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Promotional poster for Yi San
|Also known as||Lee San: The Wind of the Palace|
|Written by||Kim Yi-young|
|Directed by||Lee Byung-hoon
|Country of origin||South Korea|
|No. of episodes||77|
|Executive producer(s)||Jo Joong-hyun|
|Running time||Mondays and Tuesdays at 21:55 (KST)|
|Production company(s)||Kim Jong-hak Productions|
|Original channel||Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation|
|Original release||17 September 2007– 16 June 2008|
|Preceded by||The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince|
|Followed by||Night after Night|
|Revised Romanization||I San|
Yi San (Hangul: 이산; hanja: 李祘), also known as Lee San: The Wind of the Palace, is a 2007 South Korean historical drama, starring Lee Seo-jin and Han Ji-min. It aired on MBC from September 17, 2007 to June 16, 2008 on Mondays and Tuesdays at 21:55. The series was directed by Lee Byung-hoon, who also produced award-winning television series Dae Jang Geum.
Yi San dramatizes the life of Korea's King Jeongjo, the 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty. Jeongjo is remembered in Korean history for his sympathy with the plight of the common man, in spite of his own pampered upbringing as royalty.
The drama begins with the King's early years, during which he befriends two children working in the Palace who are later expelled. King Yeongjo (Jeongjo's grandfather) seals Jeongjo's father, Crown Prince Sado, in a rice storage chest with no food or water because he fears that the crown prince is planning a coup. Jeongjo wants to save his father, and with the help of his friends Seong Song Yeon and Park Dae Su, begs King Yeongjo to forgive the Crown Prince.
The Crown Prince, Jeongjo, begins to fall in love with one of his childhood friends, Seong Song Yeon, whose father, a palace artist, died when she was young. The story then follows Yi San's rise to power, his assumption of the kingship, and the labyrinthine palace intrigues that he must constantly guard against from the No-ron Faction. While the show does deviate from the historical record in a number of ways, its representation of court life during the Joseon Dynasty appears to be based on contemporary sources.
Cast and characters
- Yi San/King Jeongjo (played by Lee Seo-jin) — the main protagonist in the series. He is the only son of Crown Prince Sado and Lady Hyegyeong. Extremely kind and generous, he makes frequent trips under disguise to see how the common people are doing. The series spans from San's childhood at the age of eleven, when Crown Prince Sado is being executed, to about 40 years later, when San himself reigned as king. It was during the beginning of the series when San met Seong Song Yeon and Park Dae Su. In episode 1, he disguises himself as a junior eunuch and sneaks into the courtyard where his father was imprisoned in a rice chest. With the help of Dae Su and Song Yeon, he manages to see him and obey his father's last wish. The friendship that developed as a result would last the entire series. The plot fast-forwards ten years, when San is an adult and Crown Prince of Korea. San is a filial child who loved his father unconditionally despite the opposition, and never denied his father's innocence, which caused him to get into trouble several times. He also never bore a grudge against King Yeongjo, his grandfather, despite Yeongjo's sometimes unfair and harsh treatment towards him and loved his grandfather deeply. Loyal to his subjects and people, he hates it when someone risks their own life for his, and always tries to protect them instead. While he is still Crown Prince, he falls in love with Song Yeon who became his source of comfort and warmth. Later, when he becomes king, Song Yeon, is finally made his concubine. Although San tries to hide it, he never liked the other concubines his mother brought in and hardly ever spend time with them like he did with Song Yeon, and only doing so once in a while out of a sense of duty as a King, a fact which he is bitter about. San likes practicing martial arts with the Royal Guards and traveling incognito in order to feel the experience of the people. When doing so, he adopts the pseudonym Yi Mu-Duk. He suffered severe pain and heartbreak when Song Yeon passes away and misses and thinks of her everyday, but kept his promise to her that he will withstand everything and be a good king. He is implied to be together with Song Yeon again in their afterlife, where he is finally at peace and happy to spend the rest of eternity with the woman he loves.
