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For those who still blame WIJ


It seems there are still many people who are deceived and still misunderstood the character Won In Jae,  WIJ (soon to become SIJ)  in the Start Up. so, I will try to straighten out and dig deeper about his life. I take information from various sources and summarize it. so this is probably the longest post i have ever made.


WIJ's life is almost similar to HJP, which is characterized by solitude, maturity, selfishness, competence, etc. However, the writer describes WIJ as quite different from HJP, who has a tragic backstory that makes many people empathize with him. WIJ is not as popular, and not as many people empathize with her. I am heavily rooting for WIJ's happy ending. Since episode 1, i have a feeling that she has no intention of being really mean to SDM, otherwise she cares for him but she shows it in a different way. actually she has a reason let's dig deeper.


To understand WIJ, we first need to understand the importance of birth order in Asian society. In Asian society, being the first born comes with both advantages and disadvantages, these advantages can sometimes come in the form of monetary, emotional, and material benefits, often at the expense of the younger siblings.


The first episode shows us the dynamics between two sisters. We often see WIJ in nice, and clean school uniforms, while SDM is wearing sweater and jeans, a more simple attire. Young WIJ actually takes her role as a big sister quite seriously as we see her protecting her sister on a few occasions and even being the one to have an initiative following his father going to work to prevent divorce. The sisterly bond is quite strong.


The parents of WIJ and SDM appeared to have fallen in love in one of the most romantic ways, as pen pals. And persevered through a meddling mother in law that did not approve of the mother. the mother threatens a divorce on the grounds that money is a motivating tool for the husband to work harder. The father though, who loves both his daughters, is trying his best to keep his family intact. But after the mother talks bad about him and imposes the importance of money over family, it was just too much for the dad to bear, and he, in that second, lost the will to fight. Remember, it was the dad who asked for the divorce.


Did WIJ want to go live with her father? Absolutely, but the ever responsible WIJ knew that SDM would never go with the mother, so she had to do the right thing, which is to make sure that someone will accompany the mother. But inside, she was hurt. She was hurting that her father just stopped trying, and gave up. Effectively giving up on his daughter WIJ.


As the sisters split up, we can see SDM crying to Grandma because her best friend was gone. What isn't shown is WIJ also crying, because she lost her father and sister. Although apart, the sisters still made it a point to meet up and update each other on what is happening.


Based on the story, WIJ still really missed his father and younger brother. However, his stepfather is quite a manipulator, he wants to move WIJ and his mother to the US. WIJ knew that moving day is fast approaching, that is why we suddenly see her less excited with each meeting with SDM, because she knew that these meetings were limited and would soon come to an end.


On their last meeting, the two sisters are walking beneath cherry blossoms. WIJ, did not want her sister to be sad that they would not see each other again. WIJ, knew exactly what to say to hurt her sister. At that moment, gone is the WIJ that we knew, replaced by this mean spirited, materialistic girl who does not care about her father or sister.  So she had attempted to make SDM hate her, so that when WIJ is gone, and they do not see each other anymore, SDM will not be sad. This is the same exact tactic that SDM uses to push NDS to go to San Francisco.


So you can see that it is not a matter of who has chosen the wrong father or mother, as debated by WIJ and SDM. This is a matter of who sacrifices, WIJ is sacrificing the happiness that he cannot share with SDM. It pained WIJ to do this, but she wanted her sister to grow, to be happy. It was, in many ways, her final gift to SDM.


Time skip to forward 15 years later and both ladies have grown.


The dislike of SDM to WIJ, had morphed into toxic jealousy. But WIJ had actually matured and saw the world much more different than when she was young. After having worked in the start-up world, WIJ realizes her father was too much of a dreamer and not enough of a realistic. And I notice a lot of people feel that WIJ has become like a carbon copy of her mother with the way they see money. WIJ's mom sees money as a way to do nothing. WIJ on the other hand, viewed money, as a means to an end, meaning she views money as a way for her to achieve her ambitions / goals. As WIJ said in episode 11 that she uses money to create a better world and nothing else.


