10 popular K-dramas that turn 10 years old in 2022

Can you believe that it has been 10 years since 2012?

A decade has passed since the media reported that the world has supposed to be destroyed on Dec 21, 2012 as per ancient Maya prophecy.

Yet, here we are 10 years later. We are not the only ones turning 10 years older. Our favourite songs and films that came out in 2012 are also turning 10 years old this year.

Here are 10 popular South Korean dramas that are turning 10 years old in 2022:

1.Moon Embracing the Sun

One of the biggest hit K-dramas in 2012 is none other than Moon Embracing the Sun (2012).

The series recorded a peak rating of 42.2%. It even won multiple awards including Best Drama and Best Actor awards in the television category at the 48th Baeksang Arts Awards as well as Drama of the Year at 2012 MBC Drama Awards.

The historical-fantasy drama is adapted from the novel of the same name written by Jung Eun-gwol.

It tells of a love story between a fictional king of the Joseon Dynasty and a female shaman.

Kim Soo-hyun plays King Lee Hwon while Han Ga-in acts as Shaman Wol.

Basically, the king falls in love with a girl as a young boy and about to marry her. When they about to marry, she mysteriously dies.

However in reality, the girl loses her memory and becomes a shaman.

What is the latest news on the cast?

After the drama ended, Han took a six-year break from acting. She returned to the small screen in 2018 in a series called Mistress. It is based on a UK series of the same name.

Meanwhile, the Kim’s career really took off thanks to the drama. His popularity skyrocketed and after the drama, he set a new record in product endorsements for being the face of 17 products simultaneously.

He continued to act in successful films like The Thieves (2012) and Secretly, Greatly (2013) as well as hit dramas such as My Love from the Star (2013), It’s Okay to Not be Okay (2020).

2.Bridal Mask

Based on the popular Korean manhwa by Huh Young-man, the story follows a man named Lee Kang-to (Joo Won).

As the story is set in Seoul during the 1930s Japanese colonial era, Lee is a Korean police commissioned by the Japanese to betray his own people.

Due to this, Lee is hated by his fellow countrymen including the patriotic Korean woman Oh Mok-dan.

Oh loves Gaksital (The Bridal Mask), a masked vigilante who fights for Korean independence.

What Oh does not know is that Lee and Gaksital are in fact the same person.

The series won the Drama of the Year award at the 13th Republic of Korea National Assembly Awards.

What is the latest news on the cast?

In March 2021, Netflix announced that Joo Won would be starring in Netflix original film ‘Carter’.

Joo will be playing the lead role, a secret agent who wakes up to find that he has lost all of his memories.

His last appearance in a television series is in Alice (2020), a sci-fi drama about time-travel.

Jin’s last job on TV drama was also in 2020 when she appeared in a romantic series about reincarnation, Born Again.

She recently also confirmed her role in an upcoming drama called ‘Bad Memory Eraser’.

3.The Rooftop Prince

Tell me that you didn’t cry watching the final episode of this drama. The Rooftop Prince is a rom-com drama and one of the reasons we laughed and cried in 2012.

It follows the story of Crown Prince Lee Gak (Park Yoochun) who finds himself time-travelling from Joseon dynasty to the 21st century.

He is accompanied by scholar Song Man-bo (Lee Tae-ri), personal bodyguard Woo Yong-sool (Jung Suk-won) and palace eunuch Do Chi-san (Choi Woo-shik).

They find themselves on the rooftop of Park-ha’s (Han Ji-min) apartment. Due to his exact same appearance, a wealthy president of a large company mistakes Lee Gak for her grandson Yong Tae-yong.

At the same time, Lee Gak realises that the events that are going on in the 21st century correlate with what had happened 300 years earlier.

What is the latest news on the cast?

After a series of scandals from drug use allegations to sexual assault accusations by four different women, Park’s career took a plunge.

His last performance on a TV drama was in 2015’s A Girl Who Sees Smells.

A true disappointment for a talented actor who had achieved a so-called ‘Grand Slam’ for having won trophies from each of South Korea’s three major television channels, SBS, MBC and KBS.

