-ri as Choi Seong-geum/Lady Choi
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.Early life
Jo Jung-eun as young Seo Jang-geum
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 Joo-daek - Duk-gu's wife and Jang-geum's adoptive mother
Time as a palace chef
Park Eun-hye as Lee Yeun-Seng
Lee Ip-sae as Yoon Young-roh
Kim So-yi as Min Mee-geum
Yeo Woon-kay as Jung Mal-geum
Park Jung-soo as Park Yong-shin
Choi Ja-hye as Chang-Yee
Joo Da-young as young Chang-Yee
Jo Gyeong-hwan as Oh Gyeom-ho
Lee Hee-do as Choi Pan-sul - Lady Choi's brother
Na Seong-gyun as Yoon Mak-gae - Young-roh's uncle
Choi Seong-geum's aunt was the choi-go sanggung during Park Myeong-yi, Choi Seong-geum, and Han Baek-young's time as palace maids. She was the executor of Myeong-yi's secret "death sentence" administered to all palace maids committing moral errors.
Time as a Jungjong's royal queen consorts
Park Jeong-sook as Queen Munjeong
Eom Yoo-shin as Queen Dowager Jasun
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.
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.
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.
Since the song is in archaic Korean, the meaning of the song can be ambiguous. But one explanation is that the song depicts a girl who longs for a man that she cannot be with. So she accepts the way it is and moves on with her life.
The end of each episode of Dae Jang Geum features "Onara" sung by three Korean children, Kim Ji-hyeon (Hangul: 김지현; Hanja: 金智賢), Baek Bo-hyeon (Hangul: 백보현; Hanja: 白寶賢), Kim Seul-gi (Hangul: 김슬기; 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 (Hangul: 이안; Hanja: 李安; his real name is Lee Dong-hee (Hangul: 이동희; Hanja: 李冬熙)), a Korean traditional music singer who graduated from the Korean classical music department at Seoul National University.
"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 aunt Sharon Cuneta as the theme song for her 1984 film "Bukas Luluhod Ang Mga Tala").
In Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese version was sung by Anjalin Gunathilaka 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.
2003 MBC Drama Awards
Grand Prize/Daesang - Lee Young-ae
Top Excellence Award, Actress - Lee Young-ae
Special Acting Award - Yang Mi-kyung
Special Acting Award - Lim Hyun-sik
Best Screenplay - Kim Young-hyun
2004 Baeksang Arts Awards
Best Director (TV) - Lee Byung-hoon
Most Popular Actress (TV) - Yang Mi-kyung
- 고원 (高原)
- 창룡 (蒼龍)
- 하망연 (何茫然) Hamangyeon - feat. Safina
- 오나라 II
- 0815 (空八一五)
- Hamangyeon feat. Safina
- 비 (悲)
- 단가 (短歌)
- 연도 (烟濤)
- 오나라 I
- The Legend Becomes History
- 자야오가 (子夜吳歌) Techno Ver.
- 하망연 (何茫然) Hamangyeon-Instrumental
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
| Mongolia || UBS || 000000002017-02-01-0000February 2017 || Dae Jang Geum |-
A part of the Korean Wave of South Korean popular 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 Dae Jang Geum Theme Park was opened in Yangju, Gyeonggi Province in 2004 at the site of these sets where much of the filming occurred.
Dae Jang Geum rekindled public interest in traditional Korean cuisine, both locally and abroad.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
In September 2012, MBC announced its plans to produce a sequel, Dae Jang Geum 2. 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."
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. 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.