Bridal Mask

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Bridal Mask-poster.jpg
Promotional poster for Bridal Mask
Also known as Gaksital
Genre Romance
Period drama
Based on Gaksital
by Huh Young-man
Written by Yoo Hyun-mi
Directed by Yoon Sung-sik
Starring Joo Won
Jin Se-yeon
Park Ki-woong
Han Chae-ah
Country of origin South Korea
Original language(s) Korean
No. of episodes 28
Location(s) Korea
Running time Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 (KST)
Production company(s) Gaksital SPC
Pan Entertainment (ko)
Distributor Korean Broadcasting System
Original network Korean Broadcasting System
Original release 30 May (2012-05-30) – 6 September 2012 (2012-09-06)
Preceded by Man from the Equator
Followed by The Innocent Man
External links
official KBS website
Korean name
Hangul 각시
Revised Romanization Gaksital
McCune–Reischauer Kaksit'al

Bridal Mask (Hangul각시탈; RRGaksital) is a 2012 KBS2 period drama based on the popular Korean manhwa by Huh Young-man. The setting takes place in Seoul, Korea during the 1930s Japanese colonial era.

The plot of the TV drama is slightly modified from the original graphic novel. The story follows a man named Lee Kang-to, a Korean police officer commissioned by the Japanese Police to betray his own country and aid the Japanese in the annihilation of the Korean rebellion. During his mission, he encounters a notorious masked man who dons a traditional Korean bridal mask to fight for Korea's independence by assassinating key Japanese officers. As the detective's hunt for "Gaksital" ("Bridal Mask") unravels, his eyes are slowly opened to the treacherous deeds he has committed towards his own countrymen. It stars Joo Won and Jin Se-yeon as the leads and with Shin Hyun-joon as the notorious masked hero of the Korean rebellion.


Two brothers - Lee Kang-to and Lee Kang-san – live in Seoul in the 1930s, oppressed under Imperial Japanese rule. Kang-to, the younger brother, is a rising star in the police force and works with the Japanese police to capture “Bridal Mask,” a mysterious freedom fighter who fights for independence wearing a Korean Bridal Mask. Later when Lee Kang-to’s life is turned upside down, he dons the Bridal Mask and fights injustice and rights wrongs against the Japanese during one of the darkest periods of Korea’s history.

Kimura Shunji is a gentle Japanese teacher who has come to teach in Korea against his father's will. He is best friends with Kang-to and shares a loving relationship with his Korean nanny. He also falls in love with the fiercely patriotic Mok-dan, a woman who is in love with Kang-to, a twist that begins to change him into a darker person.


