tvN's brand new Sat-Sun drama series 'Mr. Queen' is currently under heavy criticism after becoming wrapped up in several controversies.
Starring Shin Hye Sun, Kim Jung Hyun, and more, tvN's 'Mr. Queen' is a Korean drama adaptation of a Chinese novel by Xian Chen as well as its Chinese web drama series counterpart. The story revolves around a man from the modern age who becomes involved in a freak accident, and wakes up to find that his soul ended up in the body of the Joseon dynasty's newly married queen.
Prior to the series' premiere this weekend, 'Mr. Queen' became the cause of controversial debate online as some netizens accused the original novelist Xian Chen of being racist toward Koreans in the past. Netizens said that in another of his past works, Xian Chen repeatedly used derogatory slang language to mock Koreans.
Afterward, the head producer of 'Mr. Queen' spoke up to address this issue, responding, "It's true that the drama is based off of the original Chinese novel; however, the only element we truly adapted from the original work was that the soul of the male lead ends up in the body of the queen. The rest of the story is totally different."
Then, after this weekend's premiere of episodes 1 and 2, the drama became wrapped up in even more controversy.
Now, netizens are accusing the drama of mocking Korean history and distorting it irresponsibly. In one scene, the queen was accused of sexualizing the historical records regarding the royal family's relations. In another, the drama including a joking comment about royal ancestral rituals at the Jongmyo Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In another scene, a courtesan house was named satirically poking fun at the infamous 'Burning Sun' controversy.
During episode 2 aired on December 13, Queen Shinjeong, the wife of the Crown Prince Hyomyeong, was depicted as a woman obsessed with superstition. This depiction earned concerned voices from a society of ancestors of Queen Shinjeong, who stated that historical figures should not be mocked so lightly.
Numerous netizens commented that even if it is technically a comedy drama, 'Mr. Queen' has taken some aspects too far in portraying heavily distorted Korean history, especially during times when Korean historical dramas are enjoyed more internationally than ever.