KBS2‘s drama, River Where The Moon Rises is facing a new controversy and this time, it’s because of Simplified Chinese letters.
The drama series received backlash after netizens shared their disappointment about a specific scene featuring a scroll. They alleged that the letters on the scroll were Simplified Chinese letters. Simplified Chinese characters were not widely promoted and used until the 1950s, by China. The plot of River Where The Moon Rises takes place during the Goguryeo time period of South Korea, which holds historical significance for the nation. Due to this, netizens expressed their concerns for the historical inaccuracy of the Chinese letters.
Shortly after receiving criticisms from the public, KBS2 and the production team of the series moved quickly to resolve the situation. A KBS2 official stated that “there was a mistake in the hanja (Traditional Chinese characters.) The production team was not aware of this mistake. We apologize to the viewers.” They further revealed that they have deleted the scene from their series for future re-run viewership purposes.
In the midst of the ongoing tensions between China and South Korea, Korean netizens have become increasingly more sensitive to these cultural issues and historical inaccuracies. The sensitivity comes from a place of uneasiness as China has previously claimed numerous staples of the Korean culture as their own, such as kimchi, taekwondo, hanbok, the Korean flag and more. Due to continuing feud between the two countries, the Korean public has been more vocal about the usage of Chinese content in Korean media.
This is also not the first controversy that River Where The Moon Rises has experienced. Previously, actor Ji Soo was cast as the male lead and was portraying the main role of On Dal. However, the drama came under intense scrutiny as Ji Soo became one of the dozens to fall to bullying accusations. After admitting to his allegations, the actor was dropped from the production and was replaced with Na In Woo. Unfortunately, the drama had completed 90% of the production’s filming and ultimately had to re-film the entire drama with their new male lead.
Due to the immense financial loss of having to not only replace the male lead, but also re-film majority of the drama, KBS2 revealed their decision to sue Ji Soo and his agency, KeyEast for ₩3 billion KRW ($2,661,771 USD) in damages.