  • Joo Won as Lee Kang-to/Sato Hiroshi/Lee Young (childhood name) (2nd Gaksital, Lieutenant of Jongro police station, Freedom Fighter)
A pro-Japanese Korean police officer hated by his own fellow countrymen, who label him as a traitor to his homeland. Kang-to is infamous for being heartless and inconsiderate of others' feelings. After 1st Gaksital, Kang-san's death, he becomes the masked vigilante known as "Gaksital" (meaning "Bridal Mask") who fights for Korea's independence.[1]
  • Jin Se-yeon as Oh Mok-dan/Esther/Boon-yi (childhood name) (Circus Member, Freedom Fighter)
A young woman who is part of a circus troupe and is the daughter of Damsari, an important general of the Independence army. Her real name is Boon-yi, though she has also been referred to as "Esther." As a young girl, she falls in love with a boy who made a moving promise to her in a moment of life and death. Years later, she comes to suspect that her first love is the man behind the mask, though she despises Lee Kang-to, whom she regards as her arch-enemy.
  • Park Ki-woong as Kimura Shunji (Former Music Teacher in Namsan Elementary School, Captain of Jongro police station, Kishokai member)
Kang-to's best friend. He is a Japanese born into a prominent Samurai family but chooses to defy his father and becomes a music teacher for Korean children. His first love is Mok-Dan, whom he knew as Esther. Due to certain circumstances, Shunji later swears to kill Bridal Mask with his own hands. His father, Kimura Taro inducts him into the Kishokai and the Japanese Police Force, replacing his older brother, Kimura Kenji
  • Han Chae-ah as Ueno Rie/Lara/Chae Hong-joo[2] (Spy, Singer, Former Gisaeng, Kishokai member)
A Korean woman whose aristocratic family was murdered after they refused to send monetary support to the Independence army. Orphaned, she voluntarily becomes a "gisaeng" at the age of 9 but was then adopted by a prominent Japanese man who saw her deep hatred for Korea. She receives military training and becomes a spy in charge of a mission to kill Gaksital. She inadvertently falls in love with Lee Kang-to, whom she admires.
  • Shin Hyun-joon as Lee Kang-san/Lee In (childhood name)[3] (1st Gaksital, Village idiot, Freedom Fighter)
Kang-to's older brother, who is known as the "village idiot" after the Japanese police tortured him for joining the Independence Movement, rendering him mentally-disabled, or so they thought. However, under being an idiot, he is revealed to be Gaksital. Kang-san later becomes an important catalyst for Kangto's transformation into Gaksital.
  • Chun Ho-jin - Kimura Taro (Chief of the Jongro police station, Chairman of Gyeongseong branch of Kishokai)
  • Jeon No-min - Mok Damsari (Mok-dan's father and the General of the Independence Army)
  • Son Byong-ho - Circus Master Jo Dong-ju (Leader of the Circus team)
  • Song Ok-sook - Mrs. Han (Kang-to's mother)
  • Lee Il-jae - Lee Seon (Kang-to's father)
  • Ahn Hyung-joon - Katsuyama Jun (Chae Hong-joo's bodyguard)
  • Lee Byung-joon - Shin Nan-da (Circus member)
  • Ahn Suk-hwan - Lee Shi-yong (Royal Count, Kishokai member)
  • Kim Jung-nan - Lee Hwa-gyung (Royal Countess, Kishokai member)
  • Lee Kyung-shil - Oh Dong-nyeon (Widowed circus member who had close relationship with Mok-dan as her own daughter)
  • Kim Tae-young - Park In-sam (Kyeongseong Ilbo newspaper owner, Kishokai member)
  • Son Yeo-eun - Um Sun-hwa (Mok-dan's best friend, Circus member)
  • Seo Yun-a - Ham Gye-soon (Circus member who became Shunji's spy in order to earn money to take care of her family)
  • Park Joo-hyung - Kimura Kenji (Former Captain of Jongro police station, Kishokai member)
  • Jeon Gook-hwan - Ueno Hideki (Chairman of Kishokai, a secret organization involved in the assassinations of the last Emperor and Empress of Joseon, adopted father of Chae Hong-joo)
  • Bruce Khan - Ginpei Gato (Chairman Ueno's samurai bodyguard)
  • Kim Eung-soo - Konno Goji (Director of the Kyeongseong police force)
  • Yoon Jin-ho - Goiso Tadanobu (Sergeant of Jongro police station)
  • Yoon Bong-kil - Abe Shinji (Private of Jongro police station)
  • Ban Min-jung - Jeok Pa/Anna (Comrade of Damsari)
  • Ji Seo-yun - Tasha (Owner of Angel Club)
  • Baek Jae-jin - Director Bong (Manager of Angel Club)
  • Choi Dae-hoon - Lee Hae-suk/Minami Tamao (Count's son, Kishokai member)
  • Bang Joong-hyun - Park Sung-mo (Newspaper owner's son, Kishokai member after replacing his father, In-sam)
  • Jang Joon-yoo - Merry
  • Lee Jae-won - No Sang-yeob
  • Kim Kyu-chul - Woo Byung-joon (Hospital director, Kishokai member)
  • Ko In-beom - Jo Young-geun (President of Jo Il Bank, Kishokai member)
  • Kwon Tae-won - Choi Myung-sub (Judge, Kishokai member)
  • Kim Bang-won - Kim Deuk-soo (Member of Dong Jin's Death Squad)
  • Jeon Hyun - Baek Gun (Subordinate of Kang-to's father)
  • Kim Myung-gon - Yang-baek (Leader of Korean Freedom Fighters)
  • Park Sung-woong - Dong-jin (Leader of Dong-jin’s Death Squad)

Historical reference[edit]

The series' twenty-first episode referenced Sohn Kee-chung's Olympic win and the subsequent arrest of Korean journalists.[4] In a parade scene, spectators waved Japanese flags to a Korean boxer on a jeep. Despite the joyous occasion, the boxer's face remained staid, never smiling, with the Japanese flag put onto his shirt. The boxer recently won an international sports title, a first for a Korean. However, due to the Japanese occupation, the boxer represented Japan, not Korea, and the Empire of Japan claimed that victory.

As the parade continued, suddenly, spectators replaced their Japanese flags with Korean flags, which they got the night before, waved them, and shouted for Korea. In solidarity with the crowd, the boxer then ripped the Japanese flag from his shirt. With tearful eyes and a determined face, he raised his fists and repeatedly cheered with the crowd, "Manseh!", a pro-Korean independence slogan.

