Go to contents

“We Depicted a Family That Stayed Together Through All the Ups and Downs”

“We Depicted a Family That Stayed Together Through All the Ups and Downs”

Posted June. 06, 2005 06:28,   


“While we were shooting this soap drama, I thought a lot about my son that I lost five-and-a-half years ago. But I tried hard to get over those feelings by instilling him in my heart.”

The Korea Broadcasting System’s weekend drama “Letters to Parents” (written by Kim Soo-hyun and directed by Jeong Eul-yeong), which gripped the hearts of audience members and recorded more than a 30 percent share of viewers, marked its finale yesterday.

Since first airing on October 16 last year without putting up any arousing subjects and settings, the drama got comments that it helped viewers realize the importance of family and humane warmth by simply showing trivial happenings occurring in Vice Principal Ahn’s family, composed of Ahn’, his wife, and his four sons and daughters. Also people say that the drama became another chance for writer Kim to prove her talented capability.

The epic center of warmth was from actor Song Jae-ho (66 years old), who ardently played Ahn. He, who writes to his parents resting in a tomb on a hill behind his house every evening, was the one who got all the clues for solving family problems. Mr. Song says that during the making of the show, he often reminded himself of the meaning of family, thinking a lot about his youngest son who died on a car accident in 2000 January and his father who passed away when he was a child

“I feel sorry that it is ending. I think we could extend the show a little bit more. I’ve heard many times from the viewers that they want “Letters to Parents” to continue like the way long-lasting drama “Pastoral Diary” has been doing.”

Song attributed the success of this drama to the point that it has evoked people to think about the meaning of family that has almost been forgotten in modern society.

“Do you remember the lines the youngest Seong-mi (played by Lee Yoo-ri) and the third son Jeong-whan (played by Lee Dong-wook) exchanged? As Seong-mi lies to her parents for her marriage, Jeong-whan gives her advice, saying, “This is not what we are supposed to do.” I think that shows the trust existing between family members.”

He also regrets that Korean society is losing the desirable aspect of family angled in the drama.

“I think it was the family of around 1950s before Korean society had nuclear families. That is almost forgotten by people. In the drama, Jeong-whan says to his father when he was being scolded, “Should I kneel down?” I think this scene motivated the younger generation to rethink the relationship between parents and children.

Song explains the obedience that the four children showed to their parents’ words in the drama that it was not because of Ahn’s patriarchic and authoritarian character, but it was because he was a genuine father who was able to listen with a warm heart to his children’s stories.

“In all problems, the children come and share counsel with their father. The biggest daughter, Seong-sil (played by Kim Hee-ae), brought her divorce issue to him and Seong-mi did also with the breaking of her engagement. I think the father figure in the drama is the forgotten one as well as the one sought after by the younger generation, who tries so hard to figure out the answers to their problems all alone.”

He also emphasized that the father figure in “Letter to Parents” was different from the fathers that writer Kim Soo-hyun depicted in her other dramas such as “the People of Public Bathhouse” (1995) and “What the Heck Is Love?” (1992). In the previous shows, the fathers were like dictators controlling everything, but Ahn in “Letters to Parents” is warm and tolerant who would rather make reasonable rules than exert authority. Lastly he adds his real family story at the end.

“I lost my father during the Korean War, and my mother passed away not long after him. It was so long ago. I did not act or conjure up my father’s image. However, my daughter who got married told me that my figure in the drama was similar to me in my family. Hearing this, I was pretty pleased as a father. “