Good morning!

Hello! It’s 민지[Minji] from 유행[Yuhaeng], a messenger bearing news from the distant lands of Korean hipsters. These days, it’s impossible to hold a proper conversation with someone who hasn’t watched this particular drama. Of course, I’m talking about the Netflix drama <The Glory>, the sensational series borne of a collaboration between renowned actress Song Hye-kyo and star screenwriter Kim Eun-sook.

Ⓒ <The Glory>

Still from Part.1

<The Glory’s> success was explosive from the start: soon after its release, the series ranked No. 1 on Netflix’s list of top TV shows among South Korean viewers. With a perfect combination of brilliant acting and masterly workmanship, it’s no wonder the show continues to keep a firm hold at the top. As if that wasn’t enough, it seems <The Glory> has been receiving a lot of love internationally in regions like Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong! I’ve heard that it’s both maintained its position as No. 1 out of all non-English content and also taken 1st place in the ‘Most-watched non-English Netflix TV Show’ category. The fact that not only Koreans, but people around the world can converse with each other about <The Glory>... isn’t that the true ‘영광(glory)’ here?

In this issue, I’ll let you in on some real information about the global hot topic that is <The Glory>. After all, even I have to admit that this show’s the source of all the drama (pun intended) that I know right now! If you enjoyed watching <The Glory> and/or are eagerly anticipating the upcoming release of Part.2, why not join 유행[yuhaeng] in a proper review of the drama?

Warning: spoilers ahead!

For those who have not yet finished Part.1 of <The Glory>, please be aware that this issue will contain spoilers.

You’re telling me this is a true story?

Behind the Scenes of <The Glory>

The true story of the cruel and terrifying ‘Hair Curler School Violence’

In order to help us to properly understand and sympathize with the narrative of ‘Moon Dong-eun,’ a victim of school violence, the drama includes many graphic scenes depicting school violence in great detail. In fact, the level of violence was deemed so high that the drama has since been designated an NC-17 rating. In particular, the scene in which the perpetrator harasses the victim using a beauty appliance (a hair curler) is so brutal that it is difficult to watch. What many 유행[yuhaeng] subscribers may not know, however, is that this ‘hair curler school violence’ is actually based off a real incident that took place in Korea.

Ⓒ Netflix Korea YouTube

Screenshot from ‘The Glory Official Trailer’

Young Yeon-jin looking at a young Dong-eun

In May 2006, a group of children in a Cheongju middle school (located in the city of Cheongju) were caught committing an act of brutality towards another student, searing her in several places with a hair curler under the pretext of ‘checking its temperature.’ These students were mercilessly tormenting their classmate for no reason other than that she did not accept their demand for money. This incident, which had even then caused an uproar, has risen to the surface once more following the release of <The Glory>, reigniting the Korean community’s wrath. Such an aversive reaction is inevitable – it gives me goosebumps when I think of how those perpetrators now live normal lives without suffering the consequences, just as the perpetrators do in <The Glory>.

“Beware of anyone with the letter ㅇ in their name”

This line was spouted by the mother of Park Yeon-jin, the ringleader of the gang of school violence perpetrators (hereafter referred to as ‘perpetrators’) from the beginning of Episode 1. Those who don’t know Korean well may have had a difficult time making sense of this line. I hope my explanation will clear things up for you! The Korean language is a linguistic system in which the first consonant, middle vowel, and final consonant form one ‘syllabic block.’ It follows that the letter ㅇ, which is a consonant, can be the first consonant and/or final consonant of a syllabic block. It’s also important to note that in Korea, the first syllable of a full name is one’s family name, while the following two syllables represent one’s given name. (Of course, there are exceptions! One might have a two-syllable last name, like Namkoong Min, or a one-syllable given name, like Park Bom!)

Now, shall we take a look at the names of the people in ‘Park Yeon-jin’s’ circle? Among ‘Park Yeon-jin’s’ clique, the only person whose name does not contain the consonant is ‘전재준[Jeon Jae-Jun].’ You might remember ‘Jeon Jae-jun’ as the member with the most financial support within the band of perpetrators. So this line reveals a lot about ‘Park Yeon-jin’s’ mother’s personality as an individual who believes in shamanism and prioritizes wealth over all else. At least on the surface.

Ⓒ Netflix Korea YouTube

Screenshot from ‘The Glory Official Trailer’

But Korean netizens don’t stop here. Rather, they’ve gone and analyzed the names of all the characters who appear in the drama in an effort to uncover the core meaning of the line. And this is because Kim Eun-sook, the screenwriter who wrote <The Glory>, is famous for making every detail of a setup matter. Notice that both ‘동은[Dong-eun],’ who seeks revenge, and her co-conspirator ‘여정[Yeo-jung],’ have 2(!) letter ㅇ’s in their name. And what’s more, the first to betray ‘Park Yeon-jin’ within her group of perpetrators is ‘손명오[Son Myeong-oh],’ who also has 2 letter ㅇ’s in her name!

