'Mr. Sunshine' Slammed For Historical Inaccuracies; Petition Gaining Support
Mr. Sunshine is under fire for historical inaccuracies. The Korean netizens, who have launched a petition to protest what they deemed to be history misrepresentation in the tvN drama, are also gaining more support.
So far, the petition has gained over 27,000 signatures. The concern netizens earlier shared into the Blue House homepage the petition asking the government to prevent historical inaccuracies in K-dramas. The petitioners particularly mentioned Mr. Sunshsine and stressed that Japan was the aggressor nation during the Japanese occupation period as well as during the war.
Mr. Sunshine is slammed for "romanticizing" a pro-Japanese organization and portraying Yoo Yeon Seok's character, Goo Dong Mae, as a charming character. They are also protesting the presentation of the Joseon culture as "uncivilized."
"In the historical facts that there are definite perpetrators and victims, Joseon was not depicted as a victim of colonization but instead one that invited it. Goo Dong-mae's character is a villain but by showing reasons why he had to join the pro-Japanese organization, his actions have been justified," the group said in the petition (via Korea Times).
In the TV series, Goo Dong Mae is the leader of the Black Dragon Society in Hanseong. Historically, the group was a pro-Japanese organization and also suspected to be involved in the assassination of King Gojong's wife, Empress Myeongseong.
"Fiction aside, there are Korean dramas that have accurately represented the Joseon people's sentiment without inaccuracies," the petition stated.
Mr. Sunshine's production company, Studio Dragon, already responded to the criticisms by stating that the organizations and characters portrayed in the series are only fictional. It also clarified that they have no intention of romanticizing the pro-Japanese stance but only to tell the story of a man who is forced to live a fate that he could not change. However, the studio also vowed to make necessary changes in portraying Goo Dong-mae moving forward.
"It was said that the character of Goo Dong Mae romanticized the pro-Japanese stance and that it didn't reflect the true historical context of the time. Therefore, the staff has modified the entire character. The parts that we've already finished filming will be modified according to the new character description as well," the production staff stated.
Mr. Sunshine is based in Shinmiyangyo or the U.S. expedition to Korea in the late 19th century. It tells the story of a Korean boy whose parents were servants of a noble family. At a young age, he ran away after his parents were killed. He later returned to his homeland as U.S. marine officer Eugene Choi (Lee Byung-hun) and falls in love with an aristocrat's daughter, Go Ae-shin (Kim Tae-ri). Later on, he discovers the plot to colonize the country that he once ran away from.
The 24-episode K-drama is helm by director Lee Eung-bok while the story was written by Kim Eun-sook. The duo also worked together in both hit series Descendants of the Sun and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. Mr. Sunshine airs every Saturday and Sunday on tvN and can also be streamed on Netflix.