- Titles: Yi San (San of the Royal House of Yi), 이 산, Wangsesun Cheoha (His Highness the Crown Prince Grandson), 왕세손 저하, Chusang Cheona (His Majesty the King), 주상 전하
- Pseudonym: Yang(Ga) Mu-Duk (Mu-Duk of the Yang Clan), 양(가) 무덕
- Seong Song-yeon (played by Han Ji-min) — King Jeongjo's love interest. She is the daughter of a skilled palace artist, and thus she has a fondness for art. Orphaned at a young age, and with a baby brother to take care of, she was taken in by a relative who helped her become a palace maid so that she, too, could gain a standing in the palace. When she was 11, she entered the palace, and her relative sent her baby brother, Seong Song Wook, to the family of a local physician, who was kind enough to adopt him. On her first night in the palace Song Yeon met San, who was trying to get to the rice chest. Dae Su, who was trying to escape the palace, while she was obtaining food for the older palace maids. Sadly, she and Dae Su were caught and kicked out of the palace. Angry at her, the relative that helped her enter the palace refused to take her in, so Dae Su's uncle, senior eunuch Park Dal Ho, took her in and raised her with Dae Su. However, enemies of the prince forced them all to flee the capital. They fled promising that they would return to the palace to keep their friendship. This they do, and Song Yeon enters the Bureau of Painting, which keeps records of events by painting them, as a Damo (female painting assistant). The promise of returning to the palace is not fulfilled until Song Yeon paints a Kirin for an ambassador from Qing China. Curious to learn more about her, San inquires about her at the Bureau and realized it was Song Yeon. He quickly visits her home where he finds Dae Su and his uncle. From then on, the three stay together. Song Yeon fell in love with San because of his kind heart and loyal personality, and shows great concern and love for him. Although Song yeon loves San unconditionally, she thinks it is unwise to be with San as she assumes she would be an obstacle for him due to her lowly status, no matter how much she wants to be by his side. San eventually persuaded her to be with him, telling her that he loves her not as King, but a man. Song Yeon is portrayed in the series as a beautiful, kind, and intelligent young woman. She manages to rise from a lowly Damo to a real Bureau artist. Her good character and beauty make San fall in love with her; she becomes his concubine after he beâcomes king. Sadly, few people accept her due to her low status (Damo were considered lower than slaves) and the fact that she was orphaned. It was not until she gave birth to a boy that she is accepted and formally recognized as the King's concubine. Unfortunately, her first son died of illness and caused her to suffer severe grief. Consequentially, when she urged to take medicine for her liver cancer, she refused as it would kill her second child. Song Yeon dies of liver cancer while pregnant with her second child near the end of the series, but returns to San in a dream one last time just before his death.
- Titles: Seong(Ga) Song Yeon (Song Yeon of the Seong Clan), 성(가) 송연, Seong Sang-gung (Lady Seong), 성 상궁, So-yong Seong-ssi (Concubine So-yong of the Seong Clan), 소용 성씨, Ui-bin Seong-ssi (Royal Noble Consort Ui-bin of the Seong Clan), 의빈 성씨
- Park Dae-su (played by Lee Jong-soo) — King Jeongjo's favorite military officer. Dae Su was originally a junior eunuch in the palace. Because he wasn't castrated, he wanted to leave. He tried to flee, when he met Song Yeon and San. Like Song Yeon, he too got kicked out for helping San. Song Yeon and Dae Su know each other very well, as they practically grew up together. Both are orphans, but Dae Su's uncle raised them. When Song Yeon entered the Bureau, Dae Su took the military exam and became a palace guard, and became a guard of the Crown Prince (San). From there, Dae Su was promoted over and over until he became Grand Commander of the Dragon Guard, the finest army division in Korea and the king's personal guard. Dae Su started out very dumb and dependent, but when he took the military exam, his tutors helped him become a decent man, intelligent, independent, and calm. Without this change, he might have become a simple street thug. Dae Su was extremely supportive and defensive of San and would beat up anyone who dares to insult him. He is one of the three military guards who always loyally follow the king. The other two military guards are Kang Suk Ki, a perceptive archer, and Suh Jang Bo, a stubborn fighter. Song Yeon is Dae Su's love interest, but he gave up trying to court her after she became a concubine. He was alive during the reign of Yi San's son, King Sunjo and was implied to have joined them in the afterlife soon afterwards where they played together again as children. It is possible that he is based on Baek Dong-soo, a body guard who was famous for saving King Jeongjo on multiple occasions.
- Lady Hyegyeong (played by Kyeon Mi-ri) — Jeongjo's mother. She is the daughter of high-ranking court official Hong Bong-han of the Pyeongsan Hong clan. Ever worrisome over the royal family and the people, she is a model mother of the Korean upper class. She never approved of Song Yeon and San, due to Song Yeon's status as a Damo and tried numerous ways to separate them. Lady Hyegyeong looks down on lower-class people and was the main obstacle that caused Song Yeon suffering when she became a concubine as well. Eventually, through Song Yeon's efforts, Lady Hyegyeong saw her good personality and started to finally accept her, and when she learns that Song Yeon was pregnant, acknowledged her as a royal concubine.Lady Hyegyeong is also responsible for the multiple concubines brought in to bear an heir.
