As the importance of documented fact has weakened in historical dramas, the combination with other genres has become prominent. By reviewing the way romance is dealt with in historical dramas, this research examines how the properties of historical events adopted by historical dramas are related to the motif of love, and how the narrative of love and romance contributes to the historical effects, with a focus on the television drama Mr. Sunshine.
Mr. Sunshine is the first historical drama written by Kim Eun-sook, combining deliberately rearranged history with the writer’s unique grammar of romance. The failed resistance movement of the righteous army in the drama is matched with the love that cannot be achieved based on self-negation. The drama, which deals with the tyranny of Japanese imperialism and the independence of Joseon, fictionalizes key characters and events, transforming the desire of love into the passion of patriotism. Romance in Mr. Sunshine serves as a catalyst for emphasizing the tragedy of historical events and reconstitutes cultural memories.
In historical dramas, the fictional plot of romance leads viewers to reflect on human life in history that flows from the past to the future. How does an individual’s inner feelings contribute to the historical representation? This research is significant as it is the first attempt to examine the relationship between historical drama and romance in various ways.