49 Days

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49 Days
Promotional poster for 49 Days
Also known asPure Love
Body swap
Written bySo Hyun-kyung
Directed byJo Young-kwang
StarringLee Yo-won
Nam Gyu-ri
Jung Il-woo
Jo Hyun-jae
Bae Soo-bin
Seo Ji-hye
Opening theme"I Can Feel It" by Navi
Country of originSouth Korea
Original language(s)Korean
No. of episodes20
Producer(s)Choi Moon-suk
Production location(s)South Korea
Running timeWednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 (KST)
Production company(s)HB Entertainment
Original networkSeoul Broadcasting System
Original release16 March (2011-03-16) –
19 May 2011 (2011-05-19)
Preceded bySign
Followed byCity Hunter
Related showsPure Love (Philippines)
External links

49 Days (Hangul49일; Hanja49日; MR49 il) is a 2011 South Korean television series starring Lee Yo-won, Nam Gyu-ri, Jo Hyun-jae, Bae Soo-bin, Jung Il-woo and Seo Ji-hye. It aired on SBS from March 16 to May 19, 2011 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 for 20 episodes.[1][2]


Gullible yet cheerful Shin Ji-hyun (Nam Gyu-ri) is living a perfect life: she is the only daughter of wealthy, doting parents and is surrounded by supportive best friends. She is also engaged to be married to the perfect man, Kang Min-ho (Bae Soo-bin), in just a few weeks. Meanwhile, Song Yi-kyung (Lee Yo-won) is in an existential crisis following her boyfriend's tragic death. She works third shift at a convenience store, sleeps in the afternoon, and often spends what little time she has left in the day contemplating suicide.

One fateful day interweaves the two characters' stories as Yi-kyung attempts to kill herself by walking into oncoming traffic. A bystander saves Yi-kyung by pulling her out of harm's way. However, a massive pile-up ensues from her actions. Ji-hyun fails to hit the brakes as she approaches the collision site and crashes into a truck. When she regains consciousness after the accident, she shockingly finds that she could neither make physical contact with the people crowding around her car nor could any of them hear her protests. She also sees her own body being carted into an ambulance. A motorcyclist nearby seems to be the only person who can see her. After Ji-hyun leaves him to follow the paramedics attempting to revive her body in the ambulance, she meets the cyclist again at the hospital. The cyclist reveals to her that he is indeed the "Scheduler," an angelic being charged with guiding souls to their final destinations. He explains that since it was not yet her time to die, she is given the chance to recover from her comatose state and live again. The offer is contingent, however, on the completion of a mission: Ji-hyun must gather three teardrops shed out of pure love by three people not related to her by blood within the next 49 days. Elated by the seemingly easy task, Ji-hyun immediately thinks of her fiance and two best friends and is certain she will live again. She then finds herself in the body of the suicidal Yi-kyung for which she will remain for the duration of her quest.

Ji-hyun proceeds by seeking employment as a waitress at a restaurant owned by her high school friend, Han Kang (Jo Hyun-jae). While in the process of obtaining her proof of employment at a hotel where the real Yi-kyung worked, Ji-hyun's memory begins to return to her. Before the accident, Ji-hyun had agreed to meet up with her best friend Shin In-jung (Seo Ji-hye) to show her the bridesmaid dress Ji-hyun had chosen for her. Ji-hyun's excitement is muted when she makes an significant discovery that reveals the deception around her. She painfully realizes her life was less than perfect, and that it won't be as easy to find people who truly love her.[3]



  • Lee Yo-won as Song Yi-kyung/Shin Ji-min/Shin Ji-hyun (Possessed)[4][5]
    • Jo Min-ah as young Shin Ji-min

A despondent night-shift worker who lives in a run-down apartment alone. Yi-kyung is shown to be stoic and chronically depressed, with no interest whatsoever in living after her boyfriend's death. She partly contributes to Ji-hyun's fatal traffic accident as she unsuccessfully tries to end her life, one of many attempts. She develops a bond with Ji-hyun and rediscovers the strength to go on living from that friendship and after moving on from her tragic past. She was later revealed to be Ji-hyun's lost sister, Ji-min.

