Korean dramas (Korean: 한국 드라마; RR: Han-guk deurama), more popularly known as K-dramas, are television series in the Korean language, made in South Korea.
They are popular worldwide, especially in Asia, partially due to the spread of Korean popular culture (the "Korean Wave"), and their widespread availability via streaming services which often offer subtitles in multiple languages. Many K-dramas have been adapted throughout the world, and some have had great impact in other countries. Some of the most famous dramas have been broadcast via traditional television channels in other countries. For example, Dae Jang Geum (2003) was sold to 150 countries.
Korean dramas have attracted international attention for their fashion, style and culture. Their rise in popularity has led to a great boost to fashion lines.
A single director usually leads Korean dramas, which are often written by a single screenwriter. This often leads to each drama having distinct directing and dialogue styles. This differs from American television series, which can rely on multiple directors and writers working together.
The 19:00 to 21:00 evening time slot usually have been reserved for daily dramas, which run every night from Monday through Friday. Dramas in these slots are in the telenovela format, rarely running over 150 episodes. Unlike American soap operas, these daily dramas are not broadcast during the daytime. Instead, the daytime schedule often includes reruns of the flagship dramas. The night time dailies can achieve very high ratings. During the late 2000s, for example, the weekend series First Wives' Club recorded 41.3%, according to TNS Korea, and the evening series Temptation of Wife peaked at 40.6%, according to TNS Korea.
K-dramas have a multitude of different genres such as action dramas, historical dramas, school dramas, medical dramas, legal dramas, or even horror comedies. While most dramas carry romantic elements and deep emotional themes, some even carry a tragedy and slice of life theme. there are various styles and tones.
The main themes of Korean television dramas are friendship, family values, and love, blending traditional values of Confucianism with Western materialism and individualism.
However, it is an emerging trend amongst Korean dramas to showcase ongoing societal issues of Korean society such as stigma of mental illness, gender inequality, suicide, classism, bullying, spy cameras, corruption, homophobia or racism.
Main article: Sageuk
The term sageuk refers to any Korean television or film drama that is either based on historical figures, incorporates historical events, or uses a historical backdrop. While sageuk literally translates to "historical drama", the term is typically reserved for dramas taking place throughout the course of Korean history.
Since the mid-2000s, some sageuks have achieved major success outside of Korea, in places such as Asia-Pacific, Central Asia, Greater Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America. Sageuks including Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace), Yi San (Lee San, Wind of the palace) and Jumong enjoyed strong ratings in countries such Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Fiji and Iran. Jumong, which aired on IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) in 2008, had 85% viewership.
Often centered around a love story, series set in contemporary times often focus on family ties and romantic relationships. Characters are mostly idealized with Korean male protagonists described as handsome, intelligent, rich, and in search of "one true love". This has also been a contributing factor to the popularity of Korean dramas among women.
Radio broadcasting, including the broadcasting of radio dramas in Korea, began in 1927 under Japanese rule, with most programming in Japanese and around 30% in Korean. After the Korean War, radio dramas such as Cheongsilhongsil (1954) reflected the country's mood.
Television broadcasting began in 1956 with the launch of an experimental station, HLKZ-TV, which was shut down a few years later due to a fire. The first national television channel was Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), which started up in 1961. The first Korean television film was a 15-minute piece titled The Gate of Heaven (천국의 문, Cheongugui mun), on HLKZ-TV.
The first television series was aired by KBS in 1962. Their commercial competitor, Tongyang Broadcasting (TBC), had a more aggressive program policy and aired controversial dramas as well. The first historical TV series aired was Gukto manri (국토만리), directed by Kim Jae-hyeong (김재형), depicting the Goryeo era. In the 1960s, television sets were of limited availability, thus dramas could not reach a larger audience.
In the 1970s, television sets started to spread among the general population, and dramas switched from portraying dramatic historical figures to introducing national heroes like Yi Sun-shin or Sejong the Great. Contemporary series dealt with personal sufferings, such as Kim Soo-hyun's influential Stepmother (새엄마, Saeeomma), aired by MBC in 1972 and 1973. As technology and funding was limited, Korean channels could not make series in resource-heavy genres like action and science fiction; American and other foreign series were imported instead.
The 1980s saw a change in Korean television, as color TV became available. Modern dramas tried to evoke nostalgia from urban dwellers by depicting rural life. Kim Soo-hyun's first real commercial success, Love and Ambition (사랑과 야망, Saranggwa yamang), aired on MBC in 1987 and is regarded as a milestone of Korean television, having recorded a 78% viewership. "Streets became quiet at around the airing time of the drama as 'practically everyone in the country' was at home in front of the TV", according to The Korea Times. The most outstanding classical historical series of the era is considered to be 500 Years of Joseon (조선왕조500년, Joseonwangjo 500 nyeon), a serial that ran for eight years, consisting of 11 separate series. The serial was produced by Lee Byung-hoon, who later directed one of the biggest international successes of Korean drama, Dae Jang Geum.The 1990s brought another important milestone for Korean television. As technology developed, new opportunities arose, and the beginning of the decade marked the launch of a new commercial channel; Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), which facilitated and re-initiated a race for catching viewers' attention. The first real commercial success among Korean television series was Eyes of Dawn (여명의 눈동자, Yeomyeongui nundongja), aired in 1991 by MBC, starring Chae Shi-ra and Choi Jae-sung. The series led the viewers through turbulent times from the Japanese rule to the Korean War. New channel SBS also produced successful series, one of them being Sandglass in 1995. Sandglass was a "trendy drama", which the Korean Culture and Information Service considers an important milestone, having changed the way Korean dramas are made by introducing a new format. In this decade, the new miniseries format became widespread, with 12 to 24 episodes. This era marked the start of export for Korean dramas, setting off the Korean Wave.
The beginning years of the 2000s gave birth to famous Korean dramas and also marked the period of overseas distribution. Some popular ones are Full House, Autumn in my heart and Winter Sonata. It marks the birth of a new genre, called "fusion sageuk", essentially changing the ways to produce historical series, with successful pieces such as Hur Jun, Damo and Dae Jang Geum.
It started to take over the popularity of conventional dramas among 10s and 20s because the shorter runtime, and often feature trendy contents which teenagers are easy to sympathize with.
The late 2010s and 2020s saw newfound attention of K-dramas from international markets. Netflix had begun seeking productions from South Korea and other countries since around 2018 to expand offerings for their service with a growing international audience. These efforts came to fruition when Hwang Dong-hyuk's Squid Game drew in more than 111 million viewers within 17 days of its released in September 2021, becoming the service's most-watched program.
In the 2020s, several production companies began to produce dramas even before the first season was aired, keeping in mind the season system. The most representative series is The Penthouse: War in Life series, which gained sensational popularity as it aired over three seasons. The biggest reason why Korean dramas introduced the season system is interpreted as changes in the industry due to the 52-hour workweek, viewers' rejection of feature-length dramas, and excessive supply of dramas. At the same time, MBC and tvN's anomalous organization began to be criticized a lot. tvN extended one episode of the drama to 2 hours and 20 minutes. delaying it to the late night of another drama. In particular, the running time of the last episode of Hospital Playlist was close to three hours, but even though it was reduced after editing, it delayed the formation of the next The Road: The Tragedy of One to late night as it passed two hours. and MBC canceled telenovela The Second Husband and reran the thriller The Veil at that time.
Snowdrop, a Disney+ Korean drama set against the backdrop of the 1987 June Democratic Struggle, has been accused of whitewashing the military dictatorship period of South Korea (see also: Gwangju Uprising) as they constitute an important aspect of South Korea's soft power projection to "brand and publicize" the country.
Korean series were originally produced in-house by the television channels themselves, but have been outsourced to independent companies since the 2000s. In 2012, as much as 75% of all K-dramas were produced this way. Competition is fierce among these companies; out of 156 registered firms, only 34 of them produced dramas that were actually aired in 2012.
In the late 2010s, a typical Korean drama may cost as much as ₩700 million per episode. Historical dramas have a bigger budget; one episode of the historical romance The Red Sleeve cost as much as ₩950 million. Recently, factors such as improving the work environment, along with whether to sign contracts with domestic and foreign OTT companies such as Netflix have served as variables. For example, Kingdom had a budget of ₩2 billion per episode, while ₩3 billion were spent on each episode of Sweet Home.
