Title: 사임당, 빛의 일기 / Saimdang, Light’s Diary
Previously known as: Saimdang, the Herstory
Chinese Title: 師任堂,光的日記
Genre: Historical, Romance, Fantasy
Episodes: 28 (30-2)
Broadcast network: SBS
Broadcast period: 2017-Jan-26 to 2017-May-04
Air time: Wednesday & Thursday 22:00


This is a 100% pre-produced drama. Filming began on 2015-August-10 and finished on 2016-June-4.

A reinterpretation of Saimdang from the Joseon times. She was a genius artist and passionate lover. Lee Young Ae takes on two roles; Seo Ji Yoon, a college professor who specializes in Korea Art History and Shin Saimdang.

Meanwhile, Lee Gyum (Song Seung Hun) is a man who had a fateful first encounter with Saimdang in his youth and has carried her in his heart for whole life.


Main Cast (Past)

Lee Young Ae as Shin Saimdang
Park Hye Soo as Shin Saimdang (young)
Song Seung Hun as Lee Gyum
Yang Se Jong as Lee Gyum (young)

Main Cast (Present)

Lee Young Ae as Seo Ji Yoon

Supporting Cast (Past)

Oh Yoon Ah as Whieumdang Choi
Yoon Ye Joo as Whieumdang Choi (young)
Choi Chul Ho as Min Chi Hyung (Whieumdang Choi’s husband)
Choi Jong Hwan as King Joongjong
Yoon Suk Hwa as Queen Dangyeong
Yoon Da Hoon as Lee Won Soo (Saimdang’s husband)
Jung Joon Won as Lee Hyun Rong (Saimdang’s son)
Choi Il Hwa as Shin Myung Hwa
Jang Seo Kyung as Hyang Yi
Lee Joo Yeon as Princess
Lee Kyung Jin as Saimdang’s mother
Jung Ah In as Whieumdang Choi’s helper
Park Jung Hak as Escort warrior

Supporting Cast (Present)

Yang Se Jong as Han Sang Hyun
Choi Jong Hwan as Min Jung Hak (Professor)
Kim Hae Sook as Kim Jung Hee (Seo Ji Yoon’s mother-in-law)
Lee Hae Young as Jung Min Seok (Seo Ji Yoon’s husband)
Lee Tae Woo as Jung Eun Soo (Seo Ji Yoon’s son)
Park Joon Myun as as Ko Hye Jung (Seo Ji Yoon’s friend)
Kim Young Joon as Teacher assistant Nam
Kim Mi Kyung as Director Seon
Song Min Hyung as CEO Heo
Anda as Anna


Hong Suk Chun
Sul Jung Hwan
Song Joon Hee
Kwak Ji Hye
Kim Min Hee
Goo Hye Ryung
Jo Seung Yun
Kim Jung Hak
Ban Hyo Jung
Shin Soo Yun

Production Credits

Production Company: Group8
Director: Yoon Sang Ho
Screenwriter: Park Eun Ryung


Lee Young Ae makes a TV comeback through this drama after 14 years since 2003 MBC drama “Dae Jang Geum“.

Kam Woo Sung was offered the lead male role, but declined.

Shin Saimdang who born on 1504-October-29 is an artist, calligraphist, poet and she appears on the current South Korean 50,000 won bill (highest value).


– She was the mother of the Korean Confucian scholar Yi I who appears on the current South Korean 5,000 won bill.


– The series was originally scheduled to air at 10:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, beginning in 2016-Oct-08, but on 2016-Sep-27, SBS announced that the broadcast of series would be delayed and has finally confirmed a time slot for this drama. It will be broadcasted after “The Legend of the Blue Sea“. (Source)

