Browse Tag


KajoPicks: 10 K-dramas based on real-life historical figures of the Joseon era

The Joseon dynasty was the last dynasty of Korea which lasted for about five centuries.

It was founded by Yi Seong-gye in July 1392 until it was replaced by the Korean Empire in October 1897.

The dynasty started after the fall of 500-year-old Goryeo dynasty. Yi was a Goryeo soldier who slowly rose through the ranks until he initiated a coup d’etat against King U of Goryeo.

He later killed King U and his son, who were then replaced by another royal – King Gongyang of Goryeo – on the throne.

Gongyang’s reign only lasted for three years. In 1392, Yi dethroned King Gongyang and exiled him.

Then Yi Seonggye put himself on the throne, using the name Taejo.

At first, Taejo wanted to continue to use the name Goryeo for his country and simply change the royal line of descent to his own.

However, his royal court convinced him to give a new name to the dynasty to signify a change in the country.

After much deliberation, Taejo declared the new kingdom as Joseon. It was a tribute to the ancient Korean state of Gojoseon.

With a dynasty that spanned over five centuries, Joseon was rich with historical figures.

Hence, it is no surprise that the Korean entertainment industry has taken much inspirations for their dramas from this period in history.

While some of these Korean historical dramas (or better known as saeguk) have taken more entertaining and fun approaches to retell the history of Joseon, other dramas tried to give justice to the original stories.

Fun or serious, these saeguk dramas are still entertaining to watch. So here are 10 K-dramas based on real-life historical figures of Joseon dynasty:

1.Warrior Baek Dong-soo (2011)

Baek Dong-soo (1743-1816) was a swordsman and martial artist.

He became a folk hero when his group protected King Jeongjo from numerous assassination attempts.

His story inspired Lee Jae-heon’s manhwa entitled “Honorable Baek Dong-soo”.

This comic was later adapted into Korean television series Warrior Baek Dong-soo.

In this drama, Dong-soo is played by Ji Chang-wook. He started as a carefree swordsman who later became a member of the royal guard.

The plot is set against the political struggles between different factions including those led by King Jeonjo, by the Qing ambassador to Joseon, by the Japanese swordsman and by the assassin’s guild.

Overall, the series showcases intense political intrigue with a tale of how a best friend can turn into an arch-nemesis.

Warrior Baek Dong-soo was a hit when it aired and Ji won the received a ‘New Star Award’ at the SBS Drama Awards for his role.

2.Dae Jang Geum (2003)

Today, Dae Jang Geum (2003) is still holds the honour of bein one of the tenth highest rated Korean dramas of all time.

Directed by Lee Byung-hoon who is known for his historical dramas, the series was later exported to 91 countries.

Based on the life of Lady Jang-geum, it tells the story of an orphaned kitchen cook who went to become the first royal female physician.

According to history, King Jungjong was so impressed with Jang-geum’s medical knowledge that he trusted her with the health of the royal family.

Jang-geum eventually became the third highest-ranking officer in the royal. Additionally, she was granted the use ‘Dae’ before her first name which means ‘great’ in Korean.

She was that impressive for a woman during her time (sometimes during 16th century) that some historians believed that she was just a fictional character.

However, we bet our money the historians who did not believe her existence are men.

Nonetheless, the series was praised for its highlights on Korean royal cuisines, traditional medicine and culture.

3.The King’s Doctor (2012)

Here is another saeguk drama directed by Lee Byung-hoon.

This time, it is based on the real-life historical figure Baek Gwang-hyeon (1625-1697).

He was just a low-class veterinarian specialised in treating horses.

Thanks to his knowledge and hardwork, Gwang-hyeon worked his way up to become the royal physician who is in charge of the king’s health.

The series marks actor Cho Seung-woo’s television debut, playing the role of Gwang-yeon.

Before this, Gwang-hyeon was know for his works in film and theatre.

4.Painter of the Wind (2008)

Shin Yun-bok (1758-1813) was a Korean painter of the Joseon dynasty. His paintings were considered erotic.

One of his paintings called ‘Scenery on Dano Day’ depicts a group of women entertainers bathing in a stream and two young monks spying on them in the background.

In a historical fiction novel by Korean author Lee Jung-myung, the story explores the possibility of Shin Yun-bok actually being a woman.

Yun-bok disguises herself as a boy to search for her father’s murderer.

She then meets Kim Hong-do, another real-life historical figure, who guides her into becoming a great artist.

The drama Painter of the Wind is based on Lee Jung-myung’s novel and the role of Yun-bok is portrayed by Moon Geun-young.

5.Goddess of Fire (2013)

Speaking of Moon Geun-young, she plays the role of Yoo Jung in Goddess of Fire (2013).

Her character is based on real-life historical figure Baek Pa-sun during the 16th century.

Pa-sun was renowned as the first female potter and porcelain artist in the Joseon Dynasty.

Her talent was so famous that she was among the Korean artisans captured and forcibly taken to Japan during the Japanese invasion in 1592.

In the drama, Jung falls in love with Prince Gwanghae.

She eventually needs to choose between love or her country.

Watch the trailer here.

6.Six Flying Dragons (2015)

six flying dragons joseon drama

The main characters of this historical drama are a mixture of real-life historical figures and fictional characters.

Among the six dragons, Lee Bang-won (Yoo Ah-in), Jeong Do-jeon (Kim Myung-min) and Lee Seong-gye (Cheon Ho-jin) are real-life historical figures.

Meanwhile, Boon Yi (Shin Se-kyun), Ddang-sae (Byun Yo-han) and Moo-hyul (Yoon Gyun-sang) are all fictional characters.

It follows the story of Lee Bang-won who helped his father King Taejo to establish the Joseon Dynasty.

He later became the third king of the Joseon dynasty known as King Taejong.

7.Jeong Do-jeon (2014)

25813 jeong do jeon

Another popular real-life historical figure during the Joseon Dynasty is Jeong Do-jeon (1342-1398).

He is known as one of the most powerful politicians and a close ally of King Taejo.

In this period drama, the story follows how Do-jeon help in founding the Joseon dynasty and the hardship he faced in the process.

Critics praised Jeong Do-jeon (2014) as one of the most ‘authentic and realistic’ Korean historical dramas in the new millennium.

So this drama is definitely worth your time to watch especially if you love history.

8.Saimdang, Memories of Colours (2017)

14 years after her successful portrayal of Jang Geum in Dae Jang Geum (2003), Lee Young-ae returns to small screen in Saimdang, Memories of Colours (2017).

In this series, Young-ae portrays real-life historical figure Shin Saimdang (1504-1551).

She was a popular artist, writer, calligraphist and poet.

The plot follows a Korean university art history lecturer Seo Ji-yoon also played by Lee Young-ae who discovers a long lost diary.

Through the diary, Ji-yoon uncovers the extraordinary life of Shin Saimdang and a mysterious ancient painting.

Saimdang’s birth home, Ojukheon is well-preserved to this day.

Watch the trailer here:

9.Queen for Seven Days (2017)

This historical drama follows the real-life story of a queen who only held the title for seven days. She has been known as the shortest time a person to have reigned as a queen in Korean history.

Queen Dangyeong (1487-1557) was the first queen consort of King Jungjong, the eleventh Joseon King.

In September 1506, she became Queen consort of Joseon only for seven days.

She was disposed and expelled from the palace because her own father led a coup against her husband.

The disposed queen continued to live in exile until she died childless in 1557.

In the fictional version of Queen Dangyeong, the king and queen still long for each other even after she was dethroned and abandoned.

Overall, the drama focuses on the struggle of a woman who was unwillingly thrown into the political royal court in the 16th century.

Watch the trailer here:

10.The Crowned Clown (2019)

Prince Gwanghae (1575-1641) was the fifteenth king of the Joseon dynasty. He is perhaps one of the most famous historical figures with fifteen appearances in films and television series.

Even though he is one of only two deposed kings who were not restored and given a temple name, Prince Gwanghae is now considered one of the wiser kings in Korean history.

Unfortunately during his reign, the king was a victim of conflicts between political factions.

The Crowned Clown (2019) is based on stories of many assassination attempts carried out to kill Gwanghae during his reign.

To avoid assassination, Gwanghae or better known as King Lee Hun (Yeo Jin-goo) hired a clown named Ha Sun (Yeo Jin-goo) who looks identical to the king.

While impersonating the king, the clown later proved himself that he is a wise king on his own merits.

The drama is a remake of the 2012 film Masquerade.

