POPULAR KOREAN DRAMAS
The Dong-A Ilbo reported: “Korean dramas are globally loved cultural products. Within 48 hours after an episode of a drama aired, the episode with English subtitles is streamed online. Within three to four days, the same content becomes available in about 20 languages. The American drama website Drama Fever at www.dramafever.com shows popular Korean TV dramas almost real time. People can find the currently aired drama “I Hear Your Voice” on the website, and “Gu Family Book” was also served when it was aired in Korea. According to the Korea Creative Content Agency, dramas account for 82 percent of Korea’s content export with 167 million dollars. [Source: Dong-A Ilbo August 1, 2013]
The costume drama "Jewel in the Palace" from South Korea’s second largest broadcaster MBC was a big success in Japan, China and Middle East nations, while "Boys Over Flower," "Dream High" and several others produced by the biggest TV station KBS were recently exported to Mexico, Panama and Latin American countries. [Source: Park Si-soo, Korea Times, June 26, 2013]
“Three Men, Three Women” is the Korean version of “Friends”. “Cat on the Rooftop” was a popular show in the early 2000s that dealt with people in their 20s living together in face of taboos against premarital sex. The “Woman Next Door” was called a Korean “Sex and the City.” It dealt with women and their marriages and extra-marital affairs. Many dramas in the early 2000s had some pretty heavy plot lines. By the mid-2000s, lighter romantic comedies became more of the norm and they set the stage for romcoms that dominate today.
Popular Korean Dramas in Japan
South Korean dramas are very popular in Japan. One called a Winter Sonata (See Below). First broadcast in 2000s, it was so popular it spawned fanzines, websites and tours to places in South Korea where scenes from the drama were shot. It drew huge rating and an unprecedented number of calls, e-mails and letters. DVDs and almost any kind of merchandise associated with the show sold well.
“Jewel in the Palace” (Kyutei Jokan Changumu no Chikai in Japanese) — about a woman doctor named Chan Gum who rose to a position of considerable influence in the 17th century Korean royal court — was also very popular. It starred South Korea actress Lee Young Ae in the title role and was surprisingly popular with Japanese men. The show was very popular in South Korea where it earned rating in excess of 57 percent and triggered a boom in the cooking of court cuisine,
Other popular South Korean dramas included All In and Beautiful Days. These and Winter Sonata revolved around a virtuous but misunderstood young women and and the men in their lives. The dramas were also big hits in Taiwan, Thailand and other countries in Asia. These days, increasingly, Japanese and South Koreans are collaborating on producing television dramas.
“Large numbers of Japanese watch South Korean dramas on satellite station that specialize in them. The sales of niche magazines that are oriented towards South Korean drama watchers sell well. The popularity of the satellite station is so high that Japanese television stations are losing viewers to them in significant numbers.
In April 2010, a South Korean drama was aired for the first time in prime time on a major Japanese network. The drama — a spy series called IRIS with Lee Byung Hun — was aired by TBS on Wednesday night at 9:00pm.
Korean Dramas Popular the Middle East
In article on the Korean Wave in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Donya Saberi wrote in The Diplomat: “Global streaming services, such as Netflix, have led to the establishment of locally based businesses in the Middle East that are committed to bringing South Korea to the region or franchising Korean brands locally.
“Korean pop culture might be making hits on global charts, but what is noteworthy in the United Arab Emirates is the popularity of K-dramas on streaming services like Netflix. As of 2019, 30 percent of Netflix subscribers are from Middle East, Africa, and Europe; the UAE alone has over 300,000 subscribers as of the first quarter of 2020. Although this number is not high among global rates, the revenue that Netflix has predicted it will gain from its UAE streams has increased from less than US$1 million in 2017 to US$6.03 million in 2020. [Source: Donya Saberi, The Diplomat, October 5, 2020, Donya Saberi is a Dubai based social science researcher, who is currently a research Fellow and lecturer at Middlesex University, Dubai. She is interested in analyzing the social changes in the Middle East caused by political reforms and its global impacts.
“K-dramas are a contributing factor to Netflix’s overall success in the UAE, as Korean series continue to be in the top 10 most viewed shows in the country. Some of the most streamed series in the UAE include “Itaewon Class,” “Crash Landing on You,” and “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” to name a few. The demand for Korean movies and series is evident. For example, local newspapers have published articles presenting the top Korean shows to watch on Netflix. The reasons behind this phenomenon are many, including South Korea’s soft power plan aimed at making Korean culture prominent globally and also the success of award winning movies such as “Parasite,” which has attracted new riders to the Hallyu wave. At the moment, Korean series are being promoted as “feel good” series that can distract viewers from the pandemic. Korean series are known for their unique takes on love, representation of romance in non-sexual contexts and having women leads.
“With the continued success of K-dramas, Netflix has recognized the genre’s potential and has been investing in producing more. Netflix released its first K-drama, “Kingdom,” in January 2019. In August 2020 alone, Netflix announced the release of three shows – “Start-up,” “Alive,” and “The School Nurse” – and confirmed the production of three new original series – “Hellbound,” “Move to Heaven,” and “Deserter Pursuit” directed by award winning director Han Jun-hee.
D. M. Park wrote in Korea Bizwire: “The Korea Communications Commission has announced the results of an Internet survey conducted last year to look into the response to Korean dramas in Turkey and three other countries in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. The study was based on 27 Korean dramas and analyzed public opinion, news articles and videos. According to the analysis, the response of Turkish netizens reached a total of 9,746 cases and there were 15 news articles. There were also 852 videos, which were viewed 38,795 times in total. Turkish netizens were more active in the comments section of videos rather than on SNS. [Source: Korea Bizwire, January 18, 2019]
‘My Only One’ received the most comments and ‘100 Days My Prince’ had the most viewed videos and was mentioned most in the articles. On the other hand, ‘The Rich Son’ had the most videos. Meanwhile, the responses among netizens in the three Middle Eastern countries totaled 13,391, and there were 188 news articles. The number of videos clocked in at 720, and they were viewed 861,410 times in total. ‘The Guest’ received the most comments and ‘Devilish Charm’ was most mentioned in the articles.
