Moon Embracing the Sun

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Moon Embracing the Sun
The Moon Embracing the Sun poster.jpg
Promotional poster for Moon Embracing the Sun. L to R: Yoon Bo-kyung, King Lee Hwon, Heo Yeon-woo/Wol, Prince Yang-myung
Also known as The Sun and the Moon
The Moon that Embraces the Sun
The Moon Embracing the Sun
Genre Romance
Period drama
Based on Moon Embracing the Sun 
by Jung Eun-gwol
Written by Jin Soo-wan
Directed by Kim Do-hoon
Lee Seong-jun
Starring Kim Soo-hyun
Han Ga-in
Jung Il-woo
Kim Min-seo
Country of origin South Korea
Original language(s) Korean
No. of episodes 20 + 2 special
Producer(s) Oh Gyeong-hun
Location(s) Korea
Running time Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 (KST)
Production company(s) Pan Entertainment
Original channel Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation
Original run 4 January 2012 (2012-01-04) – 15 March 2012 (2012-03-15)
Preceded by Me Too, Flower!
Followed by The King 2 Hearts
External links
Korean name
Revised Romanization Haereul Pum-eun Dal
McCune–Reischauer Haerŭl P'umŭn Dal

Moon Embracing the Sun (Hangul: 해를 품은 달; RR: Haereul Pum-eun Dal, also known as The Sun and the Moon) is a 2012 South Korean television drama series, starring Kim Soo-hyun, Han Ga-in, Jung Il-woo and Kim Min-seo. It aired on MBC from January 4 to March 15, 2012 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 for 20 episodes.

The historical/fantasy drama is adapted from the novel of the same name written by Jung Eun-gwol. It tells of a secret, poignant love story between a fictional king of the Joseon Dynasty and a female shaman against the backdrop of Korean traditional palace; and the conflicts and conspiracy of vying political powers.

The series won for Best Drama and Best Actor in the television category at the 48th Baeksang Arts Awards, and multiple awards at 2012 MBC Drama Awards, including Drama of the Year.


Thirteen-year-old Heo Yeon-woo, the daughter of a high-ranking official, accompanies her mother to the royal palace to attend her brother, Heo Yeom's civil service examination congratulatory ceremony. By chance, she comes across Crown Prince Lee Hwon in the midst of his escape attempt to see his older half brother, Prince Yang-myung. They fall in love and Yeon-woo is chosen as the Crown Princess of Joseon. This upsets Prince Yang-myung, who also loves Yeon-woo.

Before they can marry, however, the Dowager Queen secretly orders her death, in order to install Yoon Bo-gyeong, the daughter of a family clan, as Crown Princess, thus securing more power for herself. She orders head shaman Jang Nok-yeong of Royal Star Mansion (Royal Astrology House) to cast a spell on Yeon-woo to stricken her with an unknown sickness.

However, before Yeon-woo was born, her mother saved a shaman named Ari, who promised to repay her kindness by providing protection for Yeon-woo. Before she died, Ari asked Nok-young to fulfill the promise. Nok-young secretly visits Yeon-woo's father and gives him a special potion for his daughter, which she tells him will allow Yeon-woo to die in peace. After dying, Yeon-woo is resurrected from her grave, but loses her memories. All believe her to be dead, including the Crown Prince Lee Hwon, who refuses to love another.

Eight years later, Yeon-woo returns as a shaman named Wol (meaning moon). She has not been forgotten by those she left behind, and her fate is still intertwined with Lee Hwon, who is now the king. She must contend with the current Queen of Joseon, the Queen's Father, and the Queen Dowager in order to reclaim her rightful place as Queen of Joseon. Meanwhile the young king begins to investigate the death of his love after seeing the grown up Wol. But he is fighting against time, because the queen's powerful political clan wants him removed from power.