Episode Ratings

    Nationwide Seoul Nationwide Seoul
2017-01-26 1 13.9 (4th) 16.0 (3rd) 16.3 (4th) 16.6 (3rd)
2017-01-26 2 11.8 (7th) 13.4 (5th) 15.6 (5th) 16.6 (3rd)
2017-02-01 3 10.6 (10th) 12.2 (5th) 13.0 (4th) 13.5 (4th)
2017-02-02 4 10.2 (11th) 11.5 (6th) 12.3 (5th) 12.6 (5th)
2017-02-08 5 8.6 (15th) 9.9 (6th) 10.7 (6th) 11.0 (5th)
2017-02-09 6 8.7 (13th) 10.3 (7th) 12.0 (7th) 12.5 (5th)
2017-02-15 7 7.0 (17th) 8.7 (12th) 9.7 (9th) 10.2 (5th)
2017-02-16 8 7.8 (16th) 9.0 (14th) 10.3 (9th) 10.9 (6th)
2017-02-22 9 7.6 (16th) 8.6 (9th) 9.8 (8th) 10.4 (5th)
2017-02-23 10 8.3 (13th) 9.9 (7th) 10.1 (10th) 10.7 (6th)
2017-03-01 11 7.7 (16th) 9.1 (8th) 9.6 (9th) 9.7 (8th)
2017-03-02 12 8.4 (17th) 9.4 (8th) 10.3 (8th) 10.3 (6th)
2017-03-08 13 7.8 8.7 10.3 (8th) 10.3 (6th)
2017-03-09 14 8.4 (12th) 9.1 (8th) 10.5 (8th) 10.7 (7th)
2017-03-15 15 8.4 (13th) 9.0 (8th) 10.4 (7th) 10.8 (5th)
2017-03-16 16 9.3 (11th) 10.5 (6th) 10.2 (9th) 10.2 (7th)
2017-03-22 17 8.3 (16th) 9.0 (10th) 9.4 (8th) 9.1 (6th)
2017-03-23 18 9.0 (10th) 10.4 (5th) 10.0 (7th) 9.9 (7th)
2017-03-29 19 8.1 (17th) 9.7 (8th) 9.0 (9th) 9.3 (7th)
2017-03-30 20 8.2 (17th) 9.4 (9th) 9.3 (9th) 9.3 (8th)
2017-04-05 21 8.6 (16th) 10.0 (7th) 9.4 (9th) 8.8 (10th)
2017-04-06 22 8.7 (15th) 9.3 (11th) 9.6 (9th) 9.3 (8th)
2017-04-12 23 7.4 (19th) 8.4 (12th) 8.5 (11th) 8.4 (10th)
2017-04-13 x Postponed      
2017-04-19 24 6.0 6.2 6.1 (20th) 5.9
2017-04-20 25 7.2 (18th) 7.9 (18th) 8.3 (12th) 8.8 (11th)
2017-04-26 26        
2017-04-27 27        
2017-05-04 28        

Sources: TNmS Media Korea & AGB Nielsen Korea

*** Different between TNmS Media Korea & AGB Nielson – Here


Saimdang, Light's Diary Poster1 Saimdang, Light's Diary Poster2 saimdang-lights-diary-poster3 saimdang-lights-diary-poster4

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Official Site

Official Trailer
Early Trailer
Trailer I
Trailer II
Trailer III
Trailer IV

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220 Responses to “Saimdang, Light’s Diary”

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  1. 201
    umi Says:

    love love love

  2. 202
    Dada Says:

    very interested drama, good..Lee Young Ae is my favorit actress in Korea.

  3. 203
    Venus Says:

    The best korean drama 2017 !

  4. 204
    Cheet Says:

    Lee Gyeom’s letter to Saimdang was graced with love and admiration. The letter indeed reminded us of their time together before their fates sent them spiralling on different paths. Saimdang read Gyeom’s words, her heart soothed and her worries washed away by her tears. Love this drama.

  5. 205
    paku Says:

    Episode 21: Divided families
    Hwieumdang and her men kill all of Princess Jeongsun’s soldiers and attendants. Staging a fake rescue, she gains the princess’s trust. Later, the grateful King pardons Min Chi-hyung despite the objections of Lee Gyeom and the ministers.

    Crown Prince Lee Ho (now the Regent) spends more time with Lee Gyeom, going through the markets incognito and observing how people actually live. He learns about firearms and what they can do to strengthen Joseon’s army. He also consults Lee Gyeom about improving Joseon’s battle-tested turtle ship.

    But Noble Lady Nam turns the King’s heart against Lee Gyeom. Later, the King slaps and orders the Crown Prince to stay away from Lee Gyeom.

