South Korean TV Shows/Dramas


Understanding A Different Culture:

If you are from the US it may be a more difficult process to understand a foreign show. In the Unites States, despite our diversity, we have a very linear way of thinking. It’s not always easy to look at another culture and understand them. The reason is because culture is such a broad term for a specific areas way of life, its people, mannerisms, traditions, history, etc. It’s slightly simpler to look at a place like Britian. They already speak English and they are easier to connect to since our histories, gone back far enough, actually connect.

South Korea, at first glance, is VERY different the United States or other Western cultures. They speak another language, their mannerisms are unique to us and they have different concepts on life, marriage and family. It may seem like it would be impossible to connect. South Korea, though, isn’t different in a way that should matter to us. Their unique history is a rich one, the reasons they are a rising star, not just in the media, but in the world showcases why they are a force to be seen and understood.

If you truly want to understand South Korea, learn about them. Their history and the reasons why their culture is different from ours is as wonderful a story as the dramas they’ve produced. This can, of course, go for any foreign drama you watch. The more you understand who they are, the better you enjoy their shows. The more you understand about who they are the bigger your world becomes.

A Very Brief History of Korea:

For those of you not willing to pour over the History books (honestly, they are few and far between in the States, actually), I’ll give you a brief history of Korea so that you can better understand who they are. It may help you better understand their shows and the people.

The original origin of the Korean people is somewhat controversial. Some say the true Koreans were already on the island. Others that tribesmen from the north came to the Korean peninsula and took it over. More likely it was a mixture of this and other outside sources. As the peoples grew multiple tribes grew into power. Most notably, and possibly the start of the Korean culture as it is known in historical context, began with the Three Silla Kingdoms. Controversey broke out as it often is, war began, and the King from the Goyreo (possibly the origination of the name Korea) Kingdom took hold of the the Three Kingdoms and united them. It didn’t last long for him though, before the leader of his armies stole the throne.

There was a brief interlude of peace as this new King brought in a new round of prosperity for the Korean people. From this time forward several monarchies would pass, brief wars would occur and the outside world looked with eager eyes. One of these eager eyes was China. At one point, Korea was forced to pay homage to the Chinese people (I believe this was during the Song period in China). Eventually they broke free, but then along with that they had mongal forces from the north attacking, the Japanese poking and prodding, and then, the Western World.

Late into the Korean history the Western World, namely the United States and Britain, tried to overtake it as well, but in more of a tea and crumpets sort of way. They tried to be the “Big Brother” and tell Korea how they should run their country. Korea had endured years of bullying from their brothers and sisters from around them, so they did not bow down willingly to the Western World. After the unfortunate Korean War, the West thought splitting the country into two would solve everyone’s problems. (We know how that has worked out). They then nudged S. Korea to let Big Brother take over and show them the “right” way to run a country, but S. Korea declined. They built their government from the ground up.

They kept strong their history and their traditions while keeping stride with the world around them. They’ve shown the world that they can achieve greatness and that who they are as people, their history, their culture, is what makes them strong. So that’s why when you watch the shows when you watch them honoring their traditions from the past it isn’t because they have some outmoded way of thinking. It’s quite the opposite. Their traditions were saved through years of war, death, and troubles. It combines them as a people. If it seems their government isn’t what you’d think a modern government would be, remember, they’ve done it on their own, and, quite frankly, our government has quite a few holes in it too.

They have a beautiful culture. Take a moment and watch one of their historical dramas. See the detail and the intricacies. Certainly there bloody overthrows, but most of our histories have that.  They are a deep culture who have worked hard to become a forefront country in this world. Their traditions are beautiful and inspiring.

(Disclaimer: If you see any errors in my history of Korea, please let me know.)


My Current Shows:

My Favorite K-Drama