Actors Park Seo-joon and Han So-hee said they most wanted to portray the lives of people living in 1945, when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule, through their roles in "Gyeongseong Creature."
The final episode of the first season of the 10-part Netflix original series aired on Jan. 5.
"Gyeongseong Creature" tells the story of Jang Tae-sung (Park Seo-joon) and Yoon Chae-ok (Han So-hee), who investigate clandestine operations taking place in a hidden basement of a hospital in Gyeongseong, as Seoul was called at the time.
Through its portrayal of the Japanese military who conduct experiments to turn Koreans into monsters, the drama series symbolically represents Unit 731, a biological warfare research unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that engaged in human experimentation during the 1940s.
Han said that despite her popularity in Japan, she felt no pressure or fear about appearing in a drama series that portrayed a historically sensitive matter.
"There was no reason not to appear in the series," said Han during an interview with reporters on Monday.
"The Japanese colonial period is a frequently addressed topic. There was never a moment of hesitation (for me to select the work) due to the subject matter," she said.
Park agreed that the crucial reason for joining the drama series centered around raising awareness of Korea's history on the global stage, as well as being able to portray the lives of people who lived through the Japanese colonial era.
"It's a history that we all know, and while it is a painful and heavy history, it's not a shameful one. For those who don't know (about Korea's history), (this drama series could present an opportunity) to learn. And for those who may be forgetting (this history), I thought the drama series could serve as a reminder," said Park during an interview held with reporters on Jan. 11.
"It seems that Japanese viewers are very interested in Korean content in general. In that regard, I felt a sense of responsibility," he said.
For Park, the most memorable line in the drama series was "Things would not have happened if it weren't for this world."
"Never having lived in that era, I was nervous about having to portray the extent of the gravity (held in that line)," said Park.
"(The line) showed that the individuals (living in that era) didn't choose to be in such situations. Reading that line, I felt a renewed gratitude for being born and living in the present world. It made me realize that I can pursue what I want because of those who endured (these parts of history)," he said.
While the first season of the show revolved around characters living during the Japanese colonial era in 1945, the second season of "Gyeongseong Creature" will depict the lives of new characters, set against the backdrop of Seoul in 2024.
"The plot of the second season, which will come out later this year, will unfold more speedily than the first season. With unexpected twists and new characters, the second season will greet viewers with a 'different flavor,'" said Park.
"Once the setting transitions to the modern era, the key point to watch is what kind of role Chae-ok will play," said Han.
"Whether Chae-ok will become a villain or take on a nice role, the question of the identity of Ho-jae -- who looks like Tae-sang -- and whether Maeda (Kim Soo-hyun) will appear in the second season will all be interesting points to keep an eye out for. What's certain is that the second season is going to be even more enjoyable to watch," Han added.