Moon Embracing the Sun

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Moon Embracing the Sun
The Moon Embracing the Sun poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Based onMoon Embracing the Sun
by Jung Eun-gwol
Written byJin Soo-wan
Directed by
  • Kim Do-hoon
  • Lee Seong-jun
Country of originSouth Korea
Original languageKorean
No. of episodes20 (+2 specials)
ProducerOh Gyeong-hun
Production companyPan Entertainment
Original networkMunhwa Broadcasting Corporation
Original releaseJanuary 4 (2012-01-04) –
March 15, 2012 (2012-03-15)
External links
Korean name
Revised RomanizationHaereul Pum-eun Dal
McCune–ReischauerHaerŭl P'umŭn Dal

Moon Embracing the Sun (Korean해를 품은 달; RRHaereul Pum-eun Dal, also known as The Moon that Embraces the Sun or 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 a Korean traditional palace; and the conflicts and conspiracy of vying political powers.

The drama reached a peak rating of 42.2%. It won the Best Drama and Best Actor awards in the television category at the 48th Baeksang Arts Awards, and multiple awards at 2012 MBC Drama Awards, including Drama of the Year.


The Queen Mother orders the assassination of her stepson to protect her own son's ability to become king. Ari, a shaman of the Royal Star Mansion (Royal Astrology House), witnesses the murder. The pregnant wife of the palace's Chief Scholar helps her escape, and Ari vows to protect her unborn child, who has a "noble fate."

Ari is arrested, tortured, and imprisoned. She tells her friend and fellow shaman, Jang Nok-yeong, to look after the unborn child in her stead. Ari is declared guilty of treason and killed.

Yeon-woo, the unborn child Ari swore to protect, and Crown Prince Lee Hwon fall in love. Prince Yang Myung, the Crown Prince's half-brother, has also fallen in love with Yeon-woo, who does not reciprocate his feelings.

The Queen Mother seeks to promote Bo-kyung, the daughter of the Prime Minister and her blood relative, to be the Crown Princess in order to maintain her clan's power. However, the King is impressed by Yeon-Woo's intelligence and chooses her to be Crown Prince Lee Hwon's wife over Bo-Kyung, infuriating the Queen Mother and Prime Minister Yoon.

The Queen Mother secretly orders Nok-yeong to cast a deadly curse on Yeon-woo so that Bo-kyung can take her place.

Yeon-woo is diagnosed with an unidentifiable illness, expelled from the palace, and loses her title as Crown Princess. She "dies" from this illness and is buried. Nok-yeong digs Yeon-woo out of the grave; the spell is temporary and only mimics the appearance of death. However, Yeon-woo is so traumatized by being buried alive that she has lost all of her memories. She and Nok-yeong leave the capital.

Crown Prince Lee Hwon is unwillingly married to Bo-kyung. He refuses to consummate the marriage by citing an unnamed illness; he broods over his "dead" first love, Yeon-woo.

Eight years later, Lee Hwon is now king. Yeon-woo is now Shaman Wol (which means "moon"); unaware of Wol's true identity, the Queen Mother calls her to the palace so that she can cure the King's "illness." The King is struck by Wol's unmistakeable resemblance to Yeon-woo, and he quietly launches an investigation into Yeon-woo's death. Meanwhile, Wol struggles to understand the strange memories of her life as Yeon-woo, which she interprets as shamanic visions. Wol must fight Queen Bo-Kyung, the Queen Mother, and Prime Minister Yoon in order to reclaim her rightful place as the Queen of Joseon. Political intrigue continues to build and comes shockingly to a head as King Lee Hwon fights for his throne and the woman he loves.



'Sun Reaching for the Moon': Lee Hwon is the intelligent and kind Crown Prince of Joseon. He falls in love with Yeon-woo; even after her sudden death, he remains devoted to her memory. When he meets Wol, he has doubts about Yeon-woo's death and begins an investigation, unearthing political machinations and dark secrets.
'Moon Embracing the Sun': Although she is destined to be the Queen of Joseon, Yeon-woo is cheated out of her fate by the scheming Queen Mother and Prime Minister Yoon. She is appointed Crown Princess, but she mysteriously dies before the wedding. In reality, she loses her memory and becomes a shaman. Eight years later, she returns to the palace as Shaman Wol and is struck by her inexplicable attraction to the king and her strange "visions" about the king's mysterious first love.
'Overshadowed by the Sun': Yang Myung is Lee Hwon's half-brother. Although he is the elder brother, he is the son of the king's concubine and therefore ineligible for the throne. He struggles to reconcile his lifelong, unrequited love for Yeon-woo, his fraternal love for his brother, and his attraction to Shaman Wol.
'A Mirror longing to be the Moon' Bo-kyung is used by the Queen Mother and her father, Prime Minister Yoon, in order to maintain their clan's power. After Yeon-woo's death, she becomes Lee Hwon's queen. She remains in love with Lee Hwon all her life, but he still loves Yeon-woo.