    Lee Gyeom tells all of Biikdang’s staff that he is giving away to Biikdang all of his assets as a member of the Royal family. The staff begin wondering if he’s planning to leave Biikdang for good.

    Princess Jeongsun asks Hwieumdang to be her tutor in painting. Together, they visit Saimdang’s studio, and without permission, the princess takes several of Saimdang’s paintings.

    Saimdang’s children agree to work together to ease some of her burdens and heartaches. Over lunch, Saimdang tells them to patiently wait for their father to come back. Later, she tells Mae-chang that the problem is between husband and wife, and should not affect her and her siblings.

    Saimdang sees Lee Won-su being scolded by his superiors in the Office of Translations. Later, she visits the concubine and gives her a letter.

    In Willow Village’s school, Saimdang paints her “Watermelon and mice” in front of the students. She teaches them that even the lowly rat has a reason to exist in nature’s scheme of things.

    Despite having been pardoned, Min Chi-hyung is ostracized by the ministers and even by the lower officials. In desperation, he agrees to sell to the Japanese raiders the plans for Joseon’s improved and more powerful turtle ship.

    At night in the market, Min Chi-hyung chances upon and threatens Saimdang and her daughter. But Lee Gyeom arrives and threatens him back.

    Hwieumdang plans to set Min Chi-hyung free by using Princess Jeongsun.

    The King tells the ministers that he is appointing Crown Prince Lee Ho as the Regent. Meanwhile, the Crown Prince spends more and more time with Lee Gyeom.

    Lee Gyeom meets all of the Biikdang staff for an important announcement on Biikdang’s future.

    Saimdang struggles to keep her family together as her children have found out that their father has taken a concubine.

    The leaders of the Japanese raiders secretly visit Hwieumdang and ask her to sell to them one of Joseon’s military secrets.

  6. 206
    paku Says:

    Episode 22: The King’s portrait painter

    The Crown Prince appoints Lee Gyeom as head of the Office of Art, and Mae-chang (Saimdang’s daughter) takes the qualifying exams for new artists.

    Saimdang finds Ji-gyoon (Hwieumdang’s eldest son) listening in to Hyun-ryong and the other students of Willow Village’s school.

    Min Chi-hyung becomes more violent than ever.

    Hwieumdang begins planning how to steal the plans for Joseon’s improved and more powerful turtle ship.

    While waiting for his food at the tavern, Lee Won-su happens to read Saimdang’s letter to his concubine.

    The Crown Prince’s reforms at the Office of Art create dissension among the artists, make the ministers suspicious, and stir up protests by the scholars.

    Mae-chang disguises herself as a boy and places first in the qualifying exams for new artists. But the officials find out that she’s a girl and kick her out. When she meets Lee Gyeom and the Crown Prince, she tells them that it’s unfair that she can’t be an artist simply because she’s a girl.

    Saimdang finds the bitter Mae-chang alone at the plum blossom trees and tries to comfort her.

    Mae-chang: “I was thinking about the world I’m living in. You’ve never told me not to do some things because I’m a girl. But the world is different. No matter how good a painter I am, I can’t become an artist at the Office of Art just because I’m a girl.

    “I want to become the most famous artist in Joseon. I want to follow in your footsteps and become the best artist, who’s as good as Ahn Kyun. I was better than all others who took the exams. So why do I have to give up my dream just because I’m a girl? How come only men can have dreams? It’s so unfair!”

    Saimdang: “I thought that too when I was your age. Living as a woman in Joseon will often feel suffocating and unfair. But wouldn’t the world become a better place someday?”

    Mae-chang: “But what if the night never ends and the world never becomes a better place?”

    Saimdang: “Of course, the night may be long. But someday, when you get married and have a child, and when that child has a daughter and her grandchild has a daughter, the sun will rise. We can shine light through their night little by little.”

    Mae-chang: “What about me? What can I do? You’re a genius painter, but you’re living like this, always upset because of my father? Are you really happy?”

    Unable to answer Mae-chang’s last question, Saimdang simply embraces her.

    Ji-gyoon accepts Saimdang’s offer for him to have lunch with her and her children, and he’s surprised by the love and camaraderie among them. Later, at home, he witnesses his father choking his mother.

