K-Drama Review: ‘Saimdang Light’s Diary’ Story of the Woman Whose Face is on the Highest Denomination of Korean Money

Saimdang Light's Diary
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Why Historical Drama Always Have Plus Point to Watch?

In the Korean entertainment industry, especially from in K-Dramas, there are a lot of different genres. There’s romance, crime, comedy, thriller, historical, and others! The drama we’re looking at today is definitely a historical work. Commonly, people tend to like romances, but in with a historical drama, there are often romantic elements.

Historical dramas offer audiences their own appeal and still gain a lot of attention from K-Drama lovers. One of their selling points is the setting. In historical dramas, the setting is usually a colossal background showing some past civilization, full of color and glory. And usually, they also have the benefit of not just getting treated to a romantic plot, but also being able to learn something about South Korean kingdoms in the past!

Through this article, Channel Korea introduces you one of the best historical dramas, Saimdang Light’s Diar. Keep reading for details!

When Art Has The Power To Break Down A Government

Saimdang Light's Diary
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First, let’s look at a synopsis of Saimdang Light’s Diary. Basically, the drama tells the story of a young professor in the modern era named Seo Ji-yoon (played by Lee Young-ae), who found a diary from Shin Saimdang, a famous female artist in the Dynasty Joseon era. Through the diary, Seo Ji-yoon discovered the love story between Shin Saimdang and her artist friend, Lee Gyeom (played by Song Seung-heon).

Seo Ji-yoon was trying to prove the authenticity of a painting, and wanted to use Shin Saimdang’s diary to help her do it. She was being helped by Han Sang-hyun, a lecturer and campus activist at a university. Unfortunately, during her research, Seo Ji-yoon’s financial situation fell apart. Her husband had left her and she had to rent a cheap apartment with her child and her mother-in-law. If that wasn’t enough, Seo Ji-yoon was also betrayed by Min Jung-hak, who promised her a position as a tenured professor, but didn’t follow through.

In Saimdang Light’s Diary, we could see the attractiveness of the double characters that were played by Lee Young-ae and Yang Se-jong. Lee Young-ae played both as Seo Ji-yoon (a professor in the modern era) and as Shin Saimdang (a professional artist in the past). Meanwhile, Yang Se-jong played both as Han Sang-hyun (the campus activist in modern era) and as Lee Gyeom’s younger version (Shin Saimdang’s past boyfriend).

Shin Saimdang is famously known as a legend from the Joseon Dynasty. Shin Saimdang was well known for her bravery and for being an expert in the arts of poetry and calligraphy. Because she was a woman of many talents, she came to the notice of Lee Gyeom. When Lee Gyeom met her, it almost felt like he had met his true love.

Meanwhile, Seo Ji-yoon was doing a lot of reading from the Saimdang’s diary, trying to find the secret behind the painting she was researching, and looking for the truth about one of the biggest mysteries in Korean history. If you haven’t watched Saimdang Light’s Diary yet, make sure you add it to your drama list!

Scenes from Saimdang Light’s Diary

Saimdang Light's Diary
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This is one of the scenes where Seo Ji-yoon was with Han Sang-hyun, and he was helping her look for the painting!

Saimdang Light's Diary
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Some of the scenes from Saimdang Light’s Diar, are flashback scenes that show us younger versions of Shin Saimdang and Lee Gyeom.

Saimdang Light's Diary
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A scene showing Han Sang-hyun at the university!

Saimdang Light's Diary
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Song Seung-heon, who played Lee Gyeom, on location in Italy!

Meet The Cast!

Saimdang Light's Diary
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Main Cast

  • Lee Young-ae as Shin Saimdang / Seo Ji-yoon
Lee Young-ae
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Lee Young-ae was cast as Shin Saimdang and also as Seo Ji-yoon, two of the main characters in Saimdang Light’s Diary. Lee Young-ae said that her character was a woman in two different eras. She also explained that her character was a woman who supported her family because her husband wasn’t.

  • Park Hye-soo as young Shin Saimdang
Park Hye-soo
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Park Hye-soo was cast as the young Shin Saimdang, when she was still a teenager.

  • Song Seung-heon as Lee Gyeom
Song Seung-heon
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Song Seung-heon was cast as Lee Gyeom, one of the Shin Saimdang’s close friends. It’s clear from the story that he and Shin Saimdang had a relationship in the past. The character of Lee Gyeom was described as an upright gentleman, who’s loved the heroine since his childhood.

  • Yang Se-jong as young Lee Gyeom Han Sang-hyun
Yang Se-jong
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Yang Se-jong played as the young Lee Gyeom, from the Joseon Dynasty. He also played the character of a lecturer in a university in the modern era, named Han Sang-hyun.

Supporting Cast

  • Choi Jong-hwan as Professor Min Jung-hak
Choi Jong-hwan
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  • Kim Hae-sook as Kim Jung-hee (Seo Ji-yoon’s adoptive mother)
Kim Hae-sook
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  • Lee Hae-young as Jung Min-seok (Seo Ji-yoon’s husband)
Lee Hae-young
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  • Lee Tae-woo as Jung Eun-soo (Seo Ji-yoon’s child)
Lee Tae-woo
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