“Snowdrop” Writer Faces Backlash For Allegedly Taking Character Inspiration From A Tortured Korean Musician Yun Isang
K-Drama Snowdrop has only aired 2 episodes so far, but the drama has already been caught in immense backlash. In particular, the writer, Yoo Hyun Mi, is being criticized for her alleged choice of inspiration behind her characters.
Although Yoo Hyun Mi herself has not confirmed any inspirations based on real-life characters, viewers drew a connection between the male lead’s father and South Korean musician and genius composer, Yun Isang. In episode 2, it was explained that Im Soo Ho (the male lead)’s father was a famous, medal-winning musician in Berlin who faced oppression and was unable to return back to Korea. Soo Ho, who grew up in Germany, returned to South Korea on his own as an adult.
In real life, Yun Isang won the Goethe medal and multiple other music awards but was banned from re-entering South Korea. Due to the banning, Yun Isang had to travel back and forth between North Korea and Germany instead. Although he had settled with his family in Berlin, he was falsely accused of espionage and was kidnapped by the South Korean secret service in 1967. This was a period of time where many Korean-German students were falsely accused of being spies as well. Yun Isang was tortured and forced to confess and eventually imprisoned. Many artists signed a petition worldwide for his release. From 1973, he participated in the call for the democratization of South Korea.
Netizens claim the story of Yun Isang sounds a lot like an inspiration for the fictional character – Im Soo Ho’s father.
This isn’t the first time writer Yoo Hyun Mi was criticized for her choice of character set-up. Previously, she had already faced criticism for naming her female lead, Young Cho. Young Cho is by no means a common female name in South Korea, even in the era Snowdrop is set in. However, the name is well known for one historical figure during the era of the Democratic Movements in South Korea. Whether it was a coincidence or intentional, South Korean netizens did not take kindly to this because Young Cho was a real person who fought hard for the democratic movement. Young Cho’s husband was also a participant in the movement who was tortured to death under false accusations of being a spy. Ironically in Snowdrop, Im Soo Ho is an actual spy and hides under the guise of being a student protestor who supports the democratic movement. Hence, South Korean netizens thought that it was “cruel and immoral” to have Snowdrop‘s characters be represented by Young Cho’s name. Eventually, the female lead’s name was changed to Young Ro.
Netizens are serving Yoo Hyun Mi with backlash for her choice in character set-up. They are calling the coincidences too uncanny and have accused the writer of specifically using real-life figures who were falsely tortured as spies for her drama which involves real spies masquerading as democratic party supporters.
- “The writer’s thoughts…”
- “The writer’s intentions are disgusting.”
- “She’s so sly that I’m getting goosebumps.”
- “It’s not just one or two characters that she’s able to claim it as a coincidence. Until when will she try to cover the sky with her palm? (trying to hide something in vain)”
- “This is getting scary.”
- “The writer is a f*cking crazy bitch… what is she doing exactly?”
- “The writer truly planned this.”
South Koreans have also uncovered that the writer herself attended Ewha Women’s University and tenured in Gwangju as a professor. This was a disappointment to many as many student protests for the democratic movement took place on that very campus, as well as the only womens’ universities in South Korea back then. Many South Koreans brought up parallels between Hosu Women’s University in the drama and Ewha University as its inspiration. Similarly, Gwangju was where one of the most horrific massacres against democratic movement supporters took place. Yoo Hyun Mi’s links to both places were severely criticized as there was no way she would be aware of the depths of the incidents that took place.
All eyes are on the drama now for the upcoming episodes. Episodes 3 and 4 are scheduled to air this upcoming Saturday and Sunday on JTBC.