Historical facts on Jang Ok Jung, Living by Love

jang ok jung

As I’m watching Jang Ok Jung, Living by Love I became really confused because in my mind I thought Queen In Hyun was the first queen of king Sukjong. So when watching the queen in some random episode I had assumed queen in-hyun was her but watching a part where some girl tells her dad that she has changed her mind and will enter the palace as a concubine but not unless she second ranked or something like that I find out she’s in-hyun. So I did my research…

warning this could have potential spoilers since the drama is supposed to be based on the life of the future jang hee-bin, just thought I should share some facts on the history behind this drama. read at your own risk =)

-Apparently the first wife of the king was queen in-kyung(ingyeong), who did die at the young age of 19. Had two daughter who both died during birth. *I feel sorry for this queen in the drama she obviously has a big old crush on the king but he doesn’t even look her way =(*

– In 1681 a year later after queen in-kyung’s death queen in-hyun marries the king as his second Queen Consort

– In 1686 like in the drama he met ok-jung through his grandmother but unlike in the drama after meeting her that night he made her his concubine. With the title of sukwon which means 8th level concubine, whatever that means,lol

– In 1688 she was ranked as so-ui bin but then ranked heebin after giving birth to a son, heebin with hee meaning beautiful.

– At the time jang heebin gave birth to her first son a dispute started because the king wanted to name her son crown prince but the people supporting queen in-hyun were against it. Of course if you’ve seen Dong Yi and other dramas involving jang heebin you will know this.

– On may of 1688 because the king became upset with the opposition on naming jang heebin’s son crown prince he exiled and desposed  queen in-hyun and her family. With this jang ok jung went from being So-ui to Heebin, third consort queen.

– In 1693 the king married Choi Suk-bin*known as dong yi to kdrama followers* and was given the title of suk-won.

– In 1694 choi suk-won was ranked Suk-ui(Royal Noble Consort of the 2nd grade) after giving birth to a son who will later become king.

– Also in 1694 with the help of suk-ui queen in-hyun was reinstated and jang hee-bin was demoted.

– In 1695  suk-ui was promoted to gwi-in and was again promoted in 1699 to suk-bin making her Royal Noble Consort Sukbin.

– In 1701 queen in-hyun dies of a mysterious illness, leaving no children behind.

– Months later jang hee-bin is executed by poisoning when heard cursing the late queen. Rumors/sayings are that the king had a dream about the late queen where she was drenched in blood and when asking her how she had died that she had simply pointed towards the chambers of jang hee-bin. He awoke and headed to jang hee-bin’s chambers and once there over heard music and laughter and when eavesdropping found her with a shaman praying for the queen’s death while piercing a doll with arrows. Other rumors say he found her praying with her brother and a shaman while piercing the doll for the queens death. All I got from this(in my opinion) was that the king eventually found out that jang hee-bin was doing black magic and simply connected the dots.

– In October of 1701 he passed a decree/law which would prohibit concubines from becoming consort queens.

– In 1702 the king married queen inwon with the rank of third consort queen. In 1711 she got small pox but survived.

– In 1718 Choi Suk-bin dies at the age of 49.

– In 1720 King Sukjong died and queen inwon became queen dowager, later after the death of  king gyeongjong(jang hee-bin’s son) and choi suk-bin’s son became king yeongjo in 1724  she became grand queen dowager.

– In 1757 at the age of 70 Queen Inwon dies.

Well basically this is the whole story of them,lol I could continue such as King Yeongjo had a son(crown prince sado?) who was mentally ill(guessing) and would kill random people in the palace. And was later put to death by him by being put in some kind of basket and later died of suffocation. As you can see I get a bit too much into sageuks I need to know the history behind them and apparently I didn’t do a good job when watching dong yi or I forgot,lol Either way so far in the drama the king just told her that if he was the sky then the sky would fall down to be with her which I just found to super romantic,lol


25 responses to “Historical facts on Jang Ok Jung, Living by Love

  1. Thank you so much guys.now i need to watch dong yi again. ( teenage years ) I already watched it before but i forgot how the stories goes, i remember how the story ends, actually i was trying to search any drama related to jang uk jung , i ended up here, makes me more curious. 😇😍

