K-Dramas That Have Written History

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  • Tuesday, 30 August 2022 00:52
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K-Dramas That Have Written History Korean Dramas are taking over global entertainment. Korean Drama poster by Roma Miclat.

K-Dramas that Have Written History

The Shows that Have Impacted Korea and Brought About the Global Korean Wave.


It is undeniable that the world has come to recognize the quality and beauty of Korean Dramas with the success of recent shows like Squid Game (2021), It's Okay To Not Be Okay (2020), and Crash Landing On You (2019). Streaming services have had to develop translation teams, such as Netflix and the app Viki by Rakuten, that can generate subtitles in at least 20 different languages in under 24 hours to meet the demands. Awards shows are taking notice of the incredible talent, writing, and production of Korean entertainment with a growing list of Emmy nominations and an unforgettable Oscar win for best picture 2020 for film “Parasite,” as well as best director, best original screenplay, best international feature film, and several other nominations. The Korean wave is picking up speed but has been gaining international recognition since the early 90's. So where did this all begin? The following six K-Dramas have defined the genre of Korean entertainment, each contributing to the appreciation for the shows in Korea and worldwide.


The show features actress Hye Kyo Song and singer Rain. Fair use, Wikipedia.


Full House (2004), is one of the pioneer kdramas, according to Channel Korea’s website. This show established the tropes and characteristics for the most popular Korean drama genre, the romantic-comedy. Aired in 2004, the romantic comedy features singer Rain and K-Drama royalty, actress Hye-kyo Song.


Promotional poster for The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince. Munhwa Broadcasting Company [MBC]
Sun Kyun Lee’s more recent works include the Oscar winning film “Parasite.” CC ShareAlike license.


In 2007, Coffee Prince aired. It features KDrama A-list actors Gong Yoo, Sun-Kyun Lee, and Young-Ok Kim. This shows popularity garnered remakes in Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and China. The storyline made waves in Korea and throughout Asia as audiences watched and supported the main character who performed very honestly a struggle with his identity and sexuality.


Boys Over Flowers is based on this Japanese Manga. Photo from TV Tropes. CC 4.0
Here the couple of the show look so young and carefree. Art by iheart27. CC 3.0


Boys Over Flowers,(2009) is based on the Japanese manga. Its initial popularity sent actor Min-Ho Lee into stardom. According to film daily, Boys Over Flowers (BOF) was integral to westward Hallyu, also referred to as K-wave, expansion and is one of the first Korean dramas to achieve immense international acclaim. Referencing "F4," the name for the group of four rich and popular high school boys, in Korea is still understood and reminisced upon with nostalgia.


Eun-sook Kim during a press conference for Descendants of the sun in 2016. REplay TV, CC 3.0


Eun Sook Kim is a South Korean screenwriter known for writing several of the most well known K-dramas including The Heirs (2013), Guardian:The Lonely and Great God (2017), and Mr.Sunshine (2018). Lovers in Paris (2004) was her breakthrough series which established her as one of the greatest screenwriters in the industry. She has truly mastered the genre of romantic-comedy receiving many awards for her titles that range in theme from mystical to historical and even high school dramas.


The poster for Winter Sonata captures the beauty of the season and the cast. Fair use image, Korean Broadcasting System.


Endless love: Winter Sonata (2002) is the second installment of a 4 part K-Drama series by producer Suk-Ho Yoon. Young Mi Lee, a culture critic, accredits the show’s social impact as a "therapeutic popular culture piece that was used to ease the trauma of the 1997 Korean financial crisis," according to the Korean Herald. Considered a cult classic throughout Asia, this show surprised the nation of Korea with its unexpected phenomenal impact on Japan, as well. The then prime minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi, even famously recognized the lead actor's popularity over his own saying “Bae Yong-joon is more popular than I am in Japan.”


The on-screen couple had incredible chemistry. Poster taken from Twitter, CC 3.0


What is K-drama without an impeccable soundtrack? Descendants of the Sun (2016) is not only a top rated drama with an impressive cast, but this show also features one of the most popular k-drama soundtracks of all time. According to Seoul Space, several of its songs were chart toppers in Korea and are highly recognizable including “Always” by Yoon Mi-rae, “Everytime” by Chen & Punch, “This Love” by Davichi, and “You Are My Everything” by Gummy.


Currently, K-Drama is significantly growing its fanbase outside of Korea with its integration to Netflix and its connection to K-Pop. Many Idols, Korean pop singers, also star in the dramas or are featured on the soundtracks for the dramas.


Read 2781 times Last modified on Wednesday, 31 August 2022 21:16

Written By:

Loren Meza

Loren is the content coordinator for Seoul Journal and specializes in Korean culture and entertainment journalism. She also has a history of teaching K-Pop dance professionally in the US and abroad in Paris, France. Her published works include creative short story pieces. The most recent of her works was published in Flora Fiction magazine entitled “A Different Kind of Game,” in their Summer 2022 edition.

Tiktok @seouljournalofficial




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