Reporter Song took a picture of this emotional scene. The next day, the newspaper's front page featured the picture, and government officials learned about this incident. The picture angered Kimura Taro, a high-ranking police officer. At a police station, he ordered officers to arrest the boxer and punish him harshly for disrespecting Japan. Consequently, the police arrested him and the journalists, and the government closed the newspaper.

Production accident[edit]

This drama was originally expected to air on May 9, 2012[5][6] but a bus accident resulting in the death of a stunt double and serious injuries of other crew members caused delays in production.[7] There had been an issue on about KBS about not apologizing to the victim’s families. However, on the last episode that had been aired on September 6, 2012, KBS has sent out a formal apology message towards the victims’ family and friends.


Episode # Original broadcast date Average audience share
TNmS Ratings AGB Nielsen
Nationwide Seoul National Capital Area Nationwide Seoul National Capital Area
1 30 May 2012 12.6% 12.8% 12.7% 13.3%
2 31 May 2012 12.4% 13.3% 12.4% 12.9%
3 6 June 2012 13.3% 14.5% 13.6% 13.9%
4 7 June 2012 14.8% 14.9% 15.6% 16.7%
5 13 June 2012 13.8% 14.1% 14.5% 15.4%
6 14 June 2012 15.5% 16.3% 15.0% 15.7%
7 20 June 2012 15.3% 15.5% 15.5% 16.5%
8 21 June 2012 15.4% 15.0% 15.5% 16.3%
9 27 June 2012 14.7% 13.9% 14.8% 15.2%
10 28 June 2012 15.9% 15.3% 14.6% 15.0%
11 4 July 2012 17.6% 17.2% 14.8% 15.8%
12 5 July 2012 16.5% 15.6% 14.0% 14.0%
13 11 July 2012 16.7% 15.6% 14.4% 14.4%
14 12 July 2012 17.3% 16.3% 16.3% 17.5%
15 18 July 2012 17.2% 16.8% 15.2% 16.7%
16 19 July 2012 18.1% 17.3% 16.8% 18.2%
17 25 July 2012 16.7% 16.8% 15.6% 16.3%
18 1 August 2012 16.9% 16.3% 18.0% 18.2%
19 8 August 2012 19.3% 18.8% 18.3% 18.2%
20 9 August 2012 20.6% 20.6% 19.5% 19.8%
21 15 August 2012 22.6% 23.1% 19.4% 18.8%
22 16 August 2012 21.9% 22.4% 19.7% 19.5%
23 22 August 2012 22.2% 22.4% 19.8% 19.5%
24 23 August 2012 22.3% 22.9% 20.3% 20.2%
25 29 August 2012 19.4% 19.4% 20.4% 20.6%
26 30 August 2012 22.8% 22.9% 21.4% 21.7%
27 5 September 2012 24.3% 26.1% 21.5% 21.9%
28 6 September 2012 27.3% 27.7% 22.9% 23.2%
Average 18.0% 18.0% 16.9% 17.3%

Sources: TNmS Media Korea, AGB Nielsen Korea

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
20th Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards[8]
Best Drama Bridal Mask Nominated
Best Drama PD Yoon Sung-sik Nominated
Top Excellence Award, Actor Joo Won Nominated
Excellence Award, Actor Kim Eung-soo Won
Lee Byung-joon Nominated
Jeon No-min Won
Best Supporting Actor Park Ki-woong Nominated
Best New Actress Han Chae-ah Nominated
Jin Se-yeon Nominated
Ban Min-jung Won
1st K-Drama Star Awards[9]
Excellence Award, Actor Joo Won Nominated
Acting Award, Actress Jin Se-yeon Nominated
Best Action Stunts Bridal Mask Won
KBS Drama Awards
Top Excellence Award, Actor Joo Won Nominated
Chun Ho-jin Nominated
Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama Joo Won Won
Chun Ho-jin Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama Jin Se-yeon Nominated
Han Chae-ah Nominated
Best New Actress Jin Se-yeon Won
Best Supporting Actor Park Ki-woong Won
Best Supporting Actress Kim Jung-nan Nominated
Best Young Actor Kim Woo-suk Nominated
Best Young Actress Kim Hyun-soo Nominated
Best Couple Award Joo Won and Park Ki-woong Nominated
Joo Won and Jin Se-yeon Nominated
Popularity Award Joo Won Won
2013 13th Republic of Korea National Assembly Awards[10] Drama of the Year Bridal Mask Won

International broadcast[edit]

  •  Algeria : It aired on DTV starting August 2016, dubbed into Arabic as قناع العروس (Qinā‘ al-‘Arūs).
  •  Thailand It aired on Workpoint TV beginning January 13, 2015, dubbed as Nakak Peesaj. ("หน้ากากปีศาจ", literally: Devil Mask).[11]


External links[edit]