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[FICTION VS HISTORY] ‘The Battleship Island’ twists a bitter history

The 2017 movie fails to provide a balanced look at Korea and Japan’s complicated past

 

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In film and television, historical dramas have never gone out of style. Fans of period dramas, both in Korea and abroad, like to be transported to a different time and learn about the stories that swept up — or were put in motion by — our ancestors. Some watch to see how the present compares with the past. Others watch to see progress. Foreign Korea-philes can get a crash course in Korean history while watching historical films. But all historical dramas create characters, add romantic plots and conflate or invent events to make sure viewers don’t lose interest. With Fiction vs. History, the Korea JoongAng Daily attempts to distinguish fact from fiction in popular period dramas and films for clarification and to dispel misunderstandings.

Since the Supreme Court ruled that Japanese companies needed to compensate Koreans who were forced to work for them during World War II in October, the diplomatic relationship between the two countries has become increasingly tense. The conflict worsened recently when Japan enforced restrictions on industrial exports to Korea as an economic retaliatory measure. Japan insists that the issue of forced labor was fully settled in 1965 when the two countries restored diplomatic relations.

To learn more about the forced labor issue, many young Koreans and people from outside of the region unfamiliar with this bitter history are turning to old articles, documentaries and more to learn more information about what exactly happened between Japan and Korea.

The big-budget period piece“The Battleship Island” (2017) may be one of their choices. Directed by Ryoo Seung-wan, the movie is about Korean forced laborers on Japan’s Hashima Island, also called Battleship Island due to its warship-like appearance, during World War II. Featuring veteran actors like Hwang Jung-min, So Ji-sub and Song Joong-ki, the film, despite the controversies it aroused after the release, sold 6.59 million tickets domestically. Many who saw the film insist that the high ticket sales were due to film distributor CJ E&M’s screen monopoly, rather than because of the movie itself.

The film was heavily criticized by patriotic Koreans for purposely avoiding the typical “good Koreans, bad Japanese” narrative. Yet many theatergoers still insisted the movie had too many elements of nationalism, with many calling it a gukbbong (a portmanteau of the Korean words for country and methamphetamines, denoting a blind obsession with patriotism) film. Some Japanese groups also denounced the film, arguing that the story was entirely made up. Even Korean survivors of Hashima appeared in interviews saying that “imaginary parts have been added to the movie.”

Of course, director Ryoo said before the release that fictional elements had been added to the film to more dramatically tell the story of the laborers who were forcibly taken to Hashima and work in coal mines during the Japanese colonial era (1910-45), emphasizing that the film is not a documentary. The lead characters who appear in the film for example - a bandmaster, played by Hwang, with his daughter, played by Kim Soo-ahn; the gang leader, played by So, and former comfort woman played by Lee Jung-hyun - are all fictional. Yet the reason all those Koreans ended up in Hashima is based in fact: They were forcibly taken by the Japanese government.

 

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Hashima Island, located near Nagasaki, Japan, is also called Battleship Island due to its warship-like appearance. While the island is a symbol of rapid industrialization of Japan, it is also a reminder of its bitter history as a site of forced labor of Koreans during World War II. Despite fierce criticisms from Korea, the island was registered as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2015. [JOONGANG ILBO]

 

 

When Korea was a colony of Japan, Tokyo ordered the Japanese Government General of Korea to summon Koreans by regional groups to fill up the quota needed for a labor force. Many young men and women were taken to Japan against their will to work in the mines, steel mills and shipyards of Japan. One of them was Battleship Island, to which some 800 Koreans were transferred between 1939-45, with 134 of them dying while working there, according to official data. Survivors of Hashima, such as Kim Hyung-seok, said in an interview with local media that the head of his village said a draft notice was issued; therefore, he had to follow the others. That was Nov. 17, 1943.

In order to avoid the “good Koreans, bad Japanese” narrative, the director also put a spotlight on the harsh exploitation of the Korean laborers by creating fictional pro-Japanese Korean characters. For example, the director, who also wrote the screenplay, created an independence fighter named Yoon Hak-cheol (played by Lee Gyeung-young) who also gets taken to Hashima Island. In front of the Korean laborers, he pretends to negotiate with the Japanese officials for the Korean people but secretly makes deals with the Japanese and together they embezzle the laborers’ wages.

Real survivors of Hashima, however, do not recall cruel treatments from the pro-Japanese Koreans. But their wages did get taken away from them, according to the survivors’ testimonies and they failed to receive what they were initially promised.

