K-dramas about South Korea’s reality

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Lately, we have encountered K-dramas in which we can visualize a different theme from classic romantic dramas. Through these new topics, we can feel identified on a much deeper level than just feeling empathy for the protagonists. These K-dramas focus more on problems that many people face in real life. For example, some dramas such as “It’s okay to not be okay” address depression or mental health and other issues relevant to the modern world. As a result, people have a better perspective on mental health, the dynamics of marriage and the family after seeing such dramas. So I will now introduce you to some K-dramas which made me realise that these issues should not be taboo and that their representation on the screen should be increasing, as they are real situations.

Image retrieved from Freepik.

“It’s okay to not be okay”

This drama encompasses a sea of emotions during its development. It covers the whole emotional and romantic side of K-dramas, without becoming cheesy, which makes it easier to process if you’re the type of person who can’t stand honeyed couples. The drama shows its protagonists who carry deep wounds, but with mutual support, they manage to overcome them. Through this, we can learn and understand a little more about autism spectrum disorder and antisocial personality disorder, topics that are little visible on the small screen, but that are slowly becoming more relevant. If you are one of the people who like to feel different emotions in a short time, this drama is definitely for you, as you can feel frustration, anger, sadness, and much more in a single chapter.

Image retrieved from KPOPmás.

“Juvenile justice”

Juvenile Court is a 2019 K-drama that unmasks the judicial system in South Korea. The plot focuses on the Juvenile Court proceedings where lawyers seek justice for the accused minors. The drama shows a side of the law that we are not normally aware of, as in some cases lawyers fight against the lack of evidence to help children whose lives are at stake. This drama exposes different cases in which minors represent the perpetrators, and in others, they are victims of violence. Reality is presented so crudely that it is likely that you will not be able to continue the series running, because of the different emotions that you will have to process. Despite this, the essence of this drama allows us to recognize that this reality exists and many times we do not get to have a completely fair verdict, because of the delimitations in justice.

Image retrieved from film2srt.com

“Run on”

This is a light romantic comedy-drama, where we find a theme that shows us a reality in South Korea: labor sexism. Our protagonist, who in addition to being very intelligent, is a translator of films subtitles, does not receive the recognition or remuneration she deserves for the simple fact of being a woman. On the other hand, we also see how the co-star struggles with that, despite being the only legitimate daughter of a millionaire businessman, and having proven to be able to have all the requirements to be the successor in charge of the family business, many people are opposed to this happening, because she is a woman, she is not considered fit for office.

Image retrieved from kpopmap.com

“Hello, My Twenties!”

This K-drama follows the day-to-day life of five young students living in a university residence. The story focuses on the daily problems Korean students face during their university life. Topics covered include academic pressure, financial stress, isolation, and the search for an identity. Even in one of the chapters, we will find a  kidnapping situation by the couple of one of the protagonists, a circumstance that will mark her life forever. Our protagonists are people who have grown and become more mature during the series, despite the different circumstances in which each is.

Image retrieved from Book Lover.

The topics we find in the K-dramas are increasingly leaving much more to talk about by covering such significant issues as mental health, social pressure, labor sexism, among others. It’s important to make these issues visible, because not everything is rosy when we talk about South Korean society, and it is good to be aware that we will not always see  the typical scenes of romance dramas in real life where the protagonists meet accidentally and fall in love. Reality goes far beyond that.

Written by: Rocio Ruiz

Reviewed by: Luisa Quintero


Cultura Asiática LR (2023, January 27). “Tribunal de menores 2” no va más: cancelan segunda temporada del popular drama de Netflix. La República. https://larepublica.pe/cultura-asiatica/doramas/2023/01/27/tribunal-de-menores-2-no-va-cancelan-segunda-temporada-del-popular-dorama-coreano-de-netflix-juvenile-justice-2-185535

DoblajeWiki. (n/d). El amor es la meta. https://doblaje.fandom.com/es/wiki/El_amor_es_la_meta

KPOPmás. (2020, October 21). Está bien no estar bien. https://kpopmas.com/esta-bien-no-estar-bien/

Mónica. (2020, December 23). Reseña Drama: Age of Youth 2. Book Lover. http://bookwithcapitalletters.blogspot.com/2020/12/resena-drama-age-of-youth-2.html

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