Often, production companies overrun their budgets and cannot pay salaries. In 2012, actors held a demonstration in front of the headquarters of KBS, expressing their concerns. Actors are usually paid after the last episode is aired. In series made by smaller production companies, there have been cases where the companies went bankrupt and could not pay their actors and crew, while the channel denied all responsibility, claiming all liability was with the bankrupt production firm. Producer Kim Jong-hak spent ₩10 billion on Faith, which was considered a commercial failure, resulting in the inability of Kim to pay crew salaries and other overheads. Kim, who had produced iconic dramas such as Eyes of Dawn and Sandglass, committed suicide after he was accused of embezzlement.
The biggest stars may earn more than ₩200 million per episode, with Kim Soo-hyun, the lead of hit dramas Moon Embracing the Sun (2012), My Love from the Star (2013) and It's Okay to Not Be Okay (2020) reportedly receiving ₩500 million per episode for One Ordinary Day in 2021.
As producing a series involves high expenses, production companies seek to shoot the episodes in the shortest time possible. In contrast to practices elsewhere, the first four episodes of Korean series are usually shot in advance, but the rest are shot continuously as the series is being aired. Scripts are not finished in advance, and may change according to viewer feedback and viewership ratings, where popular characters receive increased screen time and plotlines are changed to match audience expectations. These changes may occur a few hours before daily shooting, and the crew might receive only a few ready pages. The production usually works with three camera crews, who work in a rotating manner to speed up filming. Because of unregulated script changes and tight shooting schedules, actors are almost continuously on standby, and have no time to leave the set or sleep properly. The Korean media have a separate word to describe irregular, short sleeps that actors resort to, in often uncomfortable positions, or within the set: jjok-jam (쪽잠), or "side-sleeping". Dramas usually air on two days every week, with following episodes having to be shot within the intervening five days. Some Korean actors have admitted to receiving IV therapy during filming, due to extreme schedules and exhaustion. Nonetheless, the live-shoot model remains widely used since the production team can react to real time audience feedback.
Production teams originally sent two tapes to the channels; a primary copy and a backup copy. However, due to the tight filming schedules, a 70-minute episode might arrive at the broadcasting station on seven separate tapes in ten-minute installments. It happened that while the episode is being broadcast, the crew would be still shooting the last minutes or cutting the rest of the episode. During the airing of the nineteenth episode of Man from the Equator, screens countrywide went black for 10 minutes. Actor Kwon Sang-woo was openly complaining that he was still shooting King of Ambition 30 minutes before the last episode began airing. In South Korea, some production teams still do planning and scheduling manually, instead of using dedicated software.
In 2016, dramas such as Descendants of the Sun, Uncontrollably Fond, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo and Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth were all pre-produced before airing. Nonetheless, some pre-produced episodes are often re-edited or even reshot the day of airing, due to audience feedback.
The larger broadcasting companies have their own dedicated shooting locations for historical dramas, with extensive and elaborate sets. MBC's series are shot at the Yongin Daejanggeum Park in Gyeonggi Province, while KBS dramas utilize the Mungyeongsaejae Studio (문경새재 KBS촬영장) in North Gyeongsang Province and their studio in Suwon.
Independent production companies are classified as follows:
In the 2000s, it became customary to cast popular K-pop idols in dramas. Initially, this generated mixed reactions. Their appearance had provoked predominantly negative reactions outside their fandom because singers and dancers acting outside of their musical circle was regarded as unprofessional. Also, some idols were criticized for poor acting. Nowadays, this has become much more common feature in Korean dramas, as the public has been getting more used to the concept of "idol actors" and some idols have become known for their excellent acting skills. Their critical reception is still mixed, however, some of them, like Bae Suzy, IU, Seo In-guk, Blackpink's Jisoo, Ok Taec-yeon, Park Jin-young, Doh Kyung-soo and Im Yoon-ah, became successful as actors and actresses.
There were also instances of children taking up careers as child actors or actresses, usually portraying either the younger versions of some characters or the children of the adult characters from dramas. Subsequently, there were some child actors and actresses who continue pursuing acting careers even after reaching adulthood, and with some achieving success even after adulthood. Notably, such people include actors like Yoon Chan-young, Park Solomon, Yoo Seung-ho and Yeo Jin-goo; and actresses like Kim So-hyun, Lee Se-young, Nam Ji-hyun, Kim Hyang-gi, Moon Geun-young, Park Shin-hye, Kim Sae-ron and Kim Yoo-jung.
Scriptwriters and directors of Korean dramas are often as well known as actors are. An overwhelming majority of scriptwriters (90% according to the Beijing Metro Reader) are women, who not only write love stories but action series as well. Compared to Korean cinema, television is more appealing for scriptwriters as contract conditions are better, acknowledgment is greater, and the salary is higher.
Famous scriptwriters tend to have a say in their field. The most well-known scriptwriters include the Hong sisters, who wrote popular series such as My Girl, You're Beautiful and My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho; Kim Soon-ok, the screenwriter of The Penthouse: War in Life, The Last Empress, Band of Sisters, Jang Bo-ri is Here! and Temptation of Wife; Kim Eun-sook, the screenwriter of Lovers in Paris, Secret Garden, The Heirs, Descendants of the Sun and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Lee Kyung-hee, famous for I'm Sorry, I Love You and The Innocent Man; male writer Choi Wan-kyu [ja] of Midas and Triangle; Noh Hee-kyung, the author of That Winter, the Wind Blows; and It's Okay, That's Love; and Park Ji-eun, who wrote My Husband Got a Family, My Love from the Star, The Producers, Legend of the Blue Sea and Crash Landing on You. In particular, writer Kim Soon-ok is famous for captivating male viewers who did not watch dramas well. In 2021, an article called "Kim Soon-ok, Kim Eun-sook, and Kim Eun-hee" was also published, referring to star writers.
Acknowledged TV directors include Lee Byung-hoon, who directed Hur Jun, Dae Jang Geum and Yi San; Kim Jong-hak, the director of Eyes of Dawn, Sandglass, The Legend and Faith;, Pyo Min-soo, the director of Full House, Worlds Within and Iris II and Jang Tae-yoo who directed War of Money, Painter of the Wind, Deep Rooted Tree , My Love from the Star and Hyena. In recent years, director Jo Hyun-tak was also propelled to fame through his works Sky Castle, which became one of the highest rated dramas in Korean cable television history, and Snowdrop, which, despite its alleged historical distortions, was ranked first among the most-watched series on Disney+ in Asian countries like Singapore and South Korea.
While scriptwriters are mostly women, directors are usually men. Some female directors have risen to prominence, such as Lee Na-jeong (이나정), who directed The Innocent Man, and Lee Yun-jeong (이윤정), whose most famous works are Coffee Prince and Heart to Heart. The latter director is also the first female television producer employed by Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
Music plays an important role in Korean dramas. Original soundtracks, abbreviated OST's, are explicitly made for each series, and in contrast to American series, fans have a need to buy the soundtrack album of dramas. This trend started in the 1990s, when producers swapped purely instrumental soundtracks for songs performed by popular K-pop singers. Tom Larsen, director of YA Entertainment, a distributor of Korean TV series, thinks that Korean soundtracks are polished enough musically to be considered standalone hits.
During the 2000s, it became customary for lead actors to participate in original soundtracks, also partially due to the employment of K-pop stars as actors. Actor Lee Min-ho, and leader of boy band SS501, Kim Hyun-joong both recorded songs for Boys Over Flowers, while the actors of You're Beautiful formed a fictional band and held concerts, where they perform the soundtracks live.
OST songs of popular K-dramas can also become hits on regular music charts, with good sales of both physical and digital albums. The chart performance of the OST songs usually co-relate to the popularity of the drama. Songs from the OST of Secret Garden for example, had high digital sales and high rankings on music charts. My Destiny, performed by Lyn for My Love from the Star, led music charts in Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and other Asian countries. It also won the Best OST award at the 2014 Baeksang Arts Awards. The soundtrack album of You're Beautiful sold 57,000 physical copies. Performers of OST songs for action series Iris held two concerts in Japan in front of an audience of 60,000 people.
