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Moving beyond the Hallyu craze, South Korean dramas are gaining attention from around the world, recognized as an independent genre called K-dramas.

Korean dramas have been steadily loved around the world after What Is Love made a splash in China in 1997 and Winter Sonata was a big hit in Japan in 2002.

Dae Jang Geum (MBC), an epic TV series about royal cuisine, which aired between 2003 and 2004, was exported to 91 countries around the world including Japan, China, and Turkey.

This drama expanded the scope of the Korean Wave into Korean food, fashion, and medicine while drawing global interest in Korean culture.

In 2013, TV dramas such as My Love from the Star and That Winter, the Wind Blows, were loved by international fans, while in 2016, Dokkaebi (Guardian: The Lonely and Great God), Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, and Descendants of the Sun revived the Hallyu craze.

Descendants of the Sun - EP5 | Song Joong Ki Saves Song Hye Kyo From A Car [Eng Sub]

Korean traditional hat

In 2019, Netflix’s first original Korean drama Kingdom successfully gained international traction.

The high recognition of its cinematography based on the well-organized script and directing ability naturally led to the production of Kingdom Season 2 and the creation of a new genre called K-zombies.

It is interesting that foreign viewers, using their social networking services, freely expressed their appreciation for the architecture and clothing styles of the Joseon dynasty, the background of the drama series. In particular, the growing curiosity about the Korean traditional hat for men called gat contributed to the increase in its sale on the global online shopping website Amazon.com.

Korean Life Dictionary 2 [GAT]


As such, Korean dramas, recognized for their topicality and cinematography, have been expanding their fan base abroad in 2020. This is because they have benefited from the over-the-top (OTT) market, which has rapidly grown worldwide because of COVID-19.

Crash Landing on You, which aired in 2020, was premiered in 190 countries through Netflix. This drama is about a romance between a South Korean heiress of chaebol (conglomerate) and a captain in the North Korean Army. It caused a sensation in Asia, including Japan, where it reached the list of the top 10 most popular TV shows on Netflix in Japan for 10 weeks.

Crash Landing on You #SwoonWorthy​ moments with Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin [ENG SUB]