The KBS TV1 epic drama "Immortal Admiral Yi Sun-shin" is enjoying enormous popularity in China. The drama, which depicts the Japanese invasion of Korea in the 16th century, is already very popular with its Korean audience. And now it has a large fan group in large Chinese cities as well, including Shanghai and Beijing, where it airs on a satellite channel.
The drama's popularity in China may stem from the recent spate of anti-Japanese protests over Japan's history distortions. The Chinese audience seems to identify with Admiral Yi Sun-shin, who defeated the Japanese forces a few centuries ago. The first four episodes of the drama are especially popular in China as they depict how the Joseon navy led by Yi Sun-shin forged an alliance with the Ming Dynasty navy led by Jin Lin to defeat Japan. These four episodes, which are subtitled in Chinese, have been the top downloads on Sina.com and other Chinese Internet portal sites recently.
A Korean showbiz representative in China said Chinese broadcasters are showing great interest in
"Immortal Admiral Yi Sun-shin", which has already gained enormous popularity via unofficial routes. He also added that KBS has been flooded with requests to provide the copyright of the drama. Such major Chinese broadcasters as CCTV even requested KBS hold copyright negotiations. The popularity of actor Kim Myeong-min, who plays Yi Sun-shin, is rising as well, with many Chinese fans checking out Kim's shooting schedule and posting inquiries about meeting the actor in person.
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