Watch the trailer here:

10 hardworking female leads from K-dramas who will inspire you

Are you looking for some motivation to work? While some Korean dramas offer an escape from reality by telling stories of how a rich, handsome man comes and sweeps the girl of her feet, others give viewers a glimpse of reality in which the female leads work hard on their own. These damsels in distress do not need any rescuing because they pick themselves up no matter what.

If you are looking for Monday motivation, here are ten hardworking female leads from K-dramas to inspire you in a day’s work:

1.She Was Pretty (2015)

Kim Hye-jin (Hwang Jung-eum) is an intern in the administration section before being transferred to be a junior writer at a fashion magazine.

Here is the problem, Hye-jin knows nothing about fashion or writing. Nonetheless, she starts from the bottom and is willing to learn to do her job properly.

She slowly learns the ropes of fashion writing with the help of her colleagues.

Hye-jin grew up rich but after her family’s publishing company went bankrupt, her family lost their fortune.

Hence, she works hard to help her family’s financial situation. After saving a lot of money for her family, Hye-jin then focuses to achieve her own dream as a children’s book author.

This hardworking female lead shows that it is okay to postpone your dream for the sake of your family.

Realistically, most people are like Hye-jin who has to put food on their table first before they can even think about their own ambition.

But once you’ve reached your financial goal or are financially secured, it’s never too late to pursue your own dreams.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Fight My Way (2017)

Due to its realistic storyline and great performance, this drama was popular when it first aired.

The hardworking female lead in this drama is Choi Ae-ra (Kim Ji-won), a department store employee who dreams of becoming an announcer.

Together with her friends Ko Dong-man (Park Seo-jeon), Kim Joo-man (Ahn Jae-hong) and Baek Seol-hee (Song Ha-yoon), the gang faces the ups and downs of quarter-life crisis.

Fight for My Way is far from your usual glamorous K-drama as it is relatable and has true-to-life background stories.

The most relatable quote in the drama is when Ae-ra vents out her frustration in episode eight: “Even though we woke up earlier than others, even though we went to bed later than others, we never had time. We lived harder than anyone, but our resumes that doesn’t show anything pretends to reflect who I am. I’m angry, I’m frustrated.”

This line could not get any more relatable than this for those who are struggling to find a place in the society.

Overall, the plot highlights the competitive working environment among young adults today and the high unemployment rate in South Korea.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Doctors (2016)

Is there any hope for a delinquent to become a successful doctor? Apparently in this Korean medical drama, there is hope after all.

The hardworking female lead of Doctors (2016) Yoo Hye-jung (Park Shin-hye) works her way up to become a neurosurgeon.

She might have a juvenile record but it doesn’t stop Hye-jung to turn her life around.

Sometimes, you only need that one person to believe in you.

For Hye-jung, the people who trust her are her teacher Hong Ji-hong (Kim Rae-won) and her grandmother.

Watch the trailer here.

4.Search: WWW (2019)

Search: WWW (2019) features not one but three hardworking female characters.

It is a story of three women in their late 30s, Bae Ta-mi, Cha Hyeon and Song Ga-kyeong who work in top two competitive web portal companies.

The drama is considered a breath of fresh air as it highlights professional women striving for success as the main plot.

Meanwhile, the male characters in Search: WWW are the subplots of the story just like most female characters in other dramas.

These hardworking female characters are unapologetic when it comes to their careers as well as their love lives.

Watch the trailer here.

Hardworking female k drama

5.Be Melodramatic (2019)

This romantic comedy tells the story of three best friends Lim Jin-joo, Lee Eun-jung and Hwang Han-joo.

They are all in their 30s, each having her own struggles in love and career.

Lim Jin-joo (Chun Woo-hee) is a drama screenwriter who just got out from a long term relationship. She has unique personality who sometimes talks to a luxurious purse.

Meanwhile, Lee Eun-jung (Jeon Yeo-been) is a documentary director who runs her own one-woman company. After the death of her boyfriend, she suffers from PTSD and often imagines and talks with him.

The last member of the trio is Hwang Han-joo (Han Ji-eun) who works as the head of a marketing team for a drama production company. At home, she is a single mother who struggles to balance her work while raising a kid.

All three hardworking female characters having real-life struggles is something that some of us could relate to.

Watch the trailer here.

6.What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim (2018)

If you have been working hard for nine years under a difficult boss and you finally paid off your family’s debt, you have definitely earned a break.

For Kim Mi-so (Park Min-young), she does not even bat an eye when she turns in her resignation letter after all that hard work.

Her life as a secretary for the past nine years has revolved around her work and her boss. She even carries around a men’s handkerchief and lighter in her handbag just in case her boss needs it.

When Mi-so’s boss Lee Young-joon (Park Seo-joon) asks the reason for her resignation her answer might resonate with some viewers.

“I need to go find my life now. A life as not as someone’s secretary nor as a breadwinner, but life just as myself.”

Watch the trailer here.

7.Second 20s (2015)

Ha No-ra (Choi Ji-woo)’s dream to become a dancer was interrupted when she unexpectedly became pregnant at 19.

She then had to quit school and get married. For the next 20 years, No-ra spent her life being a housewife and mother.

At the age of 38, she finds herself on the brink of divorce. To make matter worse, No-ra is diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and given a six-month prognosis.

No-ra decides to go back to college again to the horror of her own son Kim Min-soo and his girlfriend Oh Hye-mi who becomes her new classmate.

Unbeknownst to No-ra, her estranged husband accepts a new job at the same university.

Well, do not wait until being diagnosed with cancer for you to achieve your dream like No-ra.

As cliched as it might sound, time and tide wait for no man.

8.Strongest Deliveryman (2017)

Have you heard of the term “Hell Joseon, Hell Chosun or Hell Korea?” It is a satirical South Korean term used to criticise the socioeconomic situation in the country.

The phrase is often used when complaining about unemployment among youths and the inability to escape from poverty despite being overworked.

In Strongest Deliveryman (2017), the hardworking female lead Lee Dan-ah (Chae Soo-bin) is doing everything she could to make money and escape from ‘Hell Joseon’.

She has no time for romance so she turns down all advances from men while working as a delivery woman.

However, Dan-ah did find love in the story in veteran deliveryman Choi Kang-soo (Go Kyung-pyo).

Equally hardworking as Dan-ah, Kang-soo eventually works his way up to become the CEO of his own delivery app company.

Watch the trailer here.

9.Start-Up (2020)

Speaking of opening up a company, here is a story of a woman who dreams to become a prolific entrepreneur.

Seo Dal-mi (Bae Suzy) is bright and ambitious ans wants to be Korea’s Steve Jobs. In order to do that, she takes a wide range of part-time jobs.

The drama sets in South Korea’s fictional Silicon Valley called Sandbox. It follows the story of Dal-mi and other aspiring entrepreneurs as they struggle to take their business off the ground.

Watch the trailer here.

10.Romance is a Bonus Book (2019)

One of the most hardworking female leads in K-dramaland is none other than Kang Dan-i (Lee Na-young).

After her husband cheats on her, she is left to take care of her daughter.

Not an easy task since Dan-i quit her job before her marriage and now no one wants to hire her.

She then gets a job at a publishing company as a temporary task support team member.

Despite the scepticism Dan-i faced from her superiors and colleagues being a former ‘housewife’, she proves them wrong by performing well in her job.

Watch the trailer here.

#KajoPicks: 10 South Korean fantasy-crime dramas you need to watch

Your usual crime drama would be more thrilling if it has a dose of fantasy in it. So here are ten South Korean fantasy-crime dramas you need to watch:

1. Signal (2016)

Kicking off this list is a Korean fantasy crime drama which is inspired by real-life criminal cases in South Korea.

Signal is a police procedural fantasy series starring Lee Je-hoon, Kim Hye-soo and Cho Jin-woong.

It follows the story of criminal profiler Park Hae-young who picks up a mysterious walkie-talkie in 2015. The device allows him to communicate with Detective Lee Jae-han who is actually in 1989.

This unusual communication allows Hae-young and Jae-han not only solve crimes but prevent them from ever taking place.

The series was a hit when it premiered thanks to its storyline and performances.

Today, it remains as one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history.

Watch the trailer here.

2. Tunnel (2017)

Inspired by the infamous Hwaseong serial killer, this Korean fantasy-crime drama was a hit in China.

It follows the story of Park Gwang-ho who is a successful detective in 1986. His life turns upside down when he chases a suspect of a serial homicide case through a tunnel.

Gwang-ho finds himself time-travels 30 years into the future in 2016 where the serial killer is still killing.

In the present time, Gwang-ho need to work with his new partner Kim Seon-jae (Yoon Hyun-min) in order to catch the killer.

Watch the trailer here.