Kim Soo-hyun as Lee Hwon
'Sun Reaching for the Moon': Destined to be the first Sun, he experiences love for the first time when he meets Yeon-woo; unfortunately she suddenly falls ill and dies. Eight years later he becomes a King who hardly smiles. One day, he encounters a shaman who resembles Yeon-woo. Naming her Wol, he starts to have doubts on her death and decides to investigate.
'Moon Embracing the Sun': Destined to be the first Moon, she was born in the interim of Ari's execution. The daughter of a noble family who is gaining power in the royal court, who is smart, bright and well-loved. Chosen as the Crown Princess, she mysteriously fell ill and passed away before the royal wedding ceremony. Just when she was believed to be dead, she was saved by Jang Nok-young, the head shaman upon the request from her late friend Ari. However, Yeon-woo lost all her memories. Eight years later, she returns to the palace as a shaman, who is named Wol by Lee Hwon, which means the Moon.
'Overshadowed by the Sun': The second Sun, he is the elder half brother of Lee Hwon. He always seems to be unfairly treated by his father, King Seongjo. However his father reveals that while Yang-myung is still his beloved son, he is treated harshly to protect Lee Hwon. Seemingly a carefree man while he is fiercely loyal to those he loves, he has to struggle between his long, unrequited love for Yeon-woo and his brotherhood with Lee Hwon.
The second Moon who enters the palace as a playmate for Princess Minhwa. She was used as a tool by the Dowager Queen to achieve more power by trying to make her the Crown Princess, which was successful after Yeon-woo's supposed death. Later, she became Lee Hwon's queen. Although she's been in love with Lee Hwon all her life, his only true love remains Yeon-woo.

Heo Clan[edit]

  • Sunwoo Jae-duk as Heo Young-jae
Yeom and Yeon-woo's father. Trusted by King Sungjo for his loyalty. He is viewed by Yoon Dae-hyung as an opponent.
Yeom and Yeon-woo's mother. Mother-in-law of Princess Min-hwa. She is a very warm person but because of her daughter and husband's death, she is at the edge of losing her vitality. Princess Min-hwa is the one that helps her recover her smile.
Yeon-woo's older brother and Hwon's tutor, he is a high-ranking official scholar. Females swoon when he passes by because of his good looks. He has a close friendship with Hwon whom he mentored and later when Hwon become the king he become his loyal subject. After Yeon-woo's death, he becomes the husband of Princess Min-hwa.
She was the maid serving of Heo's family. She was named Seol by Heo Yeom and harbors an unrequited love for him. She is a swordswoman who protects Yeon-woo during her time as shaman Wol.

Royal Household[edit]

Mother of King Sungjo and Grandmother of Lee Hwon who has political relationship with Yoon Dae Hyung. The death of crown princess was manipulated by her. Although she is an antagonist of the series, all the evils she has committed was to secure the throne of Lee Hwon.
Father of Hwon, Yang-myung and Min-hwa. A king with both intellect and military ability. The involvement of his beloved brother Prince Uiseong, in conspiracy which brought the latter death, is a faded memory that can make him shed tears. At the same, he loves his son Yang-myung deeply, but never shows it.
  • Kim Sun-kyung as Queen So-hye
Mother of Lee Hwon; not of noble birth.
  • Kim Ye-ryung as Lady Park
Mother of Yang-myung. The concubine of Great King Sungjo. Similar to Great Queen Han, she has no political ambition and has a quiet and gentle nature. After the death of King Sungjo, she retires to live a quiet life in a nunnery. She was made concubine by the King Sungjo because he pitied her.
Lee Hwon's younger sister. As a child, she fell in love with Yeon-woo's older brother, Heo Yeom, and wanted to marry him.
A 23 year old young warrior. He is the top swordsman in Joseon and is the loyal bodyguard of Hwon. He is blessed with the looks of his courtesan mother, and the swordsmanship of his noble father. Though talented, he obtained a lowly status as he was born by a concubine to a noble man, and received care from the official wife of his father. He has deep friendship with Yeom and Yang-myung. His loyalty to Lee Hwon later strains his friendship with Yang-myung.
  • Jung Eun-pyo as Hyung Sun
Chief of Neasi eunuch. By the side of Lee Hwon since he is crown prince. Very close friendship with Lee Hwon as he is his aid. He watched the growth of Lee Hwon and understands his feelings. He is often used by Hwon in his many antics in the palace. The character is also used as comic relief during intense scenes.
  • Kim Min-kyung as Court Lady Min
From Yeom family in Bukcheon, she is a lady-in-waiting to Princess Min-hwa. It is revealed she dies later.
  • Chu Gwi-jung as Court Lady Jo
Queen Bo-kyung's gungnyeo (lady-in-waiting) since entering the palace as a Crown princess.

