FAUX-K-STORIES: MARRIAGE CONTRACT #3

Who is Han Ji-Hoon?
Keywords: Korean Drama, Marriage Contract, Kdrama recap, K-drama, #Kdrama #MarriageContract


Warning!

Faux-K-stories are intended for the purpose of satire, parody, and criticism. None of the depictions of characters and events are true. While the specific show “Marriage Contract ” is used as the basis, many elements of other Korean dramas are used as reference. Read at your own peril. 

Click for Part #2 “HAN JI-HOON, THE MR. DARCY…?” 

There are boys and there are men. In between, there are those who are damaged and thus are arrested in their psychological development. Depending on where they are on the spectrum, this fact may not be immediately noticeable from the outside. Just think of functioning-alcoholics but, instead of substance dependence problem, they have emotional development issues resulting from trauma originating from a difficult adolescence. While these individuals are able to adjust to normal social interactions to varying degrees and thus make it difficult to notice them, just a glimpse into their intimate interpersonal relationships is like putting a spotlight is on them. Han Ji-hoon, a member of the Korean “Male” species, is definitely one of those breeds.

Han Ji-hoon…
Han Ji-hoon. His first name of “Ji-hoon” can be translated as Neat/orderly for “Ji” and Nice for “hoon.” So, he is the neat and nice son of the Han family. While the name given to him by his mother looks all well-meaning and innocent, if you look underneath the surface, you may see something interesting. The name’s connotations do not revoke any type of agency or ambition. His name is all about passiveness and obedience. Especially “nice” in Korean has a layer of condescension to it. But a name is just a name right?

Well, names have meanings. While the west has mostly jettisoned the importance put on meaning and symbolism for the pleasant sounding in terms of the names it bestows on its children, Koreans still hang on to the old idea. More recently, even Koreans have started veer towards the acoustically pleasant when giving their little plump babies their names. But that is not relevant at the moment. Back to the Han Ji-hoon. The key point here is that his name was given to him by his mother.  His father was left out of the process because of the special circumstance surrounding the child’s birth. From the name, you can feel the desperate need of his mother to make her son, whose social status is tricky, as palatable as possible to his father and his father’s family. I mean what threat could a  “nice” boy? In Korea, you step all over the “Nice.” That is their purpose in society after all.

So, what makes Han Ji-hoon’s life so difficult from the onset of coming out of his mother’s womb? He is technically a “bastard” since he was born as the result of illegitimate union between his father, chairman Han, and his mother who was an actress at the time.

Interview:
---Kim Woo-chul, Professor of psychology at Woo-chun University

Yes…
With the improvements in medicine and comparatively slow dissemination of contraception techniques within the Korean male culture, the number of confirmed “Bastards” or illegitimate children has increased drastically over the last 3 or 4 decades or so. The improvements in paternity testing technologies also helped with the increase in this number. Oh and we don’t use the term “Bastards” anymore. Now we classify them as “Illegitimate.” It is more politically correct.

Things have been getting better over the last 10 years or so. More and more men are actively using condoms mostly because of the nationwide STD scare in early 2000s. Even without the news media creating a scene, the number of STD infection has been on a rise since the 1990s. Many people blame the rise in STDs on the influx of foreigners contaminating the rather large sex trade population here in Korea for. However, there is no concrete study results supporting this claim.

Oh… Bastards! Sorry illegitimates…
We estimate the number of bastards to be more than 9% of the newborns born during 1965~1990. Because of their sheer numbers, the national assembly even had to change how citizens were registered with the government to not discriminate against those with “illegitimate” status.

Most of these children never have a relationship with one or more of their parents. This is not America! It is standard to assume that the biological father never recognizes his illegitimate offspring leaving the mother to care for the child alone. In a not so insignificant number of cases, even the birth mother rejects the child. These children tend to be sent overseas. All of this takes a psychological toll and materializes as a physiological disorder I coined as “social isolation of bastards” disorder.

What about the rich? Oh… my theory of “social isolation of bastards” disorder doesn’t really cover that case. That population is rather small. Both overall and in terms of the number of illegitimate children. However, the ratio, while not confirmed, is assumed to be high. Something around 65% of the rich households have an illegitimate child somewhere in the mix. I mean it is assumed. That is not really my area of expertise.

In general, rich upper class’ their illegitimate children are rather different than those of the rest of the population. Let’s just talk about the case when father is rich and is already married.  It is more common for the illegitimate child to be rather awkwardly integrated into the family of his father when the child reaches puberty. This is done because of inheritance issue as Korean law doesn’t really follow the stipulations of a person’s will in favor of mandatory distribution of the decease’s assets to his or her spouse and dependence. This does include illegitimate children. Thus, in order to prevent disputes over inheritances, many upper class families are forced to accept illegitimate children into their household. And this causes serious psychological issues to form in those illegitimate children especially when the families try to hide the origins of the child from society.  

---End of Interview

Because of the special circumstance he found himself in from his birth, Han Ji-hoon became a damaged soul. This damage surfaces as a rough or what Koreans like to call prickly exterior that characterize a “Mr. Darcy.”  The fact that he is a son of a rich family in control of a large Korean corporation does enforce the “Mr. Darcy” connotations Han Ji-hoon has. Being a rich capitalist is the aristocracy of the modern age after all. And like the Regency era men that were portrayed in the novels of Miss Jane, the environment in which Han Ji-hoon he was brought up in and the expectation of his family were highly influential to how he turned out to be. Ah… family expectations… That is a killer!




Warning!

Faux-K-stories are intended for the purpose of satire, parody, and criticism. None of the depictions of characters and events are true. While the specific show “Marriage Contract”  is used as the basis, many elements of other Korean dramas are used as reference. Read at your own peril. 




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