Wednesday, December 12, 2007

[The Chosun Ilbo, December 5 2007] Korean TV Series Breaks New Ground in Japan

All 500 seats of a cinema in Shinjuku, Tokyo, are taken up by women of all ages, there to watch "Taewangsasingi (The Four Guardian Gods of the King),” starring Korean Wave star Bae Yong-joon. The drama is directed by Kim Jong-hak and deals with the life of King Gwanggaeto the Great, known as the “Great Expander” of ancient Korean history.

Showing a 24-episode drama one installment at a time in a theater is certainly a new experiment for the Korean Wave. The series has already been broadcast on cable TV since Dec. 3 and will be accessible for all on national network NHK TV next year. Nevertheless some 20,000 fans paid up to W20,000 (US$1=W923) to watch the drama in a theater, and some 1,000 spent W3 million on a ticket for the entire series.

The press and audience response to Bae’s new series was fulsome. Even though the man known as Yonsama in the island country appeared only fleetingly in the 70-minute episode shown on the day, they were mesmerized by the drama's scale and CGI effects. “It was a great deal more real and exciting to watch on a large screen,” said Haruko Marukawa (67). “The computer graphics were on par with 'The Lord of the Ring.'” Advertiser Koki Matsukubo (37) was impressed by the decision to show the series on the big screen. “This kind of thing doesn’t happen with Japanese drama, and I'm amazed by the idea. I’m sure other theaters will show 'Taewangsasingi ' thanks to Yonsama’s loyal fans.”

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