3. Cheo Yong (2014)

What better way to solve crimes other than with the help from ghosts?

Yoon Cheo-yong (Oh Ji-ho) is a police detective who can see and communicate with ghosts. When his family and partner are killed in a tragic accident, he lets his career go downhill. From an elite detective in the violent crimes unit, Cheo-yong become a lowly district cop over the next seven years.

One day, a ghost of a high school girl named Han Na-young (Jun Hyo-seong) keeps on haunting Cheo-yong. After much annoyance from Na-young, Cheo-yong begins to talk to the dead and people around him again.

With the help of his new partner Ha Sun-woo (Oh Ji-eun) and Na-young, he delves into solving criminal cases that no one can solve.

Of course, he is able to do that using his ability to communicate with ghosts.

4. Sketch (2018)

This Korean fantasy-crime drama follows a small-scale secret group under the National Police Agency called Nabi Project Team.

The group is named after the Arabic word ‘Nabi’ meaning prophet because there is one ‘prophet’ in the team.

Yoo Shi-hyun (Lee Sun-bin) is a detective who has the psychic ability to sketch out drawings of what will happen three days in the future.

When Detective Kang Dong-soo’s (Rain) fiancee is killed mysteriously, he works with Shi-hyun to catch the killer.

Apparently, their task is not easy since the culprit is a member of Republic Of Korea Army Special Warfare Command named Kim Do-jin (Lee Dong-gun).

Just like Dong-soo, Do-jin is driven by revenge, avenging for the death of his wife.

Watch the trailer here.

5. Abyss (2019)

If you died unjustly, it is a natural thing to do to find your cause of death once you are reincarnated.

Go Se-yeon is a beautiful prosecution lawyer and her friend Cha Min is an unattractive but rich chaebol.

One day, they both died in separate incidents and get reincarnated into bodies which reflect their souls.

Se-yeon takes on a plainer appearance compared to her previous life while Cha Min becomes very handsome and attractive.

The duo start to find out the reason behind their reincarnations and Se-yeon’s cause of death.

Watch the trailer here.

6. He is Psychometric (2019)

Have you ever doubted the acting abilities of K-pop idols? There are two K-pop idols starring in this Korean fantasy-crime drama and they really proved that they can act.

Park Jin-young is member of GOT7 and Kim Da-som was a former K-pop singer from the group Sistar.

Jin-young plays the role of Lee Ahn who acquires the power of psychometry after losing his parents in a fire.

He is able to read a person or an object’s past through physical contact. Lee Ahn is determined to use his ability to catch criminal.

Those who believed in his ability are his foster guardian/prosecutor Kang Sung-mo (Kim Kwon) and friend/detective Eun Ji-soo played by Da-som.

Like many of the dramas on this list, it has light-hearted and easygoing beginning before the story takes more on a serious tone.

So you might catch yourself laughing in the first few episodes before those laughter turn into tears later in the series.

Watch the trailer here.

7. Train (2020)

How far would you go to solve a crime? For detective Seo Do-won (Yoon Shi-yoon), he is willing to move between two parallel universes.

In universe ‘A’, Do-won is a hardworking detective who always get the job done. Everything changes when the woman he loves becomes a victim of a serial killer.

In pursue of the killer, he is now moving between universe ‘A’ and universe ‘B’.

The problem is in universe ‘B’, Do-won is a corrupted senior police inspector.

However, his deceased love is very much alive in this universe. Do-won is now on a mission to track down her killer in one universe while protecting her in another.

8. Memorist (2020)

Based on the webtoon of the same name by Jae Hoo, the Korean fantasy-crime dram stars Yoo Seung-ho, Lee Se-young and Jo Sung-ho.

When Dong Baek (Yoo Seung-ho) was a high school student, he suddenly gained a power to read a person’s memory by touching that person.

Fast forward to his adulthood, Dong Baek is now a police detective. He uses his power to catch criminals and solve cases.

He then encounters a series of mysterious murders. This time, he needs to team up with criminal profiler Han Sun-mi (Lee Se-young) to catch the serial killer.

Watch the trailer here.

9. The Game: Towards Zero (2020)

Korean fantasy crime drama

What would you do if you can foresee someone’s death?

Kim Tae-pyeong (Ok Taec-yeon) can foresee anyone’s death by looking into their eyes.

One day, a girl is kidnapped and it is suspected that the notorious Midnight Killer is behind it.

While Tae-pyeong helps with the police investigation, he comes across Detective Joon-young (Lee Yeon-hee).

Unlike others, she is the first person that he cannot foresee their death and there must be a reason behind it.

While they figuring it out, Tae-pyeong and Joon-young work together to catch the Midnight Killer.

Watch the trailer here.

10. Times (2021)

Here is another drama by OCN which is the channel to watch thriller, mystery Korean series.

This Korean fantasy-crime drama has a huge similarity with Signal (2016).

Instead of walkie-talkies, the two main characters from two different times can contact each other through phone calls.

Lee Jin-woo (Lee Seo-jin) and Seo Jung-in (Lee Joo-young) are both dedicated reporters. Jin-woo lives in 2015 and Jung-in in 2020.

One day, they realised they can call each other through phone. Using this special connection, they try to prevent the death of South Korea President Seo Ki-tae (Kim Young-chul), who happens to be Jung-in’s father.

Watch the trailer here.

#KajoPicks: 10 South Korean action-thriller movies you should watch

Here are just 10 of our favourite South Korean action-thriller movies:

Korean action thriller movie

1.The Chaser (2008)

Inspired by a real-life serial killer, this Korean action-thriller is a must on our list. Yoo Young-chul is a South Korean serial killer, sex offender and self-confessed cannibal.

He admitted to having killed 20 people, mostly prostitutes and wealthy old men.

In this movie, actor Ha Jung-woo is particular impressive in his role as psychopath killer Je Yeong-min who is loosely based on Young-chul.

The story circles around a disgraced police Eom Joong-ho (Kim Yoon-seok) who became a pimp. He notices his girls keep on disappearing. After some time, he realises that all of the missing girls shared the same last customer. And that customer is Yeong-min.

This fictional character and the real life killer Young-chul have a couple things in common.

For instance, they both target prostitutes. Secondly, they both use a hammer as the main murder weapon.

In Young-chul’s case, it was the pimps who started to feel suspicious when their girls failed to show up. And they all connected the disappearances to the same phone number. They then notified the police which eventually led to the capture of Young-chul.

In terms of action, the movie offers a handful of hitting, smashing, kicking and various other forms of physical assault while the thriller part, basically a cat and mouse game between Joong-ho and Yeong-min.

Overall, The Chaser (2008) was a successful movie, becoming the third most popular film in South Korea in 2008.

Watch the trailer here.

2.The Yellow Sea (2010)

Speaking of The Chaser (2008), the film is directed by Na Hong-jin.

As the director of The Yellow Sea (2010), Noh reunites with his two lead actors in The Chaser, Ha Jung-woo and Kim Yoon-seok.

However this time, their roles are reversed. In The Yellow Sea, Jung-woo plays the protagonist while Yoon-seok plays the antagonist.

It revolves around a cab driver who agrees to carry out a hit in exchange for getting his debts paid.

After the hit goes wrong, he is chased by both the police and the gangster who assigned him the job.

Watch the trailer here.

3.The Suspect (2013)

KajoMag listed this as one of our favourite Korean movies about North Korean espionage.

Ji Dong-chul (Gong Yoo) is the best field agent in North Korea. Suddenly, he is abandoned during a mission. Additionally, he finds out that his wife and daughter murdered.

Hunted and on the run, torn between grief and vengeance, he takes a job as a night driver for the CEO of a powerful corporation.

After one bad thingafter another, the CEO is brutally assassinated and Dong-chul is the main suspect.

Now, he is on the run again. Accused of murder and wanted for treason, Dong-chul begins to hunt for the truth.

Won Shin-yun, the director of The Suspect (2013) is a former stuntman before making his directorial debut through The Wig (2005). Hence, you can expect him pushing his actors through all kinds of stunts especially Gong Yoo in this movie.

Watch the trailer here.

4.The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil (2019)

What happens when a crime boss is targeted by a serial killer?

The most logical thing to do is to turn to the police. Even a gangster wants to stay alive right?

The story follows the gangster Jang Dong-soo (Ma Dong-seok) who barely survives a violent attack by an elusive serial killer.

He then forms an unlikely partnership with local detective Jung Tae-seok (Kim Moo-yul) to catch the sadistic killer known as ‘K’.

The movie reportedly based on real events from a decade ago. However, there is no clear mention which part of this story is true.