WIJ and SDM finally meet. SDM wanted to show WIJ how great her life is. WIJ knew her sister had subscribed to her father's dreamer mentality, where she believes in the one in a million chance. At this point WIJ knew that SDM would not respond kindly to any sisterly advice, since SDM's common sense was clouded in a layer of jealousy and hate. WIJ's goal is to wake his younger sister from the dream she's had. She needed to light a fire in her sister to help her achieve success and wake up from the dreamlike state she is in. Of course WIJ was not really competing with SDM, but rather she knew if SDM thought they were competing it would light the fire under her.


During Hackathon, she even tells SDM that they are also using the same tech as SST to show SDM that the one sided rivalry had turned into intense competition. One could ask, if SDM is being so petty to WIJ, why does not WIJ just ignore SDM? like WIJ said in the Start-up Relay Lecture that  the best revenge for those scumbags is indifference. The answer is because WIJ still loves her sister very much, and is trying her best to wake her up.


Unfortunately for WIJ, she did not include in her plan one NDS. NDS complicated SDM's potential character growth, because he didn't allow SDM to grow. You will notice WIJ personal challenges to SDM has never been challenges to SST, but to SDM herself. WIJ always tries to encourage SDM for more and more, but NDS is always there for SDM, sometimes even assisted by HJP and they don't want SDM to worry.


Besides sparking competition, WIJ also took advantage of one of HR's memories, namely the story of a girl playing on a swing on the sand. WIJ actually wanted to show that as a CEO, SDM must think ahead and not be afraid to fall. WIJ was worried, she knew if her sister continued this dream like state she would fall.  It all culminates in EP 12 when WIJ's worst fear comes true. And then SDM has applied to WIJ's company, WIJ can finally help her sister leave the dreamlike state she has had ever since she was a little girl to burst out and mature into this amazing woman that WIJ always knew SDM could be.


I think that explanation is sufficient, but if the audience still thinks WIJ is a traitor and annoying, he has also been punished since the beginning of the episode.

- lost his position as CEO of Nature Morning

- betrayed by stepfather and stepbrother

- have no closeness with father or grandmother

- bad relationship with mom and dalmi

- no love lines and didn't has pair*

- betrayed by 2 employees

- also lack of screentime **

- pelted with eggs.

- didn't meet with the cameo

- She doesn't even has YouTube thumbnails except for teasers and trailers.


WIJ is more than just a lonely character and the drama seems to put him in another dimension that is difficult for the other main characters to reach. As a favorite character, I'm proud of him that he dares to be honest about the sand swing, doesn't get involved in that annoying love triangle, doesn't make decisions based on feelings, and is able to do his job well.


*Breakdown WIJ's screen time data from 1hr.25 min dramas duration :

EP 1 - 9m 18s

EP 2 - 4m 13s

EP 3 - 15m 24s

EP 4 - 11m 7s

EP 5 - 11m 1s

EP 6 - 5m 50s

EP 7 - 5m 38s

EP 8 - 9m 17s

EP 9 - 5m 48d

EP 10 - 9m 46s

EP 11 - 11m 10s

EP 12 5 m 44s

EP 13 11m 18s

EP 14 12m 17s


**Pair in the Start-up

- Dalmi with Dosan

- Jipyong with SDMs Grandma

- Chulsan with Yongsan

- Injae ??? maybe with his job



Edited by Amat Oji
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On 12/4/2020 at 12:51 AM, M Co said:


If you have low standard, fine. Some have high standard. Even if those who have high standard can't get the one they want and decrease it, it's up to each individual and luck. 


Still, HJP from his character in Start up is what lots of women want in a male partner. Too bad, he is just a fictional character created by an writer. 



i know you were angry/frustrated but imo that doesn’t give u the right to insult others on the way we choose a man and say that we got low standard just because we prefer NDS over JP. Some people just prefer men who doesn’t speak harshly constantly over benz. (Actually im surprised with my choice this time too, because i were always the benz > everything before start-up)

Your post makes me think that some of JP’s fans (or maybe most of them) like to talk harshly and sometimes insult others (just like JP himself).

