K-Drama Review: ‘Man Who Dies to Live’, the Controversial Drama That’s Leading its Timeslot

man who dies to live

The Comedy Controversial Drama

So many dramas produced in Korea make producers compete to create unique and different story lines to attract the attention of the audience. They have to provide a story with a plot that makes audiences curious and watch more.

Maybe, that’s the reason why the scriptwriter wrote a story about a wealthy man of Korean descent living in the fictional kingdom of Bodoantia, located within the Mideast. Unfortunately, the drama got so many controversies and many International fans boycott this drama due to its racist and the story about Islam and Arabian which is not true.

Despite its controversy, let’s just talk about other elements of this drama.

Talks About a Business Man Who Lived in an Arab Country

man who dies to live

The drama Man Who Dies to Live tells the story about a man name Jang Dal-Goo (Choi Min-Soo) who went to the Middle East and settled down in the small kingdom in the late 1970s. He then became a wealthy man of Korean descent living in the fictional kingdom of Bodoantia, located within the Mideast, name Count Saeed Fahd Ali.

Ali returns to Korea to meet his 35 years old daughter, instructing his servant, Abdallah Muhammad Waliwala, to research her. He then appears in front his daughter Lee Ji-Young (Gang Ye-Won) and his son-in-law Kang Ho-Rim (Shin Sung-Rok).

The drama also shows the lifestyle of a successful businessman in Arab Country, which live happily, glamour, and surrounded by many girls. Even though, it is actually not really appropriate with the actual lifestyle of Arab people which is will we talk more after this. Make sure you read until the last page of the article!


man who dies to live

Here is the cast of drama Man Who Dies to Live 

choi min soo

Choi Min-Soo as Jang Dal-Goo

gang ye won

Gang Ye-Won as Lee Ji-Young A

Shin Sung-Rok

Shin Sung-Rok as Kang Ho-Rim

lee so yeon

Lee So-Yeon as Lee Ji-Young B

cho taekwan

Cho Tae-Kwan as Abdallah

kim byung ok

Kim Byung-Ok as Detective Agency Manager Han

Hwang Seung-Un

Hwang Seung-Un as Yang Mi-Hwa

Bae Hae-Sun

Bae Hae-Sun as Wang Mi-Ran

Ko Bi-Joo

Ko Bi-Joo as Kang Eun-Bi

Cha Soon-Bae

Cha Soon-Bae as Choi Byung-Tae

And here is some additional cast members:

Jo Kyung-Sook as Na Ok-Ja
Lee Jong-Goo as Doctor
Kang Sang-Won as Moon Soo-Hyeok
Seo Hae-Won as Choi Min-Hee

The Soundtracks

Here is the soundtrack of drama Man Who Dies to Live, sang by Go Young-Bae.

The Controversy: A Boicot by International Fans

man who dies to live poster

The drama Man Who Dies to Live received strong criticism and boycotts in various countries. It is because of the drama seems to not appreciate Islam. The drama provides a culture that is not in accordance with Arab and Islam culture whereas the drama took place in Arab.

the clothes is not appropiate with arab's culture

Just like the pictures below, we can see the two cameo wear bikini, but they also wear a scarf wrapped around the head which make it looks like a veil. That scene is not just inappropriate due to the clothes the cameos wear, but it also humiliates Muslim women as the scene shows the women in the bikini called Saeed Faad Ali to sit and join them. Fahd Ali then looked at the women while giving an okay sign as if he agreed to join.

not appraciate the Quran

As you can see in the main poster of this drama above, the man who is Saeed Fahd Ali is sitting and crossing his legs, even though there is an open Holy Qur’an in front of him. Of course, this attitude is not appreciate The Holy Qur’an.

the male lead is enjoying a glass of wine in one scene

Beside of that, the drama also shows the male lead is enjoying a glass of wine in one scene. As we know, wine containing alcohol is prohibited in Islamic law. Although not the entire Arab population is Muslim, drinking alcoholic beverages has strict rules on Arab land.

And again, you can see the clothes of the two cameos who serve Saeed Fahd Ali foods. They wear a veil, but they wear a transparent cloth so we can see their hands. Of course, it is also not appropriate with Arab and Islam culture.


In one scene, an Arab man ordered Saeed Faad Ali to marry his daughter as if it was an obligation to do. Not only that, but the man also said: ‘Buy one (daughter), then bonus two’. This statement is of course offensive as it makes the women just look as merchandise which sold at low prices by their own father.

apology by MBC

MBC as a TV station that aired the drama ‘Man Who Dies to Live’ actually has released an apology that written in 3 languages, namely Arabic, Korean and English. In that statement, MBC said that everything that happened in the drama was fiction. But this is unacceptable to fans because the portrayal of characters is very, very similar to Arabic and Islamic culture.

Reasons Why You Should Give ‘Man Who Dies to Live’ A Try

man who dies to live

The first reason is, the drama has many funny scenes. If you seek a drama that has some humor to delight your day, we suggest you watch this drama. As usual, Choi Min-soo could perform his character very well and create the right chemistry with the other casts.

Another reason why you should watch Man Who Dies to Live is the drama has a shocking ending and a truly moving story artfully told. The drama has a strong message of healing from past wounds. Maybe that is why the drama reached its highest rating on the last two episodes.

The drama received a rating of 12% (eps. 23) and 14% (eps. 24). Despite getting a lot of criticism for displaying the wrong cultural elements, the drama Man Who Dies to Live managed to be at the top of the Wednesday-Thursday rating because of the family elements presented.