Star Mansion (Seungsucheong)[edit]

State female shaman of Seongsucheong, the top shaman of Joseon. She has all the information about the incident of crown princess death. She has strong strength in cursing that nobody dares to stare at her. Because of constant opposition from scholars, Seongsucheong is in danger. In order to save Seongsucheong she decides to help the Great Empress Queen Dowager.
  • Kim Ik-tae as Hye Gak
Guru of Sogyeokseo who helped Nok-young to escape with Yeon-woo.
  • Bae Noo-ri as Jan-shil
    • Jo Min-ah as young Jan-shil
Slave shaman the successor of Jang Nok-young. She has constant fear of her own divine power. Her stare penetrates a person's thoughts. She has the ability to foresee the future unknowingly.
A shaman who is friends with Jang Nok-young. She has strong divine powers, and can be seen having visions of the future. She was saved by Yeon-woo's mother. In gratitude, she protected Yeon-woo in life or death as gratitude for Yeon-woo's mother saving her life.

Yoon Clan and Officials[edit]

  • Kim Eung-soo as Yoon Dae-hyung
Father in-law of Hwon, the Father of Bo-kyung and the leader of consort clan. He is an experienced politician and would stop at nothing to gain money and power, even if it means he would lose his family.
  • Jang Hee-soo as Mrs Kim
Wife of Yoon Dae-hyung and Mother of Bo-kyung. Unaware of the evils behind Yoon Dae Hyung.
  • Seo Hyun-chul as Shim San
From deputy minister of personnel elected to Chief Royal Secretary.
Elected from mayor to Minister of Defense.
  • Kim Seung-wook as Yoon Soo-chan
Ministry of taxation promoted to minister oat ministry personnel.
Guru at Uigeumbu (royal guard and secret police), formerly President of the student body at Sungkyunkwan. He is favored by King Hwon and becomes the king's secret investigator.


Based on the novel by Jung Eun-gwol, the screenplay was written by Jin Soo-wan (writer of Capital Scandal); and directed by Kim Do-hoon (who previously directed Royal Family) and Lee Seong-jun (who previously directed Gyebaek).

This production marked Han Ga-in's first historical drama and return to television since Bad Guy in 2010.[6] It is also Jung Il-woo's second historical drama following The Return of Iljimae in 2009.[7]

Filming began in November 2011 with child actors for the first six episodes, followed by the script reading session with their adult counterparts on December 25 at MBC Dream Center in Ilsan.[8]

In February 2012, there were talks of an extension of four episodes to the 20-episode drama. The production company, Ten Entertainment later confirmed that there would be no extension and the series was to end on its original date of March 8, 2012.[9][10] However it did not end till March 15, 2012, because director Kim Do-hoon joined the MBC strike leading to the last two episodes being delayed for a week, and replaced with two special episodes.[11]

The shooting period spanned over the cold months in Korea, which added to the actors' difficulties as there were quite a number of outdoor scenes.[12]

Filming locations[edit]

Most of the royal palace scenes were filmed on location at MBC Dramia located at Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si in Gyeonggi Province, where other historical dramas such as Dong Yi, Jumong and Queen Seondeok were also filmed.[13] The House of Choi Champan was used as Yeon-woo's childhood home, and the Korean Folk Village was used for local markets, private residences of commoners, and night scenes.[14]


According to AGB Nielsen Media Research, the premiere episode achieved a nationwide rating of 18 percent and by the third episode the series was ranked first with a nationwide rating of 23.2 percent in viewership, ahead of its rivals Take Care of Us, Captain on SBS and Wild Romance on KBS.[15] The series finale recorded its highest ratings with a viewership of 42.2 percent nationwide, and an average of 45.8 percent in the Seoul National Capital Area.[16]

Episode Original broadcast date Average audience share
TNmS Ratings[17] AGB Nielsen[18]
Nationwide Seoul National Capital Area Nationwide Seoul National Capital Area
1 4 January 2012 15.0% 16.9% 18.0% 19.7%
2 5 January 2012 17.3% 20.8% 19.9% 22.2%
3 11 January 2012 19.4% 22.3% 23.2% 26.1%
4 12 January 2012 20.6% 25.1% 23.4% 26.0%
5 18 January 2012 21.6% 24.9% 24.9% 28.3%
6 19 January 2012 25.9% 28.6% 29.3% 32.9%
7 25 January 2012 25.5% 28.8% 29.7% 33.8%
8 26 January 2012 26.2% 29.4% 31.7% 35.3%
9 1 February 2012 28.4% 32.3% 34.5% 38.9%
10 2 February 2012 30.5% 35.1% 37.1% 40.5%
11 8 February 2012 34.3% 38.6% 37.1% 41.7%
12 9 February 2012 33.7% 37.8% 37.1% 40.8%
13 15 February 2012 34.6% 39.3% 38.4% 42.9%
14 16 February 2012 37.2% 42.0% 37.6% 42.1%
15 22 February 2012 37.7% 42.6% 39.1% 43.1%
16 23 February 2012 39.8% 45.5% 41.3% 46.1%
17 29 February 2012 33.3% 36.1% 36.0% 39.7%
18 1 March 2012 40.7% 47.0% 41.2% 45.8%
19 14 March 2012 38.9% 42.9% 38.7% 41.8%
20 15 March 2012 42.3% 46.5% 42.2% 45.8%
Average 30.1% 34.1% 33.0% 36.7%
Special 7 March 2012 24.7% 26.0% 24.5% 26.9%
Special 8 March 2012 19.8% 21.7% 19.2% 20.1%