Popular Korean Dramas in Latin America
Dani Madrid-Morales of City University of Hong Kong wrote:“Ratings of South Korean dramas in places like Ecuador and Chile are also increasing and some manage to attract more viewership during prime time than local telenovelas (Granic, 2013). In Colombia, for example, Cheon-guk eui Gyedan/Stairway to Heaven (Escalera al cielo in Spanish) was the most watched afternoon program in 2013. [Source: Dani Madrid-Morales, ‘Transatlantic connection’: K-pop and K-drama fandom in Spain and Latin America,” City University of Hong Kong, 2014]
In 2008, the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) was created to help the promotion of television content, video games and other cultural industries. Under its guidance, Korea’s top rated shows, such as Gyeoul Yeonga/Winter Sonata (Sonata de Invierno) or Dae Jang Geum/Jewel in the Palace (Una joya en el palacio), have been dubbed into Spanish and distributed locally. This has translated into a massive disembarking of dramas on television channels across Central and South America. Except for Spain and Argentina, all Latin American countries studied in this article have had K-drama broadcast on national or local television stations
“A careful look at the dates of broadcasting of K-drama in Latin America reveals different stages of arrival. They were initially sponsored by South Korean government agencies, but now, there is also an active participation of broadcasters. Each episode of Cheon-guk eui Gyedan/Stairway to Heaven is said to have been sold to Puerto Rico’s Public Broadcasting Company in 2006 for one US dollar. This compares much favourably in terms of prices to Mexican telenovelas, which can cost between 5,000 and 12,000 U.S. dollars per episode (López Tejeda, 2011). This kind of accessibility of Cheon-guk eui Gyedan/Stairway to Heaven certainly contributed to its popularity, especially in Ecuador and Colombia, where it achieved some of the highest ratings (Yonhap, 2013; RCN Television, 2013). More recently, Korean broadcasters, knowing about the high popularity of their productions, have signed agreements with local television channels and have taken a more proactive stance in the global distribution. For example, the sales of MBC, Korea’s major broadcaster, at an annual TV contents market held in the United States, totalled 103,450 US dollars, surpassing by far the previous year’s sales record of 70,000 US dollars (Lee, 2013)
Sandglass (1995) stars Choi Min Soo and Park Sang Won. Vivi wrote in dramafever.com: “Often considered the first modern Korean drama, it charts a politically tumultuous period in Korean history from the late 1960s through the 1980s. Sandglass tells the tale of Tae Soo and Woo Suk, best friends despite their wildly different paths in life. After Tae Soo's father's past is revealed, he is rejected from military school and ends up fiercely loyal to the mob, while Woo Suk follows the righteous path and commits his life to social justice. Despite many odds, the two keep their friendship intact, until Woo Suk falls in love with Hye Rin, who falls for Tae Soo instead. While the trio struggles with their complicated situation, all three are affected by political upheaval, as rebellion shakes their world. [Source: Vivi, dramafever.com, October 22, 2015]
“Delving into a divisive and taboo period in Korean history, Sandglass gives voice to many Koreans who had suffered through the events of the 80s and early 90s, and opened the door for other projects to address these issues, such as "The Petal" and "Peppermint Candy." Romantic, historically relevant, and sophisticated, Sandglass is a masterful work of storytelling that sets the standard today's dramas still aspire to reach.
“It's difficult to overstate the cultural significance of this drama. Sandglass achieved some of the highest ratings of any Korean drama, ever, during its run, and it proved that shorter "trendy dramas" could be popular. This show had such a massive cultural impact that even now, if you watch a series with a flashback to the '90s, you often see the characters either watching or discussing Sandglass.”
Winter Sonata (Gyeoul Yeonga, 2002) — starring Bae Yong Jun and Choi Ji Woo — is the story of a young woman architect, played by the actress Choi Ji Woo, who can not forget her first love, who dies when they are in high school. After she becomes engaged her life changes when she meets a man who looks just like here lost boyfriend. The way the series mixed a love story, strange plot twist and beautiful locations proved to be very appealing with Japanese audiences.
Vivi wrote in dramafever.com: Winter Sonata is a deeply moving story that became one of the most popular Korean television series of all time. Bae Yong Joon stars as Joon Sang, the brilliant but introverted son of a famous musician who moves to rural Korea to start a new life with his troubled mother. Painfully withdrawn, Joon Sang gradually makes friends with Sang Hyuk and Yu Jin. Just as Yu Jin and Joon Sang begin to connect, an abrupt twist of fate cuts Joon Sang off from everything he loves, seemingly forever. [Source: Vivi, dramafever.com, October 22, 2015]
Winter Sonata was a driving force in bringing the Hallyu wave abroad, starting with Japan. This series was so popular overseas that it aired twice in one year in Japan due to popular demand. Thirteen years later, Japanese fans still love Bae Yong Jun so much that hundreds of fans flew to Korea this year in hopes of catching a glimpse of him on his wedding day!
