Man Who Dies to Live

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Man Who Dies to Live
Man Who Dies to Live Poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Original title죽어야 사는 남자
Created byKim Kyung-hee
Written byKim Sun-hee
Directed byGo Dong-sun
Creative director(s)
  • Park Bo-ram
  • Kim Ji-yun
Country of originSouth Korea
Original language(s)Korean
No. of episodes24[a]
Producer(s)Kim Un-ho
Production location(s)
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time35 mins[a]
Production company(s)Doremi Entertainment[3][4]
Original networkMBC TV
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital
Original releaseJuly 19 (2017-07-19) – August 24, 2017 (2017-08-24)
External links
Production website

Man Who Dies to Live[5] (Hangul죽어야 사는 남자; RRJugeoya Saneun Namja) is a South Korean television series starring Choi Min-soo, Kang Ye-won, and Shin Sung-rok.[6] The series airs two consecutive episodes on MBC every Wednesday and Thursday at 22:00 (KST), starting July 19, 2017.


Count Saeed Fahd Ali is a wealthy man of Korean descent living in the fictional kingdom of Bodoantia, located within the Mideast. He discovers he has a 35-year-old daughter back in South Korea, where he was known as Jang Dal-koo. Ali returns to Korea to meet his daughter, instructing his servant, Abdallah Muhammad Waliwala, to research her.

In Korea, Kang Ho-rim is a banker down on his luck, as the worst performer in the worst division of the bank. He is married to a woman named Lee Ji-young, and the two of them have a daughter named Eun-bi. Unbeknownst to Lee, Kang is having an affair with a woman whose name is also Lee Ji-young.

Abdallah hires a detective agency consisting of Detective Han and Miss Yang. Han presents Abdallah with two flash drives: One containing information on Ali's daughter and her family, and the other containing information on Kang's affair. Abdallah refuses the latter, taking only the former flash drive, but as fate would have it, the flash drives were switched, and Abdallah drives away with photos of Kang and his mistress.

Because both women share the same name and are the same age, the switch confuses Abdallah and Ali into believing the wrong woman is Ali's daughter.

The cast list refers to the two Lee Ji-youngs as "A" (Ali's daughter) and "B" (Kang's mistress) respectively to differentiate the two.

Meanwhile, Lee "A" has been writing drama scripts for many years while she works at a doctor's office. After years of rejections, she finally lands a meeting with a drama production company to review her script. Lee "B" is the producer in charge of reviewing scripts, but since Lee "A" submitted it under the wrong name by accident, Lee "B" does not initially notice that they share the same name.

Abdallah convinces Ali to start by getting familiar with someone close to Lee rather than confronting her directly. Ali decides to meet Kang and promises to invest a great deal of money with his bank, turning Kang into a celebrity at work.

Kang believes Ali is correct, and thinks that Ali's daughter is not his wife, but his mistress. However, he allows Ali to believe that he is married to Lee "B". The deception is time-consuming, however, and weighs heavily on Kang. He drinks himself into a stupor, and Lee "A" gets upset with him for not coming home.

Lee "A' goes to a night club with her boss, Wang Mi-ran. Ali is struck with a vision while praying and, following it, attends the same club. Wang takes an interest in Ali, and she tricks him into revealing that he is Korean.




People around the Count[edit]

People around Lee Ji-young "A"[edit]

  • Bae Hae-sun as Wang Mi Ran
  • Go Bi-joo as Kang Eun-bi

People around Kang Ho-rim[edit]

  • Jo Kyung-sook as Nah Ok-ja
  • Cha Soon-bae as Choi Byung-tae


  • Lee Tae-yun as Kang Hye-rim
  • Jo Young-hoon as Sang-duk
  • Kang Sang-won as Soo-hyuk
  • Seo Hye Won as Min-hee
  • Kim Soo-hyun as Director
  • Lee Gun-hee as Sung-ho
  • Ha Eun-jin as Lee Kyung-sook
  • Jo Hye-in
  • Oh Tae-ha
  • Oh Ki-hwan
  • Do-hyun
  • Choi Jin-soo
  • Lee Sang-bo
  • Noh Yoon-jung
  • Han Ji-eun
  • Kim Eun-jin
  • Kang Eun-hee
  • Jo Ye-jin
  • Chae Min-ji
  • Seo Na-young
  • Kim Gun-young
  • Lee Jae-ho
  • Kook Jung-sook
  • Seo Yi-soo
  • Kim Dae-gun
  • Jo Yoo-sung


The series was met with an online backlash and requests to boycott it from Arabs and Muslims, who alleged that the series contains inaccurate and insulting depictions of Muslim culture.[1][7] The alleged scenes showed woman wearing a hijab and bikinis while laying next to a swimming pool, and the main character drinking wine for breakfast. Moreover, the poster portrayed the main character placing his foot next to the Quran.

MBC has since released an official apology in Korean, English, and Arabic, and stated at the beginning of episode 5 that they have removed the controversial scenes from all services of IPTV and VOD, stressing that Bodoantia is a fictional kingdom. The apology extends into the series canon, as episode 5 begins with Count Saeed Fahd Ali speaking directly to the audience over Arabic subtitles about the reverence that he has for Muslim culture.[8][9]

Despite the controversy, the first 2 back-to-back episodes topped ratings in its timeslot as well as popularity charts in South Korea.[10][11]


In the table below, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.