    Lee Won-su cries as he reads Saimdang’s letter to his concubine, which details all the special care that he needs. He begins to realize that all his concubine wants is money.

    Using her responsibilities as the painting tutor of Princess Jeongsun, Hwieumdang moves around the Office of Art, thinking of how she can steal the plans for Joseon’s turtle ship.

    Saimdang wins the open competition to become the King’s portrait painter. As she shares tea with Lee Gyeom who brought the Royal order to her, Lee Gyeom notices the butterfly painted near the peony on the red canvas.

    But immediately after Saimdang wins the competition, the artists, scholars, and ministers begin protesting that it’s against the law for a woman to be appointed to a government office. But the Crown Prince brushes aside the objections and backs up Lee Gyeom and Saimdang.

    At the portrait painting session, the King orders everyone to leave except for Saimdang.

    King Jungjong: “You must be Shin Myung Hwa’s daughter. I remember your upright father and his audacious daughter.”

    Saimdang: “Yes, your majesty.”

    King Jungjong: “I do remember you. You were quite a bold girl. I’m sure your boldness has brought you all the way here. How does my face look compared to back then? Tell me.”

    Saimdang: “You have many worries written on your face, and your mind doesn’t seem to be at ease, either.”

    King Jungjong: “Not at ease? How do you plan on painting me? Will you draw me as the worrisome and troubled King as you see me? Or will you draw my confident and majestic look of the past? Tell me.”

    Saimdang: “The job of a portrait painter is not only to draw your face but your heart as well. Thus, I will paint not only your face but your spirit as life-like as possible.”

    King Jungjong: “You’ll draw even my spirit as life-like as possible? Could that be possible if there’s grudge left inside of the painter’s heart?”

    Saimdang: “If my father is alive today, I am certain that he will be proud of me. He will encourage me to do well. So I plan to give my all to paint the King’s portrait, the face of Joseon.”

    King Jungjong: ”If you draw even a wrinkle or a hair on my face incorrectly, you might face punishment. Do you understand that?”

    Saimdang: “I’ll do my best.”

    Saimdang begins working throughout the night on the portrait. When she neglects to eat, Lee Gyeom brings some food for her. But at that same time, a repentant Lee Won-su is on his way to the Office of Art, also bringing food for Saimdang.

  7. 207
    Hannah Says:

    I get sad everytime I watch the scenes between Saimdang and Lee Gyeom. Sigh

  8. 208
    Saimdang, Light’s Diary, o drama histórico da SBS Says:

    […] Fonte: KoreanDrama […]

  9. 209
    Olla Says:

    I have watched so many Korean dramas over the years but none have captivated me in every aspect as “Samidang, Light’s diary”. It is superb in every way, the acting, the plot, the history and OMG the art. I was never an art’s fan but this drama really made fall in love with art, that’s how good it is. I also can feel every emotion of the actors, their love, happiness, sorrow, frustration, anger. It touches on what is important, what is ethical, what is right and what is wrong. I was skeptical to start watching it in the beginning and actually started with episode 6, as I have made it a point not to watch a drama with more than 20 episodes, but the plot is great and not slow paced, it keeps me at the edge of my seat.

    I totally recommend!!!!

  10. 210
    britney Says:

    undertaker kdrama 2017.!!!

  11. 211
    Tira Says:

    This is really great drama especially captivated with Lee Gyum and Saimdang love that they have to sacrifice by the stupid king.

    The King is so ridiculous because he is doing lousy job as a King. That is why I dont like historical drama because it is ridiculous lifestyle and the way human are being treated.

    YES, the paintings are wonderful in this drama. Great Artists.

    The old king need to die ASAP in order for the young King to be successful in his kingdom. The young King is a better king and dream for the future.

    Hopefully fate brought Saimdang and Lee Gyum together and live happily in present life.


  12. 212
    CoolBeans Says:

    The decline in the ratings accurately reflects the down turn in the drama that started out with a fresh take on history of a rare female, then, descended into multiple losing fights in both the current scenes and the historical ones. Fast forward over the current timeline, since the historical scenes are the only ones worth watching…as of now. Disappointing.