Although the songs in Korean dramas may have only a selective few or are repetitive, the choosing of the songs are not that easy of a process. An example of this can be found in the OST for the Korean drama: Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. Songs usually are made to convey emotions or scenes especially in dramas and the emotion was assigned to be conveyed by Rocoberry was suffering and beauty. Rocoberry is a Korean indie pop duo with the members of Roco and conan and they are famous for composing songs in Korean dramas. Even though they had quite the experience with composing songs, for Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, they had to create 12 different compositions for this drama until finally one of their most famous songs I Will Go to You Like the First Snow was chosen. Not only did it take 12 compositions for this song to be chosen but after the approval of this songs, there had to be 7 rewrites until it was finally complete and met the satisfaction standards of the production team. link The song was used in only two episodes despite the hard process. The song was placed in two scenes that later on were shown to be connected to each other and also became some of the most important scenes in the drama. This is only the beginning of understanding how much time and effort goes into the choosing of songs for these types of dramas and how they can enhance a scene in many different ways.
OST composers usually look for singers who have previously had success in the genre. Songs are written to reflect the mood of the series and their structure. Sometimes performers give their own songs for a series. For example, Baek Ji-young thought her song That Man, originally written for her own album, would fit Secret Garden. There are popular OST singers who are often employed, like Baek Ji-young, Lyn, and Lee Seung-cheol. Sometimes, foreign singers are invited to perform songs for Korean OST. For instance, Swedish artist Lasse Lindh sang several songs for series like Angel Eyes, Soul Mate, I Need Romance, and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.
Further information: Television content rating systems § South Korea
The television rating system is regulated by the Korea Communications Commission, and was implemented in 2000. According to the system, programs, including Korean dramas, are rated according to the following principles (ratings irrelevant to dramas are omitted):
According to a researcher at the University of Vienna, popularity of Korean dramas have their foundation in Confucian values they transmit, which Asian viewers can easily identify with. Respect for elders, filial piety, family-orientedness, and the display of perceived "Asian moral values" play an important role in Korean series. YA Entertainment, the American distributor of Korean dramas, believes that part of the attractiveness of these series come from the quality of camera work, scenic locations, and spectacular costumes, which make the "final product very stylish and attractive, with arguably some of the highest TV production values in the world." Korean series follow their own formula, are innovative and don't conform to Western television productions. Stephan Lee from Entertainment Weekly called Korean dramas "fascinating and weirdly comforting".
Exports of Korean series yielded US$37.5 million in 2003, which was three times higher than the amount reached in 1999. According to data from Korea Creative Content Agency, in 2013 K-dramas constituted 82% of the culture content export of South Korea, with an income of $167 million, which is four times more than a decade before.
A driving force behind the rising popularity is the intense involvement of fans. Because of the live-shooting production of K-dramas, Korean-speaking fans have the opportunity to participate in their creation—a unique phenomenon in the mass media world. They can influence the content of later shows in the series through complaints and suggestions, which are frequently adopted by the production teams.
The global community of non-Korean-speaking fans, on the other hand, is more involved in the consumption aspects: Fans share their opinions through tweets and comments on newsgroups (for example, the Soompi discussion forum) as well as reviews and recaps on websites and blogs. However, the impact of their social media activity goes beyond the fan community. It spreads the word about the K-drama genre to social connections like acquaintances, friends and family (e.g. Facebook friends or followers on Twitter) and thereby generally raises its popularity. But it also has an effect on the creation of new dramas. It influences the popularity of certain dramas, leading to higher demand for those videos from streaming sites and additional income for broadcasters. When a substantial profit results, it raises not only the prestige of people involved in the production but also provides feedback for production teams and indirectly influences future productions.
In China, South Korean programs on Chinese government TV networks accounted for more than all other foreign programs combined in 2006. Hong Kong has its own channel for airing Korean dramas, TVB J2, but ATV also airs Korean series in prime-time slots. My Love from the Star received enthusiastic feedback from China. It was viewed 40 billion times on numerous Chinese video sites. The drama also spurred interest about Korea, shown by China's increased consumption of Korean products such as Chi Maek (chicken and beer) and Korean cosmetics. Due to the success of Korean dramas in China, some dramas have been compiled to create feature-length films by combining all episodes into one film. The prodigious popularity of Korean dramas in the country has, on some occasions, been caught in the crossfire over diplomatic issues between China and South Korea. Most notable being the THAAD deployment in South Korea which resulted in the blocking of Korean dramas on streaming services across the country in late February 2017. Following the block, Chinese TV shows showcasing Chinese culture and other similar content replaced Korean content on TV networks' prime time schedules in the country. In November 2017, the ban was lifted unannounced following the appearance of Kpop groups on national TV and the move to resume importation of Korean dramas by Chinese streaming services. In China, apps like IQiyi, which is currently also available in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and some other countries in multiple different subtitles, are available to stream and download Korean dramas for viewing.
The first Korean drama to gain widespread popularity in Japan was Winter Sonata, which was broadcast on the NHK satellite channel NHK BS2 in 2003. The program was aired twice in the same year due to high demand from viewers. NHK also hosted a classical concert featuring Winter Sonata's tunes performed by Korean musicians. Korean dramas boost tourism between Korea and Japan, and is considered a possible way of improving strained relationships between the two countries, as series have become increasingly popular with Japanese viewers. Conversely, the series Iris had several pivotal scenes shot in Akita, Japan, which led to an increase of Korean tourists in that part of Japan.
In Mongolia, Korean dramas have become popular and are broadcast at prime time. Dae Jang Geum achieved success in the country and was broadcast five times due to this. Autumn in My Heart, Winter Sonata and Stairway to Heaven were other popular dramas. Popularity in Korean dramas has resulted in interest in the learning of the Korean language as well as Mongolians travelling to South Korea. It has also led to increased mutually cooperative relations between Mongolia and South Korea.
Watching films or TV dramas from South Korea is a serious offence in North Korea, punishable by execution, but people still manage to acquire them on CDs and DVDs.
In 2021, there was an article that young people who were watching the popular drama The Penthouse: War in Life were caught in Pyeongseong, Pyeongnam Province, and will have to serve more than 10 years. Later, the residents of Yanggang Province began to imitate the famous lines from the Penthouse series, and the residents were also unable to avoid punishment.
In Taiwan, interest in Korean dramas began when Star in My Heart aired in 1999. Since then Korean dramas have become very popular and according to the South Korean mission 120 K-dramas had been broadcast in Taiwan in the first half of 2011.
In recent times Korean dramas have experienced growing popularity in Brunei. The growing impact of Korean culture in Brunei led to the hosting of the ninth Korea Forum in the country at Universiti Brunei Darussalam in 2010. Korean television dramas, movies, music, and clothing have had a great impact on the people of Brunei.
The first Korean drama to be broadcast in Cambodia was Winter Sonata; it was, however, Full House that launched the interest in Korean dramas and entertainment in the country. Following the success of Full House, more Korean dramas have been dubbed into the Khmer language. Korean dramas have become popular particularly amongst youth in Cambodia.
In Indonesia, Korean dramas have gained popularity and the popular Korean dramas Winter Sonata and Endless Love were aired on Surya Citra Media in 2002. Some Korean dramas have also been remade into Indonesian versions such as Demi Cinta in 2005 which was a remake of the popular drama Autumn in My Heart and Cinta Sejati, a remake of Stairway to Heaven. RCTI and Indosiar are examples of Indonesian television networks that air Korean dramas in the early times, but later Trans TV airing some of popular Korean dramas until today.
The popularity of Korean dramas and pop culture in Laos has led to many Laotian tourists travelling to South Korea. Korean pop culture has gained popularity in Laos through the Thai TV channels broadcasting Korean dramas and K-pop bands in the country.
In Malaysia, Winter Sonata began airing on TV3 in 2003, which started an interest in Korean pop culture in the country. Dae Jang Geum and Autumn In My Heart were also aired in Malaysia. The popularity of Korean dramas have resulted in a positive reception of Korean expatriates in Malaysia.