Original soundtrack[edit]

Moon Embracing the Sun:
Original Sound Track
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released February 15, 2012
Genre Pop, K-pop, soundtrack
Label VDCD-6385
  1. 시간을 거슬러 (Back in Time) – Lyn
  2. 달빛이 지고 (Under the Moonlight) – HeOra
  3. 눈물길 (Trail of Tears) – Wheesung
  4. 그림자 (Shadow) – Monday Kiz
  5. 해를 품은 달
  6. 숨은 달
  7. 꽃잎처럼, 불꽃처럼
  8. 애지애가(愛之哀歌)
  9. 장명루
  10. 저자거리
  11. 위령제
  12. 두 개의 태양과 하나의 달
  13. 은월각
  14. 연우 내리다
  15. 태양의 눈물
  16. 궁의 아침
  17. 달빛의 노래
  18. 흑주술
  19. 나비의 춤
  20. 그대 한 사람 (Only You) – Kim Soo-hyun[19]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
48th Baeksang Arts Awards[20]
Best Drama Moon Embracing the Sun Won
Best Director (TV) Kim Do-hoon & Lee Seong-jun Nominated
Best Actor (TV)[21] Kim Soo-hyun Won
Best New Actor (TV) Yeo Jin-goo Nominated
Best New Actress (TV) Kim Yoo-jung Nominated
Most Popular Actor (TV) Kim Soo-hyun Nominated
Jung Il-woo Nominated
Yeo Jin-goo Nominated
Yim Si-wan Nominated
Most Popular Actress (TV) Han Ga-in Nominated
Kim Yoo-jung Nominated
6th Mnet 20's Choice Awards
20's Drama Star – Male Kim Soo-hyun Won
Upcoming 20's Yeo Jin-goo Nominated
Kim Yoo-jung Nominated
39th Korea Broadcasting Prize
Best Actor Kim Soo-hyun Won
18th Shanghai Television Festival
Magnolia Awards[22]
Silver Award for Best Foreign TV Series Moon Embracing the Sun Won
7th Seoul International Drama Awards
Outstanding Korean Drama Moon Embracing the Sun Nominated
Outstanding Korean Actor Kim Soo-hyun Nominated
Outstanding Korean Actress Han Ga-in Nominated
14th Mnet Asian Music Awards[23][24]
Best Original Soundtrack Back in Time - Lyn Nominated
4th Pierson Movie Festival
Best Child Actor Yeo Jin-goo Won
Best Child Actress Kim Yoo-jung Won
5th Korea Drama Awards
Grand Prize Kim Soo-hyun Nominated
Best Original Soundtrack Back in Time - Lyn Won
1st K-Drama Star Awards
Excellence Award, Actor Kim Soo-hyun Won
Acting Award, Actress Jeon Mi-seon Nominated
Best Young Actress Kim Yoo-jung Won
3rd Remarkable Awards[25]
Best Drama Moon Embracing the Sun Nominated
Best Actor Kim Soo-hyun Nominated
Best Actress Han Ga-in Won
Best Drama OST Back in Time - Lyn Nominated
The One and Only You - Kim Soo-hyun Nominated
MBC Drama Awards
Grand Prize Kim Soo-hyun Nominated
Han Ga-in Nominated
Drama of the Year Moon Embracing the Sun Won
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Kim Soo-hyun Won
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Han Ga-in Won
Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Jung Il-woo Nominated
Best New Actor Yim Si-wan Nominated
Best New Actress Kim Min-seo Nominated
Nam Bo-ra Nominated
Popularity Award Kim Soo-hyun Won
Han Ga-in Nominated
Yeo Jin-goo Nominated
Jung Il-woo Nominated
Kim Yoo-jung Nominated
Kim So-hyun Nominated
Yim Si-wan Nominated
Best Couple Award Kim Soo-hyun & Han Ga-in Nominated
Kim Soo-hyun & Jung Eun-pyo Nominated
Yeo Jin-goo & Kim Yoo-jung Nominated
Golden Acting Award, Actor Kim Eung-soo Nominated
Jung Eun-pyo Nominated
Golden Acting Award, Actress Yang Mi-kyung Won
Jeon Mi-seon Nominated
Best Young Actor Yeo Jin-goo Won
Lee Min-ho Nominated
Best Young Actress Kim Yoo-jung Won
Kim So-hyun Won
Jin Ji-hee Nominated
Writer of the Year Jin Soo-wan Won
46th WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival[26]
Special Jury Award Moon Embracing the Sun Won

