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Netflix’s Mr Sunshine: a historically based fictional history of America’s abandonment of Korea

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Many of us Korean Drama fans know much about Joseon’s history as a result of many popular K-dramas like Six Flying Dragons, Wind in the Palace, Dong Yi, The Great King Sejong, Face Reader, and even the historically based fictional drama, Jackpot, aka The Royal Gambler as well as through feature films like The Ruler .K-drama fans are also familiar with the Korean empires that pre-dated Joseon through popular dramas like Queen Seondeok, Emperor of the Sea, and The Sword and the Flower.

We are even aware of Korean’s resistance movement during the Japanese usurpation and occupation of Korea via films like The Assassins, The Age of Shadows, Dongju, and Bridal Mask and The Last Princess.


But few, if any Korean films or dramas depict the circumstances that led up to Japan’s occupation and annexation of Korea. Netflix’s Mr Sunshine, featuring award winning actor Lee Byung Hun and Kim Tae-Ri of The Handmaiden fame, explore the early events prior to Joseon’s complete occupation by Japan. Although the script is a romantic fiction with many fictional events, it is nevertheless based on actual fact, including the facts that several of Emperor Gojong’s, aka Emperor Gwangmu, officials and nobles collaborated with Japan in selling our their country for financial and political gain.

But before I begin the tell the factual story of American involvement behind this fictional and historic drama, let’s take a moment to view some of the real history, particularly regarding America’s role in Japan’s annexation of Korea.

Written by Valerie Curl

August 26, 2018 at 7:53 PM

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