In Myanmar, the K-drama Autumn in My Heart was broadcast in the country in 2001, which led to interest in Korean entertainment. When Dae Jang Geum was on air, the drama sparked an interest in Korean cuisine in the country. The rising popularity of Korean dramas and music in Myanmar has led to the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange (KOFICE) distributing Korean dramas in the country for free.
In the Philippines, Korean dramas are politically popular on free-to-air television since 2003. In the past two decades, GMA Network has the highest number of Korean dramas broadcast in the Philippines.
In Singapore, Prime 12 (now known as Suria) originally aired the Korean drama Sandglass on a weekly basis in 1996 and aired Asphalt Man in 1997. Since 2001, they are shown on Chinese language channel MediaCorp Channel U daily. The launch of KBS World, ONE TV ASIA, Oh!K, Channel M and streaming app, Viu in Singapore allows viewers to watch Korean dramas with a variety of subtitles in a matter of hours after the original South Korean telecast. Currently, Singaporeans also get access to Korean dramas through China-originated online platform IQIYI, which first soft-launched its app in 2019 and planned to expand its international bases in Singapore.
When Dae Jang Geum was on air in Thailand, Korean food started gaining wide popularity. Due to the lop-sided nature of entertainment exports favoring South Korea, the Thai government requested increased introduction of popular Thai films to South Korean media outlets. This led to the signing of an Agreement of Cultural Cooperation between the two countries in August 2004.
Korean dramas have also gained popularity in Vietnam, particularly among women and young people. The fashion and hairstyles presented in Korean dramas have become very popular among the youth of the country.
Korean dramas have gained popularity in Bangladesh in recent years. Their rising popularity in the country has led to the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange (KOFICE), an organisation which aims to distribute Korean dramas for free to countries, cooperating with broadcasters to distribute Korean dramas for free in the country. With the growing number of K-drama fans in Bangladesh, more and more Facebook groups are popping up, giving them a platform to share their love of the shows with fellow K-drama enthusiasts and take part in events and activities hosted by the groups. One of the largest Bangladeshi K-Drama groups, BD K-Family, arranges a yearly get together for its members. Other popular Facebook K-Drama groups include K-Drama Archive BD, Korean Lovers Bangladesh, and BD Korean Drama Fam- all of which create opportunities for both local and international fans to participate in discussions about their favourite shows.
In the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, Korean dramas and entertainment have gained popularity particularly amongst youth. Prior to interest in Korean entertainment, Bollywood had largely been the most popular form of entertainment in the country. When the Bhutanese film industry launched in the mid-1990s, Bollywood was the only form of influence on the industry. However, in recent years Korean entertainment has made significant inroads in the country and influence the entertainment industry alongside Bollywood. Korean entertainment has managed to influence fashion, and many video shops now sell Korean dramas and movies alongside Bollywood films. The interest in Korean entertainment has also led to controversy with older generations voicing their concern that Korean entertainment will deteriorate Bhutanese culture and traditions.
In India, after the late 1990s and around 2000 Korean dramas started becoming popular through piracy particularly in north-eastern states such as Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Mizoram and Nagaland as well as parts of eastern state like West Bengal and more recently in southern states like Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu. Hindi films and TV serials were banned in Manipur in 2000, as a result local television stations began broadcasting subtitled Korean dramas instead from Arirang TV and KBS World. Many young people in north-eastern, eastern, northern and southern parts of India mimic the hairstyles, clothes of Korean actors while Korean fashion became very popular in the region. As part of cultural exchange, public broadcaster Doordarshan telecast Emperor of the Sea and Dae Jang Geum. Korean dramas are dubbed in Tamil on Puthuyugam TV such as 'Boys over flowers', 'My love from another star', 'Playful Kiss' and many more. Full House and Hwang Jini started airing on Firangi channel in 2008. Reliance Big TV offered KBS World to its subscribers from 2009 on satellite television. Local fan clubs got help from Consul-General of the Republic of Korea while Korean Cultural Centre in India (KCCI) under South Korean embassy started mapping popularity of K-dramas. As per KCCI, the motivation to understand Korean drama properly without subtitles is driving the uptake of Korean language classes among the youth with females outnumbering males. DD Bharati broadcast period drama Hur Jun in 2014 that received highest viewer ratings of 34 million from January to October 2014. Online streaming platform ZEE5 launched Descendants of the Sun to test the Indian market from 8 February to 1 March 2017 and found overwhelming positive response for Korean content with viewership ran close to 56 million. The telecast of Korean drama on Cable TV in 2017 stopped as Korean Broadcasting System Network wanted to raise syndication charges due to accumulation of large viewer-ship base in India that included pockets of Bihar, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh due to short 16 to 20 episodes format that are easier for binge-watching. With increasing interest in Korean content among younger generation from tier-1 cities, Samsung through its My Galaxy mobile application is partnering with Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) in 2019 to bring exclusive content for 20 million Indian users. With COVID-19 pandemic, Dish TV started premium K-dramas dubbed in Hindi and Tamil. Korean dramas are also driving highest viewer-ship on Netflix with second season of TV series Kingdom attained the Top 10 series row as of March 2020. It's Okay to Not Be Okay is on Netflix Top 10 list in India for several weeks in August 2020 which has jumped to number 3 position. Netflix is increasing investment on Korean content to capture the Indian market. Over-the-top media service (OTT) MX Player confirmed rising popularity and demand of Korean dramas among millennial population especially the women audience and is now making deals with South Korean television and radio network company Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) to bring more content in India. Korean dramas and films became most visited category for ShortsTV in India. As per media experts, the relatable themes in Korean content is fast catching the imagination of general public of almost every age group that is going mainstream and driving highest viewing especially after 92nd Academy Awards winning movie Parasite due to the shared Asian cultural heritage and societal values. As per Parrot Analytics report, k-drama series 'Crash Landing on You', is on demand 1.2 times than an average TV series that is 89.8% more than all drama titles shown in India forcing broadcasters to make extra slots as women are at the forefront of consumer demand in Korean content category. The COVID-19 lockdown in India proved to be an inflection point in 2020–2021 when Korean drama moved from a niche sub-culture segment to mainstream due to services like Netflix, Rakuten Viki and YouTube. It penetrated to every age group and social background. The popularity of Korean drama forced many over-the-top media service in India such as MX Player, Viu and ZEE5 to bring the dubbed versions in local language that will help cater to large non English speaking audience.
Interest for Korean dramas in the Nepal began when Winter Sonata aired on Kantipur Television Network in the mid-2000s. This led to the popularity of other K-dramas such as Boys Over Flowers, Autumn In My Heart, You Are Beautiful and Full House to name a few. Popularity of Korean media products has also led to interest of learning the Korean language and has resulted in the emergence of Korean language tutorials that air on ABC Television in the country. Korean dramas have become popular among Nepali youth and markets are often frequented by teenagers looking to buy the latest dramas. The hairstyles and fashion of Korean actors have influenced the fashion sense of Nepali youth. Fascinated by the lifestyle and food of Korea, restaurants serving Korean cuisine have also been established in the country.
In Sri Lanka, the Independent Television Network aired Full House in 2009 and it proved popular. Dae Jang Geum aired on Rupavahini in 2012 and was dubbed in Sinhala under the title Sujatha Diyani (සුජාත දියණී), meaning "The Pure, Valuable Daughter" and received a viewer rate of over 90%. The Independent Television Network, Rupavahini, TV Derana, Sirasa TV, Swarnavahini and TV1 air Korean dramas dubbed in the Sinhalese language. Streaming service, Iflix also streams many Korean dramas with English and Sinhalese subtitles in the country, some as early as 24 hours after their original Korean broadcast. Additionally, the popularity of Korean pop culture in the country has led to an increasingly warm reception towards Korean people.
Since the mid-2000s, Israel, Iran, Morocco and Egypt have become major consumers of Korean culture. Following the success of Korean dramas in the Middle East & North Africa, the Korean Overseas Information Service made Winter Sonata available with Arabic subtitles on several state-run Egyptian television networks. According to Youna Kim (2007), "The broadcast was part of the government's efforts to improve the image of South Korea in the Middle East, where there is little understanding and exposure towards Korean culture" (p. 31). The New York Times reported that the intent behind this was to contribute towards positive relations between Arab & Berber audiences and South Korean soldiers stationed in northern Iraq.