The ending of the film, the most dramatic part, is mostly fiction. Actor Song, who plays Moo-young, an agent with the U.S. Army comes to the Island to save Yoon, the independence fighter. After realizing he is a betrayer, Moo-young shoots him dead and leads hundreds of Koreans out of the island. Koreans work together and help each other and sacrifice their own lives to fight the Japanese forces and escape from Battleship Island. According to historical records, after the U.S. detonated a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, a city located next to the island, and another one in Hiroshima, in 1945 all the coal mining came to a halt on the Hashima Island as the electricity was cut off. The Japanese government transferred the Korean forced laborers on Hashima Island to Nagasaki to clean up the wrecked city and they later fell victim to radiation exposure.
 

 

 

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

 

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9 Of The Nicest Rich Guys Who Shatter K-Drama Stereotypes

 

Where would K-drama be without chaebols? That’s the Korean word for a wealthy businessman, owner of a vast conglomerate empire, aka the job description of 80 percent of K-drama male leads. It makes sense that this trope is so popular: when we enter the world of chaebols, we get to see how the other half lives and to revel in glamour and luxury which we’d never otherwise experience.

 

But you know what doesn’t make sense? So many K-drama chaebols are arrogant jerks, and so many female leads keep falling for them anyway. It’s 2019, people! Our leading ladies have better things to do than chase cold, aloof guys who don’t treat them right. That’s why we always love to see a chaebol who knows how to be a decent human being. The more these charming fellas turn up, the more the tide turns and the fewer tired tropes we have to endure.

 

Want to know which rich guys are leading the way? Let’s find out!

 

Warning: spoilers ahead!

 

 

4. Kim Young Ho in “Oh My Venus

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The chaebol lifestyle isn’t exactly known to be healthy. In most dramas, it’s a parade of late-night drinking, spending too much time at the office, and brooding while driving really fast. There will probably also be a good dose of yelling at minions involved. But then along comes Kim Young Ho, a mild-mannered, soft-spoken fitness fanatic who’s never too far from a treadmill.

 

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Young Ho grew up rich but lonely, shuttered indoors due to illness and injury. His passion for fitness is not about honing those chocolate abs. It’s more about keeping fear and loneliness at bay: if he doesn’t get sick, he won’t have to feel alone. When he meets charmingly chubby Joo Eun (Shin Min Ah), his worldview is turned upside down. Health, he realizes, is not just a physical condition.

 

Just as much, it’s about learning to reach out and let yourself be loved.

 

Check out the first episode of “Oh My Venus”:

 

 

Watch Now

 

 

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credit : soompi news

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10 Cheesy Romantic K-Dramas That Are Total Guilty Pleasures

 

 

Let’s be real. There are A LOT of cheesy K-dramas out there. Sometimes we watch a particular scene that we’ve seen countless times before that is off-the-charts cheesy, but we still can’t help but love it. There are various tropes or elements that usually result in a drama giving off a cheesy vibe. Some aspects include an accidental hug or kiss, an over-the-top confession, a background song, and super sweet displays of affection in the form of actions or words. And although these cheesy elements are enough to make us cringe, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that the K-drama is an absolute pleasure to watch. Here’s a look at 10 Romantic K-dramas that are cheesy but a total guilty pleasure.

 

Warning: Minor spoilers ahead!

 

 

 

1. “Oh My Venus

Even from just the first episode of “Oh My Venus,” there were scenes that screamed, “CHEESE.” But because the drama starred So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah, I was willing to give it a shot. Despite various parts of the series continuing to be cringy, it was possible to overlook it because of the OTP.

 

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The series has a lot of aegyo, especially with how Kang Joo Eun (Shin Min Ah) interacts with Kim Young Ho (So Ji Sub). She is so open with her affections with him that it could have come off being over-the-top cheesy, but because the main leads ooze with so much sex appeal, it isn’t half as cheesy as it could have been. It’s one that is a total guilty pleasure despite all the scenes that make you want to squeal and cringe.

 

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Start watching “Oh My Venus”:

 

Watch Now

 

 

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credit : soompi news

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13 Actors And Actresses Who Always Pick Good Roles

 

Don’t you just hate it when you have high expectations for a K-drama and then it ends up not being as exciting as you thought it would be?

 

We’ve all been there, and it can be so disappointing. But then there are certain actors and actresses who pick and choose to be in amazing K-dramas that we can almost guarantee will be good. It’s definitely not the case with all of them, but the ones who are on this list have definitely proven to us time and time again that their dramas are worth the wait and the watch.

 

(In no particular order)

 

 

4. So Ji Sub

Notable K-dramas: “Terius Behind Me,” “Oh My Venus,” “Master’s Sun,” “I’m Sorry, I Love You

 

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So Ji Sub has been in the Korean movie and K-drama industry for quite sometime now. Many of us K-drama lovers have probably grown up watching him on the big and small screens. With his large repertoire of films and K-dramas, he’s had a reputation to uphold in terms of picking quality scripts. The last few K-dramas have only shown us that he’s more than capable of meeting our high expectations!

