Official Character Description for Lee Min Ho’s Kim Tan in Heirs

I think Kim Eun Sook is a tiny bit disingenuous to be annoyed with the questions lobbed at her about how Heirs or The Inheritors seems at first blush quite similar to the extremely popular and well-known Hana Yori Dango franchise. Its true that the general premise of a poor kid in an uber-rich kids high school doesn’t belong to anyone and I’ve seen so many in manga (HanaDan, Ouran High School Host Club), television shows (Beverly Hills 90210, Malibu Shores, Gossip Girl), and movies (Pretty in Pink) that it’s not for the freshness quotient that people are going to tune into Heirs. Kim Eun Sook must be ready for the inevitable questions about how she’s going to do something different with this trope. I actually think she can do it since her oeuvre consists of adult romances so if she injects her usual mature verbal dexterity into Heirs that’ll start to distinguish her attempt at teen romance. The drama press conference yesterday was a bit of a relief for me to get it done with and pleasant surprise there wasn’t any gaping lapses in sartorial judgment. I totally forgot to mention in my post about the long preview that I’m completely in love with the costume design for the high school uniforms at Empire High. The blue and khaki is gorgeous and thumbs up for all the kids accessorizing and changing it up based on the courtyard confrontation scene. Earlier in the Summer I translated all the leaked character descriptions and the officials one came out this week and are mostly the same. I realized I forgot to translate Kim Tan’s so I’m rectifying that now so enjoy learning more about rich lonely boy Kim Tan. Kim Eun Sook herself mentioned Gossip Girl as an influence and I’m seeing in Kim Tan’s character construct a bit of Lonely Boy’s incisive observation mashed with Blair Waldorf’s smart alecky sass. SBS wasn’t content to hold a high profile press conference for this drama right before its premiere, the network is apparently not done with dropping even more drama goodies. These latest stills are of Lee Min Ho‘s Kim Tan surfing in Huntington Beach and looking quite chummy with the ladies on the beach. Lee Min Ho started practicing his surfing early on before the drama started filming and his hard work paid off because he looks quite comfortable with a board and on the waves. 

Kim Tan (18 years old):

England has its monarchy. South Korea has its chaebol groups.

The monarchy has its princes. The chaebol groups have its heirs.

Kim Tan is one of those chaebol heirs. He’s the son of the Empire Group, the very chaebol group that has accompanied South Korea on every step of its industrialization and development.

A chaebol heir needs to have breeding, looks, height, and riches. All the things that is like winning life’s lottery.

Having too much means that with it comes things one shouldn’t have. One dad and two moms. A half-brother. The moniker of an illegitimate son. All those cold glances. A family filled with too many complicated and messy matters. All of this was placed before Kim Tan. A huge empty house without a shred of familiar warmth. And so Tan became difficult.

He used corporate wealth to rank his friends, those outside the ranks he ostracized. He used arrogance and attitude to shield himself, if he met someone weaker he would be strong, if he met someone strong he would be even stronger. Not a day went by that he wasn’t causing trouble wherever he went. The adults battle became the kids battle and no one was willing to be the enemy of the Empire Group. Tan knew this and saw this as his power. Just as his runaway train youth was about to derail, his older brother Kim Won was about to break his own ground.

His brother’s resume listed many prestigious schools and degrees. Their father was sick in bed and like the natural changing of the seasons, Kim Won took over the actual running of the company and the CEO position and now has his own power. It was then that Tan realized the real prince was Kim Won. The real prince sent Tan to America to study, but in truth it was in exile.

In America, Tan felt at peace. There was nothing to get mad about, he smiled more, but it was only at night that he cried in the darkness. From 15 to 18 years old, the only friend by his side was loneliness. When he finally has a revelation, he wanted to go back to South Korea but he didn’t have the courage. He believes that his presence will only add to his brother’s unhappiness. He could’t go back, but he didn’t want to stay, and in this quagmire without an entrance or exit, he met a girl even more foreign than this distant land, Cha Eun Sang.

Click below to read the previously posted translated descriptions for the other main characters:

Cha Eung Sang

Choi Young Do

Yoon Chan Young

Rachel Ryu

Lee Bo Na


Official Character Description for Lee Min Ho’s Kim Tan in Heirs — 29 Comments

  1. So this is why everyone on school seems to dislike him? He was arrogant and a jerk, but after going to USA he changed and matured (I hope) ??

    Kinda liking it…

    Oooh so that is why his brother dislike him so much, because he is son from another woman his dad cheated with.

    I kinda understand it tbh; it isn’t just a dramaland thing, my sister, found out her dad (my stepfather) has a younger daughter of 12 year old with a woman he cheated my mom with. My sister hates the child so much – doesn’t even want to see the girl or that the girl visits the house. Doesn’t acknowledge her as her half sister and for her she is just a ”stranger”

    I’m against the child visiting the house because my mother doesn’t deserve it tbh, but I have nothing against the kid, just the kid brings hurtful memories to my mother and I hope she stays far from her, my mother doesn’t deserve it.

  2. So does this mean that the lady in the poster is Kim Won’s mother, not Kim Tan’s? If Kim Tan’s mother married his father, he’s not illegitimate anymore, right? Or am I missing something?

    • well, maybe when he was born he was a”illegitimate child” but later his dad dumped KW’s mother and got together with KT’s mother, but WB is still the heir being the first born.