International broadcast[edit]

In March 2012, the drama's broadcast rights were sold to eight Asian countries, including Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. At that time it set the record as the most profitable drama for MBC, which was later surpassed by Arang and the Magistrate in August 2012.[27][28]

  • Japan Japan: NHK - special program on January 13, 2013, followed by its premiere on January 20, then aired every Sunday thereafter.[29] Reruns aired in July 2014.[30]
  • Philippines Philippines: GMA Network - aired from August 13, 2012 to November 2, 2012, on Monday to Friday nights.[31]

Musical theatre[edit]

A stage musical adaptation was performed at the Seoul Arts Center from July 6 to July 31, 2013, with succeeding runs in 2014.[34] Kim Da-hyun, Jeon Dong-seok and Cho Kyuhyun alternated as Lee Hwon, and Jeon Mi-do, Ahn Shi-ha, Lina, Jung Jae-eun and Seohyun alternated as Yeon-woo.[35][36]


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  2. ^ Lee, In-kyung (14 December 2011). "Han Ga In Shows Off Her Elegant Beauty". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  3. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (26 December 2011). "Jung Il-woo to appear in MBC drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  4. ^ Oh, Mi-jung (17 January 2012). "ZE:A's Si Wan Becomes an Overnight Star". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  5. ^ Lee, Nancy (9 January 2012). ""Hyun Bin's Niece" Seo Ji Hee is All Grown Up". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
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  8. ^ Lee, In-kyung (26 December 2011). "Han Ga In Meets with Stars of The Sun and the Moon for Christmas". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  9. ^ Hong, Lucia (17 February 2012). "Extension for MBC TV series Moon not finalized". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  10. ^ Hong, Lucia (22 February 2012). "MBC's TV series Moon will not be extended". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  11. ^ Suk, Monica (9 March 2012). "Moon remains unchallengeable despite its replacement with series' special". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  12. ^ 훤도 연우도 하하하! '자체발광' 웃음 품다. Sports Hankook Ilbo (in Korean). 30 January 2011. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  13. ^ Lee, Cin Woo (16 March 2012). "Beyond Seoul: 19 reasons to explore Korea". CNN Go. Retrieved 2012-05-06. 
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  15. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (12 January 2012). "New MBC drama beats out rivals after only 3 episodes". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  16. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (17 March 2012). "Hit drama ends with record ratings". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  17. ^ "TNMS Daily Ratings: this links to current day-select the date from drop down menu". TNMS Ratings (in Korean). Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  18. ^ "AGB Daily Ratings: this links to current day-select the date from drop down menu". AGB Nielsen Media Research (in Korean). Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  19. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (12 March 2012). "Kim Soo-hyun sings on Moon Embracing the Sun drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  20. ^ "Winners list: 48th PaekSang Arts Awards 2012". Baeksang Arts Awards (in Korean). Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  21. ^ Kwon, Mee-yoo (27 April 2012). "Kim Soo-hyun wins Paeksang awards". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  22. ^ Ho, Stewart (18 June 2012). "Jung Il Woo Receives Award on Behalf of The Sun and Moon at the 18th Shanghai TV Festival". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  23. ^ "Nominees for the 2012 MAMA Announced". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  24. ^ Eun, Elizabeth (30 November 2012). "Big Bang, Super Junior and Psy Win Big at 2012 MAMA". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  25. ^ "2012 German Remarkable Korean Awards Winner". Allkpop. 22 December 2012. Retrieved 2014-08-08. 
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External links[edit]