See See Separate Article on WINTER SONATA
My Love From The Star
▪“My Love from the Star” (2014) was such a big hit in China and had its fans doing all kinds of crazy things. The show debuted in December 2013 and drew a 24 percent average viewership in South Korea but then drew massive audiences in China, where it was viewed online through iQiyi, a Chinese video streaming platform, alone 14.5 billion times as of March 2014. The premise of the show is: an alien lands 400 years ago in Korea and falls in love. Then, we arrive in present, where alien meets his first love's doppelgänger — a conceited starlet, and inevitably falls in love with her too. [Source: Kimberly Wang buzzfeed, March 12, 2014]
Amy Qin wrote in the New York Times: “China’s obsession with a South Korean television show about a 400-year-old Harvard-educated alien who falls in love with an arrogant actress reached such a frenzy last year that online streaming companies here began racing to snap up licensing rights for other South Korean television programs, inflating their prices almost tenfold. The show ignited a nationwide frenzy. Even the first lady of China, Peng Liyuan, became swept up in the fever. She was quoted by the state-run People’s Daily commenting on the physical resemblance between the lead actor, an extraterrestrial heartthrob with a mop of jet-black hair, and her husband, President Xi Jinping, in his younger years. [Source: Amy Qin, New York Times, July 20, 2015]
Mare-sensei wrote in reelrundown.com: “The most beloved Korean Alien is brought to life by Kim Soo Hyun,” who plays Do Min-Joon, the alien. Min Joon “possesses a near perfect appearance and enhanced physical abilities involving his vision, hearing and speed. But even he's nearly perfect, he can't help falling in love to a clumsy actress, Cheon Song-Yi. Their relationship went from being strangers, to someone special that even the impossible things can never be a hindrance between them. [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
Jun Ji-hyun as Cheon Song-yi
Kim Soo-hyun as Do Min-joon
Park Hae-jin as Lee Hwi-kyung
Yoo In-na as Yoo Se-mi
Boys Over Flowers
▪"Boys Over Flowers" (2009) produced by KBS was a big hit in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Mare-sensei wrote in reelrundown.com: “ Boys Over Flowers is another popular K-Drama featuring Geum Jan Di as an ordinary girl whose family who owns a dry cleaning store, and the F4 group in Shin Hwa High School. However, she finds herself being terrorised by the F4 leader, Gu Jun Pyo. Although Jun Pyo persists on bullying her, he begins to find himself attracted to Jan Di. However, Jan Di has a crush on Yoon Ji Hoo, Jun Pyo's best friend. When she realises that Ji Hoo is merely a close friend and that she really loves Jun Pyo the couple are thrown into a dilemma as Jun Pyo's mother sets out to break them up and find a more suitable match for her son. [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
Koo Hye Sun as Geum Jan Di
Lee Min Ho as Goo Joon Pyo
Kim Hyun Joong as Yoon Ji Hoo
Kim Bum as So Yi Jung
Kim Joon as Song Woo Bin
Kim So Eun as Chu Ga Eul (Jan Di's best friend)
Autumn in My Heart (2000)
Autumn in My Heart (2000) starred Song Seung Hun and Song Hye Gyo. Vivi wrote in dramafever.com. Eun Soo (Song Hye Kyo) and Yoon Joon-Seo (Song Seung Hun) grow up the children of a wealthy professor and have an affectionate brother-sister relationship. When Eun Soo is hit by a truck one day and gets a blood transfusion, a terrible truth is revealed: she is not in fact related to Joon-Seo or his parents. Due to a mix-up by a nurse, she was switched at birth with the Yoon's real daughter, who has been raised in poverty by a single mother. [Source: Vivi, dramafever.com, October 22, 2015]
“When the Yoon's real daughter discovers the truth, she insists that the two be switched back. Eun Soo and and Joon-Seo lose track of each other, and Eun Soo becomes a hotel receptionist while Joon-Seo becomes a successful artist. When next they meet, Joon-Seo's good friend Tae-Seok (Won Bin) is pursuing Eun Soo, and Joon-Seo has become engaged to Shin Yu Mi (Ha Na Na). Eun Soo and Joon-Seo have never forgotten each other however, and the powerful connection they forged in childhood continues to draw them together. They still see each other as siblings, however: can they overcome their own confusion, class differences, and the interference of loved ones to discover what they might have together?
“Autumn in My Heart was the first of Yoon Suk Ho's Four Seasons series, which sparked a new trend in Korean melodrama. All four of the seasonal love stories are classics, but what makes Autumn in My Heart particularly special (aside from being the first) is that it features early acting from some of Korea's biggest stars, including one of Won Bin's only drama roles before he moved over to film. It was also the highest-rated of the four dramas domestically, reaching over 46 percent ratings in Korea during its run.”
“Full House” (2004) was one of the most popular K-Dramas in the early 2000s. Mare-sensei, wrote in reelrundown.com: This drama attempts to answer the question of whether two people - a famous actor and an ordinary woman, can learn to love each other in a marriage agreed upon only on paper. It also explores the true meaning of family by looking at the brighter side of life. This drama features essential characteristics, such as being considerate, caring, frank, patient, and sticking to the life’s basic values. But no matter how different the personalities, everyone finds happiness in the end. [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
Song Hye-kyo as Han Ji-eun
Rain (Bi) as Lee Young-jae
Han Eun-jung as Kang Hye-won
Kim Sung-soo as Yoo Min-hyuk
Vivi wrote in dramafever.com: “Han Ji Eun is a naive script writer who lives alone, until she gets swindled by her best friends into thinking she's won an all-inclusive trip to China. Once she's gone, they sell off her house for their own personal gain. On the plane, she meets Lee Young Jae, a hotshot actor in Korea. Once she realizes she is stuck in China with no friends or money, she is forced to go to Lee Young Jae for help getting a ticket back home, though when she finally gets back to Korea she finds that she has no home to return to. In a bizarre twist of fate, it turns out her old house is now in the hands of the man she met on the plane, and he's on the brink of proposing marriage to his best friend Kang Hye Won, but a media frenzy causes Young Jae to pretend he is with Ji Eun. Now Ji Eun can get her home back—if she promises to marry Young Jae for a year! Their professional relationship starts becoming personal when Young Jae finds himself caring more and more for the charming girl who always stays cheerful despite her many hardships. If I'm totally honest, this drama drove me a little batty at times, but it's such a great early example of so many K-drama tropes (fake relationship, forced roommates, etc.) that it's worth a watch. Plus, this was Rain's big drama break, so that's an added bonus. [Source: Vivi, dramafever.com, October 22, 2015]
“The Heirs” (2013) was a popular teenage romance that was a big hit in Asia. It was written Kim Eun Sook. Tae Hong of dramafever.com wrote: Snappy, witty and romantic are what Kim does best. Her dramas, smartly written and compulsively watchable, range from the sticky, melodramatic Lovers trilogy (“Lovers in Paris,” “Lovers in Prague,” “Lovers”) to the realistic “On Air” and to the majestic rom-com fests that were “City Hall,” “Secret Garden” and “A Gentleman's Dignity”. [Source: Tae Hong, dramafever.com, September 12, 2013]
Mare-sensei wrote in reelrundown.com: “A romantic story which involved hardships, friendships, and rivalries of young, rich heirs led by Kim Tan and a girl named Cha Eun-Sang.18-year-old Eun-Sang lives with her mother who is mute. Her mother works as a housekeeper and she also works part-time jobs to help out. Meanwhile, Kim Tan is not your typical high school student, but a handsome and wealthy Korean heir to a large conglomeration. The two met each other in Eun-Sang's difficult situation, and later on found themselves to be more attached to each other than they could even imagine. [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