As for Han, she remains active in the acting industry since The Rooftop Prince (2012) by appearing in at least one project every year.

Some of her prominent roles in TV dramas include Hyde Jekyll, Me (2015), Familiar Wife (2018) and One Spring Night (2019).

She also acted in some successful films such as The Fatal Encounter (2014), The Age of Shadows (2016) and Miss Baek (2018).

What happened to our favourite trio in Lee Gak’s entourage?

Jung Suk-won continues to take up supporting roles in dramas, the most famous one being Netflix’s zombie apocalypse drama Kingdom (2019-2021).

The same thing goes to Lee Tae-ri who later became known for his supporting roles in The Beauty Inside (2018), Extraordinary You (2019), True Beauty (2020) and as Imoogi in Tale of the Nine Tailed (2020).

As for the youngest of the group Choi Woo-shik who plays Do Chi-san in the drama, he turned out to have a successful career.

He starred in critically acclaimed films such as Train to Busan (2016) and Parasite (2019) with the latter winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes and the Academy Awards for Best Picture.


Speaking of an inter-period romance, here is another one coming out from 2012.

Faith (2012) tells the story about the modern-day plastic surgeon who is kidnapped and brought back in time to the Goryeo period, 700 years in the past.

Yoo Eun-soo (Kim Hee-sun) is a 33-year-old plastic surgeon in the year 2012. One day, she is kidnapped by a strange man who takes her back to the Goryeo period.

There, she is believed to be the apprentice of the famous Chinese surgeon Hwata sent from heaven.

The man who kidnaps her is General Choi Young played by Lee Min-ho.

He is a bodyguard to King Gongmin who is instructed to find someone to save the queen’s life.

The general promises the doctor that he will return her to her world once she saves the queen.

However, the doctor is caught in a political struggle in the royal court.

The drama was a highly anticipated because it is Kim’s first comeback after she took a break from the entertainment industry to concentrate on her family.

Meanwhile, it is the first time Lee acted in a historical drama.

Although the drama was highly rated, it turned out to be a commercial failure due to its high budget.

What is the latest news on the cast?

Both Kim and Lee continue to act in a series of successful project respectively.

Lee in particular participated in dramas such as The Heirs (2013), Legend of the Blue Sea (2016) and The King: Eternal Monarch (2020).

He is set to appear in an upcoming TV drama Pachinko which we expect to air on Apple TV+ in 2022.

In the same time, Kim has acted in Angry Mom (2015), The Lady in Dignity (2017) and Room No.9 (2018).

As for Kim, expect her to return on screen as a grim reaper in the fantasy drama Tomorrow. It is scheduled to air in the first half of 2022.

5.The Innocent Man

This melodrama is about a man who is no longer the ‘innocent’ man. Kang Ma-ru (Song Joong-ki) is a promising medical student who is in love with his neighbour Han Jae-hee (Park Si-yeon).

Unfortunately, she breaks his heart by becoming the mistress of a rich CEO in order to escape from poverty.

Six years later, Ma-ru is now an arrogant playboy who works as bartender/gigolo.

He approaches Seo Eun-gi, a rich heiress in a scheme to take revenge on his ex Jae-hee.

What is the latest news on the cast?

Song once described 2012 as a phenomenal year of his career. The Innocent Man (2012) was his first leading drama role in television.

It is also the year he played the titular character in fantasy romance film A Werewolf Boy which was premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

From there on, he has landed leading roles in Descendants of the Sun (2016), Arthdal Chronicles (2019) and Vincenzo (2021).

In 2022, we expect to see Song in the criminal thriller film Bogota alongside Lee Hee-joon and Kwon Hae-hyo as well as a drama adaptation of the web novel The Youngest Son of a Conglomerate.

Moon too continued to enjoy a smooth acting career since The Innocent Man (2012).

The TV drama that she took on a role includes Good Doctor (2013), Criminal Minds (2017) and Flower of Evil (2020) were all successful.

