post-Renascence
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series information
'DIASPORA' ('디아스포라') is a Korean drama that began airing on TBC in March 2006. It was inspired by the futuristic manhwa series 'MEGAPOLIS', although it features a new cast of characters and a different storyline in the same setting. Initially, there were fears that the drama would be discontinued due to low popularity and high production costs, but a sudden surge in viewer numbers midway through the season has ensured that the drama will finish airing and may even be extended into further episodes. Critics have condemned the drama for its incautious handling of sensitive political issues, but paradoxically, the publicity from this controversy seems to be largely responsible for its rise in popularity.

background
2050 AD. It has only been 26 years since the DMZ was dismanted and the Korean peninsula finally reunited under one state and flag as the Republic of Joseon (대조선민국). The capital city, formerly known as Seoul, was renamed New Hanyang (신한양), and thanks to persistent urbanization, it has expanded into a sprawling megapolis, spreading as far west as Inch'on on the coast and as far north as Kaesong. New Hanyang is the sixth most populous city in Asia (only Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore are ranked higher), and as a result, it suffers from overcrowding and pollution. The constant influx of people migrating south from the former DPRK, as well as a rise in immigration from Manchuria thanks to the reunification, has only exacerbated the situation. Furthermore, the toll of climate change means that coastlines are retreating day by day; the government spends billions of won on efforts to control flooding and rising sea levels. The summer monsoon rains have turned into annual tropical storms, and the government no longer has the funds to provide adequate disaster relief. As a result, it has become dependent on corporate groups for its budget, and the presidency and legislature have become ineffectual puppets, while the real decisions lie in the hands of business moguls. Of these, none is more powerful than Kim Won-seung (김원승), the founder, CEO and president of the Mirae group, which controls the Pan-Korea Express, the rail route that spans the entire Korean peninsula and connects to the Manchurian Rail at the northern border.

As conditions in New Hanyang deteriorate, emigration has been on the rise, especially among the professional and academic elite, who hope for better living conditions, better job prospects and most of all, better education for their children overseas in the U.S. or the E.U. The trend has grown so marked in recent years that the media now refers to it as the Korean diaspora: nearly one-third of ethnic Koreans in the world live abroad. Among their number is Cha Ji-young (차지영), who left for the E.U. six years ago with her daughter and son, disgusted that the police were unable to discover anything about the murder of her husband, a journalist for the Korea Daily. She swears never to set foot in Korea again. Meanwhile, with the successful launching of the residential space station Prosperity in 2043, jointly funded and operated by the nations of the East Asian Regional Alliance (EARA), the newest fashion among the wealthiest elite is to go into space, where luxurious suites in the Joseon branch of Prosperity can be purchased for exorbitant amounts of money. Prosperity is the third residential space station to be launched (the first, Wayfarer, was launched by a joint U.S.-E.U. alliance and the second, Googleplex, was launched by the multinational corporation, Google). Kim Won-seung, always conscious of his public image, decides that his wife and ten-year-old daughter will move to Prosperity that summer. Choi Sang-bok (최상복), the CEO of LG-Hyundai (Mirae's chief rival) makes a similar decision to send his aging parents and his two sons, ages ten and seven, to space as well.

2065 AD. After finishing her degree in law on Prosperity, Kim Yu-hwa (김유화) returns to Earth for the first time in fifteen years to receive a high-profile appointment to the EARA trade inspection bureau in Korea. She is only twenty-five and the youngest person in the bureau, leading critics to suspect that her father's influence was largely responsible for earning her the position. Min Jo-gyeon (민조견), a freelance journalist covering the East Asia region, is assigned to report on the controversy. He eagerly seizes the chance to learn more about the Mirae group, which his father was investigating at the time of his murder. Meanwhile, Yu-hwa's childhood friend, Choi In-seok (최인석), also returns to Earth reluctantly on his father's orders to begin work in the company. He chooses to enter the R&D department, where he proposes a daring and expensive new project, dubbed Renascence, which against all expectations receives the approval of the board of directors. He then begins to recruit the top scientists in various fields for his research team. Among them is Min Jo-hee (민조희), a European computer scientist whose brilliant thesis work has led her to be considered one of the top pioneers in A.I. development. It is here that the story begins.

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