Kwang Jin, the author behind the "Itaewon Class" webtoon and also the credited screenwriter for its drama adaptation, has weighed in on the way images from his creation have been used in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The controversey stems from an ad wherein former conservative party leader Hong Joon-pyo, who is now running as an independent in Daegu, compares himself to the comic's lead character who is played in the drama by Park Seo-joon.
In the advertisement Hong Joon-pyo's life story is loosely contrasted with that of the lead character in "Itaewon Class", with mention being made of how they both had difficult childhoods, ambitious dreams, and struggled with the difficulty of balancing reality with image. The comparison does not make much sense and is contradictory even as written, with a dream of revenge and a dream of giving thanks being treated as equivalent.
The political advertisement mainly appears to be an attempt to capitalize in on the popularity of "Itaewon Class", particularly with younger voters. But Kwang Jin was very flat with his disavowal of the message, simply stating that "Itaewon Class" did not have any political interpretations and that he did not wish for it to be used for the sake of political influencing.
Written by William Schwartz
"Itaewon Class" is directed by Kang Min-goo, Kim Seong-yoon, written by Kwang Jin, and features Park Seo-joon, Kim Da-mi, Yoo Jae-myung, Kwon Nara, Kim Dong-hee, Ahn Bo-hyun. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2020/01/31~2020/03/21, Fri, Sat 22:50 on jTBC.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.
"[HanCinema's News] "Itaewon Class" Creator Requests That his Work Not Be Used for Political Purposes"
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