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Posted : 2013-03-12 20:16
Updated : 2013-03-12 20:16

Group protests IU's TV drama

Singer IU speaks to reporters during a press event for KBS television drama "You're the Best, Yi Sun-sin" at the Plaza Hotel in Seoul earlier this month.
/ Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

By Kim Tong-hyung


IU, the latest K-pop star to try her hand at acting, probably didn't anticipate her new TV show becoming fodder for the odd news section right away.

A nationalist youth group called DN filed for an injunction with the Seoul Central District Court against KBS television to stop it from using the name of 16th century naval commander Yi Sun-sin (1545-1598) in its weekend drama starring the singer.

In ''You're the Best, Yi Sun-sin,'' which premiered Saturday, IU plays the role of bubbly protagonist Yi Sun-sin, an unemployed slacker who daydreams of finding fame as a television star.

DN was offended the show producers named the character after Admiral Yi, who remains a venerated hero among Koreans for his victories against the Japanese navy in the Imjin war (1592–1598) during the Joseon Kingdom period.

The group is concerned that foreign viewers around the world, who aren't familiar with Korea's historical background, will identify the name Yi Sun-sin with the singer instead of the legendary naval commander.

For the writers of ''You're the Best,'' the same-name angle has been a low-hanging fruit for jokes. In the drama's first episode, a snarky business executive tells Yi in a job interview, ''Go guard Dokdo, but stay out of our company.'' A manager at an entertainment agency tells Yi her talent isn't worth more than a 100-won coin, which has the admiral's face on it.

''When you search for Yi Sun-sin now on the Internet, all the results are about IU. By the end of the drama, Yi Sun-sin will become IU in the mind of students. Yi Sun-sin could become regarded as IU to online users around the world who enjoy YouTube and social networking services,'' DN said in a statement.

''The image of Yi Sun-sin had been all about victory and excellence in battle. Now that image is in danger of becoming weak, mistake-prone and hapless.''

IU can at least take comfort from the fact that the fuss created by DN seems to have diverted public attention from her acting skills, which to put it mildly, have room for improvement.


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