      This also explain why she looks so young next to KW because she is his stepmother and there is something creepy about how they are holding hands on the poster…

    • No, that’s Kim Tan’s mother in the poster. She’s not married to the Chairman, she just lives at his house as his mistress. Kim Tan is illegitimate, and even if later on his dad marries his mom somewhere down the line, he was still born on the wrong side of the blanket and later given legitimacy in the family register. And his dad can’t marry his mom, apparently he never divorced his first wife.

      • The description makes me think that KT must have been the favorite son, and that he was treated as such. If that was the case, that would also explain KW’s hate towards his 1/2 brother. KW could have his own scars and hurts he had bottled inside, and when in the presence of KT, those feelings come out as hate towards his brother. I am looking forward to this part of the plot. I want to see how it will be explored and resolved. I am hoping for some bromance by the end.

      • And also perhaps KW does not like KT and his mother because of KT’s mother being the mistress thus breaking up KW’s nuclear family and likely hurting his own mother, though the legit wife, greatly. I imagine that has a lot of implications that would result in deep resentment for the home wreckers (in KW’s eyes). But I guess this is a common reason so KES may have something even grander up her sleeve.

      • Correct me if I am wrong but in the long teaser, I thought I saw a picture of the two half brothers as kids. They were smiling. I guess something caused the older brother to send Kim Tan away.

    • According to the relationaship chart, Kim Won’s mother is the first wife, deceased when he’s age of 5. Their father married another woman – which is the one seen arguing and slaps Kim Tan’s mother.

      Kim Sung Ryung plays the mistress – Kim Tan’s birth mother; and according to the 14 min long trailer, their argument indicated the possibility of Kim Tan being registered under the second wife’s name in order for him to be taken in as a Kim.

      • Thank you, hiba! All credits for this should go to the Chinese fans at Baidu/whatever; they’re the ones who posted up Chinese translations of all the character descriptions & trailers so quickly so that bloggers can then translate them to English. It’s too bad the LMH character description wasn’t available for translation into English until now since it wasn’t leaked along with the script months ago…

  3. If you’ve been following all the teasers then you’ll see that Heirs is very different from Hana Yori/BoF. Kim Tan is nowhere near Gu Jun Pyo. Lee Min Ho is selling the tortured teen character quite well, actually. Jun Pyo may have had mommy issues but Kim Tan has real, deep scars. Cha Eun Sang is also far from Geum Jan Di. Jan Di didn’t even care about being poor and she hated the world of the chaebols. But Eun Sang clearly wants to rise above being poor, which will make meeting Kim Tan very interesting actually. Other than the certainty that they’re probably going to get together in the end, how or when this happens remains to be seen. I think Heirs will have more real, believable characters. I’m really looking forward to this drama. 🙂

    • I dont know, but based on the description above and his character, it seems to sound like a run-away story of Hana Yori Dango/BOF, with all the plutocracy, disfunctional rich family theme and poor girl meets rich boy saga; more so the highschool atmosphere & fancy uniforms. O oh, anyway Goodluck!

  4. Hello there!
    I am truly excited to watch this series and looks forward to it.

    — when is this going to start? I love Lee Min Ho & Park Shin Ye
    — can you refer me to a website/websites that I can watch it with Eng Sub?

    Tks for your kind attention…

  5. From the description I’m feeling that KW doesnt dislike his 1/2 brother KT and sending him to America was for his benefit .. seem from the description it seem that the adult power struggle affected KT to end up being arrogant and so when KW came to power he sent KT to the US maybe to benefit him .. like hoping he be a better person ….like his way to protect his younger brother for all this power struggle

    Well at least that’s what I am hoping for between them is that misunderstood brother love

  6. Does anybody else smell “birth secret” on the part of Cha Eun Sang? I don’t know if it’s connected but in one of the posters she’s also wearing a tiara when she should be the poor kid, right? Is there any mention of a father on her side? Maybe my imagination is just going on overdrive because it’ll be airing soon.

    • No birth secret. Insiders who have read the later script say that the cover story for her enrolling in Empire is that she’s from a nouveau rich family and only Kim Tan and Chan Young know the truth. Apparently her mom blackmails Tan’s mom to get her enrolled. LOL, that’s pretty awesome. The original script also called for Eun Sang to move into the Kim mansion as well to keep up her rich status pretense. Not sure if that’ll happen but if it does then it’ll be awesome.

  7. mmm…more scoop on pretty boy Kim Tan. thanks. squealing like a 15 year-old right now…

    like that part about “her mom blackmails Tan’s mom to get her enrolled..” way to go for Eun Sang. This is going to be sheer excitement.

  8. Well considering how kim eun sook is annoyed with all the hani yori dango comparisons, perhaps she’ll work harder to distinguish Heirs from that show. That’s a good thing, because i don’t want to watch another boys before flowers.
    I don’t get gu jun pyo vibes from lee min ho at all, which is a very good thing(and one of my worries since the beginning)

  9. I was wondering, in the preview, Tan’s mother, Han Ki Ae (Kim Sung Ryung) and Ji Sook (Park Joon Geum) say something about a birth mother or something, and I wasn’t sure what they meant. It wasn’t in the summary you posted, either.

    • The dialogues of Ji Sook to Ki Ae is:
      “Is the son you gave birth to here?” (Kim Tan being exiled)
      “Does he has any status?” (Kim Tan has no place in family or company)
      “Did you forget Tan is my son?” (Tan might be registered as her son instead)

  10. Oh okay, now I get it. Thanks so much! 🙂
    Now just waiting for it to be uploaded online. Maybe I’ll watch the preview one more time…

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