Anthropology: The Sociocultural Impact of K-Dramas

K-Dramas perform one of the most important roles in South Korea, as part of that, expressing reality. Also, K-dramas point out the political, historical, or philosophical background which is surrounding us or in South Korea. Moreover, KBS aired the first television series if we date back to 1962. In recent years, K-dramas are becoming popular and producing a wide variety of topics to attract teenagers or families to watch. Hence, this article aims to explore how the impacts are brought on K-dramas, and provides recommendations for the audience to choose the appropriate one.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (사이코지만 괜찮아), which is one of the most popular romance K-dramas on Netflix in 2020. Studio Dragon (TvN) created this drama and the main cast are Moon Gang-tae (Kim Soo-hyun), Ko Moon-young (Seo Yea-ji), and Moon Sang-tae (Oh Jung-se). The main concept of this drama is to express the emotional change between those characters and how to get closer to others.

Kim Soo-hyun is having a hug with Seo Yea-ji.
Image source: The Nerd Daily


Let me introduce the main character, Moon Gang-tae. He is a caregiver who works at OK Psychiatric Hospital and also the most popular caregiver ranked by the patients. At the same time, his older brother, Moon Sang-tae, got the diagnosis of autism. Although Gang-tae uses the majority of the time to stay with his brother, the situation does not improve year by year. Apparently, the nightmare (fear of butterflies since he is the only witness of the mother’s murder) is controlling his psychology and forcing Gnag-tae to move home every spring with him. Meanwhile, Ko Moon-young has built a strong relationship with those brothers. Moon-young is a popular book author but diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder. As we know, any disorder or psychological problems are not natural as she suffered a huge turbulent relationship during her childhood.

A badge with betterfly style, with golden colour
Image source: Dramabeans

Reflection on K-Drama

After a brief introduction to this drama, have you imagined how painful their suffering is? Everything comes from the previous encounter. For example, Moon-young suffered a horrible childhood because her parents had the right attitude and models. Moreover, she embedded some clues into her story so as to let the readers connect to her. I would say she is clever, but it could affect the mind-thinking of other children. They may think those traumas MUST happen during their personal development and are afraid of growing up. Therefore, authors can influence their readers through works indirectly.

A family photo includes kim soo-hyun, seo yea-ji, oh jung-se.
Image source: Soompi

And for the scene, there is a big difference between other dramas in describing psychiatric wards. This one uses bright lighting at every corner in OK Psychiatric Hospital, as well as an energy background like the lush colourful flowers. It is a good setting for the audience to watch it with positive mind-thinking. In addition, the drama portrays the reality of mental illness, which makes me memorable. Hence, we should just get rid of the stereotypes and the feelings of eccentrics since they cannot control themselves and need extra care about them.

Itaewon Class

The second K-drama I would like to discuss is Itaewon Class (이태원 클라쓰). The funny thing is the first series which is produced by the film distribution company called Showbox. Moreover, they won the Best Drama series but I am not surprised since it reflects the reality of the upper class in South Korea. The main casts are Park Sae-ro-yi (Park Seo-joon), Jo Yi-seo (Kim Da-mi), and Jang Dae-hee (Yoo Jae-myung). Furthermore, Itaewon Class is comprehensive to talk all-around, including family love, friendship, and working attitude.

the poster of Itaewon Class
Image source: AsianWiki


In the first two episodes, Park Sae-ro-yi is a transfer student who gets expelled due to punching CEO Jang’s son. Moreover, Sae-ro-yi is really righteous and stands up for his classmates. However, Lee Ho-jin (who was financial advisor afterward) was rejected as his assistant. After the death of his father, he is depressed and always thinks about how to take revenge. During prison time, he started planning to operate a food company (which is IC Group) to resist Jang’s company. Also, Sae-ro-yi met Ryoo Kyung-Soo (Choi Seung-kwon) in prison and changed his life gradually. Hence, Kyung-Soo followed him and became his loyal worker year by year.

At the same time, Yi-seo is a social media celebrity and tries to act as a manager in his restaurant. Luckily, Yi-seo is the main influencer of Sae-ro-yi and inspired to expand the scale of IC Group. At the end of this, IC Group is successfully annexed by Jang’s company and became the largest food chain company to achieve its goals.

this is the scene of Lee Ho-jin, bullied by the CEO's son
Image source: Soompi

Reflection on K-Drama

If you have not watched it before, just go ahead. I would say Itaewon Class is one of the K-dramas that you MUST watch. Undoubtedly, it is educational dramas that can teach teenagers how to pursue their dreams by the correct pathway. The most significant thing is to control your emotions, especially under pressure or anger. Sae-ro-yi cannot control himself so as to take revenge on Geun-won (who is the CEO’s son) physically and faces three-year imprisonment. In reality, some people are also killed by someone accidentally based on their uncontrollable emotions. Moreover, friendship is an important element in our life since it can remind us and provide some direction for us. Don’t be afraid of asking for them as your mentor, because it could be your “turning point’ in your life.

Kim To-ni, half-Korea and half-Africa, wearing headphone.
Image source: Mashable India

Meanwhile, respect for diversity is necessary, since everyone has the human right to do whatever they want. We cannot determine their abilities based on their ethnicity or gender. Moreover, one of the scenes has pointed out this problem which is deep-rooted in South Korea. People only depend on the colour of their skin rather than nationality. Therefore, remember to understand the person from their intrinsic personality.

Move to Heaven

Move to Heaven (무브 투 헤븐: 나는 유품정리사입니다), which is the original Netflix series in 2021. Although it only has 10 episodes, the contents are really rich and cover different topics. Terrible lovers, family violence, and gay love story are mainly discussed and reflect the reality of society nowadays. There are two main casts, who are Han Geu-ru (Tang Joon-sang) and Cho Sang-gu (Lee Je-hoon). In my opinion, this drama is a bit different from others as it has happened in similar scenes, but you can take your reflection deeply.