It’s makes it hard for me to cheer for 2nd lead man too this time, unlike the time when i watch WYWS. 


I’m not ready to see this drama end, but the ship war makes me tired and i want it to end faster. There’s 99% of me regretting watching this on-going. I should have wait until its end to maraton watching the full show. 

i hope PHR won’t take too long for her next drama. I’ve been her fans since Dream High. 




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@Amat Oji Great write up on Injae. Wow so detailed (even down to the minutes ) Kang Hana was on screen. She is SERIOUSLY underutilized in this drama. I agree we don't get to see her more and there is DEFINITELY more to her than meets the eye. Thanks for the great post.


Looking forward to this weekend FINALE weekend I love all the characters. I don't care who goes with DM but more how the characters grow and end up together.


-CS having a chance with his CRUSH? I mean she admitted that she PLANNED to be at the BBQ place and it was not coincident like he was outside her law firm. Even just give CS a date, def giving him a bone I feel. She dated other guys during the 3 years, but loyal and geeky CS still likes her. She realizes she wants someone for her and wants to be with her. Plus now he is upgraded thanks to his stint in SF. But love the actor since seeing him in CLOY . (The Cameo with Choi Ji Woo was INSANELY good and his fanboying was amazing in CLOY.)


-Glad that IJ knows about grandma and wants to cancel the adoption by her adoptive rich step father. YES. I loved seeing her challenge DM ---to survive you got to hire DS and gang. Her hiring DM after she got kicked out before DS went to SF.

I like that IJ talked to her mom and understands why she is staying with grandma and paying back for her love and care raising DM while IJ was with mom during her absence.


-JP (awww JP) I liked he apologized to YS and vice versa. Healing and YS admitting he needed a scapegoat.

JP also hearing of Grandmother's eyes --glad that DS told him. She is one person who gave him a warmth during his bleak and cold existence in his teens. So the fact they got back to together and he was hanging out with the family DM, her mom, and grandma was nice. He is their family.


-DS grew and tried to forget DM but didn't He still did NOONGIL despite working and being busy in SF during that 3 year gap. He still cared for grandma and glad he was able to do on his OWN to get is supported and continued. He has a good heart. 


-DM seeing her growth to be CEO and seeing Tarzan come into fruition. Suffering the set back set by the twins (too obvious with the ransomware and hanging her up to dry) glad that timing DS and team were back in Korea for a break that converted to restarting in Korea.


-IJ coming clean about her not being the girl in the swing. I applauded her for that. Same JP telling DM , he might have let DS think a bit more about their relationship (He did not have to do it, but he did tell her). Not easy to do but good they did.


Just enjoying this drama not trying to overthink and hope ALL have a good ending.


DM with her securing the temporary license and KICKING IJ's step dad's family in the tushy in success and cause the twins failure.


YS was mature to ask for advice about the investors and also asked HJP for the TRUTH. Showed he matured and learned that he has to think things through and actually LISTEN and not be blinded by emotion or preconceived thoughts. 


Hoping that IJ drops her walls and gets to hang out with DM and her mom and grandmother. I want that.



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@Shajoona you wrote such a compelling and heartfelt post for Dosan.  Love it. Thanks.


@NodameWell, what I am most looking forward to is not the love pairing but the long overdue sit down talk between the two Dosans in Dalmi's life.  Dosan has not fully realized and accepted JiPyeong's positive influence in SST and Dalmi's success whereas JiPyeong has not publicly verbalized his own misjudgment of Dosan's character.   Muddled in between is pride competitively fueled by their love for Dalmi.  I think Do San should be appreciative of how JiPyeong pushes him to fight more for the things he love, thus forces him out of his comfort zone and grew for the better.   In return,  JiPyeong learns a healthy lesson of humility, grace and the art of giving constructive criticisms.  Neither man is void of the little stuffs that make us human.. jealousy, pettiness, greed etc... but I like that each recognizes his weaknesses and tries to change afterward.   They both need to make peace with the past to move forward cleanly. 


