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10 Most Memorable Friendship in Korean TV Drama

Updated on July 30, 2016

Aside from offering a constant stream of K-Pop idols, Korean TV dramas are also known for trafficking mostly in love stories. However, what most people overlook is that these TV shows also provide examples of great friendships between opposite and same gendered people. Here are 10 of the most memorable friendships in Korean TV drama:

#1. Gentlemen’s Dignity

Best Friends

  • Kim Do-Jin
  • Choi-Yoon
  • Im Tae-san
  • Lee Jung Rok

Synopsis

Gentleman’s Dignity focuses on four middle-aged men who have been steadfast friends since they were eighteen. The series follows them as they go through their careers, relationships, failures, and successes.

Memorable Friendship Qualities

  • The women in their lives know and freely admit that they only come second in their men's lives, as the four friends value each other’s friendship above all.
  • The above example is proven in episode 16, when 3 of the men all leave their women’s sides so they can go and cry with their fourth friend, who had just lost his wife.
  • The men have admitted that they are willing to marry each other if they were to be reborn as a females.

#2. Reply 1997

Best Friends

Yoon Yoon-Jae and Kang Joon-hee

Synopsis

A coming of age drama that focuses on six friends in Pusan, using a narrative format that moves back and forth between their lives as 18 year old high schoolers in 1997 and their present lives as 33 year olds during a reunion in 2012, where a couple will be announcing their plans to get married.

If you think Koreans know how to portray friendship, click here and see how Japanese are the real masters when it comes to coming up with perfect TV friendships.

Memorable Friendship Qualities:

  • Joon Hee, who is secretly gay and in love with Yoon-Jae, supports his friend’s love life and helps even if it hurts him to do so.
  • Joon Hee’s love for Yoon Jae is possibly the only truly unconditional love shown on Korean TV to date.
  • Yoon Jae accepts and respects Joon Hee’s sexuality and decides to keep it a secret since Joon Hee is not ready to come out yet.

#3. Shut Up Flower Boy Band

Best Friends

Kim Ha Jin and Seo Kyung Jong

Synopsis

Shut Up Flower Boy Band follows the underground rock group Eye Candy, consisting of the free spirited vocalist Joo Byung Hee, baby-faced Seo Kyung Jong, chic Lee Hyun So, playboy Kim Ha Jin, stoic Jang Do Il, and Kwon Ji Hyuk. When their school is forced to close down, they decide not to bother returning but after a confrontation with their new school’s number 1 band, the Strawberry Fields, they decide to return to their old school just so they can become its number 1 band again.

Memorable Friendship Qualities

  • Kim Ha Jin and Seo Kyung Jong frequently serve as the eye of the storm in the group. Even if everything and everyone around them is in chaos, they remain calm and connected.
  • They don’t resort to exaggerated expressions of friendship, just simple gestures like walking together all the time, following each other, and quietly knowing that the other will understand even if the rest of the world won’t.
  • They have a habit of jokingly slapping or kicking each other.

#4. Sungkyunkwan Scandal

Best Friends

Moon Jae Shin and Goo Yong Ha

Synopsis

Sungkyunkwan Scandal is a period drama set during the era in which society does not yet allow women to be educated nor employed. In order to make ends meet and support her family, a girl named Kim Yoon Hee disguised as her brother Kim Yoon Shik and tries out for different jobs until she tries to be a proxy test taker (an illegal racket) for the entrance examination to the prestigious Sungkyunkwan and gets caught by the upright Lee Sun Joon. He sees potential in her and encourages her to enroll in the university.

Memorable Friendship Qualities

  • The Yong-ha/Jae-Shin friendship is one of the most beautiful examples of camaraderie and friendship in Korean TV drama. It’s got cute, playful moments and elements of fan service, but still contains enough ambiguity to keep fans guessing.
  • Yong-Ha has always been portrayed with nuanced expressions and feminine body language, and the way other characters react to him imply that they think he’s secretly gay, but Jae Shin has never let that turn him off from hanging around with the guy, even though he feels awkward during times when Yong-Ha got too close for comfort.
  • During the part where Sun Joon starts to fall for Yoon Hee (without knowing that she’s a girl disguised as a boy) and starts to question his own sexuality, he turns to Yong-Ha and asked if what he is feeling is normal. Yong-Ha’s response shows the kind of special friendship that he and Jae Shin Has: “what does it matter?” says Yong-Ha. “it’s always wrong to hate someone but it’s never wrong to love someone, right.” Which means that he accepts what he feels for Jae Shin simply as affection towards another person and it doesn’t matter what form it comes in.

#5. School 2013

Best Friends

Jung In-Jae and Kang Se-Chan

Synopsis

School 2013 follows the struggles and dilemmas that modern day Korean youth experience, tackling subjects such as school violence, bullying, student suicides, and lack of respect between teachers and students.

Memorable Friendship Qualities

  • Despite the actors playing them having shown a decent romantic chemistry in 2011’s Baby-Faced Beauty, Jung In-Jae and Kang Se-Chan’s relationship is perfectly platonic. Their different perspectives started them on the wrong foot, but those same differences actually helped them improve each other as moulders of the youth.
  • Se Chan and In Jae have different approaches to teaching, whereas the former is confident and more focused on academic excellence, the latter is nurturing and focuses more on the emotional needs of her students. Being co-home room teachers forces them to find a compromise between their opposing viewpoints and temper each other.
  • While they originally started as bickering partners who can’t agree on what to do their about students, they eventually became more collaborative, to the point where they can communicate from across the room through eye contact.