Lee Min-ho as Kim Tan
Park Shin-hye as Cha Eun-sang
Kim Woo-bin as Choi Young-do
Kim Ji-won as Rachel Yoo
The female lead in The Heirs works at Mango Six. AFP reported: “The Seoul-based cafe chain paid more than US$500,000 to feature in the show as the workplace of a poor teenager courted by two wealthy classmates who constantly sip Mango Six signature juices while waiting for her. "We made sure that the most dramatic, romantic scenes, like the two men professing their love for her or fighting over her, take place in our store, with our drinks on the table," said Kang Bong-Joo, the firm’s marketing manager. The store in Seoul has become a major tourist attraction and Chinese branches of Mango Six in cities such as Shanghai draw customers wanting the same juices consumed by the two male leads. "It really helped our expansion plans in Asia," Kang said. [Source: AFP, June 22, 2014]
Descendants of the Sun
The 16-episode Korean drama called “Descendants of the Sun — a military romance between a soldier and surgeon — which first aired in Korea in February 2016, was viewed more than 2 billion times on China’s online streaming site iQiyi, angering Chinese authorities who have warned of the social ills of excessive viewing of Korean dramas. [Source: Song Jung-a, Financial Times, April 12, 2016]
Mare-sensei wrote: Descendants of the Sun features “Shi-Jin as the captain of the special forces. He was injured and meets Dr. Mo-Yeon for the first time. He falls in love with her immediately. Mo-Yeon mistakenly assumes Shi-Jin is part of thief's criminal gang. He proves to her that he is a soldier with the help of army doctor Myeong-Joo. They began dating each other but due to their jobs, their dates don't go well. Will they have a stable relationship despite their huge differences? [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
At the time of the last episode, AFP reported: “Millions across Asia will sit down this week for the finale of a hit South Korean drama series that has triggered relationship health warnings in China, a thumbs-up review from Thailand’s junta chief and a trans-regional passion for its two young stars. “Descendants of the Sun” tells the story of an army captain sent on a peacekeeping mission to a fictional war-torn country, Uruk, where he meets and falls in love with a surgeon working with a medical NGO. The 16-episode show has garnered impressive domestic ratings for broadcaster KBS, but its real success has been overseas and the series has been hailed for reviving the so-called “Hallyu” (Korean wave) of K-pop and K-drama that started spreading across Asia in the early 2000s. [Source: AFP, April 12, 2016]
“It has proved particularly popular in China, where it has been simulcast on the video-streaming site iQiyi.com and has notched up more than 2 billion accumulated views, while becoming one of the top-ranked search and discussion topics on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. “Will I be able to find an acceptable husband if I keep watching K-dramas?” said one Weibo user, describing herself as “totally in love” with lead actor Song Joong-ki’s character. Such obsessive yearnings triggered a tongue-in-cheek warning from China’s Public Security Ministry about thousands of women who were suffering from “Song Joong-ki sickness.” “When chasing male or female stars, do not become too infatuated with them, because sometimes your casual words could end up hurting those who really care for you,” the ministry advised on its own Weibo account.
“And it is not just China. In Singapore, advertising executive Jamayne Lam, who described Song as “every girl’s dream,” confessed to getting hooked on the drama after just 10 minutes and binge-watching all 11 available episodes in two days. In Hong Kong, where it’s shown on Viu TV — a free-to-air channel that also has an online portal — the series is popular with commuters who like to view it on their smartphones while traveling to and from work. “After watching the first episode, I could not help but chase it,” said Susan Yuen, a 30-year-old clerk, adding that waiting for the latest episode upload has become a weekly routine for her and many colleagues in her office.
“In Thailand, former army chief-turned-Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha praised the series for its sense of sacrifice, obedience and duty. “So please watch it and if anyone wants to make such a drama I will financially sponsor it to make people love government officials,” Prayuth told delegates at a government function in Bangkok. His only criticism was that Song is possibly too young and handsome. “In real life a captain must shoulder a lot of burden and would look older,” he suggested.”
Song Joong-ki as Captain Yoo Shi Jin
Song Hye-kyo as Doctor Kang Mo Yeon
Jin Goo as Sergeant Major Seo Dae Young
Kim Ji Won as First Lieutenant Yoon Myung Ju
My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox
“My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho” (2010, also known as My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox) is a South Korean romantic comedy television series starring Lee Seung-gi and Shin Min-ah. It aired on SBS from August to September 2010 on Wednesdays and Thursdays and ran for 16 episodes.
Mare-sensei wrote: “It is a cute love story of a legendary creature called Gumiho (a nine-tailed fox). One day after Cha Dae Woong runs away from his grandfather, he accidentally frees a gumiho who was trapped in a painting for about 500 years. He didn't realize what he has done until it took the form of a beautiful woman. Dae Woong was so frightened that he ran away from her and became severely injured. The Gumiho saved him by giving him her most precious bead to share with him the mystic fox strength, as she owed him her freedom. The Gumiho then asked him to help her become human and teach her how to act like one. As time goes by, their mutual relationship grew deeper as they start to fall for each other. [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
Lee Seung-gi as Cha Dae-woong
Shin Min-ah as Gu Mi-ho/Park Seon-ju/Gil-dal
No Min-woo as Park Dong-joo
Park Soo-jin as Eun Hye-in
Stairway to Heaven
“Stairway to Heaven” (2003) starred Choi Ji-woo, Kwon Sang-woo, Kim Tae-hee, and Shin Hyun-joon. It aired on SBS from December 2003 to February 2004 on Wednesdays and Thursdays for 20 episodes. The title of the show comes from the Led Zeppelin song of the same name, which is frequently used in the underscore. The drama is the second entry in director Lee Jang-soo's Heaven Trilogy which included Beautiful Days in 2001 and Tree of Heaven in 2006. The drama was a hit and received an average viewership rating of 38.8 percent and 45.3 percent for the finale. [Source: Wikipedia]
Vivi wrote in dramafever.com: “Epic romance and K-drama classic Stairway to Heaven has achieved popularity both at home and abroad. Childhood sweethearts Jung Suh and Song Ju are torn apart by disruptions in their lives and families. When Jung Suh's father remarries, she gains a new family and a bevy of complications. With a new stepmother, an introverted stepbrother who is falling for her, and an envious stepsister poised to ruin her life, Jung Suh has her hands full while Song Ju studies overseas. Years later, tragedy strikes when a car accident causes Jung Suh to lose her memory. She starts a new life without her childhood love to hold her back, but when fate brings Song Ju back into her life, will she be able to remember his love? [Source: Vivi, dramafever.com, October 22, 2015]
“If you really want to see what Korean melodramas are all about, this is a great place to start. The plot may seem all kinds of crazy and over-the-top by today's standards, but you have to understand that these kinds of dramas essentially had one purpose: to make you cry your face off. Mission accomplished.”