Dalmi's impression of relationship in some ways must have been affected by her parents' separation.  Jipyeong's pragmatism reflects her own mom's viewpoint toward her late father's entrepreneur spirit.  It's commendable that Dalmi recognizes her idealism needs a reality check once in a while so I am glad she verbalized her appreciation for Jipyeong's mentoring.  She shares her father's resiliency and work ethics.  Dosan encourages and supports her without reservation.  He trusts her instinct and decisions, maybe too much at times, which caused the problem with 2STO's contract.  Three years later, Dosan has learned to ground his presence with her.  It pained me to see their lopsided relationship in the past when he blurred business with personal feelings as he became too supportive of her need over his own judgment.  The old insecure Dosan wouldn't trust his own capabilities and selflessly put others need before his own.  So it's great to see him be assertive with his terms and his opinions toward Dalmi before helping her with Tarzan.  I admire him for looking past the hurt (of the second rejection in his mind) to focus on a project that his heart believes in.  I hope their relationship becomes less Dalmi centric and more balanced where Do San is treated as an equal partner.  Dalmi has seen how her parents' relationship ended at a frustration point for her mom due to her father's career.  If they are to stay together long term, Dosan cannot be left constantly bearing the role of a giver in their relationship.


Soon this drama will end.   Fighting Start Up cast and crew for all your hard work!




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I like their off screen relationship aww

credit to owner


I agree with this opinion. I wish they can at least back to become friends at the end.



all credit to owner


This is such a suitable parable for them.

credit to owner 


These are some interesting info.





credit to owner


These info too.





credit to owner


Some opinions from a man who also watch this drama. It is interesting to read from man's perspectives too.


credit to owner


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Looks like another elevator talk with the 3 of them in the Preview.  I really like the phrase “sailing without a map”.  It honestly is the heart of Start Up businesses in general.  Uncharted waters.  Will it be dangerous?  Sharks circling? Storms?  Hell yeah.  But it’s the thrill of the ride.  Sailing into the unknown.  Throw caution in the wind.  He who dares wins.  Do or die.  As Master Yoda would have it, “Do or do not, there is no try.”  Steve Jobs would be proud.  :D

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@enzekthank you so much for E15 subbed previews.  Really like it.

@ShajoonaI don't post much anymore either.  Welcome back!


@nrlleeI like the part where he said he'll leave footprints for those to follow even in failure. Dosan in the early years never gave up on his AI technology so we know he has in him the perseverance and drive to realize his ideas.  But he was also weighed down by logics, probability, and the responsibility to deliver a product with the best success rate.  That Dosan has to balance his creativity with the reality of a profitable sustainable business.  The mindset of a CEO/CTO.  Watching that preview clip,  it's clear that what Dosan wants, what he excites for, is to use his talent as a programmer to change the world.  He's not interested in running a business.  He's moved by the challenge and possibility that he can create a future where technology can improve lives.  He found the purpose for his talent.  The geek in him is confident in the logic of programming trial and errors.  He knows even if he fails, others will pick up where he, as a trail blazer, left off.   The three years with 2OST left him financially more secure and experienced so he can afford the confidence to take risks. Their talk of sailing off into uncharted water is literally the definition of "venture" in the word venture capitalist.  I like the new Dosan.^^


IMHO, both Dosan and Dalmi are risk takers by heart perhaps because they always have been swinging over the forgiving sandbox.  Dosan's parents have always supported him in their begrudgingly adorable ways.  His father pours hard earned savings into SST early years so that Dosan can continue to materialize his AI concept.  Their love for him was unquestionable.   Dalmi's father pours sand under her swing to cushion her fall while grandma took care of her after the parents were gone.  Dosan by fate became someone for her to bounce off ideas.  These people afford Dosan and Dalmi to be dreamers.   Injae, on the other hand, chose to get up after the fall on her own without anyone help. She didn't ask for sand as a little girl perhaps because she always makes sure she doesn't fall.  I wonder if she regrets not showing her vulnerability so that she can receive the care of the sand.  I would say she is a realist through and through.  JiPyeong also avoids falling at all cost because he knows well the pain of failure as an orphan.  There's pride in succeeding on his own with minimal loss, if only he has someone to share with besides Yeongshil!  He can't afford to take risk as he never has the safety net of a family to rely on.  I wish Jipyeong could continue to be a part of the Seo family till the end!  Protect Halmoni/JiPyeong love line!

