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10 Korean Dramas Featuring Breakups, Ranked


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by Xtreme HD IPTV

In the past few years, it seems like Korean dramas have been everywhere. The violence and critiques of society from Squid Game caught the world’s attention when it landed on Netflix during the COVID-19 pandemic, while romantic and historical dramas have been a staple long before its arrival. While many Korean dramas are not suitable for binge-watching in one night, many people have found themselves highly invested in the characters, storylines, and settings happening throughout the episodes of these dramas.

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However, some of the most iconic dramas start with — or feature — a break-up. Some of the best love stories open with heartbreak, and the characters learn to find something new from a scenario that starts out with a nightmare and many tears. From break-ups to makeups, here are 10 Korean dramas to watch if you want to feel a little less alone, or are looking to see another’s healing journey happen while on camera.

10 Hello, My Twenties! (2016-2017)

Hello My Twenties main cast in season one, smiling for the camera
Drama Culture

In the series Hello, My Twenties!, a group of young college women are brought together to live under one roof. The five girls live inside of one home, and while they started out strangers, they become really close over the course of the two seasons of the show. A coming of age K-drama, the series focuses specifically on the issues they face as young women living in South Korea and attending schools, and romance and break-ups are only a few of their problems.

Why It’s Great

Hello My Twenties is an endearing show to watch, crossing into universal territory for many women living, working, and going to college in their early-20s. As the characters navigate some difficult situations, we can’t help but to keep rooting for them throughout the course of the series. Stream on Netflix

9 Yumi’s Cells (2021)

Released in 2021, Yumi’s Cells became a hit upon airing in South Korea. Kim Go-eun portrays a woman named Kim Yumi, who is depicted on-screen as an ordinary person who works in an office and wants to live her life. She falls in love with a game developer with some communication and social issues, and we witness their romance through the lens of her brain cells.

Why It’s Great

Not only is the premise of Yumi’s Cells extremely unique for Korean dramas, it also features mature relationships and what it means to take a break and discover yourself. The series also mixes 3D animation, making it the first Korean drama to do so. Stream on Viki

Related:9 Korean Drama Masterpieces That Flopped in Korea

8 Lovestruck in the City (2020)

Ji Chang-wook and Kim Ji-won star in the 2020 drama Lovestruck in the City, which truly captures the sad vibes that come after a break-up. Ji portrays Jae-won, an architect who goes on vacation and falls in love with a woman, Eun-o (Kim), that he meets there. But, as it turns out, she gave him a fake name, and when the vacation comes to an end, she ghosts him and disappears, leaving him heartbroken. When they meet again, things might be different this time.

Why It’s Great

Those who’ve recently gone through a break-up might either love this show or will be deeply triggered, as the main characters go through some serious pining and anger after their relationship ends. Shot in an interview format with the main narrative, it really digs deep into all the negative emotions. Stream on Netflix

7 Our Beloved Summer (2021)

A Korean man holds two corndogs, and a Korean woman grins at him
Studio N

Our Beloved Summer came out in 2021, and was popular internationally upon its release, especially because it stars Parasite’s Choi Woo-sik and Kim Dam-i. They portray two adults who dated in high school, and when they break up, they made a promise they would never see each other again. Although they try to keep this promise, a documentary made about their high school love goes viral, and they’re forced to meet again after all of these years.

Why It’s Great

While many people might balk at the thought of seeing a dreaded ex again, Our Beloved Summer forces these two main characters back together. They have to confront their complicated feelings, making this a wholesome drama to watch by the end, as they change their minds about each other. Stream on Netflix

6 Nevertheless (2021)

Nevertheless, starring Song Kang and Han So-hee, can either be a fan favorite or cause one to cringe depending on who is being asked about it. Set at an art school, Han So-hee portrays a female student who’s just been dumped and publicly humiliated by her boyfriend. As she meets another student who catches her eye, the two begin engaging in an on-and-off situationship that not only leans toxic, but serves as a source of artistic inspiration.