MBC4 (Middle East Broadcasting Channel) played a major role in increasing the Korean wave's popularity in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). This broadcasting channel hosted a series of Korean drama starting 2013 such as "Boys Over Flowers" (أيام الزهور), "You're Beautiful" (أنت جميلة), "Dream High" (حلم الشباب ), "Coffee Prince" ( مقهى الأمير). Some Arab countries opposed Korean content (dramas, reality show) out of fear that their youth would abandon Islamic traditions in order to adopt Western modernity. However, this did not stop the Korean industries from exporting more Korean Dramas to the Arab world in the following years such as "The Heirs" ( الورثة). The popularity of Korean dramas in the MENA region-and its continuous growth- originates from the content of these dramas. As the majority of the plots of Korean dramas focus on social issues (love between different social classes or family problems for instance), the Arab audiences fit themselves and could relate to the Korean socio-cultural values as they seem appealing to them. So Korean dramas play the role of an equilibrium point where two, somehow, different cultures could create a new cultural space where these two different cultures could meet.
Iran's state broadcaster, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), aired several Korean dramas during prime time slots in recent years, with this decision attributed by some to their Confucian values of respect for others, which are "closely aligned to Islamic culture", while in contrast, Western productions often fail to satisfy the criteria set by Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. In October 2012, the Tehran Times reported that IRIB representatives visited South Korea to visit filming locations in an effort to strengthen "cultural affinities" between the two countries and to seek avenues for further cooperation between KBS and IRIB. According to Reuters, until recently audiences in Iran have had little choice in broadcast material and thus programs that are aired by IRIB often attain higher viewership ratings in Iran than in South Korea; for example, the most popular episodes of Jumong attracted over 90% of Iranian audience (compared to 40% in South Korea), propelling its lead actor Song Il-gook to superstar status in Iran.
In the early 2000s, Korean dramas were aired for South Korean troops stationed in northern Iraq as part of coalition forces led by the United States during the Iraq War. With the end of the war and the subsequent withdrawal of South Korean military personnel from the country, efforts were made to expand availability of K-dramas to the ordinary citizens of Iraq. In 2012, the Korean drama Hur Jun reportedly attained a viewership of over 90% in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Its lead actor Jun Kwang-ryul was invited by the federal government of Iraq to visit the city of Sulaymaniyah in Kurdistan, at the special request of the country's First Lady, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed.
Autumn in My Heart, one of the earliest Korean dramas brought over to the Middle East, was made available for viewing after five months of "persistent negotiations" between the South Korean embassy and an Egyptian state-run broadcasting company. Shortly after the series ended, the embassy reported that it had received over 400 phone calls and love letters from fans from all over the country. According to the secretary of the South Korean embassy in Cairo Lee Ki-seok, Korea's involvement in the Iraq War had significantly undermined its reputation among Egyptians, but the screening of Autumn in My Heart proved "extremely effective" in reversing negative attitudes.
The first Korean drama in Romania was aired on TVR in August 2009 with Dae Jang Geum, and in the following month it became the third most popular television program in the country. Since then, Korean dramas have seen high ratings and further success.
The Asian American-targeted cable TV channels AZN Television and ImaginAsian aired Korean dramas alongside content from China, Japan, India, Thailand and other parts of Asia. The dramas were aimed at the Asian American community before the channels dissolved in 2008 and 2011 respectively.
In November 2008, Netflix began offering several Korean dramas as part of its video selection. In August 2009, DramaFever began offering free subtitled video streaming service, with video advertisements, in the United States.
Singapore-based Viki streams popular Korean dramas across the world including North America, with subtitles in 70 languages. Companies in Asia have also designed streaming services available online and as mobile apps targeted towards overseas Asian communities. "MobiTV" created by the Sri Lankan company, Bhasha is a streaming service and mobile app aimed at the Sri Lankan community and streams Korean dramas dubbed in the Sinhalese language alongside other content aired in Sri Lanka. "Roopa", created by the same company, is another service available as a mobile app also aimed at the Sri Lankan community, it too streams Korean dramas dubbed in the Sinhalese language. Chinese company PPTV is another example, a mobile app, "PPTV网络电视HD" streams Korean dramas aimed at the Chinese community alongside content that is primarily available in Mandarin, Cantonese and Korean but also increasingly in English.
Additionally, Korean dramas are available at online DVD retailers. Some Korean dramas, however, are not available for region 1 (North America) encoding and NTSC video format. Amazon offers streaming of Winter Sonata for a fee.
KBFD-DT in Honolulu, Hawaii broadcasts a majority of Korean dramas on its daily schedule, as well as offering the programs on sale at its website and on demand through its K-Life channel on Oceanic Time Warner Cable. Another Honolulu outlet, KHII-TV devotes three hours of its Sunday afternoon schedule to Korean dramas.
KTSF, a channel aimed at the Asian American community in San Francisco, California airs Korean dramas as part of its schedule alongside content in Mandarin, Tagalog, Hindi, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Taiwanese and Cantonese.
Between 2001 and 2002, South America began to absorb Korean programming. The 1997 series Star in My Heart began its successful broadcast in Chile, Peru and other countries in the area, but these last two were where More had repercussions, including an Ahn Jae-wook fan club founded. In 2002, Winter Sonata, produced by KBS 2TV, became the first series in the region to match the success of Meteor Garden, attracting a cult following in Asia. Marketing sales, including DVD sets and novels, exceeded $3.5 million in Japan. In 2004, then-Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi noted that the series' male lead was "more popular than I am in Japan." Other Korean dramas released in later years such as Jewel in the Palace (2003) and Full House (2004) had comparable levels of success.
In Chile, which was one of the first countries on a global level, the phenomenon of Korean wave, which is also known as hallyu, began with the first drama aired that was the original 1997 MBC series Star in My Heart in 2001 by Chilevisión past midnight and later years later in 2003 it was retransmitted by Canal 21 (Chillán)in Chillán, but it was not until 2006, when Stairway to Heaven was broadcast at 1:00 pm on the public television channel Televisión Nacional de Chile, which achieved notoriety of this genre being compared to La madrastra—an old very successful Chilean soap opera—due to the high audience figures in its schedule competing directly with other channels, it was also broadcast by TV Chile to other continents dubbed into Spanish.
Viewership ratings are provided by two companies in South Korea: Nielsen Korea and TNmS. Originally, Media Service Korea (MSK) was the sole company providing TV viewership ratings using people meter since 1992, but was only limited to Seoul Capital Area. In 1998, TNS Media Korea began as a rival company in partnership with Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) which extended the service to five major cities; it was officially launched in June 1999 with a more sophisticated viewership rating survey technique. While, in August 1999, AC Nielsen acquired MSK and rebranded it as AC Nielsen Korea and expanded the audience rating survey to the whole country with the aim to increase the credibility of the ratings. In 2005, AC Nielsen Korea signed a merger with AGB Group and AGB Nielsen Media Research was established. AGB Nielsen Media Research merged with KADD Nielsen Media Research in January 2013, and the official name was changed to Nielsen Korea.
In 2010, TNS Media Korea was renamed to TNmS (Total National Multimedia Statistics). Since late 2018, TNmS stopped providing data to the public through their websites, and instead occasionally releases the ratings through news agencies such as BreakNews.