  2. Im really impressed at how these two persons {Jang and Choi) in different dramas (Jang Ok Jung, Dong yi) are correlated. I love Historical Korean dramas very much but this is the first time that i got in to it, i am really confuse and then i saw this site and the comments and O_O was shocked to the truth… well for me,, i am really touched with Jang Ok Jung the most, (but maybe because the actor and the actress in this drama are so amazing) but i really didn’t know the history behind these stories >_< .. up until now, its like my heart torn to pieces that Jang Hee bin i really bad _____<

  3. Hello everyone:

    The drama is real, say by the producers. The producers says, that considered the real fact of the age and many things. It’s true that is based in a novel, but these novel was writting with real facts. Dong Yi for me that i see, is more ficctional in many cases, and for me people (Historics) the same.

    Maria Mercedes: You say that read more books about Joseon, but you lie in the first point

    1) In the drama all time say, that the family of jang, no is poor, her father was a official of the palace or similar, and he lost all by the uncle of Jang.

    Jang, is the most degradette woman in the jOSEON story, and all books, dramas etc, is the devil, but no its true. The books, and the same case of prince sado, speak only the words of detractors of jang or sado.

    And for example, the famous Empress Ki, is all pure fiction, becuase the real Ki, was a renegade of korea, and fight to koreans and her king. But in the drama all she is pure loalty.

    But the same, with Jang, or in the case of China, Empress Wu Zeitan.

    Sorry but i hate, that all people speak only based in books that was writting by the detractors.

  4. Hi everyone:

    The drama is very interesting with real story, and no facts. No say me, say the producers etc.

    The problem is the bad opinion and culture about Jang, and in the same case with Prince Sado.

    Maria Mercedes really you see the drama?, In the drama, all time says, that her family is no poor, the father is a official in the palace, but, her uncle destroy the father of jang, and these is the cause of her poor.

    And the rest of your tips, is only the official story, and of course these official story, is writte by the detractors of JANG.

    I not intend of defence Jang, but i hate that the people condemd the people only by the books or wiki.


  5. hey im wondering, what has happened to Jang Hui Bin’s quarters, Chwi Seon Dang? and by any chance, do you know where did they shoot the drama?

  6. i watched Jang ok jung , Dong Yi , Queen Inhyun’s man. But i liked Jan Ok Jung more. First i little bit surprised so different side of her. Then i searched about korean history lot even. About historical side Dong Yi and Queen In hyun’s man is not based on true history too. Especially Dong Yi is almost tottally different from history even Name of Dong Yi is not confirming information. I guess its just fictional name. On others side Jang ok Jung has based on history more. And i want believe that Jang Ok Jung was jas ordinary woman that wants to love from her love of her life. Kim Tae Hee Yoo Ah In made perfect love story in Jang Ok Jung. One of the most romantic historical drama. i really liked Jang ok jung.

