HomeStoriesThe Famous Korean Singer Who Pretended To Be A Man To Perform

The Famous Korean Singer Who Pretended To Be A Man To Perform

A famous Korean singer broke the stigma against women in her field.

Jin Chae Seon was a Korean pansori singer who was said to have been born in either 1842 or 1847. Pansori, a traditional Korean art form that involves a singer telling a dramatic story, was a male dominated industry at the time.

Her story was portrayed by Suzy in the 2015 movie The Sound of a Flower.

Jin Chae Seon was born in Mujangmyeon, North Jeolla. She exhibited a great talent for singing at an early age, being discovered by teacher Shin Jae Hyo when she was 17 years old.

The man brought him back to his school and made her his student. He ignored social pressure that suggested that women could not become pansori singers.

Five years later, Jin Chae Seon performed at the Gyeongbok Palace disguised as a man.

Heungseon Daewongun, a key political figure of the Joseon Dynasty, could not take his eyes off her. He appreciated her talent and asked her to move to the castle to become a court singer.

Besides becoming proficient at various forms of pansori such as chunhyangga and simcheongga, she also spent her time in the palace as the concubine of Daewongun.

She returned to the side of her first mentor, Shin Jae Hyo, until his passing in 1884. She then disappeared without a trace, with historians unsure if she was killed by Empress Myeongseong or lived a quiet life until her death in China.

Jin Chae Seon is now widely considered one of the top pansori singers in Korean history. She holds the nickname “Joseon’s First Female Pansori Singer.”



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