Constructing the Ideal Victim: Glorification of Crown Prince Sado in South Korean Popular Culture 


Vol. 27,  No. 1, pp. 25-50, Jun.  2024
10.18399/acta.2024.27.1.002


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  Abstract

The tragic death of Crown Prince Sado in a rice chest in 1762 has been the subject of much discussion, not only in the academic world but also in South Korean popular culture. In contrast to historical data that suggest that Sado was mentally ill and a violent person whose death was necessary to safeguard the position of the Yi royal house, popular culture has presented him in a more sympathetic light as a victim, blaming political power struggles for his alienation from his father King Yŏngjo (r. 1724–76) and his eventual death. This article explores this glorification of Crown Prince Sado in South Korean popular culture. Cases in point are a wall-tile painting in downtown Seoul, which portrays the procession of King Chŏngjo to the grave of Prince Sado in 1795, the TV series Pimil ŭi mun (Secret Door, 2014), the film Sado (The Throne, 2015), and examples from pseudohistory that apply the Sado narrative to portray Korean history as an ongoing battle between good (us) and evil (them). To understand the narratological motivation behind the glorification of Sado, the article also makes use of historical sources such as Hanjungnok 閑中錄 (Records written in silence), the memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng, and Hyŏllyungwŏn chi 顯隆園志 (Hyŏllyung tomb epitaph), the epitaph King Chŏngjo wrote for this father. We argue that, for the public, Sado has become the epitome of a tragic hero who fell victim to the forces of the establishment.

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  Cite this article

[IEEE Style]

B. WALL and B. JUNG, "Constructing the Ideal Victim: Glorification of Crown Prince Sado in South Korean Popular Culture," Academia Koreana, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 25-50, 2024. DOI: 10.18399/acta.2024.27.1.002.

[ACM Style]

Barbara WALL and Byung-sul JUNG. 2024. Constructing the Ideal Victim: Glorification of Crown Prince Sado in South Korean Popular Culture. Academia Koreana, 27, 1, (2024), 25-50. DOI: 10.18399/acta.2024.27.1.002.

[APA Style]

WALL, B. & JUNG, B. (2024). Constructing the Ideal Victim: Glorification of Crown Prince Sado in South Korean Popular Culture. Academia Koreana, 27(1), 25-50. DOI: 10.18399/acta.2024.27.1.002.

[MLA Style]

Barbara WALL, and Byung-sul JUNG. "null." Academia Koreana, vol. 27, no. 1, 2024, pp. 25-50. doi:10.18399/acta.2024.27.1.002

[HAVARD Style]

Barbara WALL and Byung-sul JUNG (2024) 'null', Academia Koreana, 27(1), pp. 25-50. doi:10.18399/acta.2024.27.1.002

[ACS Style]

WALL, B.; JUNG, B.. Academia Koreana 27 2024, 25-50. 10.18399/acta.2024.27.1.002

[ABNT Style]

WALL, B.; JUNG, B.. null. Academia Koreana, v. 27, n. 1, p. 25-50, 2024. DOI: 10.18399/acta.2024.27.1.002

[Chicago Style]

Barbara WALL and Byung-sul JUNG. "null." Academia Koreana 27, no. 1 (2024): 25-50. doi:10.18399/acta.2024.27.1.002

[TURABIAN Style]

Barbara WALL and Byung-sul JUNG. "null." Academia Koreana 27, no. 1 (2024): 25-50. 10.18399/acta.2024.27.1.002

[VANCOUVER Style]

Barbara WALL and Byung-sul JUNG. null [Academia Koreana]. 2024;27:25-50. DOI:10.18399/acta.2024.27.1.002

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