Isn’t it pretty convincing to argue that characters with the letter ㅇ in their name will end up pushing ‘Park Yeon-jin’ into the very depths of hell?🧐 But wait! There’s still one more person close to ‘Park Yeon-jin’ who has 2 ㅇ’s in their name. Can you guess who it is? I’ll be explaining the story behind this character right below, so read on if you’re interested!

A supporting role that’s as popular as the protagonist: ‘That Nice Son of a B****’

This very character’s nickname is ‘Nice Son of a B****’. That is to say, they’re definitely one of the bad guys, but strangely charming even so. Someone close to ‘Park Yeon-jin,’ yet has 2 ㅇ’s in their name… The person in question is none other than ‘하도영[Ha Do-young],’ ‘Park Yeon-jin’s’ husband. An individual who is by nature sardonic and biting, so much so that he believes the simplest problems in the world are those that can be solved with money, his progressing relationship with ‘Moon Dong-eun’ causes him to experience confusion for the first time in his life.

You can tell that ‘Ha Do-young’ is a character who weaves between the lines of good and bad just by looking at his character poster. If you look closely at <The Glory’s> character posters, you might notice the morning glories encircling each individual. Do you happen to remember the story told by the elderly owner of Eden Villa in the 1st episode? It’s the moment she explains that when a morning glory blooms facing the ground, it is said to be an ‘angel’s trumpet,’ while a morning glory blooming upright towards the sun is considered a ‘devil’s trumpet.’

On the character posters for those on the side of ‘Moon Dong-eun,’ the victim, notice that everyone is shown facing downwards alongside white ‘devils’ trumpets.’ On the other hand, the group of perpetrators all face upwards, surrounded by yellow ‘angel’s trumpets.’ But ‘Ha Do-young’s’ character poster presents a different composition. He faces downwards alongside white morning glories, so at first glance, he seems to be on the same side as ‘Moon Dong-eun’s’ co-conspirators. But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that ‘Ha Do-young’s’ morning glories aren’t the devil’s trumpets of ‘Moon Dong-eun’s’ group, but the angel’s trumpets of the perpetrators’ group. In other words, he is represented by a mixture of symbols from both sides. Isn’t it exciting that such detailed foreshadowing and analytical potential was hidden within just this poster? Will ‘Ha Do-young,’ swept up in this grand play of revenge, end up standing with good or evil? What do you think?

Ⓒ Netflix Korea The Glory

Ha Do-young

Ⓒ Netflix Korea The Glory

Lee Sa-ra, Park Yeon-jin

Kang Hyeon-nam, Joo Yeo-jeong

‘Ha Do-young’ is also a character who draws in fans with his gentle yet sexy and mature sort of charm. Everyone agrees ‘Ha Do-young’s’ best scene happens at the beginning, when he’s unable to pry his eyes away from ‘Moon Dong-eun’ as she brushes past him. Because of this very scene, which netizens say reminds them of the movie <In the Mood for Love>, some are rooting for a relationship between ‘Moon Dong-eun’ and ‘Ha Do-young’ rather than with her romantic interest ‘Joo Yeo-jeong!’ I'm curious about whom international 유행[Yuhaeng] readers prefer! If you’d like, let us know through the Feedback Form.

That park with the Go board… Does it exist in real life? 🤔

Remember ‘Gyodae Park,’ the place where ‘Moon Dong-eun’ meets future co-conspirator ‘Joo Yeo-jeong’ and learns how to play Go? Spring with its cherry blossoms fluttering in the wind, summer with its green leaves in full bloom, autumn as color descends onto the foliage, the park is lovely in itself for its ability to capture Korea’s seasons exactly as they are. Add to this the sentimental image of two people developing their minds little by little on opposite sides of a Go board. But… does this park really exist?

Yep, this park is indeed real – this scene was filmed at Cheongju city’s Cheongju Jungang Park. Cheongju Jungang Park, which harbors a colossal gingko tree, is a place which really does flaunt different kinds of beauty depending on the season. Then where’s the park with the Go board made by ‘Ha Do-yeong’s’ Jaepyeong Construction? This is in none other than Incheon! Called Cheongna Lake Park, the Go board game setting was built for use in the drama. Although all film props and sets have been demolished by now, this hasn’t stopped <The Glory’s> most dedicated fans from visiting both parks like bees flocking to flowers.

Ⓒ Netflix Korea YouTube

Screenshot from ‘The Glory Official Trailer’

Gyodae Park,

in which Joo Yeo-jeong and Moon Dong-eun play Go

It’s not surprising that ‘Semyeong City,’ the place that appears most often in the drama, was filmed mainly in Incheon’s Cheongna International City and Cheongju City. Incheon is a coastal city housing Incheon International Airport (you probably already know this if you’re interested in Korea🤭), and Cheongju is a provincial city about 2 hours away from Seoul by car. Because of their proximity to Seoul, the two cities have recently become popular filming locations for K-movies and dramas. Cheongju City, in particular, holds elements from both an urban and agricultural landscape, so it’s perfect for capturing a variety of sceneries. ‘Moon Dong-eun’s’ alma mater Gyodae, the plastic surgery clinic established by ‘Joo Yeo-jeong,’ all these locations can be found in Cheongju.

