Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Changumu's Oath or チャングムの誓い

So we've been watching Changumu (or チャングムの誓い) based on a minor historical figure, Jang Geum 長今, the first and last female royal physician to the Korean Joseon Dynasty. I am now pathetcally hooked. This will be the third Korean Drama series I've seen including the sensational (in Asia) Winter Sonata and Hotelier dramas. Unlike the other two, Changumu does not include Bae Yong Joon but is still apperently popular enough anyway. After watching I can see why.
The only thing is that the Korean is dubbed into Japanese instead of subtitled into Japanese and I feel this adds to or complicates the not so perfect acting with standard Japanese exagerated tones and personalities. We watched Winter Sonata and Hotelier with Japanese subtitles which at first I thought would be painful but it turns out my Japanese subtitle reading is better than I thought. Since they don't get into too many quantum theory level discussions in these dramas it was no big surprise but still a relief.
Anyhow, listening to the Korean, which I can't understand, and reading the Japanese was one of my favorite parts of watching them. However Changumu is complicated by the fact that what's spoken is a mix of standard Keigo and foreign (to Japan) period language which includes several cases where someone's title or office is not translated into Japanese but rather prounounced in katakana. For example a word that is not Japanese that you would learn right away is Surakkan (スラッカンmeaning Royal Kitchen- 宮中の台所、Korean Ateji =水剌間?) The Surakkan and it's often currupt bureaucracy is the primary stage for the story.
We have watched 30 0f the 54 episodes now.

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