‘My Name Is Loh Kiwan’ Cast And Character Guide

Based on the novel I Met Loh Kiwan, written by Cho Hae-jin, the Korean drama film is replete with sentimental elements, making our eyes brim with tears as we advance through the narrative. The excellent cast added to the charm of the wonderfully molded movie. Director Kim Hee-jin deserves a pat on the back for having rounded up the gist of the novel so beautifully that we almost feel like a part of the protagonist’s journey. I have been reminded of the movie The Pursuit of Happiness, which represents the hard times of a vagrant father and his son while witnessing Lo Kiwan’s struggle on the streets of a foreign country.

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Spoilers Ahead


Loh Kiwan

How do I even explain what magic Song Joo-ki has brought on the screen while playing the role of Loh Kiwan? My mind was completely blown after I watched him perform on screen. The way he transformed from a pitiable character to someone who stood up for himself is beyond inspirational. Loh Kiwan went from a vagrant wandering the streets in search of food to a person who earned his own self-respect. However, the trauma that he faced in his lifetime is something that nobody should have to go through. He had been living in China as an immigrant with his mother. However, after a brawl at his workplace, he lost his job, causing the police to go after him. He never forgot the sacrifice that his mother had made for him even before dying, asking her brother to sell her dead body so that her son could flee to a foreign land.

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When Loh Kiwan entered Berlin, he was naive, and we were left with a gut feeling that he wouldn’t survive the rat race for long! However, he managed to withstand the harsh conditions, bringing out his resilience and ability to adapt to adverse conditions. His life got a boost after he met Marie. She had stolen some money from the man, who had nothing to lose in a foreign land. He, however, agreed to forgive Marie if she gave him back the wallet (as it had a picture of his mother in it). Later, when he got attached to Marie, there was no going back for him. His nature as a giver has been highlighted in the film. Loh Kiwan was somehow sustaining himself by working in a factory, but he did not forget to feed Marie when she came to meet him, highlighting his kindness and generosity. He also helped Marie break out of her addiction habits, proving his loyalty as a partner. He did not refrain from self-harming when he saw that Marie was going out of control. Later, when he came back to his senses, he said that he would never leave her hand no matter what and would go to any lengths to drag her out of hell. 

After an increased closeness with Marie, he told her about his sufferings in life. Before that point, he had not opened up to her to gain unnecessary sympathy. He also helped Marie get out of the clutches of the ganglords who had been trying to get hold of her to bet on her as the best target shooter in town. Once Kiwan got to know Marie, his life was mostly about protecting her, as he did not want to lose another loved one like he lost his mother. He left his own trial for immigration and went to save her. He did not want Mary to stay back in Berlin for his selfish interests to be with her. All he could prioritize at that point was her safety. He promised to go and meet her one day, and he eventually managed to keep his promise after a year of toil. He went to see Marie in another part of the world, eventually settling there with her. The undying spirit in Kiwan made him toil day in and day out so that someday he could reunite with the love of his life, proving that he was not just a man of shallow promises!

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Marie Lee

After her appealing performances in dramas like Beyond Evil and The Sound of Magic, Choi Sung-eun has made her appearance as Marie Lee in My Name is Loh Kiwan. She has been introduced as the intimidating femme fatale, who is completely immersed in the world of crime. Despite having a menacing attitude, she is a child inside who needs protection from the world. She owed some money to one of the local goons, and he was totally using her to help him win bets in women’s target shooting games. She is often threatened by the goon and can’t do anything about it. till Loh Kiwan swings by. He helps her mend her ways of living and tries to safeguard her against external perils. 

Marie Lee has a grudge against her father, Lee Youn-sung, for having euthanized her mother while she was in training. She maintains a distance from him and blames him for her mother’s death. She had tread on the wrong path, as she had been led astray by her impulsive decisions. She was tough enough not to crack easily, and she wouldn’t trust anyone so quickly. It took a lot of effort on Kiwan’s part to make her realize what a destructive path she had chosen to vent her frustrations. 

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She started exposing her vulnerabilities to Kiwan only after she thought that she could open up to him. She started showing her vulnerabilities to him, exposing a completely different side to her. She was immensely scared, as the goons were after her life, but she did not want to show it to Kiwan before his trial, as it could distract him. She tried her best to bring Kiwan back to a foreign land. She was his only support when he had no one by his side, and now it was his turn to save her. When Kiwan asked her to leave the country and go to another place, she refused to do so as she had gotten extremely attached to him. This highlights how selfless she was in wanting to stay back with Kiwan despite constant threats to her own life. She would rather rage a war than leave her close ones behind. However, realizing how wrong she had been in judging her father, she apologized to him and told him how much she loved him. 


Lee Youn-sung

The character of Lee Youn-sung was played by Jo Han-chul in the movie. He has added a significant layer to the film, helping us understand Marie Lee’s character better. Youn-sung is a protective father misunderstood by his own daughter despite the efforts that he put in to back her. He was a loving parent who had failed to communicate his love for his daughter, resulting in a distance with her. However, it was later revealed that it was not his will to euthanize his wife, but she had asked him to do so as she was unable to lead a life of daily suffering. 

He made his first appearance in the film after learning that Marie had stolen someone’s money. In order to compensate on behalf of his daughter, he offered some money to Kiwan. He tried to cover up for his daughter’s bad habits as a loving parent.

He also helped Kiwan with a lawyer to ensure that he could win the race, bringing out his helpful nature. However, this act can also be seen as an act of exchange to ensure that Kiwan stayed away from his daughter. As a parent, he was right in trying to protect his daughter from an immigrant who had no future of his own. His solid love as a father seeps right through the film as he is seen rooting for Marie Lee till the end, despite her hatred for him. This brings to the forefront that he expected nothing from Marie as a parent but just cared about her well-being. 

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Seon-ju

Lee Sang-hee has efficiently played the part of Seon-ju, a Korean-Chinese working in a Belgian meat factory. When Loh Kiwan joined the factory, she was really kind to him and kept him safe from all the bullies around. She often invited him to feast with her on the meat that she would often steal from the factory. Seon-ju is a representation of the plight of refugees in foreign lands. She was so desperately in need of money for the treatment of her youngest daughter that she had been toiling in another country to send some money home.

Her circumstances, however, forced her to betray Loh Kiwan during his trial. Initially, she had agreed to testify that he was a North Korean, but later, when Mr. Kim told her that he could help extend her visa if she testified against him, she did so. She didn’t want to do it, but her desperation to save her daughter compelled her. Later, however, she realized her fault after being deported to China (as her visa wasn’t extended). She found a Chinese article that covered Loh Kiwan’s mother’s death. She immediately sent him the cutout of the news and a letter repenting her past deeds. The article eventually helped him prove his nationality in the Belgian court and claim his refugee status. 

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Some of the other miscellaneous characters that added more layers to the film My Name is Loh Kiwan are Mr. Kim, Ok-Hee, Eun-cheol, and Gerd. 


Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti’s obsession with creativity and travel fervor has helped her branch out into the entertainment genre. Her love for psychological thrillers helps her get a daily dose of adrenaline. A regular caricature of the films and its characters is what keeps her going!

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