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Chinese Military Newspaper Calls 'Descendants Of The Sun' A Great Recruiting Tool For The Army

by Jesse L. / Mar 23, 2016 03:35 PM EDT
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film poster for "Descendants Of The Sun"

South Korean smash hit television drama "Descendants Of The Sun" picked up an unlikely endorsement on Tuesday from China's military newspaper, Jie Fang Jun Bao.

Calling the 16-episode series, which premiered on Feb. 24, an excellent form of army recruitment propaganda, the paper also praised the accuracy of the series, which has been airing simultaneously in China and South Korea.

"The drama based on the Korean military effectively and graphically depicted not only the culture of the country but that of the Korean military," the Jie Fang Jun Bao article read.

Their does however, appear to be some intergovernmental disagreement amongst the various agencies. Last week, China's Ministry of Public Security warned against "Descendants Of The Sun" and any other addictive K-drama in a post to the microblogging website Weibo.

"Watching Korean dramas could be dangerous, and may even lead to legal troubles," the post read.

The Ministry of Public Security also provided examples of news stories where an obsession with South Korean dramas had led to domestic abuse, plastic surgery or divorce.

South Korean TV dramas have enjoyed a large audience in China for years, but "Descendants of the Sun" is the first major show to enjoy the cross-promotional benefit of a simultaneous screening in the two countries. This is due in part to the show using the practice of "early filming" (shooting the episodes months in advance like the majority of Western television) as opposed to the live shooting that is standard for K-dramas.

Though there were shows that were filmed ahead of time before "Descendants of the Sun," as the show's producer Bae Kyung Soo explained to the Korea Times earlier this month, the programs often were short on quality talent.

'There were early filmed dramas before us, but they were largely made before they secured a broadcasting time and were weak on casting, lacking star actors and actresses," Bae said.

Considering the amount of Chinese investors that would love to capitalize on the Hallyu craze, an industry that made a reported $10.6 billion in 2014 if you count music according to the Korea JoongAng Daily, the success of "Descendants of the Sun" could herald in a new era of joint pre-filmed, pre-censored television productions between South Korea and China.

Though South Korean culture critic Bang Yeon Ju worries that Chinese investors, like those from IQiyi who reportedly paid the Korean Broadcasting System, (the network that produces "Descendants Of The Sun") more than $250,000 per episode for the streaming rights, will eventually lose interest and leave the entire South Korean film, TV and music business in shambles.

"The Chinese money that flew to the local real estate market in the past has headed to the drama and entertainment industry," Bang said.

"Early filming is great in that it improves working conditions for actors and actresses as well as quality of the drama. But, the money could dissipate in two or three years."

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