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October 11, 2015

KDrama Word of the Day: Compulsion (강제)

A clenched fistI came across this word while I was browsing a fascinating site by a Korean attorney. He explains Korean laws in excellent English, with full details, such as example scenarios, current cases, and the Hangeul terms that are used. One of those terms was 강제 or compulsion, forcing someone to do something with intimidation or violence.

My Korean language studies could not be called diligent, but I do try to sound out Hangeul words when I encounter them, and this one sounded out as “Kang Jae.” Wait, thought I. Where have I heard that before?

Actually, that’s just artistic dramatization. I immediately recognized it as the name of Lee Seo Jin’s character in Lovers. At least, it sounded the same. I searched high and low for a cast list that included the character names in Hangeul. I didn’t find one, so I don’t know whether the name of Kang Jae-the-lover was actually spelled the same way in Hangeul. But even if it wasn’t, I’m sure the sound-alike effect was no accident. Word play is common in Korean drama, and it just fits too well to be a coincidence, right?

March 12, 2012

Lovers - Korean Drama review

Lovers, aka Lover (연인) was a popular 20-episode SBS Korean drama series from 2006. The series is best known for the performances of its stars, Lee Seo Jin and Kim Jung Eun, and rightly so. However, credit is also due to the intelligent direction, which allowed much of the emotional action to take place without unnecessary dialogue.

The love quadrangle at the center of Lovers is plagued with guilt, reversals, and agonizing ambivalence, making it one of the most realistic portrayals of that scenario that I’ve ever seen. Although we root for the hero and heroine, the other man and woman are also real people with real pain. This sympathy for all of the characters involved keeps Lovers moving and engaging even when the characters are stuck, and is one of the things I like best about Korean drama. MORE…