Episode # Date Average audience share
TNmS Ratings[12] AGB Nielsen[13]
Nationwide Seoul National Capital Area Nationwide Seoul National Capital Area
1 July 19, 2017 9.8% (10th) 11.0% (4th) 9.1% (8th) 10.3% (5th)
2 10.5% (9th) 11.3% (5th) 9.1% (8th) 10.4% (4th)
3 July 20, 2017 9.7% (12th) 11.0% (5th) 8.6% (9th) 9.5% (7th)
4 10.0% (10th) 11.2% (4th) 9.6% (7th) 10.5% (5th)
5 July 26, 2017 9.5% (11th) 10.1% (5th) 8.1% (10th) 9.2% (5th)
6 10.7% (7th) 10.8% (4th) 9.4% (8th) 10.6% (4th)
7 July 27, 2017 8.2% (16th) 8.9% (11th) 8.0% (12th) 9.2% (7th)
8 8.9% (14th) 10.1% (8th) 9.2% (8th) 10.3% (5th)
9 August 2, 2017 8.1% (12th) 9.3% (7th) 7.4% (15th) 8.6% (8th)
10 9.4% (8th) 10.8% (4th) 9.6% (6th) 10.9% (4th)
11 August 3, 2017 7.4% (17th) 8.1% (12th) 8.7% (12th) 9.9% (6th)
12 8.5% (12th) 9.9% (5th) 9.6% (6th) 11.0% (4th)
13 August 9, 2017 8.4% (14th) 7.2% (14th) 8.0% (13th) 8.9% (7th)
14 10.1% (10th) 9.7% (7th) 11.2% (4th) 12.5% (4th)
15 August 10, 2017 10.4% (10th) 10.5% (8th) 11.1% (5th) 12.6% (5th)
16 12.4% (5th) 12.9% (4th) 12.9% (4th) 14.1% (4th)
17 August 16, 2017 10.4% (9th) 11.0% (5th) 10.7% (6th) 11.7% (5th)
18 11.7% (5th) 12.7% (4th) 12.8% (4th) 14.1% (4th)
19 August 17, 2017 9.3% (14th) 9.9% (7th) 11.4% ((6th) 12.8% ((5th)
20 10.8% (9th) 11.4% (5th) 13.5% (4th) 15.2% (3rd)
21 August 23, 2017 9.4% (11th) 9.9% (7th) 10.7% (9th) 12.2% (5th)
22 10.8% (8th) 11.8% (4th) 12.8% (4th) 14.1% (4th)
23 August 24, 2017 9.5% (13th) 10.2% (9th) 12.0% (5th) 13.1% (5th)
24 10.7% (9th) 11.5% (4th) 14.0% (4th) 15.1% (3rd)
Average 9.8% 10.5% 10.3% 11.5%


  1. ^ a b In order to circumvent Korean laws that prevent commercial breaks in the middle of an episode, what would previously have been aired as single 70 minute episodes are now being repackaged as two 35 minute episodes, with two episodes being shown each night with a commercial break between the two.[2]


  1. ^ a b Chang, Dong-woo (July 17, 2017). "'Man Who Dies to Live': Comedy-drama careens toward racism controversy". Yonhap News Agency.
  2. ^ Park, Jin-hai (16 May 2017). "Drama viewers angry over commercial breaks". The Korea Times. PressReader. Retrieved 2017-05-27.
  3. ^ Jung, Ah-reum (28 April 2017). "[단독] '죽어야 사는 남자', '군주' 후속 편성…'병원선' 연기". news1 (in Korean).
  4. ^ "Producers of Heartless City, I Hear Your Voice prep new drama for MBC". 28 April 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-27.
  5. ^ [NEW] Man Who Dies To Live 1st Teaser, 죽어야 사는 남자 1차 티저. MBC Drama via Youtube. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  6. ^ "<죽어야 사는 남자>(가제) 최민수-강예원-신성록, '발탁'". iMBC (in Korean). 16 May 2017.
  7. ^ Dahir, Ikran (22 July 2017). "Some Muslims Are Not Happy With This Korean Drama". Buzz Feed News. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Park, Young-pil (July 22, 2017). "[지금 트위터는]MBC '죽어야 사는 남자', '이슬람 희화화' 논란". H2 Khan (in Korean). Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  9. ^ Yoon, Min-sik (23 July 2017). "'Man Who Dies to Live' apologizes for depiction of Islamic culture". The Korea Herald. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  10. ^ Lee, Min-ji (20 July 2017). "'죽어야 사는 남자' 동시간대 1위 출발, '다시 만난 세계'도 호평". Newsen (in Korean). Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Scandal drives MBC drama to top". Korea JoongAng Daily. August 2, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  12. ^ "TNMS Daily Ratings: this links to current day-select the date from drop down menu". TNMS Ratings (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  13. ^ "AGB Daily Ratings: this links to current day-select the date from drop down menu". AGB Nielsen Media Research (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-07-17.

External links[edit]

MBC Wednesday–Thursday dramas
Previous program Man Who Dies to Live
(July 19 – August 24, 2017)
Next program
The Emperor: Owner of the Mask
(May 10 – July 13, 2017)
Hospital Ship
(August 30 – October 19, 2017)