Featured along with Incheon and Cheongju’s parks is Icheon’s Eden Paradise Hotel, the site in which ‘Park Yeon-jin’ and “Ha Do-young’s’ wedding ceremony was filmed. Surrounded by mountains, the hotel is a well-known destination for those looking to vacation in the forest. But… doesn’t Eden seem familiar? You guessed it – there’s a location in the drama with a similar name, ‘Eden Villa’ (it’s the house opposite the ‘Park Yeon-jin’ couple’s residence that ‘Moon Dong-eun’ moves into in order to enact her plan of revenge). The fact that the real-life hotel and the in-drama house share a name may just be pure coincidence, but I still can’t help but get goosebumps. Can the similarity of the names tying the location of ‘Park Yeon-jin’s’ wedding ceremony (i.e., a symbol of her married life) to ‘Moon Dong-eun’s’ in-drama house (i.e., a symbol of ‘Moon Dong-eun’ life, marked by an all-consuming desire for revenge) really just be coincidence? The question ‘is this intentional or not?’ keeps gnawing at the back of my mind for no real reason at all. I guess I really am too obsessed with <The Glory>, huh?🤣

Ⓒ <The Glory>

Stills from Part.2

With <The Glory> gaining such popularity, I’ve heard that a general movement towards speaking publicly about the pain of school violence and exposing offenders can be seen all across Asia. News of several stars posting apologies reflecting on their past mistakes has become a huge topic in Korea as well. Following <The Glory’s> theme of regaining one’s honor through a truly sincere apology, I hope people in real life will learn to deliver genuine apologies and compensation to not only the public, but the victims of school violence themselves. In this way, stories that hold the public’s attention and involve a high level of care in its production can spur societal change. All through the simple act of ‘storytelling.’ I suppose this is the true function of storytelling, isn’t it?

In ‘Honey tip Korea!’ we’ll let you in on some useful tips to know when traveling or living in Korea. These include tidbits on commonly used expressions, cultural contexts, and other information locals naturally reference as they go through their lives. All the sweet information you need to know, delivered directly from local Koreans to you!

<The Glory> Part.2, unveiled this March!

It’s not long before <The Glory> Part.2 goes public! But until then, let’s content ourselves with the newly released still cuts. Armed as we are with all the knowledge from today, why don’t we binge-watch <The Glory> together? No matter how many times we watch, rewind, and rewatch, I believe we’ll always find new foreshadowing and meaning hidden within each scene. Promise me that if you discover something fun and interesting, you’ll let me know!

If you enjoyed today’s letter, please tell us your thoughts by clicking the reply button below. Following the release of <The Glory> Part.2, you have my word that I’ll be back with tons of exciting content, from hidden foreshadowing to ending analyses! When that time comes, let’s take a closer look at everything related to the <The Glory> actors, whose popularity is currently skyrocketing due to the drama’s success. Other than <The Glory>, is there any other K-content you’d like to learn more about from a Korean’s perspective? You can clue us in by clicking on the aforementioned reply button below. I will be your faithful source for all things related to K-drama!

From today onwards, Hashtag hipster’ will be a corner where I’ll feature my friends as they enjoy Korean culture in real-time! I’m sure it’s common knowledge that browsing through hashtags is a must when you want to learn about and enjoy a region’s culture!

Today’s hashtag is ‘한국여행[Korean travel];’ let’s meet Agata, who went on a ‘서울근교여행[trip to the suburbs of Seoul].’

Agata’s Instagram

Edelweiss Swiss Theme Park

Minji : Nice to meet you! What was the most memorable thing you experienced while at ‘Edelweiss Swiss Theme Park’ in Gapyeong?

Agata : Hi Minji!

The first things that come to mind are the beautiful decorations – it was like entering into a real-life village! And you know that feeling you get when you travel to some faraway place? That’s what I loved most about the theme park! Among the activities I enjoyed, ‘Flower Sliding’ was the most memorable!

Minji : Looking at your YouTube video of your trip, riding the sled does look very fun! How did you find this theme park?

Agata : It popped up on a Naver Blog as I was searching for places to go near Seoul! You should be able to find it if you search ‘trip to the suburbs of Seoul.’

Minji : Woah, that’s the way actual Korean hipsters search for things! And for my final question, would you recommend ‘Edelweiss Swiss Theme Park’ to international friends visiting or living in Korea?

Agata : I would recommend it to people that have already been to Gapyeong or Cheongpyeong at least once. This theme park is located near ‘Petite France’ and ‘Nami Island,’ so if you’re planning to go on an excursion, why not stop by while you’re in the area?

If you want to pay a visit to the Seoul suburbs or are in the middle of planning a trip to Korea, check out Agata’s Instagram! The places Agata’s visited are so pretty that I already have some saved in my list of places to travel to.

Alright folks, that’s it for today.

Today’s hashtags were #서울근교여행, #가평여행!

I’ll be back with more hot and trendy places next time!

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