In 2019, Sylvester Stallone announced that he would be producing the remake of The Gangster, the Cop, The Devil. Will Ma Dong-seok be reprising his role?

Watch the trailer here.

5.A Hard Day (2014)

Are you having a bad day? We bet your day is not as bad as the one the main character of this movie is having.

A Hard Day (2014) follows the story of corrupt cop Detective Ko Gun-su (Lee Sun-kyun). In the middle of his mother’s funeral, Gun-su is told that his squad is being investigated by internal affairs for bribery.

He decides to walk out in the middle of the funeral. Later, Gun-su crashes into a homeless man who wanders onto the road, killing him.

Instead of reporting it, he hides the body in his trunk. Then, Gun-su returns to his mother’s funeral and does the ‘unthinkable’. He seals the body inside his mother’s coffin.

Little that he knows, somebody is watching and using that to blackmail him.

6.Broken (2014)

This Korean action-thriller film is a classic tale of revenge. It revolves around a father who becomes a fugitive while he hunts down his daughter’s rapists and killers.

Lee Sang-hyeon (Jung Jae-young) lives a quite life with his 15-year-old daughter Su-jin. His world turns upside down her after dead body is found in an abandoned bathhouse with evidence of sexual assault.

Since the investigation into his daughter’s case is not progressing as fast as he wants, he decides to take charge.

After receiving an anonymous text with information about the case, he goes to the address that was given to him.

There, he finds a man laughing as he watches a video of Su-jin’s rape.

In a fit of rage, Sang-hyeon accidentally kills the man and finds there is a second accomplice.

Now, the police is hunting him and Sang-hyeon is hunting the second accomplice.

Watch the trailer here.

7.The Target (2010)

In movies – whether they are produced in Korea or Hollywood – retired professional killers tend to be depicted like bears going into hibernation. Disturb them when they hibernate and you will be running for your life.

The Target follows ex-mercenary killer Yeo-hoon (Rye Seung-ryong) who is now leading a normal life.

That normalcy ends when he is framed for the death of a prominent CEO. Yeo-hoon manages to escape but winds up in a hospital.

After a doctor at the hospital whose name is Tae-joon (Lee Jin-wook) decides to help him, Tae-joon’s pregnant wife is kidnapped.

Now, the two men are on the hunt to rescue her and find out who is responsible behind the fiasco.

Watch the trailer here.

8.Midnight FM (2010)

This is the South Korean action-thriller film which earned actress Soo Ae her Best Actress award at the 31st Blue Dragon Film Awards for her performance.

She plays the role of Ko Sun-young, a popular television announcer and midnight DJ.

Sun-young decides to resign from her jobs and moved to the United States after her daughter Eun-soo requires heart surgery there.

On her last day of work, her sister Ah-young babysits Eun-soo at Sun-young apartment.

While she is on air, Sun-young receives a call from Han Dong-soo who claims to be her fan.

As it turns out, Dong-soo after hearing about Sun-young’s retirement, holds her family hostage and threaten her to use her final broadcast for his own agenda.

9.Cold Eyes (2013)

This Korean action-thriller film is a remake of 2007 Hong Kong film Eye in the Sky.

It follows a group of detectives from the surveillance team of a special crime unit who work together to take down a bank robbing organisation.

It stars Sol Kyung-gu, Jung Woo-sung, Han Hyo-joo, Jin Kyung and Lee Jun-ho.

One of the best parts of this film is the cameo of Hong Kong actor Simon Yam, the original cast of Eye in the Sky.

Watch the trailer here.

10.No Mercy (2019)

How about a Korean action-thriller starring a woman?

Former professional boxer/actress Lee Si-young is the perfect cast for In-ae. She is a female bodyguard who went to jail after stabbing out the eye of a politician.

(Don’t feel bad for the politician; he raped In-ae’s sister Eun-hye.)

While In-ae is in jail, Eun-hye is bullied at school and frequently raped.

Even after In-ae is released, Eun-hye does not tell her of what happened.

Then one day, Eun-hye is abducted by a group of human traffickers. When the police refuse to do anything, In-ae goes on a one woman hunt to rescue her sister.

Watch the trailer here.

KajoPicks: 8 Chinese coming-of-age dramas you need to watch

A coming-of-age story is a genre of film and literature which focuses on the growth of a protagonist from youth to adulthood.

In Chinese dramas, a typical coming-of-age story starts when the characters are in their secondary school, then during university, and ends when they become working adults.

While in real-life it is rare to have the same body size from your teenage years into adulthood, some of these Chinese drama characters even have the same hairstyles throughout the years.

Nonetheless, most Chinese coming-of-age dramas manage to capture the real essence of growing up from their teenage years to adulthood in an Asian country.

Although these dramas are set in China, some of the conflicts and inner struggles that these characters experience are relatable, especially if you are from a typical conservative Asian household.

One example is how some of the characters are advised to get “real jobs” like becoming a doctor or lawyer.

While the main storyline is typically about the love story between two main characters, these Chinese coming-of-age dramas also showcase how good friendships can grow over the years.

In real life, some of us still do keep in touch with our high school friends.

If you are looking for heartwarming Chinese coming-of-age dramas, here are eight of them that made it to our list:

1.A Love So Beautiful (2017)

Based on the novel To Our Pure Little Beauty by Zhao Qianqian, this Chinese coming-of-age drama stars Hu Yitian and Shen Yue.

It circles around Chen Xiaoxi and Jiang Chen who are classmates in high school and neighbours since they were in kindergarten.

Their characters are polar opposites. Chen Xiaoxi has a cheerful personality but does not study much, while Jiang Chen is the popular kid known for his good looks and high grades.

After losing his father at an early age, Jiang Chen becomes very distant towards people.

Despite this, Xiaoxi still expresses her crush towards Jiang Chen.

The story also follows their friends, a swimmer Wu Bosong, a tomboy Lin Jingxiao and Lu Yang, who has heart disease.

Even until when they are in university, Xiaoxi still crushes on Jiang Chen. Will Jiang Chen’s heart finally soften?

What happen to them when they finally made it into adulthood?

Like many other coming-of-age, A Love is So Beautiful focuses about these characters discovering themselves and their places in the world.

2.Rush to The Dead Summer (2017)

Starring Chen Xuedong, Zheng Shuang and Bai Jingting, the drama is based on Guo Jingming’s novel of the same name.

After winning a scholarship, Li Xia earns her place at Qian Chuan secondary school. There, she meets the two popular boys Fu Xiaosi and Lu Zhiang.

She also befriends a boyish girl named Yu Jian and the rich girl in school, Cheng Qiqi.

After they graduate, things seem to go fine, at least for some of them. Li Xia starts to date Xiaosi who is now a famous artist. Meanwhile, Qiqi becomes a celebrity after winning a singing competition.

Then, comes death, and betrayal after betrayal. Can their friendships survive all these hardships?

This Chinese coming-of-age drama was praised for its realistic life of youth and on campus as well as beautiful cinematography. Hence, it is definitely worth watching.

Watch the trailer here.

You can watch this drama on Youtube here.

3.With You (2016)

Speaking of realistic portrayal of youth, here is another Chinese coming-of-age drama that received high reviews.

Hailed as ‘best youth drama’ by critics in recent years, the drama tackles issues relatable to viewers such as family problems, school struggles as well as the ups and downs of friendships.

One of the most realistic scenes in the drama is when the students draw lots to answer objective questions during the exam. (Raise your hand if you did that in your high school years.)

It follows the story of Geng Geng (Seven Tan) who just move into Zhen Hua High School and is seated next to top student Yu Huai (Liu Haoran).

Unlike her who struggles in her studies, Yu Huai is the smart kid in class.

At first, the duo fights a lot but soon become friends. They also become close friends with the rest of their classmates, each of whom has their own interesting background stories.

However, things start to change after graduation when Yu Huai ghosts everyone in the group.

This drama gives a great reminder that even though high school memories might be sweet to look back on but there is not much to it other than memories. Sometimes, you just need to let go of your past in order to enjoy the present.

With You (2016) is based on the novel The Best of Us by Ba Yue Chang An.

Watch the trailer here.

4.My Huckleberry Friends (2017)

Here is another Chinese coming-of-age drama based on a novel by Ba Yue Chang An entitled Hello, Old Times.

The story starts when Yu Zhou Zhou starts her first day of primary school and becomes friend with a boy named Lin Yang.

Something happens and the two start to drift apart.

They meet up again during high school. At first there is an obvious awkwardness between them but soon they begin to reconcile.

It starts Li Landi and Zhang Xincheng as Zhou Zhou and Lin Yang respectively.

Watch the trailer here.