A beautiful, pampered yet kind bride-to-be. From the start of the series, Ji-hyun evinces deep feelings for her seemingly perfect fiance, and strong attachment to her friends. She is nicknamed "Optimistic Princess" by her friends because she was known to view situations through rose-colored glasses prior to the accident. Throughout the drama, Ji-hyun develops the most as a character. While she gradually learns to accept the harsh realities of life, she is still able to maintain her faith in the goodness of others.

A happy-go-lucky guy who has been working as the Scheduler for almost 5 years. He does not retain any memories of his past; thus, he rarely evinces any sympathy towards humans. Nevertheless, after meeting the troublesome 49-day traveler Shin Ji-hyun, his perspective has changed; he even violated a few rules pertaining to his duty as a grim reaper to help her myriads of times. He was later revealed to be Yi-kyung's deceased boyfriend, Song Yi-soo, and volunteered to be a Scheduler to realize his final wish.

One of Ji-hyun's friends in high school, although they are no longer as close as before due to an unfortunate incident. Han Kang puts up the facade of being cold and rude towards Ji-hyun although in reality, he deeply cares for her. The depth of his feelings for her is revealed in such a way that he knows more about her than her own fiance and friends. He is Ji-hyun's pillar of support throughout her 49-day journey.

Ji-hyun's seemingly perfect fiance who possesses good looks and admirable talent. Min-ho initially showed strong romantic feelings towards Ji-hyun as he was apparently emotionally shattered upon receiving tragic news of her accident. Nevertheless, his manipulative and malicious nature is later revealed in his efforts to defraud Ji-hyun's family.

One of Ji-hyun's best friends. In-jung is first shown as the dependable friend. However, her altruistic image as the 'caring and trustworthy best friend' veils the envy and deep resentment she harbors against Ji-hyun and her family.


Special appearances[edit]

  • Ban Hyo-jung as Senior Scheduler
  • Kim Hyung-bum as Another 49 days traveler (ep. 15)
  • Jung Da-hye
  • Jo Young-jin
  • Goo Seung-hyun as Little kid
  • Kim Min-jwa

Theological themes[edit]

49 Days explores interconnectedness of all things, such as fate, exorcism, and other spiritual topics. This TV series was inspired by the Korean Shamanism "Bardo" that a soul usually wanders the earth for 49 days and then moves on to the next life, thus frequently referencing relevant Buddhism (once a majority religion of Korea) ideas such as reincarnation and karma. Location names also have theological rhythm— such as Han Kang's restaurant Heaven and Mountain Destiny, where Ji-hyun and Min-ho first meet. However, Christian themes like true love, forgiveness, resurrection, loving the enemy, and the quantity of three (reminiscent of the Trinity) are central to Ji-hyun's obtaining the genuine tears. These themes are recurrently exploited throughout the drama under the manifestation of the relationships of the characters. When Ji-hyun asks whether the Scheduler is male, he answers that such discrimination is not practiced in the afterworld, a concept in Matthew 22:30. The Scheduler also mentions that "knock and the door will be opened to you," echoing Matthew 7:7. The "unutterable secret of the heavens" (천기누설) that Scheduler speaks about is similar to the mysteries of the kingdom of God that "man is not permitted to tell" (2 Corinthians 12:4, Mark 4:11, Matthew 13:11). When Ji-hyun desperately prays to God to save her, her tear necklace attains Han Kang's tear. God also has a tear-collecting bottle in Psalm 56:8. Ji-hyun's last name, Shin (신), means "God" in Korean.