 

So Ji Sub tends to pick roles that involve him being strong, wealthy, and tough, which we obviously don’t ever complain about because it works for him. The series that he picks are all crowd-pleasers and thoroughly entertaining to watch. Although he does pick scripts with characters that are the rough and tumble type, his character as the broken-hearted and introverted Kim Ji Ho in “One Sunny Day” was one that went against his typical roles. It’s a personality we’re not used to seeing for him, but it was an unforgettable performance and miniseries!

 

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Watch So Ji Sub in “Master’s Sun”:

 

Watch Now

 

 

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credit : soompi news

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6 K-Drama Tropes We’re So Done With Already

 

Every good K-drama deserves a few tropes. Y’know, those familiar moments and plot twists that show up time and again in different dramas. It’s fun, rewarding, and even comforting to see certain tropes play out. We know they will push our buttons in a certain way, and it’s enjoyable seeing new actors put their own spin on old tropes. Yeah, you’ve seen Lee Jong Suk with amnesia, but have you ever seen Hyun Bin with amnesia? Whole different story!

 

Not all tropes are created equal, though. Some tropes may have worked in the past, but in late 2019, they’re outdated and tired, exemplifying old-fashioned cultural values people don’t believe in anymore. Other tropes have shown up so often that there’s just no way to make them seem fresh, and they just come off as lazy writing.

 

Which tropes do we need to kill off? Here are six of the worst offenders!

 

Warning: spoilers ahead!

 

 

1. The Jerk Male Lead

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So Ji Sub tells Gong Hyo Jin to get lost in “Master’s Sun” 

 

Ah, this old chestnut. Somewhere along the line, K-drama writers got it into their heads that women love terrible men. Maybe it’s something to do with the tsundere anime archetype, where a character is cold on the outside but warm and caring on the inside. It’s true, it can be satisfying to see an arrogant jerk get his comeuppance, learn from his mistakes, and treat his lady right in the end.

 

BUT. Just because he feels bad about it now, does that mean he really deserves her? Is that the kind of message we want to get behind? “Just hold out ladies, and give that horrible dude a second chance. He’ll probably change, we hope!”

 

 

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credit : soompi news

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12 Korean Actors And Actresses Who Almost Had Very Different Careers

 

Sometimes it’s hard to picture our favorite celebrities in a different field of work. They have so much charisma and natural good looks that it seems like their path to stardom was inevitable, but that’s not always the case. A lot of famous celebrities you see today had different dreams and aspirations growing up and just happened to stumble into the entertainment industry by chance. Here’s a look at 12 actors and actresses who almost had very different careers.

 

 

So Ji Sub

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So Ji Sub’s dream was to become a professional swimmer, and he was pretty much one as he trained for 11 years and even competed in the Korean National Games. But instead of continuing on, he stumbled into modeling to make some extra money without the intention of ever becoming famous.

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credit  : soompi news
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Oh!K Celebrates 5th Birthday with Pop & Watch!

source : koreancrazed

 
Oh!K is turning 5 and your favourite K-entertainment channel is partnering with Astro Ria (CH 104/HD CH 123), Astro Prima (CH 105/HD CH 121), and Hello (CH 110) to give fans in Malaysia a daebak ‘Pop & Watch’ experience!
 
From 21 September to 20 October, all Astro customers can tune in and enjoy an Oh!K ‘Pop & Watch’ branded block which will air special runs of Oh!K’s best drama series and variety shows, with English, Malay and simplified Chinese subtitles. From fantasy love story ‘Goblin’ to sci-fi romance series ‘I’m Not A Robot’, viewers will be spoilt for choice. 
 
And if that isn’t enough, get ready for the icing on the cake! Oh!K has also invited a very special (and extremely good-looking) Oppa to host a party for fans in Malaysia! Stay tuned to the Oh!K Facebook page to find out who the heartthrob might be, and how you can score an up-close experience with this special Oppa. 
 
For more information about Oh!K ‘Pop & Watch’, visit  www.astro.com.my or the Oh!K Facebook Page. To subscribe to Oh!K, visit CH 200 on Astro TV. Oh!K is available on Astro (CH 394).  
 
Oh!K’s ‘Pop & Watch’ schedule alongside the show synopses are available below: 
 
 
Astro Channels
Schedule 

 

Astro Prima 
(CH 105/HD CH 121)
  • My Secret, Terrius
23 September – 14 October @ 1:30pm – 3:00pm, Mondays - Fridays
  • Love Me Actually
21 September – 13 October @ 9pm – 11pm, Saturdays & Sundays
 
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8 Successful Idols That Originally Trained to Become Athletes

Fans are glad they didn’t end up going that route.