5.When We Were Young (2018)

If you spent your high school days in the 90s, you might enjoy this drama.

It is a story that revolves around high school students in the year 1996.

While chasing down a bike thief during the summer break, Yang Xi gets injured after a nearby lab explosion. This caused her unable to compete in a long-distance run.

When her school opens, she finds out that the culprit behind the lab explosion has transferred to her class. His name is Hua Biao and he even takes Yang Xi’s position as the class president.

Hua Biao is also known to be a hot-blooded genius.

Since the drama is set in the 90s, expect a lot of retro vibes in it from the hairstyle to 90s furniture and appliances.

Watch the trailer here.

6.Just An Encore (2019)

Yan Ze and Xi Ye are two best friends. Yan Ze does not see herself as beautiful and her grades are just okay. Meanwhile, Xi Ye is known in school for her beauty and grades.

Yan Ze has a secret crush on Ji Xiao who is the top student in school and unfairly handsome too.

She grows jealous of Xi Ye when she discovers that Ji Xiao might like Xi Ye. Then, another person comes into the love triangle, He Xin Liang.

He is the transfer student who always appears by Yan Ze’s side whenever she needs help.

Xi Ye, however, has a crush on Xin Liang.

Little that Yan Ze knows that her best friend Xi Ye is secretly jealous of her for her friendliness and how easy she gets along with everyone.

Remember those days when you do not have to worry about work or bill but only crushes and fights with your best friend?

Watch the trailer here.

7.All I want For Love is You (2019)

Gu Xiao Man is nothing like your average high school girl. She is a sanda (Chinese kickboxing) fighter. While she excels in sports, Xiao Man struggles with her grades.

Lucky for her, her crush, who also happens to be the school’s top student Zuo An (Liu Yu Han), is willing to tutor her.

To impress her crush (and improve her grades), Xiao Man is willing to study hard.

Thanks to Zuo An’s help, Xiao Man not only manage to graduate but she gets into the same university as Zuo An.

Their story continues in university as the duo adjusts to campus life together.

Watch the trailer here.

8.Le Coup De Foudre (2019)

This Chinese coming-of-age drama is based on the novel I Don’t Like This World, I Only Like You by Qiao Yi.

It has uplifting life lessons and a heartwarming storyline. In 35 episodes, it manages to cover various themes such as the impact of divorce on the children, the preference for sons in China, domestic violence, and the real struggles of startups.

Do not expect perfect main characters who could never go wrong in this drama as they rise and fall throughout this story.

It follows the story of Zhao Qiaoyi, a kind-hearted but timid girl and Yan Mo, a quiet and extremely disciplined boy who excels in his studies.

Qiaoyi has a twin brother, Zhao Guanchao who is an easygoing person but hides a secret pain from his past. Their circle of friends is joined by Hao Wuyi, a tomboyish girl who loves to write and Fei Dachuan, a tough-looking but kind guy.

There are plenty of realistic and relatable moments in the drama. Wuyi, for instance, is told off by her class teacher, Teacher Gao to let go of writing and focus to find ‘a real job that actually pays the bills’. As it turns out, Teacher Gao himself let go of his dream to become a musician and chose to become a teacher instead.

If we were to pick our must-watch drama from this list, it has to be Le Coup de Foudre (2019).

Watch the trailer here.

Chinese coming of age drama

KajoPicks: 8 Korean dramas about second chance romance to watch

One commonly seen theme in South Korean dramas is second chance romance. It is when a divorced couple gives their relationship a second chance and finding themselves falling in love all over again.

While in reality, most divorced couples do not rekindle their relationship. These South Korean dramas offers hope in second chance romance.

Here are our picks for 8 South Korean dramas about second chance romance you need to watch:

1.Alone in Love (2006)

Kicking off the list is a Korean series that won critically acclaim for its subtle and realistic portrayal of love, marriage and divorce.

Eun-ho (Son Ye-jin) and Dong-jin (Kam Woo-sung) meet one day at the bookstore where Dong-jin works.

Sparks fly between them and they immediately fall in love after a series of dates.

They eventually married but two years later are divorced.

Even so, the divorced couple still meet up for breakfast and have dinner on their wedding anniversary.

This makes them wonder if the fingering feelings they have are love. They both are too afraid to start over and even more afraid to get their hearts broken for the second time.

2.Go Back Couple (2017)

To all married couples out there, if you had the chance to go back in time, would you marry the same person all over again?

Go Back Couple or also known asConfession Couple explores the possibility of this question in which the two main characters have the opportunity to go back in time when they first met after their nasty divorce.

Based on the Naver Webtoon called Do it One More Time, the drama stars Son Ho-jun and Jang Na-ra.

Choi Ban-do (Ho-jun) and Ma Jin-joo (Jang Na-ra) are both 38 years old, married with a young son.

Their daily lives leave them both unhappy and exhausted. After a series of fights and argument, the couple decides to get a divorce.

On the day after their official divorce, they wake up to find themselves as 20 year old university students.

They then decide to make different choices than they did the first time around by firstly trying not to fall in love with each other.

While it has a tiny dose of fantasy in it, the drama successfully portrays the reality of some marriages.

The couple were head over heels with each other in the beginning of their marriage. They began to drift apart as they slowly not communicate with each other and taking each other for granted.

Anyway, how much changes could they make in their pasts that could impact on their futures? Or everything was meant to be in the first place?

Watch the trailer here.

3.Cunning Single Lady (2014)

Na Ae-ra (Lee Min-jung) grew up believing she was born to be only pretty and not smart.

While working at her family’s restaurant, she falls in love with Cha Jung-woo (Joo Sang-wook).
After her marriage to Jung-woo, she thought she finally achieved her dreams of becoming a housewife.

Suddenly Jung-woo announced that he wanted to quit his job and start his own company.

Although she disagrees with her husband’s decision, she still supports him with by taking odd jobs.

After suffering from the stress of being the sole breadwinner, Ae-ra divorces Jung-woo four years into their marriage.

Three years after their divorce, Jung-woo is now a wealthy CEO while Aera is still paying for the debt she took during their marriage.

Ae-ra takes up an intern job at her ex-husband’s company. Jung-woo believes that Ae-ra wants him back for his money but all she wants from his a belated apology.

Beside the classic old flame being fanned all over again, the drama also touches on the stigma a woman has to go through after a divorce. In one scene, Ae-ra is harassed and referred as ‘used good’ just because she is a divorcee.

4.Emergency Couple (2014)

This medical drama circles about divorced couple who rekindled their love when they become reunited years later as interns at the same hospital.

Oh Jin-hee (Song Ji-hyo), a dietitian falls in love and marries Oh Chang-min (Choi Jin-hyuk) despite his family’s opposition.

This results to Chang-min being cut off financially by his family after his marriage.

He also gives up his dream of becoming a doctor and becomes a pharmaceutical salesman instead.

The couple begins to fight constantly and eventually get a divorce.

Six years later, they both find themselves as interns at the same hospital where they will have to work in the emergency room together for three months.

Although it was initially set for 20 episodes, it was extended by one episode due to its popularity.

Watch the trailer here.

5.18 vs 29 (2005)

What happen if you ended up losing 11 years of your memories inconveniently on the day you supposed to file for divorce?

Park Sun-young plays Yoo Hye-chan a 29-year-old housewife who is unhappily married to a famous actor Kang Sang-young (Ryu Soo-young).

While on her way to court to file for divorce, a car accident drastically changes her life. It causes her to mentally revert to her 18-year-old self.

Sang-young wants to reconcile and tries to help her recover her memory. Meanwhile, Hye-chan finds herself falling in love with her husband all over again.

6.Can’t Lose (2011)

This Korean second chance romance drama is a remake of the 2008 Japanese drama The Sasaki Couple’s Merciless Battle.

It is circles around two bickering, married divorce lawyers who lash out on each other in and out of the courtroom.

The drama stars Choi Ji-woo, Yoon Sang-hyun and Kim Jung-tae.

7.Single Wife (2017)

When Ra-hee (Uhm Hyun-kyung) is about to marry Jae-min (Kwak Hee-sung), she finds out that her divorce with her ex-husband Min-hong (Sung Hyuk) has not been finalised by law.

Ra-hee tries to fix the hiccup so that she can marry again.

‘Conveniently’, Min-hong gets into an accident and develops amnesia, forgetting that he and Ra-hee are already divorced.

What would Ra-hee do now?

maxresdefault 3

8.My Secret Hotel (2005)

Nam Sang-hyo (Yoo In-na) is the head of the wedding planning division of The Secret Hotel.

Everything seems go smoothly until she finds out her next client is Gu Hae-young (Jin Yi-han), her ex-husband.

