Image: Poster for Joseon Exorcist. Credit: SBS.
The TV station SBS announced on March 26 that it was cancelling the drama Joseon Exorcist 조선구마사 after airing only two episodes following accusations of distorting history. The show, originally slated for a 16-episode season, is a fantasy alternate history drama in which Prince Chungnyeong 충녕대군 - who is better known in real life as King Sejong the Great 세종대왕, whose statue is a prominent feature of downtown Seoul - performs exorcism to battle evil spirits raising the dead.
Although the show began with solid ratings, it soon was embroiled in controversy as the first episode showed Prince Chungnyeong welcoming Catholic exorcists from the Vatican at a Chinese-style abode, serving Chinese-style snacks such as moon cakes and preserved duck eggs. After most of the advertisement sponsors withdrew support, SBS pulled the plug despite having spent KRW 32b (USD 28m) to produce the show. Since late last year, the claims of Chinese encroachment on Korean culture have been getting louder as the online tiff about kimchi’s origin raged between China and South Korea. (See previous coverage, “Kimchi and Ontological Security.”)