As for Park who played the ex Jae-hee in the drama, she got herself into some legal trouble.

In 2013, she was sentenced to eight months in prison for illegal use of propofol. Then in early 2021, Park was booked for driving under influence.

Her last TV drama appearance was a cameo in 2020’s series Birthcare Center.

6.Arang and the Magistrate

Starring Lee Joon-gi, Shin Min-ah and Yeon Woo-jin, this period horror-romance drama is based on the folklore of Arang.

According to legend, Arang was the beautiful daughter of the magistrate of Miryang who was raped and killed by her stalker.

Since this incident, each newly appointed magistrate died on their first night on the job in Miryang.

Then came a young, brave magistrate who made contact with Arang on his first night in Miryang.

The magistrate found out that his predecessors all died of shock upon seeing the ghost of Arang.

Arang sought justice from him and on the next day, the magistrate punished the man who was responsible for Arang’s death.

Thanks to this, Arang could finally rest in peace.

The series put a lot more twist on this original folklore. The magistrate in the series is a nobleman named Kim Eun-oh (Lee Joon-gi).

Arang (Shin Min-ah), in the meantime, is a ghost who lost all her memories.

At first when Arang ask for Eun-oh’s help to find her memories, he rejects her request.

However, he changes his mind after seeing that Arang has the hairpin that he gave his mother before she goes missing.

Eun-oh believes that by helping Arang he could find his mother.

The drama marked Lee’s first comeback acting project after being discharged from military service in February 2012.

The rights to the drama was sold to Japan for a record-breaking 200 million won per episode which amounts to 4 billion won for the 20-episode series.

What is the latest news on the cast?

Both Lee and Shin won the Best Couple Award at the MBC Drama Awards 2012.

Thankfully, the fictional couple is still active in the entertainment industry.

Shin’s last acting gig in a drama is in Hometown-Cha-Cha-Cha (2021) where she played the role of a dentist who moved from the city to open a clinic in the seaside village.

The series went on to become one of the highest rated television series on Korean cable television history.

She is also set to appear in an upcoming Netflix drama Our Blues that is set to premiere sometime this year.

Meanwhile, Lee has been appearing on the TV screen almost every year since 2012.

He has starred in Gunman in Joseon (2014), The Scholar Who Walks the Night (2015), Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016), Criminal Minds (2017), Lawless Lawyer (2018), Flower of Evil (2020) and an upcoming drama Again My Life (2022).

7. A Gentleman’s Dignity

The story told through this particular drama is unlike your usual K-drama.

It tells the story of four men in their forties who have been friends since they were eighteen.

Kim Do-jin (Jang Dong-gun) is an architect who is suffering from memory loss problem when in stress.

So he records everything in his daily life with a voice recorder pen.

Im Tae-san (Kim Soo-ro) is Do-jin’s partner at his architectural firm while Choi Yoon (Kim Min-jong) is a lawyer who is still mourning from his wife death.

The last member of the group is Lee Jung-rok (Lee Jong-hyuk) is the cafe owner. Despite being married to a rich woman, he still constantly flirts with other women.

The drama follows these four men and their love lives as they still preserving their friendships while they are in 40s.

What is the latest news on the cast?

All of these four senior actors are still in the industry.

However, Lee Jong-hyun who plays Kim Do-jin’s son in the series, might never be in the limelight again.

He was involved in the Burning Sun Scandal in which he took part in a one-to-one chatroom with Jung Joon-young.

Jung was convicted of secretly filming and sharing the videos of himself having sex with women to his friends.

One of his friends was Lee and he reportedly responded to the video with “inappropriate sexual conversations and making disparaging remarks about the women filmed”.

8.Queen In-hyun’s Man

2012 took long distance relationship in a whole new level as we saw many time-travel romance going on in K-dramas.
Here is another romantic drama which transcends different centuries.

It follows the story of obscure actress named Choi Hee-jin (Yoo In-na) who falls in love with Kim Bung-do (Ji Hyun-woo), a time-travelling scholar from the Joseon Dynasty.