Meanwhile, Sang-hyo has caught the eye of her boss Jo Sung-gyeom (Min Nam-koong Min), the hotel managing director who has all the female employees swooning.

To make things interesting between the former couple, a murder takes place in the hotel.

KajoPicks: 10 juicy Korean dramas about adultery to watch

Do you know that committing adultery was a crime up until a few years ago in South Korea?

This law was overturned in 2015 by South Korea’s Constitutional Court.

The court ruled that one’s sex life was private and it was the right of an individual ‘to pursue happiness’.

Before that, anyone who cheated on their spouse could be charged and if convicted, could spend up to two years in prison.

In Korean drama-land, having the main characters as cheaters or being cheated on is a juicy, salacious plot idea.

And viewers actually enjoy these blood-boiling dramas circling around adultery.

So here are KajoMag’s favourite Korean dramas about adultery that you should watch:

1.World of the Married (2020)

Korean drama about adultery 2 1
Would you kill your spouse for committing adultery? Credits: Youtube

This list of dramas about adultery can never be complete without World of the Married (2020).

It created so much hype and invoked so much hatred that the actress who played as the mistress in the drama received hateful comments on her Instagram.

Some viewers could not even differentiate between reality and fantasy in this drama because that is how good the acting was.

Based on BBC One’s drama series Doctor Foster, it tells the story of a married couple whose betrayal leads to a back-and-forth revenge.

To date, it is the highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history.

The story focuses on Ji Sun-woo (Kim Hee-ae), a respected doctor and the associate director of a hospital.

She has been married to Lee Tae-oh (Park Hae-joon) for more than a decade.

Tae-oh works as a struggling film director who is feeling insecure and inferior for having a successful wife.

So what does an insecure man do? They got into affairs with much younger women who think highly of them.

Tae-oh’s mistress Han So-hee (Yeo Da-kyung) is the only child of rich parents and used to getting what she wants.

And of all the things she could have, she wants another woman’s husband.

While most viewers are drawn to the juicy revenge and scandalous plots of this drama, the story’s actual message the impact of divorce on children.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Secret Affair (2014)

Oh yes, you can tell this drama is about adultery and infidelity based on the title itself.

While Kim Hee-ae gets cheated on in World of the Married (2020), here is Secret Affair (2014) where she does all the cheating as Oh Hye-won.

At the age 40, she seems like a woman who is living a fulfilling life. She carries herself elegantly and full of sophistication as the director of planning for the Seohan Arts Foundation.

One day, she comes across Lee Sun-jae (Yoo Ah-in). A genius pianist, Sun-jae is 20 years Hye-won’s junior.

They begin a scandalous, passionate affair together which they have to keep as a secret no matter what.

3.VIP (2019)

Jung-sun (Jang Na-ra) comes from an affluent family and graduated from a prestigious university. She lands a high-level job at Sung Un Department Store without much difficulty.

Her work as the department store’s VIP management team is to serve their top one percent of customers who are special VIPs and VVIPs.

Her husband Park Seong-joon (Lee Sang-yoon) is her team leader at work.

One day, she receives an anonymous text telling her about Seong-joon’s adultery.

Jeong-soon begins to dig up the truth about her husband and ends up finding out more than she can bargain for.

Watch the trailer here.

4.Temptation of Wife (2008)

In this revenge thriller drama, the husband Jung Kyo-bin (Byeon Woo-min) is a world-class jackass.

He cheats on his wife Goo Eun-jae (Jang Seo-hee), divorces her, forces her to abort their baby and leaves her to die.

Eun-jae then suddenly makes a surprise comeback from the dead showing up with a complete different attitude, a mole and brand new identity as So-hee.

Due to this, the drama gained much criticism when nobody seemed to recognise Eun-jae just by virtue of a single mole on her cheek.

Ridiculous? Maybe. The drama, however, remains one of the most viewed dramas of all time. It even had two remakes in China and the Philippines.

5.I Have a Lover (2015)

Speaking of two people who look alike, I Have a Lover (2015) is about a pair of twins Hae-kang and Yong-ki (Kim Hyun-joo) who were separated 30 years ago.

Hae-kang is living her life as an ambitious and successful lawyer with her husband Choi Jin-eon (Ji Jin-hee).

After they lose their daughter, their marriage is pretty much loveless and dysfunctional.

Jin-eon goes on to start an affair with a younger girl Seol-ri (Park Han-byul). Later on, the couple divorces.

Hae-kang gets into a mysterious car accident and loses her memory. Baek-seok (Lee Kyu-han) mistaking Hae-kang as Yong-gi and saves her life.

From there, Hae-kang continues her life believing herself to be Yong-gi and falls in love with Bae-seok.

But what happen when her adulterous former husband shows up? Will she falls for him all over again?

6.My Wife’s Having An Affair This Week (2016)

Also known as Listen to Love, this Korean drama is based on the 2007 Japanese series by the same title.

What if you find you find out your wife is having an affair? Who do you turn to?

Hyun-woo (Lee Sun-kyun) fell in love with Soo-yeon (Song Ji-hyo) when they were in college.

After eight years of marriage, he thought he had the perfect family. His wife is beautiful and devoted to their son.

His world comes crashing down on him when he sees a hotel reservation message sent by a male stranger on Soo-yeon’s phone.

At first, he does not think much about it. However, Hyun-woo slowly start to realise that his wife is having an affair.

He starts to question everything in his life including how he is like as a husband and father. To seek advice, he begins to talk to strangers online to figure out how to save his marriage.

7.My Husband’s Woman (2007)

Before Kim Hee-ae played the dutiful wife in World of the Married (2020), she was the mistress Hwa-young in My Husband’s Woman (2007).

After graduating from college, she meets a Korean-American man whom she later marries. She then moved to the US to live with her husband.

Years of marriage, Hwa-young and her husband are unable to conceive. Later due to a failed business, her husband falls into deep depression and commits suicide.

After the loss of her husband Hwa-young returns to South Korea.

There, her best friend Ji-soo (Bae Chong-ok) helps her build a new life.

She also meets Joon-pyo (Kim Sang-joong), Ji-soo’s husband.

So how does Hwa-young repay her best-friend’s kindness after all she has done? She falls in love with Joon-pyo and starts an affair with him.

In the meantime, Ji-soo eventually finds out and the psychological warfare begins.

8.Misty (2018)

Twisted, intense and a very intriguing whodunnit storyline; Misty (2018) marks Kim Nam-joo’s return to the small screen after six years.

She plays the role of Go Hye-ran, an ambitious anchorwoman for the popular news show News 9.

One day, she needs to interview a famous golfer named Kevin. As it turns out, the man is her former lover.

The sexual tension between them is high and both of them have various rendezvous together. It should not been a problem if they both were not married.

Hye-ran’s husband is Kang Tae-wook (Ji Jin-hee), a public defender whom she married for his powerful family background.

Kevin is married to Hye-ran’s friend from school Eun-joo (Jeon Hye-jin). The affair turns deadly as Kevin is found dead and Hye-ran is the prime suspect.

For some unknown reason, Hye-ran’s estranged husband steps in to be her lawyer. Is it out of love and their marriage or is there something else going on?

The first four episodes are rated 19 by the Korea Communications Commission due to violence and sexual content so you know things are steamy in the beginning.

Watch the trailer here.

9.Woman of Dignity (2017)

What is worse than a woman who is proud of ruining someone else’s marriage? A mother who encourages her daughter to do so.

Woo Ah-jin (Kim Hee-sun) is an elegant and charismatic woman who marries into a rich family.

Thanks to her character and wisdom, she gains the favour of her father-in-law and a president of a multi-millionaire company.

Ah-jin is entrusted to find a caregiver for her father-in-law. She find Bok-ja (Kim Sun-ah) whom she thought was a simple woman from the village.

Things turn upside down in that household when Bok-ja manages to convince the president to transfer his money and company to her.

Making it worse for Ah-jin, she finds out her husband is cheating on her.

The story continues with Ah-jin trying to gain back her father-in-law’s wealth as well as making the unapologetic mistress and husband pay for their betrayals.

10.The Hymn of Death (2018)

Here is a Korean drama based on a real-life adultery.

Yun Sim-deok (1897-1926) is Korea’s first professional soprano. In 1921, she met Kim U-jin, an English literature student.

They both fell in love with each other but there are two problems, U-jin is married and divorce is out of the question.

Starring Lee Jong-suk and Shin Hye-sun, the drama is based on the real-life romance of U-jin and Sim-deok.

Since it is based on true story, viewers who know the story beforehand can already predict the ending.

Watch the trailer here.