  13. 213
    fatin Says:

    Really love to watch this two lovers…my god!!!never expect i will cry watching them living seperatedly..i really wanna visit korea…if theres a star to rating them,i’ll give 10 out of 10…

  14. 214
    paku Says:

    Episode 23: The paranoid King

    Lee Gyeom brings food for Saimdang and teases her that as head of the Office of Art, he’s ordering her to eat.

    Saimdang continues her painting session with King Jungjong.

    King: “They say that a bird chooses the right tree to build a nest. Confucian scholars across the nation have been outraged because of you and have been flooding the palace with appeals.

    Saimdang: “I’m not interested in politics, so I don’t know what’s going on outside.”

    Surprised by Saimdang’s answer, the King describes her calmness as “stillness that sits amidst a blizzard.” The King then asks, “Aren’t you afraid?”

    Saimdang answers, “The whirlwind doesn’t blow all morning and a rain shower doesn’t fall throughout the day.”

    Noting that Saimdang has just quoted from the “Tao Te Ching” (a book that only scholars read), the King laughs and says that it’s no wonder Lee Gyeom fell in love with her.

    Saimdang: “I just believe that it’s all fate.”

    King: “Fate?”

    Saimdang: “Once I accepted it as fate, I wasn’t afraid of anything and felt like I could do anything. I’m going to paint your portrait no matter what!”

    King: “Where’s that bravery coming from?”

    Saimdang: “It isn’t bravery; it’s maternal instinct. I wanted to give hope to my daughter who wants to be a member of the Office of Art.”

    King: “Then tell me, from a mother’s perspective, since a king should take care of his people like their mother: what would you like fix the most in Joseon right now?”

    Saimdang: “I’d like Joseon to be a country where people can have dreams. A dream that life will get better. A dream that things can get better if you work hard.

    “The reason we’re not afraid of the dark at night is because we believe that the dawn will break and the sun will come up if we just wait. A life where you can’t have dreams just because you’re a woman or a concubine’s child or because you’re not from the noble class is like living your life walking along a dark road with a bag over your head. Please create a country where people can have dreams!”

    After having a nightmare of angry people attacking him, the King decides to go around the capital in disguise. But he becomes more uneasy when he hears the lower-ranking officials praising the Crown Prince’s reforms and Lee Gyeom as his main pillar . His paranoia increases when he hears people at the Yangyoo Paper Production Office praising Saimdang for bringing them hope that the King could not.

    In a meeting with the Japanese that nearly turns bloody, Min Chi-hyung again promises to deliver to them the blueprint for Joseon’s turtle ship. Later, he pressures Hwieumdang to bribe officials at the Office of Art or do whatever it takes to get the blueprint. When Hwieumdang objects to his plan to kill Lee Gyeom, Min Chi-hyung asks her if she’s still in love with Lee Gyeom.

    The top ministers return to the meetings as the King dismisses the Crown Prince from all his responsibilities. He then orders Lee Gyeom to be the co-painter of the Royal Portrait. When Lee Gyeom hesitates, the King shouts at him, saying that it’s a Royal order. The King also says, “The two of you even discussed marriage at one time. So I’m sure you will work very well together. Work together to create a masterpiece that will make history.”

    Later, while watching Saimdang and Lee Gyeom work together, the King asks, “The two who know each other very well are working together in the same place. How does it feel? Does it feel nice?”

    Fearing the moral implications of what the King said, Saimdang says no, while Lee Gyeom says that their early romance is now just an old memory they can laugh about and that he has no ulterior motive.

    The King then answers with a veiled warning, “Whether you have an ulterior motive or not, the time you have painting my portrait may be the last time you two can be together.”

    When the King mentions that people at Yangyoo treat Saimdang with great respect and that she’s like a king in that place, Lee Gyeon defends her by saying that the King may have jumped to a conclusion. The King explodes in anger and ends the painting session.

    Later, Saimdang tells Lee Gyeom that she doesn’t know what road these things will lead, but she will give her best so that she won’t be embarrassed as an artist. When Lee Gyeom mentions that he thought they would be painting together at a much better place that this place, Saimdang says, “But I’m happy here. I’m thankful we could be together like this.”