#6. Padam Padam

Best Friends

Yang Kang-Chil and Gook-soo

Synopsis

Yang Kang Chil has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for a murder that he didn’t commit. While incarcerated, Yang Kang-Chil is protected by his best friend and (actual) guardian angel Gook Soo. Gook Soo prophesizes that he will have 3 near-death experiences and he will only survive if he learns from each one. When he gets out, he meets and falls in love with the woman who is the niece of the victim in Kang-Chil’s case. Now he needs to seek out the real murderer in order to clear his name and save his relationship.

Memorable Friendship Qualities

  • Gook Soo and Yang Kang Chil have met under the harshest of circumstances – inside a violent prison and by the former saving the latter from actual death, first through hanging, and second by preventing him from getting killed by another inmate.
  • Gook Soo also doesn’t rely on spoon-feeding Yang Kang Chil, as he shows him that he can succeed and even bring about miracles on his own by enforcing his own will.
  • And there’s no giving up either, even when Kang Chil has fallen into such intense anger that he’ll end up committing an act that will get him sent back to prison, Gook Soo is there to snap him out of it, even if it means beating Kang-Chil up himself.

#7. Boys Over Flowers

Bestfriends

Gu Jun-pyo, Yoon Ji-hoo, So Yi-jung and Song Woo-bin

Synopsis

Based on the Japanese manga series Hana Yori Dango, Boys Over Flowers follows a poor but smart and confident schoolgirl who enrolls at an exclusive academy and meets four extremely rich and very handsome schoolboys known as the F4, who first became her erstwhile enemies but soon turned into steadfast friends.

Memorable Friendship Qualities

  • The four lead male characters are wealthy, influential and all-around alpha males, but instead of being competitive with each other, they treat each one as brothers.
  • The F4 are seen by the rest of the school as spoiled brats that will abuse their influence to get what they want, but all four are actually capable of empathy and not opposed to bringing someone inside their clique, like they did with the female lead, Jan-Di.
  • Even developing feelings for the same girl was not enough to break the bonds they share, which is a testament to their friendship because being rich kids, they’ve been conditioned to get anything and everything that they want.

#8. My Friend is Still Alive

Best Friends

Chi-Hyun and Kyung-Sook

Synopsis

My Friend is Still Alive follows high school students Chi Hyun, Myung Soo, and Kyung Sook. Kyung Sook is terminally ill with leukemia and wishes to kiss his first love before he dies, but has never experienced what it’s like to fall in love. So Kyung Sook and Chi Hyun resolve to find a girl who could become Kyung Sook’s first love. The girl comes in the form of Kook-Hwa, who does find a connection with Kyung Sook. However, Chi Hyun also falls for Kook Hwa.

Memorable Friendship Qualities

  • Chin Hwa’s devotion to his friend Kyung Sook is apparent in his desire to give him his last wish, which is to find him a first love, even if it seems like a huge undertaking.
  • Then again, he further proves his loyalty by giving way to the blossoming relationship between Kyung Sook and Kook Hwa even if it’s breaking his heart into pieces.

Best Friends

Dong Soo & Yeo Woon

Synopsis

Based on the comic Honorable Baek Dong Soo, the drama series follows Joseon historical figure Baek Dong Soo as he goes from being a random swordsman to a folk hero, set in the backdrop of political intrigue, brotherhood, loyalty, and honor.

Memorable Friendship Qualities

  • Dong Soo and Yeo Woon are close friends, but they’re also on opposing sides of a conflict. In a period where both honor and loyalty are paramount and can both be applied organizations and companions in equal measures, their friendship turns into a complex tug of war between brotherhood and ideology.
  • They’re both equally gifted fighters so their friendship-turned-rivalry is interesting. Dong Soo becomes one of the most feared swordsmen in the land, while Yeo Woon is most likely a close second and is part of the group that is hunting him down. When they do finally meet on the battlefield, one has to wonder whether principles or their past friendship will win out.

#10. Man from the Equator

Best Friends

Kim Sun-woo and Lee Jang-il

Synopsis

A tale of romance, fate, revenge, and success as told through the lives of two best friends with a tragic and twisted history, starting from their youth to their adult careers.

Memorable Friendship Qualities

  • While both coming from poor families, best friends Jang Il and Sun Woo have stark differences: one is a determined straight A student and the other a happy-go lucky delinquent.
  • Their friendship is derailed when a powerful acquaintance of both their fathers orders Jang Il’s father to kill Sun Woo’s father, resulting in conflict that trickles down to the two boys and culminating in an attack that leaves Sun Woo blind and comatose.
  • Spoiler Alert in the end, when Jang Il became mentally ill and reverted back to his high school self, Sun Woo visited him at the institution and pretended to be his old teenage self so he can help his friend, with Jang Il reliving the past when he was still tutoring the delinquent Sun Woo.

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      I love boys over flower but i must try watching school 2013

    • profile image

      Sak95 2 months ago

      You must add Reply 1988 in your list - because the friendship represented in Reply 1988 is unparalleled and is perfect.

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