Crash Landing on You: The defector who brought North-South Korean romance to life

Son Ye-jin and Hyun BinSymbol copyright
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The drama centres across the not going love between a South Korean heiress and a North Korean officer

An incredible love tale during which a (actually) high-flying South Korean heiress unintentionally paraglides into North Korea, lands on a soldier and falls in love with him has grow to be the newest Korean drama destroy hit.

Crash Touchdown on You is in some ways a normal Ok-drama romance, however has been extensively praised for its well-researched and nuanced portrayal of North Korea, one thing it accomplished through having a real-life North Korean defector on its writing crew, as BBC Korean’s Subin Kim explains.

Along with his large shoulders and thick torso, Kwak Moon-wan has the entire look of a bodyguard.

That is most certainly as a result of till 2004, he served with the Ideally suited Guard Command, the elite safety pressure which protects North Korea’s ruling Kim circle of relatives.

He was once so depended on that he was once assigned to paintings in another country too, for a North Korean business corporate in Moscow which was once bringing in a lot wanted foreign exchange.

Just a make a choice few North Koreans are authorised to paintings outdoor the rustic, and to verify their persisted loyalty the leaders have measures in position – Kwak needed to depart his spouse and son at the back of in North Korea.

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Kwak Moon-wan

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Kwak Moon-wan studied movie directing in Pyongyang

In 2004, he was once ordered to go back to Pyongyang. Throughout a stopover in Beijing, he came upon one in every of his pals in Moscow had reported to their bosses in Pyongyang what he had stated in non-public dialog.

He knew instantly that what he’d stated would reason massive hassle when he were given house.

Throughout our dialog in a espresso store in Seoul, Kwak stored glancing round to test who could be within sight. He speech is simple, if now not blunt, however Kwak would not repeat to me what he stated. He’d simplest say he had mentioned what he noticed whilst escorting individuals of the Kim circle of relatives again then.

So he determined to defect. By myself. And he has lived in South Korea with out his circle of relatives ever since.

  • The North Korean prisoner who escaped together with her guard

“I simplest have one shadow when the solar comes up,” Kwak stated. “That is my lifestyles in South Korea.”

After arriving in South Korea, Kwak, like 1000’s of North Korean defectors, started the method of establishing a brand new lifestyles. And it took a exceptional accident for Kwak to seek out his approach into the booming global of Korean leisure.

From defector to movie adviser

Prior to coming into the army, Kwak had frolicked studying about movie. Again within the 1980s, the North Korean movie trade was once booming, on account of then chief Kim Jong Il’s well known love of the artwork.

At the moment, Kwak was once about to embark on additional training, and he ended up being accredited to check movie directing in Pyongyang College of Dramatic and Cinematic Arts.

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Regardless of the entire cultural variations, the 2 cannot lend a hand falling in love

In a while after Kwak arrived in South Korea, a well-known filmmaker who was once operating on a North Korea-themed movie undertaking approached South Korea’s secret agent company inquiring for some recommendation.

Kwak had simply completed his interrogations, a part of the resettlement procedure new defectors undergo, during which he’d mentioned his movie talents.

The company put him in contact with the filmmaker, who introduced him a task at his movie corporate. Kwak accredited it in an instant.

He went directly to paintings as an adviser and a screenwriter on various movies and dramas, and in 2018 a former colleague offered Kwak to Park Ji-eun, the top author of the drama.

She had get a hold of an concept of a romantic comedy that includes a North Korean officer and a South Korean heiress, however her loss of intimate wisdom of Northern lifestyles was once a urgent fear.

Kwak becoming a member of the crew kick-started the Crash Touchdown on You undertaking.

Undercover spies and homeless kids

The sequence has grow to be some of the a hit Korean dramas of all time. It tells the tale of heiress and businesswoman Yoon Se-ri and North Korean military captain Ri Jeong-hyuk.

Whilst out paragliding sooner or later, Se-ri will get stuck up through freak winds, and driven over the border into North Korea. She is located through the rushing Jeong-hyuk, who as an alternative of turning her in is of the same opinion to stay her protected and lend a hand her go back house. Inevitably, they fall in love.

Kwak’s intimate wisdom of ways North Korean officers function supposed he was once ready to give a contribution creative plot gadgets.

As an example, at one level, secret police come throughout Se-ri hiding in a village. Jeong-hyuk briefly comes up with the road that she is a secret agent with Department 11, the army unit which goes undercover within the South.

That is helping provide an explanation for her Southern accessory, her loss of bureaucracy and her look, and gave the nature the liberty to discover the village and have interaction with others, whilst refusing to respond to their questions on her lifestyles on safety grounds.

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Se-ri’s duvet tale is helping her mix in with the native North Korean girls

During the display, there are depictions of lifestyles which might be made credible during the insights of anyone like Kwak.

Trains are proven impulsively preventing on account of energy cuts, homeless kids at the streets, and refrigerators used to retailer books and garments as an alternative of meals.

Kwak additionally helped create a subplot within the drama, of every other pair of star-crossed fanatics from the North and South, Gu Seung-joon and Search engine marketing.

After embezzling an enormous amount of cash from Se-ri’s brother, Seung-joon is going at the run, and makes a decision to hunt safe haven in North Korea.

“North Korea is the one position the Interpol cannot achieve,” Kwak says.

Is it true that North Korea provides coverage for sought after criminals in trade for a hefty amount of cash? “It’s certainly believable,” Kwak says. “That is all I would like to mention.”

Reward from different defectors

Some have accused Crash Touchdown on You of glamorising North Korea. As an example, villagers appear to have various meals – however in truth meals shortages are a routine downside.

However those nuanced main points are hardly noticed through South Koreans, and the drama has even were given different defectors excited.

Chun Hyo-jin, who defected when she was once 19, stated the drama does deviate from fact however that doesn’t dent her enthusiasm for it. Maximum of her circle of relatives are actually residing within the South, and the drama has grow to be a weekly matter.

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The 2 lead actors are stars in South Korea

“Each time it is on air, we name every different at the telephone and communicate concerning the drama,” Chun says.

“It has made the folks excited about North Korea. It will get my pals to invite me about North Korea and I am in reality thankful for it.”

It is also gained reward from other people like Sokeel Park, who works with defectors via Liberty in North Korea.

“Its portrayal of more than a few facets of North Korean society have obviously been totally researched, leading to essentially the most third-dimensional portrayal of North Korean society of any movie or drama to this point,” he informed the BBC.

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Media caption4 defectors speak about what lifestyles is like in North Korea

“It’s refreshing the way it portrays more than a few facets of North Korean society with out unnecessarily passing judgement, and presentations North Koreans as advanced people who find themselves in the end relatable or even cute, although they’re culturally other.”

It is widely known that North Koreans, particularly the younger ones, are fanatics of Ok-drama too – and as Crash Touchdown on You appropriately depicts, a large number of South Korean movies and dramas are smuggled into North Korea.

Kwak says he hasn’t heard of any North Korean who has watched the drama.

“I am certain they’re going to be very . It is their tale. It is about them.

“And I assume that particularly North Korean males would really feel very thankful to have a good-looking man like Hyun Bin to play one in every of them,” he chuckled.

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