    Hwieumdang is finally able to steal the blueprint for the turtle ship. As she’s about to leave the Office of Art, she overhears from some of the artists that Saimdang and Lee Gyeom are painting together. She sees them working together, and for a brief moment, she imagines herself working with Lee Gyeom. She wonders, “They look so beautiful together. What have I been doing with my life?” She then walks away, crying.

    The King plans with the ministers how to destroy Saimdang and Lee Gyeom during the public unveiling of the Royal Portrait. He wants to use the Confucian scholars to turn public sentiment against them both: “Before their admirers and the Yangyoo people, I will destroy them both at once so that they can never think of disrespecting me.”

    Saimdang and Lee Gyeom are placed under guard and not allowed to leave the Palace.

    The scene outside the Palace gate becomes tumultuous with poor folks fighting over the free rice from the King, Confucian scholars protesting and calling for Saimdang’s arrest, and the Biikdang staff and Yangyoo people gathering to see the Royal Portrait. As the portrait is paraded outside the Palace gate, the Confucian scholars begin shouting against the painting’s artistic quality. But the scholars are stunned into silence when people begin praising the painting as being alive and radiant. The people begin singing and dancing and later on bowing down and praising the King.

    Saimdang returns home triumphantly to Yangyoo. During the dancing and eating, she sees Hwieumdang dragging her son Ji-gyoon away. When Hwieumdang asks Ji-gyoon why he’s there, he says, “Our family doesn’t have a pleasant meal together. Are we even a family?”

    After Ji-gyoon walks away, Hwieumdang begins crying. Saimdang takes her hand and says, “Our children are much more mature than us. Let’s forget about everything else, and let’s just live for our children!”

    The King orders Min Chi-hyung to kill Saimdang and Lee Gyeom. Conniving with the Japanese, Min Chi-hyung takes Saimdang hostage and uses her as bait to lure Lee Gyeom. But as Lee Gyeom fights them off, Hwieumdang goes to where Saimdang is being held and kills the Japanese guarding her.

    The confusian scholars continue protesting Saimdang’s appointment
    as the Royal Portrait Painter, while the top ministers step up the pressure against the Crown Prince.

    The King dismisses the Crown Prince from all his duties and orders Lee Gyeom to paint his portrait together with Saimdang.

    The Japanese pressure Min Chi-hyung about the blueprint for Joseon’s turtle ship. When Hwieumdang reasons out that security has been tightened at the Office of Art since Lee Gyeom took over, Min Chi-hyung says that he must then kill Lee Gyeom.

    Deciding that that “there can only be one sun under the Joseon sky,” the King plans to destroy Saimdang and Lee Gyeom during the public viewing of the Royal Portrait.

  15. 215
    Sinopsis Saimdang Light's Diary Says:

    Really love to watch this two lovers..

  16. 216
    Drama Saimdang Light's Diary Says:

    Lee Young Ae is my favorit actress in Korea…

  17. 217
    Park jun sung Says:

    So far this drama is not bad. And quite good i think. Except the modern scene i mean. So sad this drama cut to 28 episode from 30. And you know, this drama has more interesting story n good scenery, better than another drama with good rating, like whisper, or defendant, or mystery queen (sorry, my honest thought).

  18. 218
    CoolBeans Says:

    MY HOPES HAVE RUN OUT. I WISH THIS DRAMA HAD STABILIZED AND NOT GONE DOWNHILL IN QUALITY ABOUT 10 EPISODES AGO! The modern day scenes are boring. The historical scenes are repetitive and mediocre at best. Great actors are wasted in this and that’s a shame. Blame the writer and the script that is uselessly repeated ad nauseum in the comments which reminds me once again why I dislike it!

  19. 219
    CoolBeans Says:

    I understand and agree the drama should be shorter. A 16 episode drama would have only included the good parts and had much better ratings. And 28 episodes are still too long if they have no better product to show.

  20. 220
    park jun sung Says:

    Episode 24 was really good. Saimdang n Lee gyeom express their love each other. Grrrrf the thing annoyed me is why Saimdang should leave him alone. Gahhh, its better if they back as lovers again. I really want there is a kiss scene between adult saimdang n lee gyeom. It would be perfect

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