City Hunter is a Korean drama (or K-drama) that provides a terrific example of women empowerment through the character of Kim Na Na, specifically through physical acts of strength, ability, and courage.
Kim Na Na proves herself from the first moment we meet her, when she flips the inspector because she suspects harassment, and continues to showcase her abilities throughout the series.
City Hunter is ultimately about the protagonist Yoon-Sung Lee seeking revenge on corrupt government officials who betrayed twenty three soldiers attempting to take revenge on North Korea twenty eight years after the event occurred. However, what pushes the story ahead is the relationship between Yoon-Sung Lee and Kim Na Na which forces the protagonist to question what he is willing to lose for revenge.
We see that Kim Na Na is a particularly remarkable woman in the second episode when she works multiple jobs to pay her uncle’s hospital bills. The audience also sees she has a strong sense of morality because after Yoon-Sung Lee pays these bills she forces him to agree to let her pay him back. In this way, City Hunter is exemplifying what a strong morale woman would look like in Korean society.
Kim Na Na is also a bodyguard for the President. Because of this we see that she is quite adept at martial arts. In the episode in which Yoon-Sung Lee is drugged and cannot fight those who captured him, it is Kim Na Na who defeats all of the men at one time. It is only when she is shot that she is stopped. This scene in particular highlights Kim Na Na’s strength and further shows how courageous she is.
Kim Na Na further shows her moral character at the end of the show. In the last two or three episodes the audience knows that Kim Na Na in in love with Yoon-Sung Lee and that she is now the personal body guard for the President. When it comes to light that the President was one of the corrupt officials, she knows that Yoon-Sung Lee is coming for him.
Although she knows he has been corrupt, she continues to do her job to the best of her ability and protect the President with her life. Her duty comes before her heart in a very similar way that Yoon-Sung’s duty comes before his heart. In this way, they are equals.
Throughout the entire series we see how seriously Kim Na Na takes her job, willingly diving for the President when Yoon-Sung’s adoptive father attempted to assassinate one of the corrupt government officials. She also proves herself to be Yoon-Sung’s equal in conversation and wit.
For example, she is constantly confronting him and when he is being rude, tells him he is. The audience sees this is different than other male characters who immediately folded to Yoon Sung’s will, but Kim Na Na’s ability to go toe to toe with the protagonist is why they succeed as a couple.
Kim Na-Na is a character who provides the audience with a courageous and strong female lead. City Hunter does a terrific job at highlighting the physical strengths of Kim Na Na and showing that female characters can be just as adept as their male counterparts.
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Park Min Young. Wikipedia. April 8 2013. Web. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_Min_Young
Korean Drama. Wikipedia. April 8 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_drama
City Hunter. 2011.
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