 

 

Some of the biggest Korean celebrities have become so well-known in the entertainment business that not many fans know about their past as aspiring athletes.

 

Here are 8 singers and actors that originally trained to become athletes before they changed their paths and debuted as celebrities:

 

 

6. So Ji Sub – Swimming

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Considering So Ji Sub‘s impressive physique, it might not be so surprising that he was a skilled swimmer in high school. It’s been reported that he won a gold medal at group nationals and two bronze medals at individual nationals.

 

 

 

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source : koreaboo

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*** Good news! - SJS will be starring in a new movie as the male lead titled ‘Confession’ (tentative title).   Filming will begin in December. “Confession” is a mystery thriller created by the film production company behind the popular “Along With the Gods” series. The film will be directed by director Yoon Jong Suk.  According to TV Report, the producers are currently searching for a female lead. I'm curious who will be his female partner here.   It's always amazing to watch Sojisub in the big screen. Good luck, SJS! After his drama recently, miss him in movies, too. Feeling damn good with this thought to see him again on the big screen. :P

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10 Wealthiest and Influential Korean Actors in the World

 

Without a doubt the Korean fever or Hallyu wave has infected everyone, it would come as no surprise, that Korean artists and talents are now the biggest resources of Korea contributing billions and billions of dollars in their economy.

 

We compiled the Top 10 Highest Paid Korean Actors, the most loved and Korean actors who made a huge impression all over the world apart from BTS. The amount of money is not listed according to order, due to the different contracts and brands that they are currently endorsing, this article is an estimate of their ability and current popularity based in figures of 2019 and potential for earnings in 2020.

 

 

9. So Ji Sub

So Ji Sub is a highly acclaimed Korean performing actor, best known for his roles in Korea Television series from Cain And Abel, Oh My Venus, Master’s Sun and, I’m Sorry. He is reported to charge $67, 100 per scene. In 2009, he tried to break into the Japanese and Chinese market. He is also known for appearing in manga- live action adaptation GeGeGe No Kitaro 2: Kitaro and the Millennium Curse.

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source : https://www.menhave.com/10-highest-paid-korean-actors/

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35 Korean Dramas You Subconsciously Watch When You Are Feeling Down

 

Heart-fluttering Korean Romance dramas are as good as sweets and ice cream!

Survey says that a true K-drama fan has a saved list of comfort dramas, kept on all devices. When the going gets tough, those drama pills are summoned from its virtual location to cure its owner.

 

There are dramas that you watch as a yearly tradition or when you need to clear excess thoughts or emotions. Whether you are a nube or you have been watching on a regular basis, you have a special go-to drama list that you rely on. Especially at times when the currently airing dramas do not fit your palate.

 

Although a plethora of interesting genres have graced kdramaland through the years, romance stories remain to be the perennial favorites to satisfy your cravings.

 

The sighs, swoons, squeals, and the wish-we-can-be-those-lead-girl-moments are unexplained therapeutic stress pills that have sustained K-drama following. Fan service series maintains its popularity owing to its iconic sweet scenes and memorable love stories.

 

Sometimes, the heart-fluttering moments even spur a free pass for audience to forego bad plot as long as regular doses of bickering and saccharine frames are generously distributed each episode.

 

There are a lot of reasons why we love these kind of dramas. But it all boils down to its addictive drive that puts us on trance to watch it over and over again, without getting tired of it.

 

Here are some of the best comfort K-Dramas to brighten up your somber mood.

 

18. The Master’s Sun (So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin)

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The final Hong sisters drama on this list goes to a spooky milieu and is successful in doing so.  A ghost-seeing woman has been burdened by her supernatural ability all her life.

 

When she finally bumps with the person who can shield her from the compelling ghost request she keeps getting and without her warrant, she sticks by the prickly rich department store owner and soon after develops a relationship with him.

 

The Master’s Sun exhibits the usual comedic and romantic writing brilliance of the Hong sisters. I meant to watch this before because of So Ji Sub and I got more than I asked for.

 

 

22. Oh My Venus (So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah)

Oh My Venus

 

There are a lot of sighs, swoons, and melting moments while watching coach-nim and Daegu beauty realize their love potential through a weight loss program.

 

To reclaim her goddess body, a woman seeks the help of a famous weight loss coach to carry on with her project. He is initially adamant about it, but she traps him by threatening how she will reveal his identity to the world if he does not agree.

 

Oh My Venus oozes with giddy-ish scenes that tickles your romantic spots accurately and spontaneously.

 

 

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source : HelloKpop

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