Tang Joon-sang and Lee Je-hoon, wearing white protection jacket and standing to look for something
Image source: Decider


This K-drama only have 10 episodes mention the difficulty if you have lost your loved one. Let’s get a brief of our main role. Han Geu-ru is a 20-year-old young adult who has suffered from Asperger syndrome. Also, he has got an incredible memory and logical ability which can help him to analyse the missing point from the remnant. On the other hand, his uncle, Cho Sang-gu, is an ex-convict and guardian after Geu-ru parent’s death.

In the beginning, a little background is introduced of our main characters to help operate the family trauma cleaning company “Move to Heaven”. But Geu-ru still remembers what his father taught him as it could be the most important clue to saving his life. Furthermore, there are some inspirational sentences that touch your spirits and you feel upset if you miss the chance to talk with your loved one.

family picture, but it is broken and sticks with the yellow tap.
Image source: Netflix

Reflection on K-Drama

“Disappearing doesn’t mean ignoring it; as long as you remember it, then it’ll exist forever.”

This iconic sentence for me is memorable as it can remind us to remember everything from intrinsic. Intangible is difficult to understand but there could be some hints for your future. Oppositely, you can just think about as normal as you want to be. The outcome should be incredible.

“When people are about to be separated, then they won’t become liars.”

It is believed that everyone MIGHT tell a lie beforehand. However, have you imagined if your loved one will leave accidentally? No one can foresee how much time on the earth, but staying with your loved one is valuable and necessary. Hence, just be an honest person and try to connect with a loved one.

“If your children are different from others, parents will start worrying unconditionally.”

I guess every parent loves their children so much, even though their ability or talent is not outstanding compared to others. Also, some rare diseases are not able to change if those along with the children are inherent. Therefore, parents will take care of everything even if it is difficult to balance the work.

Crash Landing on You

Talking about K-dramas, you MUST watch the crash landing on you (사랑의 불시착) because both of the timeline and contents are scheduled perfectly. This love story is connected with South and North Korea, and also covers social phenomena in North Korea nowadays. It reached the highest-rated TvN drama and the third highest-rated K-dramas in history. Moreover, the main cast are Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin), Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin), Seo Dan (Seo Ji-hye), and Gu Seung-jun (Kim Jung-hyun). I will mainly go through Se-ri and Jeong-hyeok as they are potentially reflecting on how love can change everything.

poster of crash landing on you.
Image source: Pinkvilla


In the beginning, Se-ri went to have a paragliding trip, but the wind direction changed suddenly. Under this situation, she could only be crash-landed in North Korea (still have no idea where she was at that moment). Surprisingly, she finds Jeong-hyeok (who is an elite North Korean military officer) and asks for help. Although its a bit awkward, Jeong-hyeok still helps her to hide and think about how to go back to South Korea. Moreover, he really takes care of her daily life so that their relationship becomes closer every day. But everyday is not Sunday, she gets caught and Jeong-hyeok gets the penalty, which probably affects the whole family. Luckily, he can arrange the appropriate time slot and Se-ri is safety to go back.

However, Jo Chul Kang (Oh Man Seok), who is a North Korean military officer, followed Jeong-hyeok to South Korea and wanted to kill him. But Se-ri got involved to protect Jeong-hyeok which was really touching. In the end, they can only meet in Switzerland for only 2 weeks through the performance.

took in Switzerland, Se-ri is taking a bundle of flowers and standing behind the lake.
Image source: Korean Dramaland

Reflection on K-Drama

It tends to be a romantic rather than educational story, but I have learnt how hard it can be. Firstly, Se-ri lives in South Korea and Jeong-hyeok lives in North Korea. There is not any reason that they can meet up again, and only treasure their only chances to meet up with each other yearly. Secondly, it is really difficult for North Korea to use the internet or electronic devices to connect with the world. Probably only the upper class or administrator can use it several times. Compared with other countries, we are really happy to share our stuff on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Moreover, there are some life lessons that you can learn from the dramas as well.

“Life is embedded with twists.”

I bet everyone could face loads of twists when you are making your decisions? The outcomes are unpredictable and full of challenges if you have made the wrong one. However, do not be afraid to make the wrong one as it could be a successful factor to move on in your next steps. Remember, believe yourself is the most important and supportive reason to improve.

“Try to adapt to the cultures.”

Have you imagined that you need to leave your comfort zone in the future? It is reality and don’t be so afraid of it. Like Se-ri, she landed in North Korea but never always thought about how to leave. In this case, she tries to make the approved hairstyles and purchases clothes at the local market. If we are located in an unfamiliar environment, for example, a new workplace or a new team that needs different standards.

Jeong-hyeok, wearing a uniform and standing in front of the train. Se-ri is looking for something with an amazing face.
Image source: Netflix

“There is always a way out.”

When you make a decision or face any challenges, it does not get worse all the time. You must retain a positive attitude as the bright side is waiting for you. Although the process might be a bit longer, wait for it and you must eventually find a way out. Hence, be patient! Don’t run into a “dead end” and everything should be fine if the way is found.

Se-ri and Jeong-Hyeok are sitting near the born fire
Image source: Decider


In conclusion, these four K-dramas are worth watching as they can inspire you from intrinsic to extrinsic. We have learned how to love ourselves and others. Also, being patient is the key to reducing mistakes in decision-making. If you are really upset, try to express your emotions to your loved one. Moreover, observation is an appropriate method to restructure your thinking. On the other hand, respect those people who are surrounding you and try to be proud of their abilities. Everything is better late than never. Just don’t force yourself to meet impossible targets is fine. Hence, do reflection, relax, and respect each other!

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