See also: List of South Korean dramas
The list was compiled from data by Nielsen Korea, based on the episode of the highest viewership since 1992.
|Final episode date||Ref|
|1||You and I||MBC||66.9%||26 April 1998|||
|2||First Love||KBS2||65.8%||20 April 1997|||
|3||What Is Love||MBC||64.9%||31 May 1992|||
|4||Sandglass||SBS||64.5%||16 February 1995|
|5||Hur Jun||MBC||63.5%||27 June 2000|||
|6||A Sunny Place of the Young||KBS2||62.7%||12 November 1995|||
|7||Sons and Daughters||MBC||61.1%||9 May 1993|||
|8||Taejo Wang Geon||KBS1||60.2%||24 February 2002|||
|9||Eyes of Dawn||MBC||58.4%||6 February 1992|||
|10||Dae Jang Geum||57.8%||23 March 2004|||
|11||See and See Again||57.3%||2 April 1999|||
|12||Truth||56.5%||24 February 2000|
|13||Lovers in Paris||SBS||56.3%||15 August 2004|||
|14||Jealousy||MBC||56.1%||21 July 1992|||
|15||Blowing of the Wind||KBS2||55.8%||29 March 1996|
|16||Men of the Bath House||53.4%||1 September 1996|||
|17||Gook Hee||MBC||53.1%||16 November 1999|||
|Trap of Youth||SBS||15 April 1999|||
|19||Tomato(토마토)||52.7%||10 June 1999|
|20||M||MBC||52.2%||30 August 1994|||
|21||Season of the Storm||52.1%||30 December 1993|||
|22||Rustic Period||SBS||51.8%||30 September 2003|
|23||My Mother's Sea||MBC||51.6%||26 December 1993|||
|24||Legend of Ambition||KBS2||50.2%||25 October 1998|||
|25||Ladies of the Palace||SBS||49.9%||22 July 2002|||
|26||My Son's Woman||MBC||49.7%||13 April 1995|||
|Jumong||6 March 2007|||
|28||Tears of the Dragon||KBS1||49.6%||31 May 1998|||
|29||My Only One||KBS2||49.4%||17 March 2019|||
|30||Star in My Heart||MBC||49.3%||29 April 1997|||
|Bread, Love and Dreams||KBS2||16 September 2010|||
|32||My Lovely Sam Soon||MBC||49.1%||21 July 2005|||
|33||Ambition||49.0%||13 October 1994|||
|34||The Moon of Seoul||48.7%||16 October 1994|||
|35||The Last Match||48.6%||22 February 1994|||
|36||All About Eve||MBC||48.3%||6 July 2000|||
|Wang's Family||KBS2||9 February 2014|||
|38||How is Your Husband?||SBS||48.2%||19 October 1993||[note 1]|
|39||Cinderella||MBC||48.0%||13 July 1997|||
|40||All In||SBS||47.7%||3 April 2003|
|41||Seoyoung, My Daughter||KBS2||47.6%||3 March 2013|||
|42||Until We Can Love||47.1%||28 February 1997|
|43||My Rosy Life||47.0%||10 November 2005|||
|44||Pilot||MBC||46.2%||2 November 1993|||
|45||Autumn in My Heart||KBS2||46.1%||7 November 2000|
|46||Daughters of a Rich Family||KBS2||45.9%||30 April 1995|
|47||My Husband Got a Family||KBS2||45.3%||9 September 2012|||
|48||Brilliant Legacy||SBS||45.2%||26 July 2009|||
|49||My Golden Life||KBS2||45.1%||11 March 2018|||
|50||Dear Heaven||SBS||44.9%||2 July 2006|||
number in million
|Final episode date||Ref|
|1||My Only One||KBS2||9.246||17 March 2019|||
|2||My Golden Life||8.366||11 March 2018|||
|3||Young Lady and Gentleman||6.956||27 March 2022|||
|4||Once Again||6.893||13 September 2020|||
|5||Marry Me Now||6.669||9 September 2018|||
|6||Mother of Mine||6.247||22 September 2019|||
|7||Homemade Love Story||6.145||7 March 2021|||
|8||Revolutionary Sisters||5.823||18 September 2021|||
|9||Beautiful Love, Wonderful Life||5.693||22 March 2020|||
|10||The Penthouse: War in Life 2||SBS||5.601||2 April 2021|||
|11||The Penthouse: War in Life||5.354||5 January 2021|||
|12||It's Beautiful Now||KBS2||5.300||18 September 2022|||
|13||Dr. Romantic 2||SBS||5.210||25 February 2020|||
|14||When the Camellia Blooms||KBS2||4.491||21 November 2019|||
|15||The Fiery Priest||SBS||4.325||20 April 2019|||
|16||Money Flower||MBC||4.085||3 February 2018|||
|17||Unasked Family||KBS1||3.950||17 April 2020|||
|18||Hot Stove League||SBS||3.921||14 February 2020|||
|19||Three Bold Siblings||KBS2||3.919||(ongoing)|||
|20||Home for Summer||KBS1||3.897||25 October 2019|||
|21||Brilliant Heritage||3.852||9 October 2020|||
|22||The Penthouse: War in Life 3||SBS||3.778||10 September 2021|||
|23||Liver or Die||KBS2||3.692||14 March 2019|||
|24||The Red Sleeve||MBC||3.668||1 January 2022|||
|25||No Matter What||KBS1||3.599||26 March 2021|||
|26||Man in a Veil||KBS2||3.502||10 February 2021|||
|27||The Secret of My Love||3.480||9 February 2018|||
|28||Sunny Again Tomorrow||KBS1||3.478||2 November 2018|||
|29||It's My Life||3.459||26 April 2019|||
|30||Bravo, My Life||3.382||30 September 2022|||
|31||Love Returns||3.330||4 May 2018|||
|32||The Last Empress||SBS||3.282||21 February 2019|||
|33||The All-Round Wife||KBS1||3.245||8 April 2022|||
|34||One the Woman||SBS||3.235||6 November 2021|||
|35||Taxi Driver||3.117||29 May 2021|||
|36||A Pledge to God||MBC||3.112||16 February 2019|||
|37||Man in the Kitchen||3.082||18 March 2018|||
|38||Gracious Revenge||KBS2||3.080||27 March 2020|||
|39||Red Shoes||3.074||10 December 2021|||
|40||Gold Mask||2.998||7 October 2022|||
|41||Be My Dream Family||KBS1||2.951||1 October 2021|||
|42||One Dollar Lawyer||SBS||2.933||11 November 2022|||
|43||Doctor Prisoner||KBS2||2.832||15 May 2019|||
|44||Return||SBS||2.817||22 March 2018|||
|45||Miss Monte-Cristo||KBS2||2.808||2 July 2021|||
|46||Hyena||SBS||2.789||11 April 2020|||
|47||The Love in Your Eyes||KBS1||2.781||(ongoing)|||
|48||A Place in the Sun||KBS2||2.754||1 November 2019|||
|49||Love Twist||2.708||20 May 2022|||
|50||VIP||SBS||2.688||24 December 2019|||
|Final episode date||Ref|
|1||The World of the Married||JTBC||28.371%||16 May 2020|||
|2||Sky Castle||23.779%||1 February 2019|||
|3||Crash Landing on You||tvN||21.683%||16 February 2020|||
|4||Reply 1988||18.803%||16 January 2016|||
|5||Guardian: The Lonely and Great God||18.680%||21 January 2017|||
|6||Mr. Sunshine||18.129%||30 September 2018|||
|7||Extraordinary Attorney Woo||ENA||17.534%||18 August 2022|||
|8||Mr. Queen||tvN||17.371%||14 February 2021|||
|9||Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) 2||TV Chosun||16.582%||8 August 2021|||
|10||Itaewon Class||JTBC||16.548%||21 March 2020|||
|12||Vincenzo||tvN||14.636%||2 May 2021|||
|13||Our Blues||14.597%||12 June 2022|||
|14||100 Days My Prince||14.412%||30 October 2018|||
