When it was released last December, Korean drama The Glory took the number one spot in Netflix’s list of top 10 non-English TV shows.
And there’s a reason why the drama series was so popular, albeit for the wrong reasons.
Bullying is unfortunately still commonplace in South Korea, starting from educational institutions to the military, as previously presented in Korean series D.P. (2021).
With its unnervingly realistic plot, is The Glory really just a fictional coincidence? Or could it be inspired by true events?
Writer Kim Eun-sook did not explicitly mention whether she took reference to previous cases. But she “came across a lot of writings by victims” to pen the script for the show, according to a press statement.
Viewers would remember that the bullies in the Korean series tortured Moon Dong-eun (played by Song Hye-kyo) with a curling iron.
A similar case in 2006, notoriously named the Cheongju city school girl case, also saw a middle school tortured in the same way as what was portrayed.
Then, the school bullies assaulted her with curling irons, hair pins and books.
More recently, a victim also spoke about her personal experiences with school bullies on national television. Her experiences unfortunately more or less resembled what Moon went through in the series.
“I felt like The Glory was narrating my story,” said Park Seong-min, 31, on a television programme.
What’s more infuriating was that these bullies are now raising funds for a non-profit organisation, which she saw from their social media accounts.
One holds a nursing licence while the other holds a social worker licence, according to Park.
While the incident took place years ago, these tragedies still occur today.
Writer Kim Eun-sook said: “as a parent of a prospective junior in high school, school violence is a topic that comes up often, which is why I wanted to do something with this topic”.
Many times, these victims are not looking for materialistic compensation. A genuine apology from their perpetrator would suffice.
“They [only want] to recover their dignity, honour and glory,” she added.
Viewers can discover for themselves how Moon Dong-eun fights back for her dignity in The Glory Part 2, available on Netflix from 10 Mar (Fri).