Thursday, July 5, 2012

각시탈 Bridal Mask: A Retro Korean Superhero

Yes, Korea has superheroes. One is called Bridal Mask, or Gaksital (각시탈), and during the 1930s, during the Japanese occupation of Korea, he fought against the Japanese forces to protect Koreans. This story comes from a Korean manhwa (manga/comic book) by Huh Young-Man, and it has been adapted to a KBS drama, now running on the KBS America channel (which is on Dish Network).

The hero Bridal Mask is so-called because he wears a traditional Korean theatrical mask, one called a bridal mask because it's normally worn by female characters, presumably for weddings. Bridal Mask is skilled at martial arts, and frequently rescues Koreans in the hands of the Japanese police.

It is also the story of Lee Gangto, a Korean who is a rising star in the oppressive Japanese police force in Korea. The role is played by Joo Won (주원) who was also in the K-drama Bread, Love and Dreams ( 제빵왕 김탁구). Joo Won played the part of Gu Majun, the younger brother.  (He is pictured in the lower half of the photo.)

Lee Gangto's older brother Gangsan fought for Korean independence and was tortured by the Japanese police. Since then he has been known as the village idiot. But he may be smarter than he seems--- at the end of episode 3, he seems to be the guy in the mask. At any rate, Bridal Mask saves Lee Gangto from an assassination attempt.

This is a great drama, and I'm glad I caught it so near the beginning--- I caught episode 2 in the afternoon (with Spanish subtitles) and episode 3 in the evening, with English subtitles. Thank God for subtitles!) There will be 28 episodes, running on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. (If you don't get KBS America, you may be able to watch episodes online, or buy the series on DVD on Ebay--- don't forget to check to see if the DVD works in your region, and if it has English subtitles!)

Bridal Mask - Wikipedia 
Bridal Mask - Drama Wiki
Gaksital (Bridal Mask) - Drama Beans

Joo Won, handsome Korean actor


  1. To watch the full series, visit