Hangul :거상 김만덕; hanja :巨商金萬德; RR :Geosang Gim Mandeok; lit.Merchant Kim Man-deok) is a 2010 South Korean historical drama starring Lee Mi-yeon ,Han Jae-suk , Park Sol-mi ,Ha Seok-jin , and Go Doo-shim . It aired on KBS1 from March 6 to June 13, 2010 on Saturdays and Sundays at 20:40 for 30 episodes.
The series follows the life of Kim Man-deok (1739-1812). Kim was born on Jeju Island . Adopted by the head of a gisaeng house at the age of 12, she became a government gisaeng ― a type of Korean traditional entertainer who is designated and reserved specifically for government officials. After discovering a talent in business and commerce, she later became one of the most successful female merchants on the island.
famine in 1795 (the 19th year of King Jeongjo , Kim sold all her assets and donated approximately 90% of her money (approximated to be ₩70 billion in today's currency) to save millions of lives. Kim was later praised by numerous scholars and philosophers, which was notable given her background as a gisaeng and the fact that she saved the people of Jeju Island , a place that was considered a place of exile at the time. Kim's heroic deeds were documented inJeongjo Sillok("The Annals of King Jeongjo") in 1796, and was even featured as a folktale calledMandeok-jeon("The Story of Man-deok").In 1978, a memorial was created for Kim Man-deok on Jeju Island , and annually Jeju Island presents the "Man-deok Award" to two outstanding women in philanthropy .
drama features Kim's life and achievements, along with her ongoing rivalry with fellow merchants during the Joseon Dynasty .
Kim Man-deok was born into the noble class—her mother was a haenyeo of Jeju Island; her father was a high-ranking government official who met Kim's mother during the time he was exiled on Jeju Island. Kim's biological mother, Yi Eun Hong, does not tell her father, Kim Eung Ryul, about her pregnancy, as he and his clan could be punished by execution for inappropriate conduct during his exile. At birth, Kim is named Yi Hong. Her mother dies soon after her birth, leaving her daughter a flute that would one day help her reconnect to her father.
Kim is adopted by Madame Kim, a former palace lady, but who is known to Kim as "Hal-mae" (translated as "Granny"). Managing a training center in Hanyang for orphaned children, Hal-mae teaches the children marketplace skills and trades necessary for them to become successful in the future. During her time with the training center, Kim meets Jung Hong Soo, the son of high ranking politician, Lord Jung Do-woong. Ill-fated circumstances causes Granny, Dong Ah, and Kim (who is now 12 years old) to run for their lives, forcing them to leave Hanyang and head to Jeju Island. In the process, they find the need to separate but agree to meet in Jeju. Kim is the first to arrive on Jeju Island. Dong Ah finds her, but the two are soon in trouble and they find themselves jailed after an altercation with young Kang Yoo-ji, the later Foreman of West Gate Market Brokers. To keep Dong Ah from undergoing torture, Kim is tricked into agreeing to become the foster daughter of the head gisaeng on Jeju Island . Rather than leave Kim, Dong Ah agrees to become her servant and protector.
Seven years later, Hal-mae finally arrives on Jeju Island and is reunited with Kim and Dong Ah. While Hal-mae tries to get Kim removed from the gisaeng registry, she finds that Kim's gisaeng foster mother and the Assistant Magistrate killed Yi Eun Hong, Kim's mother. To avoid public exposure of their misdeeds, they plot to frame Hal-mae and Kim as if the two were trying to escape the island. Hal-mae learns of the plot and in the process of finding Kim, the two are "caught". Hal-mae is confined in jail, while Kim is sent to the transitory wards (or quarantine camp) for epidemics as punishment. After being rescued from the camp, Kim begins to take care of those in the camp who are suffering from illness. During this time, Kim's father visits the island and discovers the birth of his daughter. Although he cannot publicly acknowledge her as his daughter, he gives her written documentation of her birth registry and bestows upon her the name, Kim Man-deok.
Later, Kim reestablishes East Gate Market Brokers,going into the business of importing and exporting goods between Jeju Island and the Korean mainland, and begins the process of restoring business ethics in Jeju. Kim's former childhood friend, Oh Moon-seon feels a sense of inferiority and underhandedly competes with her as head of West Gate Market Brokers. Man-deok's high standards and business ethics cause her business to thrive, while Madame Oh's jealousy and resentment of Kim, as well as her greed for wealth and power, eventually lead to her demise.
Transcending her lowly status as a gisaeng, as well as the restraints of her birthplace ( Jeju Island was considered to be a remote place of exile during that time period), Kim Man-deok becomes the most successful female merchant of the Joseon Dynasty and one of the richest people on Jeju Island. A severe famine strikes Jeju Island in 1795, obliterating one-third of its population. Man-deok sells all her assets to help feed the starving people of her island, saving countless lives. In 1796, Kim travels to Hanyang (modern day, Seoul ) to meet King Jeongjo , who bestows upon her the honorary title and position, Female Physician of the Palace Dispensary, as reward for her benevolous deeds.