    • Any of those dramas are actually based on real history!…Those are dramas and are made to entertain not to inform and educate…To me the question is How does the drama represent their personalities, it is truthfully?? Think about it.
      For instance what Jang Hui bin (JOJ) did for her people when she was queen, to improve the people lives at the time?? Nothing! NOT one single thing that she cared…It does not mean she was bad, but there maybe a reason why people hated her so much…(And I doubt because the Noron influence…Soron had also big influence) But Registers said KIng Sukjong was annoyed for her behavior and her family’s behavior, that she behaved in an UNqueen Manner…(I dont Know what does that mean thou) her family and party was gaining too much favor, The fact that Kings demoted her without any good reason annoys me more, for him politic was more important than his “supposed love”?? remember his strategy was the change of power, and he did so, in 1694 demoting Jang Ok Jung and bringing back Queen Inhyeon…
      The case of Choi suk bin intrigues me more …Think about it…Jang hui bin had the support of the nobles and Soron party (a very powerful party) she herself was from seminoble background…But Choi suk bin was an ORPHAN SLAVE…! in a society ruled by the division of classes and a slave was the lowest of the lowest…She did not have a party, he didn’t even have a name!!
      But What Choi suk bin (Dong YI), did for her people?? As soon as she was given the title “Bin” (which gave her more money allowance and a better position) she started to built one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in Korea that today is regarded as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity that at times serves like shelter and school..
      To me.Choi suk bin story is way more beautiful than any other story I ever heard…she also give birth go 4 kids (the last one in 1707 a disputed daughter who died in child birth )her surviving son became a great king…who actually cared for his people…and tried to improved their lives, it is often said that because his mother background he felt more identified with this people than with his nobles…I dont think she was perfect thou she may had have her faults… But Drama JOJ really annoyed me of the way they portrayed her, all for the sake of made JOJ look better…That she voluntaried herself to drink the posion?? C’me on…She even pleaded to the king to save her life in several ocasions the last time, the king even told her..to drink the posion and die…Her story is a very sad and tragic one,, Because she died by the hands of the man she loved but something tells me he loved just himsel thou… but she was by no means a martyr…

      • I am sorry me again(bluerain) I wanted to correct..
        “her family and party was gaining too much favor ” I meant to write “her family and party was gaining too much power”
        sorry 😀

    • Actually, Dong Yi drama is much more real than Jang Ok Jung. Just doing a research you will see it. She was deposed even being powerful because she and her family were abusing of their power. And about the black magic she did to kill the queen probably is true, since there are registers of the king finding her doing that. The thing that you can say that isn’t true is about consort Choi being like Dong Yi. Because she just lived in the palace in peace without getting involved in politics. She was named Suk bin because suk means pure.

    • Yes agree with u. I don’t want to watch dongyi because the story is too different from the one shown in Jang Ok jung drama. I felt like dongyi is a cruel woman who just want to became like jang ok jung with any mean. And now there’s drama about jackpot which is related to jang hee bin historical again and I don’t want to watch it. Some how jang ok jung story look more logic because the king want to protect their beloved son to become future king, that’s why he has to abandone jang hee bin and same goes to jang hee bin when she didn’t dissappear from the palace because she want her king to secure the king position for their son. If the king really hate hang hee bin, he will not let their son as a king though.

  7. This drama end several months ago, but I just finish it a week ago. At first I choose Lee Seung Gi and Suzy, even in the end I feel a disappointment of how terrible their chemistry.
    Same as you said, at first I have no interest to watch any interprets of Lady Jang anymore, after watch Dong Yi and Queen In Hyun’s man. No, I don’t hate Lady Jang in that dramas. I just can’t hold myself for getting audience blame a woman who act truly evil in there. Hey, can’t everyone see? Even in Dong Yi and Queen In Hyun’s man, Jang Ok Jung do everything for a reason. It’s the way she survive in that palace. Realize that King’s Love is not enough for her to survive (later we now, how bad is the king to fall for Lady Choi. Eurgh)

    Well, it’s so hard to take a conclusion while we never know the REAL HISTORY. But I’m so into Jang Ok Jung. As a woman, I can’t blame any of her actions. Gosh (am I that evil? Ahahaha).

    In that large palace, where all you love and all you have is the King, the man who is the reason why she is even there. At first, The King love her so much, and foila, The King threw her and fall for Lady Choi (I can’t help but begin to hate Dong Yi. And Kara’s Seungyon.Duh).

    I agree with you who said that all of the problems above caused by King Suk Jong. I love Queen Inhyun and how she’s so nice to Jang Ok Jung even she can’t get a single bit of King’s interest. And I hate the King of how much The King abandoned her..I mean, she’s not ugly at all, and how can he can’t make time to be together with her in the same room? *that’s why I said, poligamy never can be succeed*

    Gosh, I write too much. But I just rewatch Jang Ok Jung once again, and meanwhile I hate King Suk Jong so much, I LOVE YOO AH In so damned much. His intense eyes and adorable smile. I wonder whether King Suk Jong resembles him so that’s why Jang Ok Jung, Inhyun, Inkyung, and Dong Yi trapped. By his smile and eyes.

