Seonbi refers to nobleman of the scholarly class during the Joseon Dynasty.
As Joseon was a strict feudal society, Seonbi had higher chances of entering government service through national examination compared to the lower classes of farmers, merchants and servants. Seonbi valued pursuit of ‘intellectual study’ and ‘poor but honest’ life. These features were known as ‘Seonbi mindset’. Despite their high social status, there were many seonbies under financial/economical stress. As such, there were many hypocritical Seonbies seeking wealth and sexual pleasures.
Kim-San is atypical Seonbi of the Joseon Dynasty with progressive and open mindset.