Something Happened in Bali
Something Happened in Bali (2004, also known as What Happened in Bali or Memories of Bali) is a 2004 South Korean television series, starring Ha Ji-won, Jo In-sung, So Ji-sub and Park Ye-jin. It aired on SBS on Saturdays and Sundays at 21:55 for 20 episodes from January to March 2004. [Source: Wikipedia]
Vivi wrote in dramafever.com: “Lee Soo Jung is scraping by as a tour guide in Bali, supporting herself and her deadbeat older brother. When she's hired as tour guide to an unusual threesome, her life changes forever. Kang In Wook is poor but ambitious, climbing the ranks of the corporate world. His college girlfriend Choi Young Joo has broken up with him in order to marry a rich man instead. Immediately having doubts about her decision, she decides to have one last hurrah with her ex-boyfriend before getting married, in the form of a trip to Bali. To their surprise, Young Joo's fiance, disaffected heir Jung Jae Min, also shows up to torment the two out of boredom. The four learn more about each other than they bargained for on the course of the tour. When they all return to Seoul for various reasons, they find themselves thrown together again, and confusion surrounding love and money soon fills their lives. Three powerhouse stars come together for this psychologically gripping and complex drama that you won't stop watching. [Source: Vivi, dramafever.com, October 22, 2015]
“I don't know that I can recommend that everyone watch this series, but I definitely think it's a drama you should know. What Happened in Bali is easily one of the most controversial K-dramas out there, due in no small part to the drama's shocking ending (which I won't spoil here). The series is extremely polarizing, but whether you hate it or love it, it's a definite conversation-starter for longtime K-drama fans. I don't usually recommend reading spoilers, but if you want to know what all the fuss is about without subjecting yourself to an entire series that might make you furious, I'm willing to look the other way while you head off to Wikipedia.”
My Lovely Sam Soon
“My Lovely Sam-soon” (2005) is based on the internet novel of the same title by Ji Soo-hyun, which was published on March 2004. Touted as the Korean version of Bridget Jones's Diary, it starred Kim Sun-a (who gained 15 pounds for the role), Hyun Bin, Jung Ryeo-won and Daniel Henney. The series aired on MBC from June 1 to July 21, 2005 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 for 16 episodes. "Sam-soon" is an old-fashioned name in Korean culture. It is translated as "3rd daughter" (sam is three, soon is meek or feminine). The romantic comedy-drama series was a huge hit, with an average viewership rating of 37.6 percent and its peak rating of 49.1 percent (for the finale) makes it one of the highest-rated Korean dramas of all time. It also won numerous awards, including the Baeksang Arts Awards Grand Prize for TV, and the Grand Prize at the MBC Drama Awards for Kim Sun-ah. [Source: Wikipedia]
Vivi wrote in dramafever.com: “Brisk, endearing, and completely addictive, My Lovely Sam Soon was the runaway mega-hit of 2005. The show's popularity launched Kim Sun Ah to super-stardom and introduced Korean-American actor Daniel Henney. At 29, Kim Sam Soon's career and love life have hit a dead end. She is overweight, unmarried, stuck with an embarrassingly old-fashioned name, and has just lost her job and caught her boyfriend of three years cheating on her. Enter Hyun Jin Heon, the arrogant 27-year-old owner of a restaurant called Bon Appetit, who hires her to put her pastry-chef skills to work as the restaurant's chief baker. With Jin Heon's family breathing down his neck to get married, and Sam Soon desperately in need of money to save her family home, the two strike up a deal despite their volatile relationship. Sam Soon masquerades as Jin Heon's girlfriend and they begin to grow close, but things get complicated when Jin Heon's lost love mysteriously returns with her sights set on getting him back. Will Jin Heon be able to forget about her and learn to love Sam Soon for who she really is? [Source: Vivi, dramafever.com, October 22, 2015]
“This series was a runaway hit in 2005, and its popularity still holds strong today. This is an example of romcom done right, proving why Hyun Bin and Kim Sun Ah became such big stars. The series was an absolute beast during the 2005 awards season, rewarding all four main leads and the drama itself at the MBC Drama Awards and taking home the Daesang at the Baeksang Arts Awards as well.”
My Girl (2005) stars Lee Da-hae, Lee Dong-wook, Lee Joon-gi and Park Si-yeon. A joint production of Kallista Co. Ltd. and DSP Entertainment (now DSP Media), it aired on SBS from December 2005 to February 2006 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 for 16 episodes.  The romantic comedy series was a hit during its run—it placed number one in its timeslot and reached a peak viewership rating of 24.9 percent. It also catapulted actors Lee Da-hae, Lee Dong-wook and Lee Joon-gi into Korean Wave stardom.
Vivi wrote in dramafever.com: “Gong Chan is the wealthy, unattached heir to a large company. Having lost both his parents, he is devoted to what remains of his family, particularly his ailing grandfather. After deciding to cut off his only daughter after disapproving of her marriage, the old man is plagued with guilt since the couple was killed soon after he lost touch. By chance, Gong Chan meets a woman who resembles his lost aunt and is inspired to use her to fulfill his grandfather's last wish. The woman, Yoo Rin is the daughter of a compulsive gambler and is constantly on the run, so when Gong Chan offers her this opportunity, she cannot afford to refuse. After Yoo Rin moves in with the family, Gong Chan finds himself drawn to her and a forbidden attraction springs up between them. [Source: Vivi, dramafever.com, October 22, 2015]
“If you watch My Girl after watching a lot of recent dramas, it may seem like a cliche-fest. Then you realize that this drama came out 5-10 years before those other shows, and you start to see the lasting impact that romantic comedies like this one had. This series gets my personal thanks for giving me massive Second Lead Syndrome with Lee Joon Ki, even though his 2005 haircut makes my eyes hurt just a litte. This one only barely makes the cut for the list, premiering in December 2005. Happy almost-anniversary, My Girl!