Back in his time, he is a scholar who supports the reinstatement of Queen In-hyun who was deposed due to scheming by royal concubine Lady Jang.

When he time travels to 2012, he comes across Hee-jin who is cast as Queen In-hyun in a TV drama and falls in love with her.

What is the latest news on the cast?

At the press conference for the last episode of Queen and I on June 7, 2012, Ji made the public shocked by announcing his love for Yoo.

Yoo then confirmed their relationship on her radio show a week later.

Unfortunately, their romantic relationship did not last long as in 2014 they announced they had broken up.

As for their careers, Ji has starred in drama series such as Angry Mom (2015), Wanted (2016), Bad Thief, Good Thief (2017) and Young Lady and Gentleman (2021).

And we all know Yoo from Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016), Touch Your Heart (2019) and Snowdrop (2022).

9.To the Beautiful You

Here is the teen drama that rocked our year in 2012.

Based on the popular manga series Hanazakari no Kimitachi e written by Hisaya Nakajo, this Korean series is the fourth television adaptation of the manga.

It follows the story of Goo Jae-hee (Sulli), a Korean girl who lives in the US. She is attracted to high jump athlete Kang Tae-joon (Choi Min-ho) and idolises him.

Her fascination over Tae-joon even leads her to disguises herself as a boy in order to enter the same all-boys high school with him.

What is the latest news on the cast?

Sadly, Sulli was found dead in her house on Oct 14, 2019. To the Beautiful You (2012) is her last leading role in a television drama.

In the meantime, Min-ho is still active taking roles in series such as Medical Top Team (2013), My First Time (2015) and Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth (2016).

He also remains active in his singing career as part of K-pop group Shinee.

On the other hand, some of the supporting actors in the drama have been landing leading roles over the years.

Kang Ha-neul, Kim Ji-won, Nam Ji-hyun and Kim Woo-bin are now no longer taking supporting roles in dramas but playing the main characters instead.

10.Love Rain

Love Rain (2012) was the most expensive Korean drama presold to Japan in 2012.

It tells the story over a two generations with Jang Geun-suk and Im Yoon-ah playing dual roles.

When Seo In-ha (Jang) and Kim Yoon-hee (Im) meet for the first time in university during the 70s, it is love at first sight for In-ha.

It takes time for the pair to be together but in the end circumstances push them to take different paths in life.

Moving on in 2012, In-ha is now happily married to one of Yoon-hee’s former best friends.

He has never forgotten Yoon-hee after all this time. When he runs into her after so many years, the two reconcile and try to make up for the lost time.

Well, this is not a K-drama if it does not come with a dramatic plot twist.

In the meantime, In-ha’s son Seo Joon (also played by Jang) bumps into Yoon-hee’s daughter Jung Ha-na (also played by Im) by chance.

Unlike their parents, it is hate at first sight for the duo.

The more they argue, the more they find themselves falling in love with each other.

Unaware that their children are dating each other, In-ha and Yoon-hee announce that they are getting married.

What is the latest news on the cast?

Some of Jang’s works after Love Rain (2012) are Pretty Man (2013), The Royal Gambler (2016) and Switch (2018).

Meanwhile, Im has landed many leading roles such as in Prime Minister and I (2013), The K2 (2016) and The King in Love (2017).

Im is set to appear in a legal drama titled Big Mouse alongside Lee Jong-suk in the first half of 2022.

Some of the supporting actors in Love Rain also seen their careers improved after the drama.

Seo In-guk, for instance, who had his acting debut through Love Rain is now a leading actor in K-dramas.

In-guk landed his leading role later in 2012, in hit drama Reply 1987 as a teenage boy in unrequited love with his childhood best friend.

The role catapulted his career into mainstream popularity and he continued to take part in dramas like Hello Monster (2015), The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (2018) and Doom at Your Service (2021).

Patricia Hului

Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight.

She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science.

She is currently obsessed with silent vlogs during this Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to her obsession, she started her Youtube channel of slient vlogs.

Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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