Magistrate Hwang's daughter Jin-yi, is jilted before her wedding because a shoe maker was smitten with her and commits suicide. Jin-yi becomes a courtesan, and becomes famous for her wits and beauty. She falls for Byuk Kye-su, but he's chosen to be an envoy to a far off kingdom. When he leaves she feels so betrayed she takes to a life of wandering. She meets Lee Saeng, a destitute scholar, and stays with him until she discovers he's going to sell her to a group of itinerate clowns. Instead, she joins them willingly.
The story follows Hwang Jin Yi, a kisaeng (female entertainer) who lived in 16th century Korea. Hwang Jin-Yi was a beautiful, talented and intelligent young woman who was able to read and write well, but because she was an illegitimate child, she had no other recourse but to become a kisaeng where she used her position to gain favor with the noble classes.
The story of Hwang Jin Yi, the famous 16th century Gisaeng. This story is about the life of Joseon-era dancer, musician and poet, Hwang Jin Yi, who seeks perfection in her art relentlessly and the hardship facing women due to their lowly social status. Hwang Jin Yi is the illegitimate child of a noble and Heon Keum, a noted musician gisaneg. The story centers on the four men in her life and her pursue in the art of dancing. Her first love with a nobleman's son Kim Eun Ho ends in tragedy. Her love affair with Kim Jung Han does not have a happy ending either. Byuk Kye Soo is the Emporer's relative who are obsessed with her and tried every trick but still could not have her. Finally there is her devoted bodyguard Yi Saeng who never deserted her in times of need. Meanwhile, there is Bu Yong who not only is Hwang Ji Yi's rival in dancing but also in love.