7Sins Review: Jing Bi Rok (2015) ~ episode 7
The only negative thing with this drama is the fact that episodes and subtitles come out in a pretty slow tempo. However, i am a man of patience and i can only be thankful towards all these wonderful people that make Jing Bi Rok’s episodes available for us and everyone working on the subtitles, it may take a long time, but i deeply hope they will keep coming up to the very end of the drama! At the same time, Jing Bi Rok will be an experiment for me since i intend to focus on 7 aspects of each and every episode. I’m referring to articles with a sparse and distinctive recapping/reviewing tone focusing on 7 parts i consider important, hence the 7Sins name.
1) Easterner-Westerner confrontation.
The Eastern and Westerner goodwill mission envoys managed to divide the factions even more at the royal court. The Westerner envoy is pretty certain a war is at its birth pangs and rumors have already started spreading across the land. The Easterner envoy was more careful and considered Japan’s forthcoming attack an imaginary scenario. The people of the three southernmost provinces have already started fleeing to the north to find shelter and the public sentiment is in major panic. Under these circumstances the defensive preparations won’t have the desired outcome if everyone’s devoured by fear. That’s why the Easterner envoy’s words were opposed to the Westerner’s in order to ease the tension on the surface and start the preparations after the public sentiment will be at ease. The information that big European ships have approached Japanese ports makes the fear even greater. If Europeans were to teach the Japanese how to create huge warships the Joseon fleet would be no match for them. The Easterners defend their faction by referring to them as merchant ships that visit the Ming dynasty quite often as well, hence they shouldn’t be considered as a threat when it comes to the know-how factor. Once again, the quest for utter power keeps dividing the two factions and the voice of logic gets lost inside a maelstrom of supremacy. They can’t see the forest for the trees and the fact that they have limited the possible Japanese invasion to the south coast leaves the north coast defenseless for the time being.
2) Immigrants and spies.
Ryu Seong Ryung is traveling south to see with his own eyes the immigrating problem and listen to the people’s opinions. Along with him stand Lee Chun Ri (Jeong Tae Woo) and Shin Myeong Chul (Lee Kwan Hoon). Most of the southern provinces’ inhabitants have left their houses and those few standing their ground are about to leave as well. Their thoughts on the King and the state officials aren’t the most positive, but Seong Ryung doesn’t react negatively, it’s the truth he’s after and if the truth hurts he’s prepared for pain. “Just as the King can abandon the people, the people too can abandon the King” and the message was delivered. Even the Japanese citizens return back to Tsushima because of Japan’s forthcoming invasion rumors. Chun Ri and Myeong Chul notice that some Japanese citizens don’t intend to leave with the last boat and they return back to the city. They were suspicious in the first place since one’s scars weren’t representative of a merchant’s hands. They follow them and soon they notice that they have changed their clothes and they look like Joseon citizens. Soon enough close combat erupts and after a fierce battle with interesting fight choreography Seong Ryung’s follower’s emerge victorious.
3) Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s world.
Hidenaga, Hideyoshi’s loyal and beloved brother, has passed away and the Kampaku mourns his loss under the influence of alcohol. He’s aware of various feudal lords’ opinions who consider him a lunatic, but they haven’t seen his real face yet. He asks his generals why they think he’s going to start a war against Joseon and Ming and Ukita Hideie and Konishi Yukinaga share their thoughts on the strategic importance of such an attempt concerning Japan’s further glorification, as for Kato, he’s more minimal and always loyal, he simply follows his Kampaku’s orders! “It’s not that life’s in vain, it’s the transience of it”, he doesn’t feel complete with the unification of Japan, after all it was neither his own dream nor his own doing. Oda Nobunaga was the one who spent a lifetime’s effort on it, he just didn’t live to see that historic moment. Hideyoshi Toyotomi was the one to complete Oda Nobunaga’s legacy, but he can’t say he was the one who achieved the unification of the land. Conquering the continent is Toyotomi’s own dream, “one way or another, people die in vain, but leaving behind a great name is life.”
His son, Tsurumatsu, is a sickly child and his health isn’t flowing well, it’s something that devastates him and we witness his most humane and fragile side in front of his son. He can’t hold back his tears and cries of agony, he doesn’t differentiate his own life from his son’s. After all he’s the one to continue his father’s legacy through insuperable power and glory and he will do just anything to keep him safe. By his side always stand his 1st and 2nd wife, Nene and Yodo respectively. Losing his own brother and weakened by his son’s health he calls everyone in his sphere of influence to declare the construction of Nagoya Castle on a par with Osaka Castle within a year’s time. Someone dares to announce that there’s no way such a castle could be built within a year’s time and he falls instantly by Kato’s sword. Nagoya Castle will be built within a year and everyone should be informed, then they’ll dispatch the troops and the war against Joseon and Ming will begin.
4) Ming’s danger awareness.
Shi Xing, Ming’s Minister of Defense, gets informed that Japan intends to invade China alongside Joseon troops. He considers it an act of treason and rushes to inform the Emperor. Emperor Wanli (the 13th one of the Ming Dynasty) is having fun with his concubines and the beetle wars rage on! By the time Shi Xing informs him on Joseon and Japan’s conspiracy he’s at loss for words, but soon he finds his good old self and unveils his fearless and arrogant attitude, if they want to start a war, let them come!
5) Preparations for war.
Ryu Seong Ryong wants to talk to generals Sin Rip and Lee il immediately to forge a plan in case Japan decides to attack Joseon. They set many possible parameters on the table and one of them has to be the Japanese fleet which consists of not so big ships that can transfer around 100 soldiers the smaller ones and around 150 the bigger ones. The biggest problem is Gyeongsang-do and Jeolla-do naval districts’ defense, they can’t hold back the Japanese army and help from the capital will take days to arrive. If the fortresses on the south coast can be securely defended, along with the capital’s defense army victory will be near. It’s always a matter of timing and they are thinking of moving the capital’s defense army in a different position closer to the south coast to support the fortresses faster. If they can hold back a large army of 10000 soldiers for 4-5 days everything will flow according to plan. Restoring the people’s trust in the King’s face and the state officials is the most important factor for now, after they return back home and the danger of famine gets extinct they can start the defensive preparations once the public sentiment has been restored.
6) The King and the Royal Noble Consort.
The King’s in great confusion and he can’t withstand the fact that people talk negatively about him, it’s something that pains him deeply. His ambition is that he can accomplish things the previous Kings couldn’t achieve and go down in history as a wise ruler, but everything points towards the opposite direction for the time being. Every day torments him even more and he only finds comfort in the Royal Noble Consort’s hands which caress him with understanding and affection; her words soothe the ache within. He always followed the teachings, but in the end he feels like a helpless pawn in the middle of the two faction’s ongoing fight for utter power. Just like she soothes him, that’s how he should soothe the people’s hearts and embrace them like the nation’s father by strengthening himself and showing everyone that he’s a capable King, worth of praise and capable to rule Joseon for everyone’s well-being.
7) The King’s decision.
The opinion opposition between the Easterner and Westerner factions rages on and the King, after he listened to both sides, decides to take the situation in his own hands. The public sentiment must be restored at all costs in the 8 provinces of Joseon, especially when it derives from a war that has neither been declared nor happened yet! Anyone spreading rumors from now on will be severely punished and all the people who left their provinces will return back home. Then they will have to repair the fortresses and the number of the soldiers will be increased to strengthen security. Even if one Japanese ships attacks Joseon, the King himself will lead Joseon’s naval force and a large army to not only conquer Tsushima like King Sejong did, but Japan’s mainland!