Date Episode Nationwide Seoul
2011-03-16 01 8.1% (18th) 9.5% (15th)
2011-03-17 02 8.0% 9.5% (12th)
2011-03-23 03 8.8% (16th) 10.7% (9th)
2011-03-24 04 10.2% (14th) 12.2% (9th)
2011-03-30 05 10.2% (9th) 13.2% (5th)
2011-03-31 06 10.5% (12th) 12.8% (7th)
2011-04-06 07 10.0% (9th) 12.5% (5th)
2011-04-07 08 10.5% (13th) 12.8% (7th)
2011-04-13 09 10.0% (9th) 12.1% (5th)
2011-04-14 10 10.8% (8th) 13.3% (6th)
2011-04-20 11 11.0% (5th) 13.7% (3rd)
2011-04-21 12 12.3% (5th) 15.1% (4th)
2011-04-27 13 12.3% (4th) 14.3% (3rd)
2011-04-28 14 11.9% (4th) 13.8% (4th)
2011-05-04 15 14.0% (3rd) 17.4% (3rd)
2011-05-05 16 14.5% (3rd) 16.2% (3rd)
2011-05-11 17 15.2% (3rd) 19.1% (3rd)
2011-05-12 18 12.7% (3rd) 15.4% (3rd)
2011-05-18 19 15.8% (3rd) 19.4% (1st)
2011-05-19 20 17.1% (2nd) 19.9% (1st)
Average[10] 11.7% 14.1%

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2011 Seoul International Drama Awards Outstanding Korean Actress Lee Yo-won Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Nominated
Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special Jo Hyun-jae Nominated
Bae Soo-bin Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Nam Gyu-ri Nominated
Seo Ji-hye Nominated
Producers' Award, Actress Lee Yo-won Won
Top 10 Stars Won

International broadcast[edit]

  • It aired in Japan on KNTV in summer 2011, and on Fuji TV in fall 2011.[11]
  • It aired in Singapore on Channel U beginning June 22, 2014. After that, KBS drama "Good Doctor" replaced the Sunday 9 pm schedule.
  • It aired in Thailand on Channel 7 beginning December 25, 2013.[12]


ABS-CBN produced a Philippine remake under the title Pure Love (since the 49-day Korean after-death tradition contradicts the 40-day counterpart in the Philippines), starring Alex Gonzaga, Yen Santos, Joseph Marco, Matt Evans, Arjo Atayde, Yam Concepcion and Sunshine Cruz.[13] The series premiered on July 7, 2014.


  1. ^ Wee, Geun-woo (9 March 2011). "PREVIEW: SBS TV series 49 Days". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  2. ^ Kim, Heidi (20 May 2011). "49 Days closes curtains after ruling TV for 3rd week". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  3. ^ Lee, Ga-on (17 March 2011). "REVIEW: SBS TV Series 49 Days - 1st Episode". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  4. ^ Hong, Lucia (14 January 2011). "Actress Lee Yo-won set to return to small screen in March". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  5. ^ Lee, Ga-on (8 June 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actress Lee Yo-won - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  6. ^ Hong, Lucia (5 January 2011). "Jung Il-woo cast as male lead in upcoming SBS drama". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  7. ^ Hong, Lucia (9 March 2011). "Jung Il-woo says watched films Meet Joe Black and Constantine to prep for new drama". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  8. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (18 March 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actor Jung Il-woo of 49 Days". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  9. ^ Lee, Ga-on (31 May 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actor Jung Il-woo". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  10. ^ TNS Media Korea
  11. ^ Hong, Lucia (1 February 2012). "Jung Il-woo and cast of TV series 49 Days to hold promotional event in Japan". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  12. ^ "ช่อง 7 สี ส่งซีรีส์ยอดนิยม "49 วัน ลิขิตฟ้า...ตามหารัก" (49 DAYS) ลงจอ 25 ธ.ค. นี้". Channel 7. 30 August 2015. Retrieved 2013-12-17. Thai: Thai
  13. ^ "Korean series Pure Love to get Pinoy adaptation". ABS-CBN News. 21 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-04.

External links[edit]