But when the series debuted last month, South Koreans weren’t impressed. Instead, many were incensed that Korean characters were shown drinking Chinese liquor and eating Chinese food, such as dumplings, mooncake pastries and preserved “century eggs.” Outrage over the Chinese elements, along with other historical inaccuracies, quickly devolved into an advertiser boycott. The show, which had a $28 million budget, was canceled after just two episodes. The TV channel on which it appeared apologized for offending the Korean people.
The incident reflects growing animosity toward what many South Koreans feel is inappropriate Chinese influence in South Korean entertainment, as well as a manipulation of history in order to claim several beloved aspects of Korean culture.