    I just can’t help but cry when Jang Ok Jung insist to punished herself to drink poison, and I hate it to the max how The King do nothing. I mean, YOU ARE THE KING, BOY! No matter how much people out there want to threw and kill her, YOU ARE THE ONE who bring her to that point. Hufft.
    But hmm I also can’t help but cry when King Suk Jong sit in the place where they used to meet and talking, and how much he feel sorry for doing nothing to save her. Yoo Ah In’s acting is just so awesome. It really tore my heart.

    Well, what I want to said is, no one in this world who really bad or really good. It depends on the circumstance. That’s Jang Ok Jung. It’s the way she survive. And one more, how great a man can stir a woman up to. make her change.

  8. Would we really know what transpired then? I mean with the kind of norm they had before or the political environment they had then, or could historians twist stories as well? And since she was demoted why was she demoted to hui bin instead of being banished totally? The king could easily order her banishment, could he not? If she was so wicked and the king fell out of love, could he not easily strip her of her position to nothingness? And why did he even consider her son the crown prince? Well i’d say it was a great portrayal of those actors in the latest re-make of jang ok jung’s life. Another kudos was that scene where the sky fell on ok jung!!!!!! That was a heart stopper!!!! Very great depiction i’d say…..

    • You right there’s no way we can know what truly happened, in order to make the king look good the scholars could have written things differently. She was demoted because the queen came back and since there can’t be two queens the first official one would obviously get her title back. Well since she was the mom of the crown prince politically speaking it wouldn’t be right to strip her of her rank, because then he will have to strip the CP of his rank too and that would have been too much drama and trouble. Of course that’s my opinion, but if he had stripped her of her rank regardless then he would have turned into some kind of tyrant.
      But what I saw of this drama it was good too bad I wasn’t able to finish it.

  9. Thank you for sharing. Maybe a bit late, but I’m watching Jang Ok Jung, Living in Love right now, until 10 eps, I will see it to the end. Tough I dont like seeing a bad ending (like the heroine is dead), but surely will finish this one. I’m not really into saeguk, and this is my first time seeing Jang Hee Bin interpretation, I heard there’re a lot, right? I havent seen Dong Yi too…is it good?
    And your last part, I definitely agree with, its so romantic for the King to saying something like that >.<
    The whole romance they create in this drama so far is beautiful. Anyway, thank you for sharing! ^^

    • Your welcome it took me a while to get the all the information(from like 5 different wiki pgs,lol) but i’m happy with the result. And it’s always nice to know some background info on what you watch, makes it more interesting…well at least to me. To tell you the truth I wasn’t able to finish it(cause of work) but if you finish it let me know how you liked the ending. I love sageuks ❤ all the drama in the palace is just awesome to me,lol there are a lot of versions of her story or with her. Dong Yi was good in my opinion but that mostly was centered on Choi Suk bin so jang hee bin was like a second character but it was still interesting to watch.
      It was romantic! i was all fangirling over that and he wasn't even saying it to me,lol

    • Hi girls
      i liked better Dong yi than Jang Ok jung… Jung Ok jung is Ok if you just watched as a fictional drama, but as a historical drama fail, it has a lot of twisted facts and they made up lots of things to gain sympathy from the public. and for that reason it did not work for me.