Heo clan[edit]

Yeon-woo and Yeom's father. He is King Sungjo's trusted advisor and an enemy to Prime Minister Yoon.
Yeon-woo and Yeom's mother. She grieves over her daughter and husband's deaths.
Yeon-woo's older brother and Hwon's tutor. After Yeon-woo's death, his family falls from grace, and he marries Princess Min-hwa.
Yeon-woo's personal servant. She protects Yeon-woo during her time as Shaman Wol.

Royal household[edit]

Queen Mother: she is the mother of King Sungjo and grandmother of Lee Hwon. She kills Prince Uiseong in order to ensure that her son will become king; she attempts to kill Yeon-woo in order to appoint her own relative to be Lee Hwon's wife and future queen. She and Prime Minister Yoon work together to protect their family's interests.
Father of Hwon, Yang-myung, and Min-hwa. He is haunted by his beloved half-brother's death and the knowledge that his own mother killed him. In order to prevent such conflict between his own sons, he hides his love for Yang-myung.
  • Kim Sun-kyung as Queen So-hye
Mother of Lee Hwon
Mother of Yang-myung. King Sung-jo's concubine. She has no political ambition and retires to a Buddhist monastery.
Lee Hwon's younger sister. She falls in love with Yeom and is determined to marry him at all costs.
Lee Hwon's loyal bodyguard. His loyalty to Lee Hwon strains his friendship with Yang-myung.
Chief Eunuch Hyung-sun is Lee Hwon's trusted confidante and friend.
  • Kim Min-kyung as Court Lady Min
Coming from Yeom's family in Bukcheon, she serves as lady-in-waiting to Princess Min-hwa.
  • 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]

Nok-young is the head shaman. She is forced to obey the Queen Mother's order to curse Yeon-woo, but she secretly saves her and raises her as Shaman Wol.
  • Kim Ik-tae as Hye Gak
A Taoist priest who helped Nok-young escape with Yeon-woo.
  • Bae Noo-ri as Jan-shil
    • Jo Min-ah as young Jan-shil
A shaman with powerful visions; she ultimately succeeds Nok-young as the head shaman.
A shaman who vows to help Yeon-Woo from beyond the grave.

Yoon clan and officials[edit]

Prime Minister Yoon is the father of Bo-kyung and the leader of the Yoon clan. He is a greedy politician who seeks to expand his family's wealth and power.
  • Jang Hee-soo as Mrs Kim
Wife of Prime Minister Yoon and mother of Bo-kyung.
  • Seo Hyun-chul as Shim San
Deputy minister of personnel, who was later elected to Chief Royal Secretary.
Mayor, who was later elected to Minister of Defense.
  • Kim Seung-wook as Yoon Soo-chan
Ministry of Taxation who was promoted to Minister of 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] The actors' breath can often be seen as they speak.

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]

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.[15][16] It was made available on Netflix in 2015 in the US,[17] later also in other territories.

Original soundtrack[edit]

Moon Embracing the Sun:
Original Sound Track
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
GenrePop, K-pop, soundtrack

OST Part 1[edit]

Released January 11, 2012
1."The Moonlight is setting" (달빛이직)Heora3:40
2."The Moonlight is setting" (Inst.) 3:40
Total length:7:50

OST Part 2[edit]

Released January 17, 2012
1."Back in Time" (시간을 거슬러)Lyn3:31
2."Back in Time" (Inst.) 3:31
Total length:7:52

OST Part 3[edit]

Released January 26, 2012
1."Path of Tears" (눈뭄자)Wheesung3:50
2."Path of Tears" (Inst.) 3:50
Total length:8:18

OST Part 4[edit]

Released February 9, 2012
1."Shadow" (그림자)Monday Kiz3:56
2."Shadow" (Inst.) 3:56
Total length:7:02

OST Part 5[edit]

Released February 23, 2012
1."I hope It isn't" (아니기를)Lee Ki-chan3:47
2."I hope It isn't" 3:47
Total length:8:24

OST Part 6[edit]