KajoPicks: 10 Chinese detective dramas you need to watch

If you are interested in Chinese detective dramas, here are KajoMag’s suggestions:

1.Love Me if You Dare (2015)

Impressive acting, diverse character and intriguing storyline; these are just some of the phrases to describe Love Me if You Dare (2015).

The lead of the drama is Bo Jinyan or Simon (Wallace Huo), a brilliant criminal psychologist. He works as an analyst and adviser of the police department.

Meanwhile, his assistant Jenny or Jian Yao (Sandra Ma) is an observant and analytical whose eyes on details always comes in handy in solving cases.

Together, they are hunting a serial killer who eventually turns his target on the duo.

The drama is full of suspense, especially in hunting down the real criminal mastermind behind all the cases they encountered.

Love Me if You Dare (2015) won the Innovative Themed Drama of the Year award in the first China Quality Television Drama Ceremony.

If you love the male lead as a genius detective but slightly quirky and eccentric, this is the drama for you.

It is originally adapted from Ding Mo’s novel of the same name published in July 2014.

2.When a Snail Falls in Love (2016)

Do not be fooled by the title of this Chinese detective drama, it is barely a romantic story. It is based on the novel of the same title written by the same author of Love Me if You Dare, Ding Mo.

Just like Love Me if You Dare, this drama offers amazing storytelling, plot twists and full of suspense along the way.

It circles around Ji Bai (Wang Kai), the leader of the Violent Crime Unit and the new intern Xu Xu (Wang Ziwen) who specialises in criminal profiling.

As a hobby, Xu Xu draws comic panels of the life of their department, portraying herself as a snail and Jin as a lion.

They have plenty of clashes between them in the beginning but eventually they overcome their difference and work well together as a team.

Watch this drama here on Youtube.

3.Medical Examiner Dr. Qin

If you love watching CSI, then you will love this Chinese detective drama.

It is one of those police procedural dramas focuses on the forensic aspect of a criminal investigation.

The drama follows an investigation team consisting of medical examiner Qin Ming (Zhang Ruoyun), his assistant Li Dabao (Jiao Junyan) and police officer Lin Tao (Li Xian).

The criminal cases featured in this drama are unpredictable, intriguing and full of suspense.

However, save yourself from disappointment and do not watch the second season of Medical Examiner Dr. Qin.

4.Detective L (2019)

Detective L 2

Set in 1930s Shanghai, this Chinese detective drama definitely worth watching. It has fascinating cinematography, unpredictable story line and impressive acting.

This story centers around detective Luo Fei (Johnny Bai) and a new recruit Qin Xiao Man (Una You).

Unlike other Chinese detective dramas, Detective L focuses on crimes that could happen in 1930s Shanghai and how detectives would solve them using whatever they had in those days.

And that usually involved a lot of observation and analytical skills.

If you loved Sherlock Holmes, you might enjoy this drama too.

5.Young Blood Agency (2019)

Chinese detective drama 1

Here is another Chinese detective drama set during the Republican era of Shanghai.

Young Blood Agency is an investigative agency dedicated to solving mysterious cases. The crimes are mostly unpredictable and intriguing enough to keep viewers watching.

Starring Jerry Yu, Tonny Liou, Li Xing and Zhang Wei Hang, this drama is also another youth drama.

If you are into handsome young men as the lead actors and old school kungfu scenes, this drama is for you.

You can watch this drama on YoYo English Channel on Youtube here.

6.Visible Lie (2018)

This Chinese detective drama is almost similar to American crime drama Lie to Me starring Tim Roth.

It centers around a genius student Xu Lang (Juck Zhang) who graduated in Criminal Psychology.

He joins the public security bureau after his graduation. While solving a cases, he got severely injured and ended up losing his younger brother.

The drama continues seven years later with Xu Lang now working as a professor.

Then, his friend Tang Sen invites him to join the newly established “Criminal Psychology Team X”.

Together with two other, the team focuses on solving unsolved cases using criminal psychology.

7.Cold Case (2019)

Speaking of unsolved cases, here is a Chinese detective drama which centers around them.

The best part is this drama is all about girl power as it the story focuses on four female detectives in reopening cold cases.

The team is made of Luo Ying Wei, Cai Wen Xin, Xia Luo Yang and Feng Yi.

Each of them has her own quirk and gift to bring to the table.

As they continue to solve cases, little that they know that they are up against a massive drug syndicate.

Watch this drama legally here for free.

8.Guardian (2018)

Based on web novel of the same name, here is a Chinese detective drama with a dose of fantasy.

It is set on the Earth-like planet of Haixing, populated by a native human population and two alien races.

The Yashou who are able to shape-shift into plants and animals and Dixing, super-powered beings who live deep underground.

Bai Yu plays Zhao Yunlan who leads the Special Investigation Department (SID).

Unlike other investigation team, it is a secret group that works with crimes committed by the Dixing people.

Zhao Yunlan works together with Shen Wei (Zhu Yilong), a university professor to investigate supernatural cases around them.

While the novel depicts the pair has a romantic relationship, the drama depicts their relationship to be just friends because it is prohibited to depict same-sex relationships on television.

9.Burning Ice (2017)

Based on the novel The Untouched Crime by Chen Zijin, Burning Ice (2017) circles around Detective Liang Yan (Hao Qin).

After being demoted due to his aggressive behaviour, he tries to redeem himself.

That is when he comes across a cold case which he believed caused by a killer he has been chasing.

The killer, known as The Snowman, becomes the centre of investigation throughout the series.

10.Memory Lost (2016)

Memory Lost (2016) is another Chinese detective drama starred by Bai Yu. In this drama, he plays Han Chen the vice-chief of the civic police team.

He loses his memory but is haunted by mysterious memories of his fiancee. Han Chen gets confused because everyone denies her existence.

Meanwhile, another member of the civic police team Bai Jingxi (Yang Rong) also lose her memory. Is there something happened in their pasts?

KajoPicks: 10 Korean office romance dramas you need to watch

While an office romance can lead to a lifetime commitment, some cases can result in uncomfortable situations for themselves as well as their coworkers.

In the fantasy world of Korean dramas, an office romance is a recurring theme for the main fictional couple. Additionally, the romance usually occurs between a male boss and his employee.

Here are 10 Korean office romance dramas you need to watch:

1.Strong Woman Bong Soon (2017)

Do Bong-soon (Park Bo-young) was born with superhuman strength which was hereditary and passed along only to the women in her family.

Her dream is to create a video game with herself as the main character.

Thanks to her strength, she lands a job as a bodyguard to Ahn Min-hyuk (Park Hyung-sik), the CEO of a gaming company.

As Bong Soon protects her boss from anonymous threats and stalking, they slowly develop romantic relationship between them.

Overall, Strong Woman Bong Soon is entertaining to watch. It has nice balance of romance, thriller scenes and a handful of comedic reliefs in between.

Watch the trailer here.

2.What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? (2018)

Whats Wrong With Secretary Kim

When a highly skilled secretary quits her job after almost 10 years, what would the boss think?

Lee Young-joon (Park Seo-jun)’s first assumption is that his secretary Kim Mi-so (Park Min-young) was in love with him.

However, reality is that Young-joon’s narcissism made life difficult around him, especially his secretary.

While waiting for her resignation notice to end, will Mi-so change her decision and decide to stay with Young-joon as they slowly fall in love with each other?

Due to Seo-joon being in this drama, he was dubbed the master of romantic comedy by the Korean press.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Jugglers (2014)

Here is another office romance drama between a secretary and her boss.

It circles around Jwa Yoon-yi (Baek Jin-hee), a skilled secretary who is adaptable and knows how to get by in any situation.

As every secretary in a Korean drama needs cold-hearted boss, Choi Daniel plays Nam Chi-won who is the director of a media company.

While the storyline might be cliched, it is still interesting to watch Jin-hee works in comedic series. Her character in this drama is a far departure from her villainous role in period drama Empress Ki.

Watch the trailer here.

4.She Was Pretty (2015)

If you are interested in what goes behind a magazine company, this Korean drama is the one to watch.

Park Seo-joon plays Ji Sung-joon, Korea’s youngest deputy chief editor. He falls in love with Kim Hye-jin (Hwang Jung-eum) who works as the junior editor in the company.

As it turns out, Hye-jin is Sung-joon’s childhood best friend.

The office romance turns out to be a love triangle when Kim Shin-hyuk (Choi Si-won) who works as the senior office romance also falls for Hye-jin.

We warn you; She Was Pretty suffers from Second Lead Syndrome. Korean drama enthusiasts coined the phrase ‘Second Lead Syndrome’ for dramas in which the second lead character is way better than the main male lead.