- Queen Hyoui (played by Park Eun-hye) — King Jeongjo's primary wife, born into the Kim clan. She was betrothed to San at the age of 10 and married him in her late teens (around 19). Hyoui is very kind, filial, refined, and honest, a model wife of the Korean upper class. She has the respect of almost everyone in the palace, and she does not abuse this power. Unfortunately, the Queen is unable to bear children and thus results in Jeongjo's mother bringing in multiple concubines. Queen Hyoui favors Song-yeon, and it is with her help that Song Yeon became a concubine and gave birth to a son. Queen Hyoui dies soon after King Jeongjo dies.
- King Yeongjo (played by Lee Soon-jae) — Jeongjo's grandfather. He was the 21st king of Korea before San took over. Yeongjo has one son, his second son Crown Prince Sado, and a daughter, Princess Hwawan. King Yeongjo is a loving and experienced old man, but he is very firm on San so he can make him the next king. King Yeongjo always suspected his second son of high treason, and throughout the series, that was shown. It was not till just before his death did King Yeongjo discover it had been a plot to frame his son. Yeongjo publicly made it known that it had been a false accusation and had his son's grave repaired. Like San, Yeongjo loved the people and when he knew he would die, that day he sneaked out of the palace and went to his private residence so that he could die among the people, which he did. Before dying, he commissioned Seong Song Yeon to create a portrait of Crown Prince Sado. After she completed it and left, he dies while looking at the painting while apologizing to his son for being a terrible father before promising him to be a better father to him in the afterlife. Yeongjo died in 1777 in his 80s of dementia.
- Queen Jeongsun (played by Kim Yeo-jin) — King Yeongjo's 2nd wife. She is the daughter of the extremely wealthy and powerful Andong Kim clan. Yeongjo fell in love with her when he was 66 and she was 15. Of all the characters in the series, Queen Jeongsun has the best split character. She is very caring and smart, but deep inside, she has a greed for power,is very manipulative and holds a silent grudge against San, even though she is his step-grandmother. Queen Jeongsun is the leader of the conservative No-ron Faction and the mastermind behind a plot that was determined to destroy San, a plot that lasted decades. Later, she is forced to give up her titles and power but is permitted to live in the palace.
- Crown Prince Sado (played by Lee Chang-heon) — Jeongjo's father. He is skilled with the bow, in calligraphy, and in painting. He was courted by So-ron Faction (who fell from power) and later became framed by the No-ron Faction and was accused of treason against the throne by his own father, King Yeongjo, and sentenced to death in a rice chest. San came to see him a few nights before he died in secret, and Sado told him to retrieve a painting he had painted of a scene King Yeongjo cherished. Sadly, Sado died before Yeongjo saw the painting. It was Song Yeon who discovered the meaning of the painting and brought it to Yeongjo, 14 years after Sado's death. Yeongjo understood and Sado's name was cleared.
- Princess Hwawan (played by Sung Hyun-ah) — Yeongjo's daughter by a concubine. Yeongjo is very fond of her. Hwawan is a very beautiful and filial but impatient young woman. Because she is widowed and has no children, she adopted the orphan Jeong Hu-gyeom, who became a court official. Like Queen Jeongsun, Princess Hwawan affiliated with the No-ron Faction is also a mastermind in the plot to destroy King Jeongjo. This cost her her favor with her father. In the end, Princess Hwawan was stripped of her royalty and titles and exiled to a place far from the capital, where she lived in seclusion under house arrest with only her lady-in-waiting to accompany her.
- Jeong Hu-gyeom (played by Cho Yeon-woo) — Princess Hwawan's adoptive son. He is incredibly intelligent, and the youngest person ever to be part of the royal court; Jeong is the Royal Secretary. He is very smart and filial to the princess. When he was a child, he was San's study partner at the Confucian Academy. In his teens he studied in Qing China, and as an adult he was very successful. Like his adoptive mother, he was a key member of the No-ron Faction also part of the plot to destroy San. When the participants were punished, Hu-gyeom was exiled and put to death by poison but not before warning Hong Guk-yeong from personal experience that he too would fall from grace if he couldn't keep his lust for power in check.
- Hong Guk-yeong (played by Han Sang-jin) — King Jeongjo's right-hand man, as well as distant cousin to his mother, Lady Hyegyeong (both are members of the Pyeongsan hong clan). He is a very loyal advisor to Jeongjo but is very ambitious and can be somewhat shady. Hong is at times hungry for power and when he has, he sometimes abuses it. He was also the main tutor who helped Dae Su when he was training for the military exam. Throughout the series, he was promoted to Chief Inspector, Chief of the Royal Guard, and Chief Secretary due to his skill at politics and investigation. His younger sister also became one of Jeongjo's concubines. In the end, he was exiled for trying to poison Queen Hyoui out of anger at not forgiving his sister before her death for covering up a phantom pregnancy and to erase evidence of his dealings with Queen Jeongsun, for Queen Hyoui knew that and threatened to tell King Jeongjo. He aborted the attempt after discovering that the King was taking her place at the food ceremony and tearfully confessed. He later died at peace due to health issues after being forgiven by the king.