Released March 3, 2012
1."The One and Only you" (그대안사람)Kim Soo-hyun3:52
2."The Only and Only you" (Inst.) 3:52
Total length:7:44
Disc 2:
1."The Moon that embraces the sun (Opening Title)"Various Artists2:05
2."The Sorrow Song of Love"Various Artists2:40
3."Song of the moon"Various Artists1:45
4."Dance of butterflies"Various Artists2:15
5."The Morning of Palace"Various Artists2:32
6."Misty rain falls"Various Artists3:25
7."Hidden Court Room"Various Artists2:22
8."Long Love Wisp"Various Artists2:47
9."Two Suns And One Moon"Various Artists2:11
10."Markets Street"Various Artists1:56
11."Like petal,Like a flame"Various Artists4:06
12."Tears of the Sun"Various Artists2:27
13."Hidden Moon"Various Artists3:02
14."Spirit Appeasement Ceremony"Various Artists3:02
15."Black Magic"Various Artists1:46
16."Song of the Moon"Various Artists1:45
17."Assuage Grief Stone"Various Artists1:51
18."Vortex of Fate"Various Artists2:47
19."Revolt Plan"Various Artists3:24
20."Rebellion"Various Artists2:49
21."Bloody Precursor"Various Artists2:43
22."Flowery Moon"Various Artists2:49
23."Stick playing game"Various Artists3:11
24."Moonlight Mist"Various Artists 
25."Determination of the Sun"Various Artists3:20
26."Identity of Moon"Various Artists3:45
27."Pean of the Monarch"Various Artists2:13
28."The Sun embracing the Moon"Various Artists3:49


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

It aired on GMA Network from August 13 to November 2, 2012, on weeknights at 5:45 PM PST. Each episode runs 45 minutes including commercial breaks. The entire series was dubbed in Filipino.

(5:45 PM PST)
No data

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
48th Baeksang Arts Awards[24]
Best Drama Moon Embracing the Sun Won
Best Director (TV) Kim Do-hoon & Lee Seong-jun Nominated
Best Actor (TV)[25] 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 Won
Kim Yoo-jung Nominated
39th Korea Broadcasting Prize
Best Actor Kim Soo-hyun Won
18th Shanghai Television Festival
Magnolia Awards[26]
Silver Award for Best Foreign TV Series Moon Embracing the Sun Won
7th Seoul International Drama Awards
Outstanding Korean Drama Nominated
Outstanding Korean Actor Kim Soo-hyun Nominated
Outstanding Korean Actress Han Ga-in Nominated
14th Mnet Asian Music Awards[27][28]
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 Drama Moon Embracing the Sun Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress Jeon Mi-seon Nominated
Best New Actor Yim Si-wan Nominated
Best Young Actor/Actress Kim Yoo-jung Nominated
Kim So-hyun Nominated
Yeo Jin-goo Nominated
Best Original Soundtrack Back in Time - Lyn Won
1st K-Drama Star Awards
Top Excellence Award, Actress Han Ga-in Nominated
Excellence Award, Actor Kim Soo-hyun Won
Acting Award, Actress Jeon Mi-seon Nominated
Best Young Actress Kim Yoo-jung Won
25th Grimae Awards
Best Achievement for a Production, Drama category Kim Sun-il, Jung Seung-woo Won
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
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 New Actor Yim Si-wan Nominated
Best New Actress Kim Min-seo Nominated
Nam Bo-ra 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
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
46th WorldFest-Houston[29]
Special Jury Award Moon Embracing the Sun Won

Musical theatre[edit]

A stage musical adaptation was performed at the Seoul Arts Center from July 6 to 31, 2013, with succeeding runs in 2014.[30] Kim Da-hyun, Jeon Dong-seok and Cho Kyu-hyun alternated as Lee Hwon, and Jeon Mi-do, Ahn Shi-ha, Lina, Jung Jae-eun and Seohyun alternated as Yeon-woo.[31][32]


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  3. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (December 26, 2011). "Jung Il-woo to appear in MBC drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on January 11, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
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  12. ^ 훤도 연우도 하하하! '자체발광' 웃음 품다. Sports Hankook Ilbo (in Korean). January 30, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
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  17. ^ "The Moon Embracing the Sun".
  18. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (January 12, 2012). "New MBC drama beats out rivals after only 3 episodes". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  19. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (March 17, 2012). "Hit drama ends with record ratings". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on July 11, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  20. ^ "Nielsen Korea". AGB Nielsen Media Research (in Korean). Archived from the original on April 23, 2019. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  21. ^ "Kantar Media-TNS Total Philippines Household Ratings (Aug. 9-14): ABS-CBN continues domination in both daytime and primetime".
  22. ^ " (Philippine Entertainment Portal): Showbiz and Beyond".[permanent dead link]
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  26. ^ Ho, Stewart (June 18, 2012). "Jung Il Woo Receives Award on Behalf of The Sun and Moon at the 18th Shanghai TV Festival". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Archived from the original on January 29, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
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External links[edit]