Watch the trailer here.

5.Gogh, The Starry Night (2016)

Her hot -tempered boss is tough on her but he is actually secretly in love with her.

This Korean office romance drama surrounds Kwon Yuri (Go Ho) who works in an advertising company. Her boss Kang Tae-ho (Kim Young-kwang) hardly praise Go Ho for her hard works.

Things start to change when her ex-boyfriend Hwang Ji-hoon (Lee Ji-hoon) joins in the company and Go Ho is placed under him.

The story goes on with these two men trying to win Go Ho’s heart.

Watch the trailer here.

6.Introverted Boss (2017)

Despite his introverted character, Eun Hwan-ki (Yeon Woo-jin) is the CEO of a public relations company. He hides behind his image of a cold and prickly boss.

Little that his employees know is that Hwan-ki is extremely shy and very sensitive.

Meanwhile, Chae Ro-woon (Park Hye-soo) looks extroverted and has excellent communication skills at work. At home, she is very quiet and introverted.

Like many storyline in any Korean dramas, both lead characters usually have secrets which connect them in the past.

Watch the trailer here.

7.Cunning Single Lady (2014)

Would you hire your ex-wife as an intern in your company? After being the sole-breadwinner in the family while her husband struggles to start a business, Na Ae-ra (Lee Min-jung) had enough.

She hits rock bottom when she secretly suffers from a miscarriage. Ae-ra then divorces Cha Jung-woo (Joo Sang-wook) after four years of marriage.

Three years pass, Jung-woo becomes a wealthy successful businessman. Meanwhile, Ae-ra is still paying debts that she collected during their marriage.

Upono learning that her ex-husband as become a success, Ae-ra becomes an intern at his company to win him back. Jung-woo believes his ex-wife only wanted his money, but Ae-ra only wants an apology from Jung-woo.

There is a lot of emotions going through this drama and life could have been easier in a K-drama if people just talk about their feelings.

Watch the trailer here.

8.Touch Your Heart (2019)

Looking at the chemistry between Yoo In-na and Lee Dong-wook in the drama Goblin, viewers must be dying to watch them acting together.

Touch Your Heart (2019) manages to bring out their on-screen chemistry again, this time both as the main leads.

In-na plays Oh Jin-shim, a top actress who has a scandal that damages her career leaving her jobless for two years.

In order to get a role in an upcoming movie, she agrees to work as a secretary to a lawyer named Kwon Jung-rok (Lee Dong-wook).

Jung-rok’s uptight character and Jin-shim’s carefree attribute makes the office romance between them entertaining to watch.

Watch the trailer here.

9.My Secret Romance (2017)

What if your new boss turns out to be the man you had a one night stand with? Can you imagine how awkward could it be?

Lee Yoo-mi (Song Ji-eun) is a nutritionist who works at the company cafeteria where Cha Jin-wook (Sung Hoon) is the director.

Three years prior, they met in a resort where they unexpectedly spent the night together. However, Yoo-mi disappeared in the morning, leaving Jin-wook perplexed and disappointed.

The drama between them unfold as Jin-wook thought Yoo-mi’s younger brother was a result of their one night stand.

My Secret Romance (2017) is interesting to watch since it features some uncommon themes such as the stigma surrounds one night stands and the career of nutritionists.

Watch the trailer here.

10.Encounter (2018)

If you are tired of office romance Korean dramas where the male lead is the boss falling in love with his female employee, this is the series for you.

Cha Soo-Hyun (Song Hye-Kyo) is the daughter of a politician and the CEO of a hotel. After she graduates from college, she marries the son from a family who runs a large company.

Her marriage is a marriage of convenience for her ambitious politician father. Her husband though had an affair, after which they divorced.

Meanwhile, Kim Jin-Hyeok (Park Bo-Gum) is an ordinary young man who tries to find a regular job. Jin-Hyeok decides to take a trip to Cuba where he meets Cha Soo-Hyun by accident.

When he goes back to Korea, he receives a phone call from a hotel. Prior to leaving for Cuba, he had an interview at the hotel for a job.

He learns that he is now hired and his vacation romance is the CEO.

Whilst it is okay for a male boss to have a relationship with his younger female employee, this drama shows how society reacts when a female boss dates a younger male staff.

Watch the trailer here.

KajoPicks: 5 Korean dramas written by Hong sisters you should watch

Famously known as Hong sisters, Hong Jung-eun and Hong Mi-ran are two South Korean screenwriters who had several popular romantic comedies under their belts.

Before the sisters started to write TV drama scripts, they were writing for variety shows.

Their first drama was Sassy Girl Choon-Hyang (2005). Since then, they have made their names in the Korean entertainment industry and it is common to read about K-drama enthusiasts anticipating about the Hong sisters’ next project online.

With 12 projects to date, here are five of KajoMag’s favourite dramas written by the Hong sisters:
Hong sisters drama
Lee Ji-eun or IU in Hong sisters’ Hotel del Luna (2019). Credit: YouTube
1.Hotel del Luna (2019)

This Hong sister’s drama is one of the must-watch series for 2019. It is no surprise that this drama is also the eighth-highest rated Korean drama in cable television history.

It starS Lee Ji-eun as the owner and Yeo Jin-goo as the manager of a hotel that caters only to ghosts.

The story goes that during the Goguryeo era, a woman rebel named Jang Man-wol (Ji-eun) drank some liquor, unknowingly turning her into the hotel’s owner. She was then stuck running the hotel for the past 1,000 years before meeting Ku Chan-seong (Yeo Jin-goo).

This fantasy drama has drawn in viewers not just for its entertaining storyline but also for its cinematography.

Korean drama fans even went crazy for Ji-eun’s hair and makeup in the series.

Watch the trailer here.

2.A Korean Odyssey (2017)

This drama is like a mini-reunion for the Hong sisters, reuniting them with the stars they worked with prior to this.

Cha Seung-won, Lee Seung-gi and Lee Hong-gi have worked with the Hong sisters in The Greatest Love (2011), My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox (2010) and You’re Beautiful (2009) respectively.

Additionally, the director Park Hong-kyun has also worked with the Hong sisters in Warm and Cozy (2015) and The Greatest Love (2011).

The drama is a modern spin-off of the Chinese classic novel “Journey to the West”. The story follows Jin Sun-mi (Oh Yeon-seo) who can see evil spirits. When she was a girl, she meet two supernatural creatures Woo Hwi-chul (Cha Seung-won) and Son Oh-Gong (Lee Seung-ki). Twenty five years later, fate brings the three together again.

If you have watched A Korean Odyssey and you are not happy with the ending, then you are not the only one.

Apparently, there is an ongoing online petition to TvN and Netflix to continue the drama with a second season.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Master’s Sun (2013)

Korean actor So Ji-sub is famous for his melodramatic role. When he made an acting transformation in Master’s Sun playing a charming character who provides occasional comic relief, Ji-sub instantly reached a new height of popularity.

In this Hong sisters’ drama, he takes up the role of cold and distant CEO Joong-won. He meets the clingy and gloomy Tae Gong-shil (Gong Hyo-jin) who can see ghosts.

Together, they solve supernatural events around them as Joong-won continues to solve a mystery from his past.

The drama is another commercial hit for the Hong sisters. It also reunited the sisters with Gong Hyo-jin whom they worked with in The Greatest Love (2011).

Watch the trailer here.

4.The Greatest Love (2011)

Speaking of the drama The Greatest Love (2011), this is the project that earned the Hong sisters the Writer of the Year Award in 2011 MBC Drama Awards.

Additionally, the drama won Drama of the Year, Top Excellence Award Actor in a Miniseries for Cha Seung-won, Top Excellence Award Actress in a Miniseries for Gong Hyo-jin and Best Young Actor for Yang Han-yeol.

On the international level, The Greatest Love (2011) won the Silver Prize in 8th New York Television Festival’s International TV & Films Awards.

Set amidst the image-conscious world of the South Korean entertainment industry, the story follows a famous star falling for a washed-out pop singer.

Watch the trailer here.

5.My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (2010)

Here is another award-winning series by the Hong sisters. It centers around Cha Dae-woong (Lee Seung-gi) a college student who accidentally releases a nine-tailed fox or gumiho (Shin Min-ah).

The drama proved Shin Min-ah’s acting ability as it is one of her memorable roles yet. Otherwise, she was previously better known as just a advertisement model who happened to be acting.

Before there was Kim Eun-sook’s Goblin, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho was the best known fantasy Korean drama.

Watch the trailer here.

It reinvented and romanticized characters from Korean folklore such as gumiho.