- Jeong Yak-yong (played by Song Chang-eui) — A scholar from the Confucian Academy and a member of the Nam-in Faction, he was initially unable to enter the court for three years. Later, after entering, he replaced Hong Guk-yeong as Yi San's closest adviser. While not as politically skilled as his predecessor, he is extremely innovative and is a skilled inventor. As a skilled-albeit clumsy investigator, he is also aware of the flaws in the government and called for reforms.
- Yang Cho-bi (played by Lee Ip-sae) — A Damo at the Bureau of Painting. At first she was very rude to Song-yeon. But when she fell in love with Dae Su and discovered that Song Yeon was practically his sister, she became super nice to her. At first it was for Dae Su, but eventually she developed a real bond and friendship with Song-yeon. When Song Yeon became concubine to Jeongjo, Cho-bi was selected to be her lady-in-waiting, an attendant court lady of the 6th rank (in Korea, all royalty, palace servants, government employees, and government officials are ranked on a system of 1-9, with 1 being the highest rank and 9 being the lowest rank). After Song Yeon's death, Cho-bi becomes Queen Hyoui's second lady-in-waiting.
- Kim Gwi-joo (played by Park Young-ji) — Queen Jeongsun's older brother and a member of the No-ron Faction. He is a high-ranking minister of the royal court and holds the title Lord Kim. Very aggressive, he can easily beat up anyone who makes him or his sister look bad. He has a very lively and straight forward personality and is highly loved by her sister. He also is very intelligent and loves travelling to the city of Pyongyang. He plans plots to kill San alongside his sister and Princess Hwawan. After his extreme participation in the plots is discovered, Lord Kim is stripped of his titles and exiled.
- Nam Si-cho (played by Maeng Sang-hoon) — San's chief eunuch. He follows San everywhere he goes and is very supportive of him.
- Chae Je-gong (played by Han In-soo) — San's administrative assistant. Chae is also Minister of the Tribunal (in charge of national prisons). When San was a child, Sir Chae was also his tutor. Chae is always of help to San and very supportive of his commands. He is also a trusted adult source of advice to Dae Su, Song-yeon, Hong Guk-yeong, and San.
- Yi Cheon — a Royal Artist at the Bureau of Painting. He is by far the most supportive person of Song Yeon at the Bureau. He is great at painting erotica and drawing sketches but is otherwise a not-so-extraordinary artist. Yi Cheon is very funny and bubbly and is always trying to keep is wife happy so she doesn't kill him.
- Seong Song-wook — The younger brother of Seong Song Yeon, he was initially given up for adoption to the family of a physician soon after the death of their parents. Song Wook was later sold off as a slave, although the adoptive family lied and told Song Yeon that he had died young of disease. He was rescued and raised by a group of Catholic converts, who were initially persecuted by the authorities.
- Artist Tak — another Royal Artist at the Bureau of Painting. He is by far much more skilled than Yi Chun and becomes good friends with Song Yeon(whom he secretly has a crush on). In the last episode, Tak is promoted to a Senior Artist of the 5th rank.
Yi San was popular and recorded a solid viewership rate(average) of 26.4% (Nationwide) and 28.6% (Seoul) and a peak of 35.3% (Nation Wide) and 38.6% (Seoul)
|Sri Lanka||Rupavahini||July 2014||යහපත් මහරජ (Yahapath Maharaja)|
|Iran||Provincial networks||2010||Yi san|
|Philippines||GMA Network, Inc.||30 July 2012||Lee San: The Wind Of The Palace|
|Thailand||Channel 3||2008–2009, Repeat telecast in 2011||ลีซาน จอมบัลลังก์พลิกแผ่นดิน (Yi San Jom Ballang Plik Pandin)|
Awards and nominations
- Top Excellence Award, Actor: Lee Seo-jin
- Excellence Award, Actress: Han Ji-min
- Best Teen Actor: Park Ji-bin
- Best Writer: Kim Yi-young
- Nomination - Viewer's Favorite Drama of the Year
- Nomination - Popularity Award, Actor: Lee Seo-jin
- Nomination - Popularity Award, Actress: Han Ji-min
- Nomination - Best Couple Award: Lee Seo-jin and Han Ji-min
- Nomination - Best Director (TV): Lee Byung-hoon
- Nomination - Best Actor (TV): Lee Seo-jin
- Nomination - Best New Actor (TV): Han Sang-jin