8 Key Elements of Korean Dramas That Keep Us Hooked

8 Key Elements of Korean Dramas That Keep Us Hooked

8 Key Elements of Korean Dramas That Keep Us Hooked

Korean pop culture, including music and television, has grown in fame around the world in the last decade.  More and more people have been aware of the grandeur of K-dramas and movies. Yet, whether you’re new to Hallyu (the Korean wave) or a seasoned fan, several things will leave you perplexed while watching a K-drama. We live in a globalized society, so things may appear familiar on the surface, but typical Korean practices may appear unusual to many of us. 

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A Guide To Everything You Will Always Notice In a K-Show!

Mandatory Military Service

Conscription, or the mandatory recruitment of men into military services, is still practiced in Korea. Male inhabitants between the ages of 18 and 28 are required by law to enlist in the military for at least two years. Korean celebrities, such as actors and K-pop singers, are not exempt from military duty.

Until recently, the right to refuse enlistment did not exist in South Korea. The South Korean Constitutional Court legalized conscientious objection as grounds for escaping conscription in 2018. This is something very proudly portrayed in most Korean shows and movies. 

High Beauty Standards

The famed ’10-step skincare program’ or the ‘glass skin’ fad are signs that Korean beauty has swept over the world. Nonetheless, this implies that beauty standards in Korean society are exceptionally high and inflexible. As a result, the country boasts the world’s largest percentage of plastic surgery. It is pretty prevalent in both male and female Koreans, including non-celebrities.

Non-Obvious Display of Affection

Why do characters in K-dramas not know how to hug or kiss is a perennial issue that continues to circulate through millions of sub-Reddits. You’ll notice a dearth of affection onscreen once you start watching Korean TV series. As Korean society is still traditional in many respects, couples in Korea do not engage in PDA in public because it is deemed unacceptable. They express their love in different ways, such as wearing identical outfits or holding hands.

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Korean Cuisine

Korean cuisine has become a staple in many Korean television shows. From traditional dishes like bibimbap and kimchi to modern takes on classics like bulgogi and ramen, Korean television shows often feature a variety of flavors and recipes. The vibrant colors of the dishes often brighten the screen, while the ingredients often reflect the culture and the season.

Historical Drama

These dramas, shows, and movies often tell stories of Korea’s past, from ancient times to the present day. Korean historical dramas typically focus on the lives of kings, queens, warriors, and other powerful figures, and often serve to remind viewers of the great cultural and historical heritage of Korea.

Family Dynamics

Korean family dynamics are often portrayed in Korean shows as being centered around a strong hierarchical structure, with the father as the head of the household and the mother playing a supportive role. Respect for the elders and obedience to authority figures is also often emphasized. Family members are expected to look out for each other and work together to maintain harmony within the family. 

Romantic Comedies

These romantic comedies often feature a mix of comedy and romantic elements, focusing on the development of a relationship between the two main characters. These romantic comedies often feature an “opposites attract” trope between the two leads, with the female character often being a strong, independent woman and the male character being a goofy, naïve romantic. 

Korean romantic comedies also often feature a “second female lead”, who provides the main couple with obstacles and competition. This often takes the form of a third wheel, an antagonist, or a rival love interest.

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Korean Honourific

Korean honorifics are an essential part of the culture that is seen in Korean shows. Honorifics are used to show respect and politeness when speaking with someone of higher status than oneself.  Sunbae is used to show respect to older colleagues, and hoobae is used to refer to younger colleagues.

Other honorifics such as eonni and oppa are used when speaking to older and younger siblings, respectively. All of these honorifics are used to demonstrate respect in Korean culture and are an important part of Korean shows.


It doesn’t matter whether you are a die-hard fan of watching Korean shows and movies or not. But one can assure you that watching a show or a movie of Korean origin will make you come across their roots and culture most authentically. The above-mentioned aspects, no matter how subtle, will still have a presence in one scene or the other. This is a great inspiration for filmmakers too. It goes to show how traditionalism and modernism are portrayed on the same screen and not to forget their sense of fashion and beauty that is attracting major social media attention.

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