Rooftop Prince (2012) is a fantasy romantic comedy starring Park Yuchun, Han Ji-min, Jeong Yu-mi, Lee Tae-sung, Lee Tae-ri, Jung Suk-won and Choi Woo-shik. It is about a Joseon crown prince who, after his wife dies mysteriously, time travels to the future where he encounters familiar faces, modern-day devices, and corporate intrigue. The series aired on SBS from March to May 2012 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 for 20 episodes.
Mare-sensei wrote in reelrundown.com: “This is a time-travel, historical, romantic-comedy drama featuring the unique story of Crown Prince Lee Gak, who is transported 300 years into the future to present day Seoul along with his three retainers. Their duty to solve the murder case of the Crown Princess in order to return to Joseon. They land in the rooftop apartment of Park Ha, a cheerful woman in her mid-20s, who eventually believes the odd quartet's predicament and becomes their guardian. As Park Ha educates the four on life in the 21st century, Lee Gak comes across Hong Se Na, who seems to be the reincarnation of his wife. Taking on the identity of Yong Tae Yong, Lee Gak slowly begins to unravel the murder of Yong Tae Yong and in turn moves closer to solving the murder case of the Crown Princess. As he finds himself in love with Park Ha, he figures that maybe the mystery of Crown Princess is not as what he had expected. [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
Micky Yoochun (Park Yoochun) as Lee Gak / Yong Tae Yong
Choi Won Hong as young Lee Gak
Han Ji Min as Park Ha / Bu Yong
Jun Min Seo as young Park Ha / young Bu Yong
Lee Tae Sung as Yong Tae Moo
Jung Yoo Mi as Hong Se Na / Hwa Yong
Kim So Hyun as young Se Na / young Hwa Yong
"Dream High" (2011) was produced by KBS and a big hit in Mexico, Panama and Latin American countries. It starred a number of K-Pop stars, including miss A's Bae Suzy, 2PM's Ok Taec-yeon,T-ara's Ham Eun-jung and IU. The drama was popular among teenagers, and brought in viewership ratings in the 18 to 20 percent range during its two-month run. A special episode, where the cast of the show performed the Dream High Special Concert on a stage near Seoul, was aired in March 2011, the day after the series ended. [Source: Wikipedia]
Mare-sensei wrote: “Dream High brings you back in your most beloved timeline - high school life. It tells the story of six students at Kirin Art High School who work to achieve their dreams of becoming music stars in the Korean music industry. Go Hye Mi is a student who had majored in classical music but has to give up her dream by entering Kirin Art High School to pay off her father's debt. However, she needs to get two other students to also come to the school in order for her to enroll in the school conditionally. These two students are Song Sam Dong, who lives in the countryside, and Jin Guk, whom she accidentally meets while trying to escape from a loan shark. Yoon Baek Hee, formerly Hyemi's sidekick, becomes her rival in school because Hye Mi betrays her during an audition to enter the school. [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
Kim Soo Hyun as Song Sam Dong
Bae Suzy as Go Hye Mi
Taecyeon as Jin Gook / Hyun Shi Hyuk
Ham Eun Jung as Yoon Baek Hee
Wooyoung as Jason
IU as Kim Pil Sook
Secret Garden (2010) starred Ha Ji-won, Hyun Bin, Yoon Sang-hyun, and Kim Sa-rang. It aired on SBS from November 2010 to January 2011 on Saturdays and Sundays at 22:00 for 20 episodes. The drama was a huge ratings success, with an estimation of more than 20 billion won worth of economic effect.It won a number of awards at both the 2010 SBS Drama Awards and the 47th Paeksang Arts Awards, including "Grand Prize (Daesang)" for Hyun Bin. [Source: Wikipedia]
Mare-sensei wrote: “This drama tells the story of Kim Joo Won, an arrogant CEO who maintains the image of seeming perfection, and Gil Ra Im, a poor and humble stunt woman whose beauty and body are the object of envy among all top actresses. Their accidental meeting, when Joo Won mistakes Ra Im for actress Park Chae Rin, marks the beginning of a tense, bickering relationship, through which Joo Won tries to hide a growing attraction to Ra Im that both confuses and disturbs him. To complicate matters further, a strange sequence of events results in them swapping bodies. [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
Hyun Bin as Kim Joo Won
Ha Ji Won as Gil Ra Im
Yoon Sang Hyun as Choi Woo Young / Oska (Joo Won's cousin)
Kim Sa Rang as Yoon Seul
“City Hunter” is based on the Japanese manga series of the same name written and illustrated by Tsukasa Hojo, and stars Lee Min-ho, Park Min-young, Lee Joon-hyuk, Kim Sang-joong, Kim Sang-ho, Hwang Sun-hee, Goo Ha-ra, Chun Ho-jin and Lee Kwang-soo. It was broadcast on SBS from May to July 2011. This show was successful in Europe and paved way for Lee Min-ho's popularity in Europe.
Mare-sensei wrote: “An action-packed drama with romance and thrill, City Hunter is one of Lee Min Ho's most popular TV drama where he starred as Lee Yoon-Sung who works at the Blue House for the National Communication Network Team. He graduated from M.I.T. in the U.S. and possesses elite skills as an I.T. engineer. At the Blue House, he meets Kim Na-Na, who works as a bodyguard there. The two people fall for each other even though Yoon-Sung was warned not to fall in love. His ultimate mission is to plot his revenge in the most skeptical way. [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
Lee Min-ho as Lee Yoon-sung/Poochai
Park Min-young as Kim Na-na
Lee Joon-hyuk as Kim Young-joo
Kim Sang-joong as Lee Jin-pyo
Kim Sang-ho as Bae Man-duk/Bae Shik-joong
Hwang Sun-hee as Jin Sae-hee
“Good Doctor” (2013) is a medical drama television series starring Joo Won, Moon Chae-won, Joo Sang-wook, Kim Min-seo, Chun Ho-jin, Kwak Do-won and Ko Chang-seok. It aired on KBS2 from August to October 2013, on Mondays and Tuesdays at 21:55 for 20 episodes. It was popular in the Middle East. An American version of the series was launched to reasonably good reviews in the U.S. in 2017.