|15||Hospital Playlist||14.142%||28 May 2020|||
|16||Under the Queen's Umbrella||14.100%||(ongoing)|||
|17||Hospital Playlist 2||14.080%||16 September 2021|||
|18||Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha||12.665%||17 October 2021|||
|19||Signal||12.544%||12 March 2016|||
|20||The Lady in Dignity||JTBC||12.065%||19 August 2017|||
|21||Hotel del Luna||tvN||12.001%||1 September 2019|||
|22||Twenty-Five Twenty-One||11.513%||3 April 2022|||
|23||Reply 1994||11.509%||28 December 2013|||
|24||Prison Playbook||11.195%||18 January 2018|||
|25||Little Women||11.105%||9 October 2022|||
|26||The Uncanny Counter||OCN||10.999%||24 January 2021|||
|27||The Crowned Clown||tvN||10.851%||4 March 2019|||
|28||My Kids Give Me a Headache||JTBC||10.715%||17 March 2013|||
|29||Jirisan||tvN||10.663%||12 December 2021|||
|30||Mine||10.512%||27 June 2021|||
|31||Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) 3||TV Chosun||10.395%||1 May 2022|||
|32||Show Window: The Queen's House||Channel A||10.335%||18 January 2022|||
|33||Encounter||tvN||10.329%||24 January 2019|||
|34||Military Prosecutor Doberman||10.081%||26 April 2022|||
|35||Memories of the Alhambra||10.025%||20 January 2019|||
|36||Another Miss Oh||9.991%||28 June 2016|||
|37||Bossam: Steal the Fate||MBN||9.759%||4 July 2021|||
|38||The Light in Your Eyes||JTBC||9.731%||19 March 2019|||
|39||Strong Girl Bong-soon||9.668%||15 April 2017|||
|40||Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce)||TV Chosun||9.656%||14 March 2021|||
|41||Stranger 2||tvN||9.408%||4 October 2020|||
|42||Uncle||TV Chosun||9.329%||30 January 2022|||
|43||Alchemy of Souls||tvN||9.295%||28 August 2022|||
|44||Lawless Lawyer||8.937%||1 July 2018|||
|45||Record of Youth||8.740%||27 October 2020|||
|46||What's Wrong with Secretary Kim||8.665%||26 July 2018|||
|47||Graceful Family||MBN||8.478%||17 October 2019|||
|48||Misty||JTBC||8.452%||24 March 2018|||
|49||Misaeng: Incomplete Life||tvN||8.240%||20 December 2014|||
|50||Familiar Wife||8.210%||20 September 2018|||
number in million
|Final episode date||Ref|
|1||Sky Castle||JTBC||6.508||1 February 2019|||
|2||Crash Landing on You||tvN||6.337||16 February 2020|||
|3||The World of the Married||JTBC||6.248||16 May 2020|||
|4||Mr. Queen||tvN||4.749||14 February 2021|||
|5||Mr. Sunshine||4.631||30 September 2018|||
|6||Extraordinary Attorney Woo||ENA||4.449||18 August 2022|||
|7||Itaewon Class||JTBC||4.425||21 March 2020|||
|8||Hospital Playlist 2||tvN||3.853||16 September 2021|||
|9||Vincenzo||3.841||2 May 2021|||
|11||Hotel del Luna||tvN||3.674||1 September 2019|||
|12||Hospital Playlist||3.579||28 May 2020|||
|13||Our Blues||3.419||12 June 2022|||
|14||Under the Queen's Umbrella||3.389||(ongoing)|||
|15||Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) 2||TV Chosun||3.344||8 August 2021|||
|16||100 Days My Prince||tvN||3.264||30 October 2018|||
|17||The Uncanny Counter||OCN||3.257||24 January 2021|||
|18||Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha||tvN||3.237||17 October 2021|||
|19||Prison Playbook||3.063||18 January 2018|||
|20||Twenty-Five Twenty-One||3.047||3 April 2022|||
|21||Memories of the Alhambra||2.853||20 January 2019|||
|22||Little Women||2.618||9 October 2022|||
|23||Jirisan||2.586||12 December 2021|||
|24||Encounter||2.473||24 January 2019|||
|25||The Crowned Clown||2.447||4 March 2019|||
|26||Mine||2.429||27 June 2021|||
|27||Alchemy of Souls||2.410||28 August 2022|||
|28||What's Wrong with Secretary Kim||2.383||26 July 2018|||
|29||Military Prosecutor Doberman||2.279||26 April 2022|||
|30||The Light in Your Eyes||JTBC||2.223||19 March 2019|||
|31||Show Window: The Queen's House||Channel A||2.195||18 January 2022|||
|32||Stranger 2||tvN||2.186||4 October 2020|||
|33||Arthdal Chronicles||2.120||22 September 2019|||
|34||A Korean Odyssey||2.115||4 March 2018|||
|Lawless Lawyer||1 July 2018|||
|36||It's Okay to Not Be Okay||2.065||9 August 2020|||
|37||Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) 3||TV Chosun||2.060||1 May 2022|||
|38||Uncle||2.042||30 January 2022|||
|39||Familiar Wife||tvN||2.039||20 September 2018|||
|40||Record of Youth||1.999||27 October 2020|||
|41||The Devil Judge||1.994||22 August 2021|||
|42||Voice 2||OCN||1.957||16 September 2018|||
|43||Ghost Doctor||tvN||1.947||22 February 2022|||
|44||Bossam: Steal the Fate||MBN||1.940||4 July 2021|||
|45||Hi Bye, Mama!||tvN||1.915||19 April 2020|||
|46||Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce)||TV Chosun||1.913||14 March 2021|||
|47||Forecasting Love and Weather||JTBC||1.844||3 April 2022|||
|48||Live||tvN||1.823||6 May 2018|||
|49||Misty||JTBC||1.820||24 March 2018|||
|50||Lie After Lie||Channel A||1.784||24 October 2020|||
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Egypt and Iran has been the center of the "hallyu" phenomena in the Middle East for a few years now. While Egypt went crazy after the dramas "Autumn in my Heart" and "Winter Sonata," Iran went gaga when its state television aired "Emperor of the Sea" and "Jewel in the Palace".
South Korea has also begun wielding the non-economic side of its new soft power. The official Korean Overseas Information Service last year gave "Winter Sonata" to Egyptian television, paying for the Arabic subtitles. The goal was to generate positive feelings in the Arab & Berber world toward the 3,200 South Korean soldiers stationed in northern Iraq.
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Korean television dramas reinforce traditional values of Confucianism that Iranians find more closely aligned to Islamic culture, implying that cultural proximity contributes to the Islamic Korean wave. "Reflecting traditional family values, Korean culture is deemed 'a filter for Western values' in Iran," the article says.
'This drama proved extremely effective in enhancing Korea's international image, which has been undermined by the troop deployment in Iraq ,' added Lee.
