(Essay 1) How Did I Fall In Love with Korean Historical Drama? by Anna Tzanova, M.A.

Go to online class, Korean Historical Dramas. 

“To become a kairomancer¹, you need to learn to trust your feelings as you walk the roads of this world, to develop your personal science of shivers, to recognize in your gut and your skin and in free-floating impressions that you know far more than you hold on the surface of consciousness. You need to take care of your poetic health, reading what rhymes in a day or a season.  You want to expect the unexpected, to make friends with surprises, and never miss that special moment.” ~ Robert Moss²

After a year and a half of work without a day off;  driving 100-150 miles every other day;  writing past midnight every night;  at the end of July 2011, overwhelmed by fatigue, I finally decided to take a weekend off.  Little did I know, that time off would last over seven months, during which I would not only change my job, but also acquire a new passion.

The hiking accident that weekend, or rather my ankle, crushed to eight pieces, was my body and soul’s best way of making me stop and become mindful of the career detour I had taken.  This detour was necessary and a fun one, a great teaching ground as well, but it exhausted its purpose and became needlessly draining.  Those seven months were not only a time for healing, but also  for introspection, remembrance, and renewed awareness.  Confined to a bed and later to my home, I was provided an opportunity.  Six weeks after the immediate surgery, the PTSD symptoms and the excruciating pain were gone.  Due to my dedicated meditation and optimal overall health, medication was not required.  With a sigh of relief I could rest and even add some enjoyment  to my life – what a remarkable time for reading that was!

Then one day, my twelve-year-old daughter (and main caregiver) started watching ‘something’ on her computer.  A series she could not wait to finish her homework to go back to.  Her being so enthralled made me want to check what it was all about.  This was my introduction to the stirring world of Korean drama!  This was how I began listening to k-pop.  This was also how the Korean cultural wave, termed Hallyu (한류), swept me swiftly, gently, and by surprise – which somehow deep inside I had been longing for.

Korean historical dramas soon became my alternate reality, my daily retreat. I felt excited, empowered, rejuvenated, and happy. It might seem an exaggerated or even improbable statement, but I attribute my complete recuperation from what the surgeon diagnosed to be an “unrecoverable fracture,” largely to the influence that Korean drama and music had on me.  Psychological studies show it is possible for mind to be above matter, that our mindset is the determining factor in healing, and I believe this to be an absolute truth.

As every love story, this one too is still unfolding.  I would like to invite you to share it with me.

(To be continued in Essay 2 Part 1)


Description of Korean Historical Dramas: This course offers a series of Korean Historical TV-dramas or Sageug (사극) and discusses the traits of female characters as well as general features of Korean history, culture, art, aesthetics, thought, customs, and people. What makes Korean drama so unique? What is the “secret recipe” that makes it so popular internationally? Why is it that, after a few episodes, one can‘t wait to see the next one or the next new drama? Those questions have made many wonder, from audiences to journalists and critics. Participants are invited to explore answers to these questions and more. Our emphasis is on woman’s place in history, as well as her role as creator, healer and leader; her strife to discover and reinvent herself, her inherent wisdom, her abilities to surrender, without giving up, and her potential to adapt, thrive, and ultimately transform the world she is in. Our selection of dramas qualifies high criteria in story content, character development, actor portrayal, multiplicity of ideas and values, and abilities to educate, while engaging and entertaining the viewer. Facilitators (Dr. Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Ms. Anna Tzanova) will provide articles and audio-video materials concerning salient themes. (For more, see here)




¹         kairomancer – term coined by Robert Moss.  In his own words:

“Kairomancy is the practice of navigating by synchronicity. The word literally means divination by special moments. It embodies Kairos, the Greek god of opportunity time, or jump time, when you know the moment is Now. A kairomancer is poised to seize time by the forelock. A kairomancer is someone who is ready to recognize the special moments when synchronicity is at work – and to seize on the revelation or opportunity that is now available.”

²         Moss, Robert, Sidewalk Oracles: Playing with Signs, Symbols, and Synchronicities in Every Day Life, New World Library, (2015)


See Meet Mago Contributor Anna Tzanova.

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