Mare-sensei wrote in reelrundown.com: “This is a medical drama about Park Shi Ohn, a man with autistic disorder, who has mentality of 10-year-old. Although he has the disorder, he has amazing ability of 3D visualisation of the human anatomy and memory of everything he reads. His ability gives him the exceptional skills as a paediatrician specialist. However, due to discrimination by society, he has to overcome all these to succeed. He was also abused by his father and abandoned by his mother. He also blames himself for the death of his brother. How can he overcome his difficult situation? An emotional drama that will give you the tears, this is definitely a must watch. [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
Joo Won as Park Shi Ohn
Moon Chae Won as Cha Yoon Seo
Joo Sang Wook as Kim Do Han
Kim Min Seo as Yoo Chae Kyung
“Coffee Prince” (2007) starred Yoon Eun-hye, Gong Yoo, Lee Sun-kyun, and Chae Jung-an. Based on the novel of the same name written by Lee Sun-mi, it was aired on MBC's Mondays and Tuesdays at the 21:55 time slot from July and August 2007 and consisted of 17 episodes.The drama portrays the story of an unlikely romance between a tomboyish woman, who dresses like a man in order to get work, and a young food empire mogul. It contains homoerotic elements, as the man does not initially know of the tomboy's true sex.Hailed as a hit for its high ratings, the drama received positive reviews from critics and won multiple awards. [Source: Wikipedia]
Mare-sensei wrote in reelrundown.com: “The delicious taste of story and aromatic blend of characters in this drama is what makes Coffee Prince popular. Featuring the hardships in the life of Go Eun Chan as she works many jobs to pay off debts and even gave up her feminine image. Meanwhile, Choi Han Kyul is the heir of a big food company, but his grandmother wants him to settle down, so she arranged many dates for him. After Eun Chan bumped into Han Kyul and was mistaken for a boy, Han Kyul decided to hire Eun Chan to be his gay lover in order to avoid the arranged dates. Desperately in need of money, Eun Chan had no choice but to accept. Han Kyul's grandmother also made Han Kyul in charge of a filthy coffee shop in danger of being bankrupt. Eun Chan begged to work at the coffee shop, and not long after, feelings start to spark, except, how would Han Kyul accept his "homosexuality"? [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
Yoon Eun Hye as Go Eun Chan
Gong Yoo as Choi Han Kyul
Lee Sun Gyun as Choi Han Sung
Chae Jung Ahn as Han Yoo Joo
Playful Kiss (2010, also known as Mischievous Kiss or Naughty Kiss) is a romantic-comedy starring Jung So-min and Kim Hyun-joong. It aired on MBC from September to October 2010 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 for 16 episodes. is based on the Japanese manga Itazura Na Kiss written by Tada Kaoru. The Korean series is the third television adaptation of the manga following the Taiwanese It Started with a Kiss in 2005, and its sequel They Kiss Again in 2007. [Source: Wikipedia]
Though Playful Kiss received low ratings in South Korea in the five to seven percent range, it was sold to 12 countries in Asia for approximately US$3,400,000 and developed a strong cult following, having been streamed 70 million times on Viki and earning US$400,000 in ad revenue through online streaming. Due to its international popularity, a short special edition was aired on YouTube after the series finale.
Mare-sensei wrote in reelrundown.com: It s a romantic-comedy covering the romance between Baek Seung-Jo, an arrogant young man with a genius IQ, and Oh Ha-Ni, a ditzy young woman who gets poor grades, but whose heart is as powerful as Seung-Jo's mind. [Source: Mare-sensei, reelrundown.com, September 28, 2016]
Kim Hyun-joong as Baek Seung-jo
Jung So-min as Oh Ha-ni
Lee Tae-sung as Bong Joon-gu
Lee Si-young as Yoon Hae-ra
“All In” (2003) was produced by SBS and based on the true story of Cha Min-su, a pro gambler and a pro janggi (Korean chess) player. Mr. Cha is the model for the main character Kim In-ha, played by Lee Byung-hun. Mr. Cha has had an even more dramatic life than what was portrayed in the drama. He went to Las Vegas with only 18 dollars and became a millionaire. 'All In' is a story about a passion for success, victory and defeat in business and at the casino, and a love sorrowful and pure. It was inspired by Mr. Cha's fiction-like life. [Source: Korea Tourism Organization visitkorea.or.kr ]
“All In” (2003) aired on SBS from January to April 2003 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 for 24 episodes. The drama was a ratings success in South Korea, with its final episode reaching a peak viewership rating of 47.7 percent, which is the 42nd highest-rated Korean drama episode of all time. It also won several awards, notably the Grand Prize ("Daesang") for Lee Byung-hun at the 2003 SBS Drama Awards.
Kim In-ha (Lee Byung-heon) is an orphan and grows up with gambler Kim Chi-su. He falls in love with Min Su-yeon (Song Hye-gyo) and makes friends with Choi Jeong-won (Ji Seong), the son of hotelier Choi Do-hwan (Lee Deok-hwa). After Jeong-won becomes In-ha's best friend, he meets In-ha's girlfriend Su-yeon, and falls in love with her. In-ha is accused of murder by Jeong-won's father and makes an escape to the United States. In Las Vegas he meets a teacher of card games and becomes a professional gambler. After he wins the World Poker Championship, he returns to Korea to run a casino and hotel business. Back home, he contends for victory and success with his friend but rival, Jeong-won.