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I don’t understand why there’s the need for these fanwars between teams. Because all the actors done their job perfectly. They made the characters come to life the best they can. 

Back to the story, from the very beginning it was never a complicated love story. Its very straightforward. The love story has always been between 2 strangers, Dalmi & Dosan, all along from teasers & promotions. How they meet? That’s where Jipyeong  & Halmoni comes in. Because of what they did 15 years ago, writing letters to Dalmi using Dosan’s identity, created the confusion, hence Dalmi meets the real Dosan.


However things got sticky when Jipyeong too fall in love with Dalmi sometime during Dosan & Dalmi’s love blossoming. And what with the revelation of the letters & Jipyeong sudden love confession, all hit about the same time the 2sto comes in & determined to get Dosan on their team regardless the costs. Now the conflict itself is to test the depth & sincerity of Dosan & Dalmi’s love for each other. Is her love for Dosan strong enough not to waiver for a great & successful guy, Jipyeong, who’s also the real person behind the letters? And is Dosan’s love for Dalmi deep enough for him to endure not having Dalmi with him, also not letting his success gets to him & forget all about Dalmi, out of sight out of mind kind of thing. And to see if after 3 years, their hearts is still full of each other & still miss each other.


When it comes to love, there’s no right or wrong. Its always who made the heart flutters or the person one miss & needs the most. 

What I love abt Start Up is, its not the usual poor girl meet rich guy (chaebol or rag to richest), but the story of a girl & a guy who have nothing to their name except skills & hard work. They’ve seen each other vulnerable side as well as their silly side and they grow to become more charismatic together.


Love the quotes, very inspiring &  motivational to all ages. Kudos to PHR for writing such a beautiful story

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Yes, Dodal it is!  He will always be "her trophy, her comfort, her wind, her dream".  He's also always been her biggest supporter in whatever decisions she makes.  And as what Dalmi said, she doesn't need a reason to like him, 'because it is you".  

Can't wait for the ending tomorrow.  It makes me sad that I have to say goodbye to this drama, but my consolation: I can watch the whole series over and over again in Netflix at least...


And the ransomware attack culprits, one suspect: Apollon Artemis, as in Apollo AND Artemis: 


"Apollo and Artemis were two twins born by the king of the gods Zeus and Leto"

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I love Dalmi’s reply to why she loves Dosan, that’s there is no particular reason, because he is who he is. It’s so realistic, that’s how people fall in love in real life isn’t it. There need not be a list of reasons to justify why you love someone. 

And credits to Jipyeong too, that was a big move from him. May time heal his broken heart and he can find someone who reciprocrate his feelings. 

Overall a satisfying episode. 

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Actually I just want to sit and read all of your comments, I was away from soompi forum long ago....

But something bothering me today and can not stay still.

This lines from Dosan, "I am keeping the letters"... Wow... It is so wrong... Why do you want something not belong to you??? And until now the word "Thank you" never come out from him to JP.

I have no team but I just feel sorry with JP character , actually this drama can be more beautiful if no love triangle and focus with the beautiful back story (letters) and they meet,working and gain success together... that would be more romantic. I don't care who the actors are.

Now the back story just dissapear and no meaning.

Ok I will sign out again

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Let’s not forget DS remembered JP telling DM his favourite banchan in the elevator, then asking his mother if they have it and wanting to pack some home for JP, even before JP gave him the big hint. Action speaks louder than words sometimes. 

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