      Some historical facts against the drama

      (Drama..) Jang Ok Jung was the daughter of a slave, (Fact ) she was actually from middle class, Chunging class, she was from a long line of translator and because her relation with chinese merchants could made a big fortune, they were under nobles but above to commoners, otherwise she would never had been allowed to be Queen.
      (Drama) Ok jung and Hui bin were the same age. ( Fact )the real Ok jung was 10 years older than Inhyeon. and two years older than the king
      (Drama) Queen mother bullied Hui bin and cause her to lost her son, and jang Ok jung killed her with poison. (Fact) she did not have much contact with Kings mother, she was expelled from the palace soon after the king slept with her and gave her the title of favored sangong , she stay out of Palace until Queen Mother died (1683) and then Queen Inhyeon let her come back in 1684.
      (Drama) the king did not even touch SukWon (Dong Yi) Fact King had three kids with Sukwon one in 1693, 1694, 1698 (and they did not fall from heaven)
      (Drama),King loved Jang ok jung very much until the end (Fact) in the beginning he loved her but by 1692 he was tired of her and was trying to get rid of her so he accused her of behave in “unqueen manner” (maybe meaning she was very jealous and abusive towards the palace ladies) and brought back Inhyeon to palace with the help of Choi suk bin,..
      (drama) Jang Ok Jung did not course Inhyeon, (fact)there were a lot of evidence of her coursing Inhyeon, not just the lady in wanting who declared against her, they found an altar in her chambers with “queen inhyeon doll” and objects typically used to course people,
      (drama) that Choi suk won planted evidence.. (fact) the altar was between her residence, not in a random place of the palace.so for Choi suk bin to enter to Jang hui bin quarters with nobody noticing was impossible, to pay a lady in wanting to do it was also not likely since the lady in wanting or eunuc would died when Jang hui bin were discover, ( that was the fate of lady in wantings and service under certain royal they shared the luck of the the master, this to ensure loyalty) so it is more likely that Jang Ok Jung actually did it, as the historians noted. they try to give another explanation in the drama to explain why those things were there but didn’t work for me.
      (Drama) they say she was praying for her son, who was still a baby (Fact) her son was 13 at the time,and was healthy, the register does not show any sickness for the three years before the incident, he actually got sick after his mother attacked him just before her own execution.
      (drama) the king tried to let her scape (Fact) The King was very upset at her, her party even petitioned for him to forgive her, but the king felt her conduct was so wicked and sentenced her to dead, and the people who was against it the king executed them or exiled them.
      (drama) she died in kings arms, (Fact), she requested to see him during execution (maybe to plead for her live again), but he never appear, he sent his messenger with the poison (feel sorry for her in here)
      ( drama) she was buried with him… (fact),The King is buried with Inhyeon, Ok Jung was buried in a nowhere place, in a myo tomb (myo are for low ranking class and commoners) but the government moved her in 1969, because the growhey saing city, to the same cementer when the King was with inhyeon and inwon. but she is not even near to them.
      After her death her residence was destroyed, and the king forbidden his son with her to even mention her name again. A Koran princess wrote in her memories about it… her residence was facing the ground where Jang ok Jung had been once, and she said that she was very scary at times to be facing such place. :s
      So those are the facts and knowing the facts myself before the drama aired, thats why I did not liked very much. The should have made fictional names and fictional dates and maybe i would had liked!

        • Not at all.. your investigation its very good…. it is hard to find reliable information in the web… I had read some books about Joseon Dynasty and political and cultural system during the Joseon period and some of them contain brief information about her, so I have been picking information from here and there. all the information that I have got from different sources but stated the same. and then when you connect the dots it just make sense. ^^

        • Thanks I love informing myself sometimes with the background of sageuks I love. But it’s kinda hard to find information on the history of other countries. Maybe I should try some books too.

      • Is totally false that all you write about Jang Ok Jung.

        1) Please put the documents or pages or books
        2) the history is write by the winners, no the losers, Jang Ok Jung, is the same case of the poor Crown prince Sado.
        3) All that you write is your opinion and you love the drama Dong Yi, that is very ficctional all time.
        4) The majority of webs incluiding wikipedia are based no in real documents, only in filmes (8 in wikipedia) and the memoirs of mother of crown prince sado… and is more wikipedia is based in ancient book, (1950 more or less) about history of korea-joseon.
        Sukjong, was a king with a lot of problems, and he like kill people, but one thing is true, no will kill jang, only will kill jang, for the acts of her family and the rivarly faction that dont support jang and sukjong.

        When you write about history please put the documents etc..
        aND FINALLY, dONG YI, was expulsed of the palace by the incident of the death of Jang, and more, she died alone, never the king visit her, and no was a illness.

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