최고의 인기 드라마, 시청률 1위 질주
1st (MBC) 특별기획(주몽) 49.7%
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(하나뿐인내편) 49.4%
1st (KBS2) 수목드라마(제빵왕김탁구) 49.3%
1st (KBS2) 주말연속극(왕가네식구들) 48.3%
1st (KBS2) 주말연속극(내딸서영이) 47.6%
1st (KBS2) 주말연속극(넝쿨째굴러온당신) 45.3%
1st (SBS) 특별기획(찬란한유산) 45.2%
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(황금빛내인생) 45.1%
1st (SBS) 주말극장(하늘이시여) 44.9%
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(하나뿐인내편) 9,246
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(황금빛내인생) 8,366
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(신사와아가씨) 6,956
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(한번다녀왔습니다) 6,893
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(같이살래요) 6,669
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(세상에서제일예쁜내딸) 6,247
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(오삼광빌라) 6,145
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(오케이광자매) 5,823
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(사랑은뷰티풀인생은원더풀) 5,693
1st (SBS) 금토드라마(WARINLIFE펜트하우스2) 5,601
1st (SBS) 월화드라마(WARINLIFE펜트하우스) 5,354
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(현재는아름다워) 5,300
1st (SBS) 월화드라마(낭만닥터김사부2) 5,210
1st (KBS2) 수목드라마(동백꽃필무렵) 4,491
1st (SBS) 금토드라마(열혈사제) 4,325
2nd (MBC) 주말특별기획(돈꽃) 4,085
1st (KBS1) 일일연속극(꽃길만걸어요) 3,950
1st (SBS) 금토드라마(스토브리그) 3,921
1st (KBS2) 주말드라마(삼남매가용감하게) 3,919
1st (KBS1) 일일연속극(여름아부탁해) 3,897
1st (KBS1) 일일드라마(기막힌유산) 3,852
1st (SBS) 금요드라마(WARINLIFE펜트하우스3) 3,778
1st (KBS2) 수목드라마(왜그래풍상씨) 3,692
2nd (MBC) 금토드라마(옷소매붉은끝동) 3,668
1st (KBS1) 일일드라마(누가뭐래도) 3,599
1st (KBS2) 일일드라마(비밀의남자) 3,502
1st (KBS2) 일일드라마(내남자의비밀) 3,480
1st (KBS1) 일일연속극(내일도맑음) 3,478
1st (KBS1) 일일연속극(비켜라운명아) 3,459
1st (KBS1) 일일드라마(으라차차내인생) 3,382
1st (KBS1) 일일연속극(미워도사랑해) 3,330
1st (SBS) 드라마스페셜(황후의품격THELASTEMPRESS) 3,282
1st (KBS1) 저녁일일극(국가대표와이프) 3,245
2nd (SBS) 금토드라마(원더우먼) 3,235
1st (SBS) 금토드라마(복수대행써비스모범택시) 3,117
3rd (MBC) 주말특별기획(신과의약속) 3,112
3rd (MBC) 주말드라마(밥상차리는남자) 3,082
2nd (KBS2) 일일드라마(우아한모녀) 3,080
1st (KBS2) 일일드라마(빨강구두) 3,074
1st (KBS2) 일일드라마(황금가면) 2,998
1st (KBS1) 일일드라마(속아도꿈결) 2,951
2nd (SBS) 금토드라마(천원짜리변호사) 2,933
1st (KBS2) 수목드라마(닥터프리즈너) 2,832
1st (SBS) 드라마스페셜(리턴) 2,817
1st (KBS2) 일일드라마(미스몬테크리스토) 2,808
3rd (SBS) 금토드라마(하이에나) 2,789
1st (KBS1) 일일드라마(내눈에콩깍지) 2,781
1st (KBS2) 일일드라마(태양의계절) 2,754
2nd (KBS2) 저녁일일드라마(사랑의꽈배기) 2,708
1st (SBS) 월화드라마(VIP) 2,688
1st (JTBC) 금토드라마(부부의세계) 28.371%
1st (JTBC) 금토드라마(SKY캐슬) 23.779%
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(사랑의불시착<본>) 21.683%
1st (tvN) 응답하라1988<본> 18.803%
1st (tvN) 쓸쓸하고찬란하신도깨비<본> 18.680%
1st (tvN) 미스터션샤인<본> 18.129%
1st (ENA) 이상한변호사우영우<본> 17.534%
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(철인왕후조선중전영혼가출스캔들<본>) 17.371%
1st (TV CHOSUN) 주말미니시리즈(결혼작사이혼작곡2) 16.582%
1st (JTBC) 금토드라마(이태원클라쓰) 16.548%
1st (JTBC) 금토일드라마(재벌집막내아들) 14.880%
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(빈센조<본>) 14.636%
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(우리들의블루스<본>) 14.597%
1st (tvN) 월화드라마(백일의낭군님<본>) 14.412%
1st (tvN) 슬기로운의사생활<본> 14.142%
1st (tvN) 슈룹<본> 14.100%
1st (tvN) 슬기로운의사생활2<본> 14.080%
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(갯마을차차차<본>) 12.665%
1st (tvN) 시그널<본> 12.544%
1st (JTBC) 금토드라마(품위있는그녀) 12.065%
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(호텔델루나<본>) 12.001%
1st (tvN) 스물다섯스물하나<본> 11.513%
1st (tvN) 응답하라1994 11.509%
1st (tvN) 수목드라마(슬기로운감빵생활<본>) 11.195%
1st (tvN) 작은아씨들<본> 11.105%
2nd (OCN) 경이로운소문<본> 10.999%
1st (tvN) 월화드라마(왕이된남자<본>) 10.851%
1st (JTBC) JTBC특별기획드라마(무자식상팔자) 10.715%
1st (tvN) 특별기획지리산<본> 10.663%
1st (tvN) 마인<본> 10.512%
1st (TV CHOSUN) 주말미니시리즈(결혼작사이혼작곡3) 10.395%
1st (채널A) 채널A특별기획월화드라마(쇼윈도여왕의집) 10.335%
1st (tvN) 수목드라마(남자친구<본>) 10.329%
1st (tvN) 군검사도베르만<본> 10.081%
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(알함브라궁전의추억<본>) 10.025%
1st (tvN) 월화드라마(또오해영<본>) 9.991%
1st (MBN) 종편특별기획드라마(보쌈운명을훔치다) 9.759%
1st (JTBC) 월화드라마(눈이부시게) 9.731%
1st (JTBC) 금토드라마(힘쎈여자도봉순) 9.668%
1st (TV CHOSUN) 주말미니시리즈(결혼작사이혼작곡) 9.656%
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(비밀의숲2<본>) 9.408%
1st (TV CHOSUN) 토일미니시리즈(엉클) 9.329%
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(환혼<본>) 9.295%
1st (tvN) 무법변호사<본> 8.937%
1st (tvN) 월화드라마(청춘기록<본>) 8.740%
1st (tvN) 수목드라마(김비서가왜그럴까<본>) 8.665%
1st (MBN) 우아한가 8.478%
1st (JTBC) 금토드라마(미스티) 8.452%
1st (tvN) 미생<본> 8.240%
1st (tvN) 수목드라마(아는와이프<본>) 8.210%
1st (JTBC) 금토드라마(SKY캐슬) 6,508
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(사랑의불시착<본>) 6,337
1st (JTBC) 금토드라마(부부의세계) 6,248
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(철인왕후조선중전영혼가출스캔들<본>) 4,749
1st (tvN) 미스터션샤인<본> 4,631
1st (ENA) 이상한변호사우영우<본> 4,449
1st (JTBC) 금토드라마(이태원클라쓰) 4,425
1st (tvN) 슬기로운의사생활2<본> 3,853
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(빈센조<본>) 3,841
1st (JTBC) 금토일드라마(재벌집막내아들) 3,692
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(호텔델루나<본>) 3,674
1st (tvN) 슬기로운 의사생활<본> 3,579
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(우리들의블루스<본>) 3,419
1st (tvN) 슈룹<본> 3,389
1st (TV CHOSUN) 주말미니시리즈(결혼작사이혼작곡2) 3,344
1st (tvN) 월화드라마(백일의낭군님<본>) 3,264
2nd (OCN) 경이로운소문<본> 3,257
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(갯마을차차차<본>) 3,237
1st (tvN) 수목드라마(슬기로운감빵생활<본>) 3,063
1st (tvN) 스물다섯스물하나<본> 3,047
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(알함브라궁전의추억<본>) 2,853
1st (tvN) 작은아씨들<본> 2,618
1st (tvN) 특별기획지리산<본> 2,586
1st (tvN) 수목드라마(남자친구<본>) 2,473
1st (tvN) 월화드라마(왕이된남자<본>) 2,447
1st (tvN) 마인<본> 2,429
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(환혼<본>) 2,410
1st (tvN) 수목드라마(김비서가왜그럴까<본>) 2,383
1st (tvN) 군검사도베르만<본> 2,279
1st (JTBC) 월화드라마(눈이부시게) 2,223
1st (채널A) 채널A특별기획월화드라마(쇼윈도여왕의집) 2,195
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(비밀의숲2<본>) 2,186
1st (tvN) 아스달연대기<본> 2,120
1st (tvN) 화유기<본> 2,115
1st (tvN) 무법변호사<본> 2,115
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(사이코지만괜찮아2부<본>) 2,065
1st (TV CHOSUN) 주말미니시리즈(결혼작사이혼작곡3) 2,060
1st (TV CHOSUN) 토일미니시리즈(엉클) 2,042
1st (tvN) 수목드라마(아는와이프<본>) 2,039
1st (tvN) 월화드라마(청춘기록<본>) 1,999
1st (tvN) 악마판사<본> 1,994
2nd (OCN) 놓치지말아야할소리보이스2<본> 1,957
1st (tvN) 월화드라마(고스트닥터<본>) 1,947
1st (MBN) 종편특별기획드라마(보쌈운명을훔치다) 1,940
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(하이바이마마<본>) 1,915
1st (TV CHOSUN) 주말미니시리즈(결혼작사이혼작곡) 1,913
1st (JTBC) 토일드라마(기상청사람들사내연애잔혹사편) 1,844
1st (tvN) 토일드라마(라이브<본>) 1,823
1st (JTBC) 금토드라마(미스티) 1,820
1st (채널A) 채널A금토드라마(거짓말의거짓말) 1,784