Vivi wrote in dramafever.com: “Discover what happens when an ex-convict and an ex-nun fall in love in this dark and brooding tale of hardship and romance based on the true-to-life tale of professional poker player Jimmy Cha. Raised by his uncle, a professional gambler, Kim In Ha grows up learning how to cheat at cards. As a teenager, he falls in love with Min Soo Yeon, whose father owed money to the wrong people and got himself killed. In an attempt at revenge, In Ha sets fire to the gangsters' warehouse and unintentionally kills someone, landing him in jail for arson and manslaughter at the age of eighteen. With nowhere to turn, Soo Yeon is taken in by the church, where she sets her sights on becoming a nun. Seven years later, In Ha is released and manages to get a job at a high-end casino where he runs into none other than Soo Yeon, who has left the church to become a casino dealer. Hopelessly entangled with the mob, the casino underworld, and his own dark history, In Ha will have to go " all in " and risk everything he has to keep the woman he loves at his side. [Source: Vivi, dramafever.com, October 22, 2015]
“Another ratings hit, All In won a slew of awards in 2003, including Daesang and Best Actor at the Baeksang Arts Awards. The series was so popular, in fact, that after the original filming location on Jeju was destroyed in a hurricane, it was rebuilt as the "All In House," where tourists can relive their favorite scenes.
Filming Locations for All In on Jeju Island
Lotte Hotel (in Jungmun Resort): You can enjoy the beautiful Jeju scenery overlooking the Pacific and the romantic atmosphere of a Dutch windmill on a lakeside cliff. The windmill shows up frequently in important scenes in the drama. You will see the site where Su-yeon first meets In-ha at the Lobby Lounge, and Jeong-won and Su-yeon miss bumping into each other on the stairs of the lobby. Su-yeon gives a gift to In-ha at the bench in front of the windmill, and after In-ha is promoted, he looks over the beach from the observation platform there. There are now signposts with scenes and lines at the each of these places.
HYATT Regency Hotel (in Jungmun Resort) transforms into the 'Sea World Hotel' in the television drama, 'All In.' The ambitious Choi Do-hwan, played by actor Lee Deok-hwa, runs the Sea World Hotel and Casino along with his son Jeong-won, played by Jiseong. The presidential suite on the 11th floor is a place for making deals and for Jeong-won, falling in love. It was here where he first set eyes on Min Su-yeon, played by Song Hye-gyo. Jeong-won spent many times on the balcony of the 11th floor suite looking out over the cobalt ocean and thinking about his new love. At the Island Lounge, Jeong-won drinks with Su-yeon and realizes that she still has feelings for her first love. She drinks too much and Jeong-won ends up carrying Su-yeon on his back to the suite. Another scene in the drama takes place in the Dadami Room of the Japanese restaurant at the hotel. Here Jeong-won's father tries to set his son up with a wealthy businessman's daughter.
Paradise Hotel Jeju: Built where former Korean President Syngman Rhee had his villa, this hotel first opened in 1963 in the Mediterranean style. It is located near Jeongbang Falls at Seogwipo Beach and offers a truly majestic view of the ocean and surrounding cliffs. Honeymoon House is the Korean restaurant in this hotel with a sweet decor, proud to serve the traditional teas of Jeju Island and a high-quality menu. In the drama, Su-yeon has dinner with Jin-hui in this restaurant. Other sets in the drama include the living room and lobby of the hotel's honeymoon suite, and a walk around the suite is shown.
International Conventioin Center Jeju located in Jungmun Resort was designed in grand style and acted as Lee Byeong-hun's character's office in the drama. His office was located on the second floor with large glass windows offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape as well as his rival's hotel, the Hyatt Regency. This area is now used as a restaurant.
Jungmun Golf Course (at Jungmun Resort) on the southern coast, this 18-hole course offers exotic southern coastal views. It is Korea's only seaside course, above seashore cliffs and a plunging valley. Golfing is all year round on evergreen lawns amid surrounding beauty. Jiseong's character played many rounds of golf here. Lee Byeong-hun also had some scenes here after his character returned from the United States and needed to refine himself into a proper young businessman. Scenes of his golf lessons were shot here.
Daeyu Land offers bird hunting, sporting clays, and rifle and pistol target shooting all year round, with ultra-modern facilities. You can have a shotgun rental, hunting dog, suit and shoes, and a guide, for a hundred thousand won. You can get in a round of practice with clay pigeons for 30,000 won, and cartridges are 1,000 won apiece. Afterwards, you can go out for pheasant or quail in about three hours. You can also enjoy the pheasant-breeding farm, clubhouse, and, of course, the large hunting grounds. In the drama, Jin-hui and her father meet Jeong-won and his father at Daeyu Land after shooting clays.
Lee Byung-hun Interview
Question: You are a pro gambler in this drama. Do you have talent for gambling? Answer from Lee Byung-hun: I didn't know how to gamble - only learned for this drama. Q: I heard that “All In”has the highest popularity rating for a TV drama. What is the main reason? A: I really appreciate it. The main reason is the ability and the efforts made by our director and the writer. Also I believe the story is very interesting, based on a true story. The actors also worked very hard. Q: You are very handsome actor with good acting ability. What do you say about that? A: (Smile) When I was young I thought I was a good-looking guy. I don't believe that any more. But I do think I'm a charming person. Thank you for saying so. [Source: Korea Tourism Organization visitkorea.or.kr ]
Q: How do you feel about acting with the actress Hye-gyo Song? A: She is very pretty and I worried a little about acting with her, but after we did the scenes together, my worries blew away. Q: What do you think about Hye-gyo song? A: She is a very mature woman in character. Sometimes I feel she is more mature than I, even though I'm older.
Q: I heard that during filming there is very little time. A: I didn't sleep for four days once. I asked my mom to pack my stuff, picked it up at the airport, and took off for the USA. I was finally able to sleep on the flight. When I watched my own acting, I couldn't remember everything I had done! Q: What did your mom say? A: She said that it was hard to understand why that happened to us. (Smile) Q: In the movie you are accused of murder. Do you have any real life experience of being disgraced unfairly? A: Sure, many times -I was misunderstood to have passed gas in an elevator (smile). But never anything serious.
Q: Many scenes were filmed on Jeju Island. Where was your favorite place? A: It took all our time to film, and we were limited in being able to tour around. One of my favorite places, though, was Seobjikoji. This is a wonderful place, very cool. I felt refreshed there.
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons.
Text Sources: South Korean government websites, Korea Tourism Organization, Cultural Heritage Administration, Republic of Korea, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Library of Congress, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Chunghee Sarah Soh in “Countries and Their Cultures”, “Columbia Encyclopedia”, Korea Times, Korea Herald, The Hankyoreh, JoongAng Daily, Radio Free Asia, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, AFP, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.
Updated in July 2021