Is Jisoo's Character in 'Snowdrop' Inspired by Student Protester Chun Young Cho?

JTBC has issued clarifications to claims that Jisoo plays the role of real-life Chun Young Cho, student leader from 1987 democratic movement in the drama 'Snowdrop'.

Korean dramas with historical reference are under attack from audience for distorting the history of the nation. The drama Joseon Exorcist has been cancelled after airing only two episodes and Mr Queen VODs have been removed from various platforms. BLACKPINK's Jisoo and Jung Hae In starrer Snowdrop is the latest drama to have angered Korean netizens for allegedly distorting Korean history. But what is the truth? Let us find out.

The drama Snowdrop is set in 1987 and depicts the nationwide democracy movement. This student movement involving mass protests eventually led to South Korean government announcing elections. Im Soo Ho [Jung Hae] plays the role of a graduate student ending up inside the dorm of a women's university after taking part in a protest. Eun Young Cho [Kim Ji-soo] plays the woman who helps him hide inside the dorm. The story revolves around political upheaval and how the two students develop a romantic relationship.

Leaked Version of 'Snowdrop'

A part of the version of the storyline of Snowdrop was leaked online. Accordingly, it was claimed that Jisoo was playing the role of Chun Young Cho, a real-life student protester and Jung Hae In was playing the role of a North Korean spy. This led to rumors that the drama was in support of authoritarian regime and glorifying North Korean spies. Thus netizens started demanding banning of Snowdrop.

But JTBC issued a clarification and stated that the leaked script was taken out of context. "The accusations about the plot portraying 'North Korean spies as the ones leading the Democratic Movement,' 'the character being based on a real person who led the student movement,' and 'the show embracing and romanticizing authoritarianism' are all different from the actual plot of Snowdrop.' These opinions are far from what the production actually has planned."

Who is Chun Young Cho?

Real-life Young Cho was an activist who fought against authoritarianism in Korea in 1980s. She took part actively in Gwangju Uprising. This student revolution against the authoritarian regime in 1987 was subdued by military within two hours. Government records confirmed the death of 200 people, most of them students, but students insisted that the death toll had crossed 2000. Though this movement was a failure, it paved way for the beginning of democracy in South Korea.

Chun Young Cho's life-story is written in the novel 'Young Cho Unnie' written by Seo Myung Sook. She is said to have attended Goryeo University in 1980s. The book states that she survived interrogation at National Police Agency. This agency in Namyeong Dong is also known as torture chamber. Her husband Jung Moon Hwa was framed as a spy after arrest. He was charged with conspiracy against the government. He was imprisoned and the book mentions that he died of malnutrition.

Allkpop reported that Chun Young Cho moved to Canada with her son after the death of her husband. Report claims that she met with an accident and lost her eyesight along with 70 percent of brain capacity in Canada. Allkpop stated that she was currently in Yangpyeong receiving lifelong treatment.

From the sets of Snowdrop: