Actress Lee Young-ae poses in this file photo for the "Jewel in the Palace," a popular "hallyu" or Korean wave drama that marks its 10th birthday this year. / Korea Times file
Amid skepticism about "hallyu" or the Korean wave, a 2003 Korean drama "Jewel in the Palace" continues on the airwaves a decade after its first airing in 2003.
The broadcaster MBC has announced that it will put out special programs to mark the 10th anniversary of the epic drama about a female royal chef of the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910). Starring actors Lee Young-ae and Ji Jin-hee, the drama was produced for $15 million. Since its first airing, it has achieved 57 percent viewer ratings in Korea, and has pulled in $40 million worldwide, becoming the definitive K-drama that catapulted Lee and Ji into global hallyu stars. It has also been made into a musical.
The 54-episode drama, initially popular in Asia, has been broadcast in countries such as Nigeria. MBC will air on Oct. 7 and on Oct. 14 the route that the drama has taken to reach foreign airwaves. The route will take viewers through England, the United States, China, Sri Lanka, Belarus and countries in Africa. The network will also air a special version of its entertainment program "Eoseoohseyo" which will feature eight students from Ankara University and Ericyes University in Turkey competing for a scholarship.
The eight will learn Korean and Korean culture, and one will be selected through a competition for a one-year study program in Korea. This program will be shown in October. The network is also expected to air six hours of the 2013 Global Conference Forum on Oct. 18, which will look into the influence of cultural content. Culture Minister Yoo Jin-ryong is expected to take part in the forum.