Following Dispatch‘s New Year’s Day relationship reveal, actor Lee Jong Suk penned a letter to his fans. In the letter, the actor mentioned “Kang Dan I” while explaining his feelings about his friend-turned-girlfriend IU.
How should I word this…? I was moving on with my life, doing my own thing. But there was always a part of my heart that belonged to her. She was weird like that. I think you would all understand it if I put it this way; She was like Kang Dan I to me.
— Lee Jong Suk
So who is Kang Dan I? While the comparison might be puzzling, K-Drama fans are swooning at this romantic confession written between the lines of the letter.
Kang Dan I is one of the two main characters of the 2019 K-Drama Romance Is A Bonus Book. Brought to life by actress Lee Na Young, Kang Dan I is a strong-rooted woman making her waves in the workplace no matter the obstacles.
And while this character description could fit IU, it’s not quite what Lee Jong Suk must have meant, according to the Bonus Book fans.
In the series, Lee Jong Suk is Cha Eun Ho; A successful editor-in-chief who has harbored a crush on Kang Dan I for as long as he can remember. Cha Eun Ho is a perfectionist in all nooks of life, except for when it comes to the neighborhood-noona-turned-love.
Bonus Book fans believe that Lee Jong Suk mentioned Kang Dan I to highlight the fact that he has been in love with IU for a long time—even when the timing and circumstances have kept the two apart.
Cha Eun Ho adored Kang Dan I with his whole heart, so much that he couldn’t risk confessing his feelings for her and messing up the friendship he had with her. Instead, he sided with her each step of the way and rooted for her life.
Then, in time, through the ups and downs, the two ended up together in love.
— Romance Is A Bonus Book Fan
In fact, one particular scene from Episode 10 is thought to capture Lee Jong Suk’s long and deep running feelings for IU.
In the scene, Cha Eun Ho confesses his feelings to the unsuspecting Kang Dan I, promising to keep things the same regardless of what happens between the two; Much in line with how Lee Jong Suk kept it casual with IU for a whole decade.
— 잇소럴 (@Etherealnm) June 29, 2022
Kang Dan I: Since when?
Cha Eun Ho: Hmm. I wonder since when. I don’t know since when I’ve had feelings for you.
Cha Eun Ho: How do you tell the season changes? From spring to summer, summer to fall, and fall to winter… Do you know the exact moment when winter turns to spring? Likewise… I don’t know since when I’ve had feelings for you.
Kang Dan I: But Eunho-
Cha Eun Ho: See? This is why I didn’t want to tell you at first.
Kang Dan I: Then you should’ve kept it secret for me.
Cha Eun Ho: How could I? You asked me how I felt about you. I’m a man, after all. You had me cornered and I didn’t want to keep lying about my feelings.
Cha Eun Ho: But I’m not going to make any moves. At most, I’ll bring you presents. Like the necklace. That’s all. I’ve been doing that all this time. Whenever I have something good to share, I’d want to share with you. And I’ve been doing so. That’s how we’ve always been.
Cha Eun Ho: Yes, I do have feelings for you. But I’m not going to pursue them, not when it doesn’t feel right. So don’t mind me. You keep doing whatever you want, however you want. Date other men, if you want. Just keep being you. That’s all I ask of you.
Kang Dan I: But what about your feelings? What are you going to do?
Cha Eun Ho: Are you worried that I’ll be sad and lonely? I have not once felt that way in the time that I had feelings for you. I worked hard and kept myself busy. I even went on dates, too. I really wasn’t all that desperate because of my crush on you. It’s not like I threw myself on the line for love. I kept it easy for myself. So please don’t overthink this.
Thanks to these interpretations, the new couple is being heralded as “true love.”
Fans of both Lee Jong Suk and IU are celebrating this romantic fruition of the stars’ friendship and wishing them nothing but the happiest of endings!
- “What the heck… He has been in love with her for that long? This is such a romantic confession.”
- “It’s the perfect season to watch ‘Romance Is A Bonus Book.’ In fact, I’m going to watch it again as well. Haha.”
- “THIS IS CRAZY, AAAAAAGH!”
- “Gosh darn… I wish them nothing but the best.”
- “Whoa… Lee Jong Suk is SUCH a romantic.”
- “K-Drama fans go batshit for this kind of romance… Hope the two of them get their happiest ending!”
- “Cha Eun Ho is one of my favorite K-Drama characters. It’s a heartwarming series, too.”
- “My number one K-Drama, seriously.”
- “It’s a good show. Watch it if you haven’t already.”
- “I understood what he meant through and through when he mentioned Kang Dan I. Man, this makes me want to cry. Wishing them all the best!”
- “‘Romance Is A Bonus Book’ is such a good show. The soundtrack is amazing, too.”
- “WHAT THE HECK, MAN! T-T”
Read Lee Jong Suk’s full letter here.