Why It’s Great

Nevertheless is a complicated drama, as the dynamics between its male characters and female lead can feel very problematic — she’s not treated well at all throughout certain points in the show. However, it does show very realistic situations throughout the course of her breakup, especially the lack of self-worth after being openly humiliated by her ex. Stream on Netflix

5 The Red Sleeve (2021-2022)

The Red Sleeve leads in historical Korean garments
Npio Entertainment

A historical drama that came out in 2021 and 2022, The Red Sleeve certainly is a show that’s going to induce a few tears throughout its runtime. Lee Jun-ho portrays the historical figure, King Jeongjo, when he was simply known as Yi San as a young man. Struggling with the murder of his father, Prince Sado, he falls in love with a court lady. Despite the affection of a prince, she denies the attraction she feels towards him, complicating things further.

Why It’s Great

The Red Sleeve brilliantly captures the essence of the Crown Prince, Yi San, and his life before becoming king, making it a show that leans poetic at times because of this. However, it’s worth keeping a few tissues around throughout the series, as this story isn’t a happy one. Stream on Viki

4 Emergency Couple (2014)

Emergency Couple, starring Song Ji-hyo and Choi Jin-hyuk, begins with the main characters breaking up. As young students in their 20s, they got married spontaneously despite their families’ wishes, and that led only to heartbreak in the end. Years later, after divorcing, they are in medical school and meet again while interning at the same hospital. Suddenly, they have to act professional and get over their grudges in order to be effective doctors for their patients.

Why It’s Great

While a K-drama like this could easily foray into melodrama and crank up the tension, Emergency Couple leans into the humor of the break-up and plays up the light-hearted aspects quite well. It also demonstrates how a break-up can change one’s life for the better, as both characters have the shot to chase after their dreams of becoming doctors. Stream on Viki

3 Because This Is My First Life (2017)

In Because This Is My First Life, two young adults decide that in order to escape their circumstances, they’re going to get married because it’s the easy option. It’s a marriage of convenience, and they draw up a contract for two years, where they actually have a landlord and tenant situation. However, the longer they end up living together, the more they become involved in each other’s lives and trauma, especially when it comes to family and friends.

Why It’s Great

Many can relate to wanting to get married just out of convenience, as splitting rent or even dividing everyday household chores can easily solve so many issues for some. Because This Is My First Life shows how this can be a slippery slope, and for many, fiction can blur into reality— or the opposite takes ahold. Stream on Viki

Related: 10 Korean Dramas That Ended Way Too Soon

2 My Mister (2018)

Another Korean drama that might make you cry while you’re watching, My Mister can often feel bleak throughout the course of its 16 episodes. Starring Lee Sun-kyun and Lee Ji-eun, the two portray coworkers who never really spoke with each other before. Both are very miserable in their personal lives and deeply struggling with their general existence, but once they start chatting about their problems, they find refuge in talking with each other.

Why It’s Great

My Mister captures the spirit of everyday life, which is refreshing to see in Korean dramas, which often glaze over real issues. A series fitting for cinema at times, this definitely should be on your to-watch list if you haven’t seen it already. Stream on Netflix

1 Cheese in the Trap (2016)

Cheese in the Trap leads smile at each other in a grungy alleyway
Kross Pictures

Cheese in the Trap is based on a wildly popular manhwa of the same name, although it deviates from the manhwa’s plot because the source material had not ended by the time this television show aired in Korea. Set at a Korean university, scholarship student Hong-seol gets too deep with a rich heir named Yoo-jung. When she learns that he’s kind of a terrible person, it begins impacting her negatively, forcing her to make difficult decisions.

Why It’s Great

While fans of the original manhwa series might be greatly disappointed with the series, it holds pretty strong on its own. The female lead takes her life into her own hands after stumbling into a relationship, which creates a situation that feels more realistic compared to the average Korean romance drama. Stream on Viki

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by Xtreme HD IPTV

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