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4 Marvelous K-Dramas to watch out for on Netflix this May

Now that we’re entering the final stretch with our favourite gang of misfits and suave consigliere in Vincenzo on Netflix, it’s time to start planning your K-drama viewing schedule for May!

From stories about the seemingly perfect lives of the uber-wealthy, to touching lessons learned through trauma cleaners, you’ll be enamored. Take a look at what’s coming up!


Image courtesy of Netflix.

Look forward to a dazzling, intriguing look at the dramatic and glamorous lives of the super rich on May 8.

Mine focuses on two strong women who are daughter-in-laws married into a conglomerate family. Breaking free from society’s expectations and restrictions, the women seek to reclaim what is theirs.

Screenwriter Baek Mi-kyoung of Strong Girl Bong-soon and The Lady in Dignity, and Director Lee Na-jeong of Love Alarm S1 and Fight for My Way are the creative forces behind Mine. Furthermore, the series is led by powerhouse actresses Lee Bo-young and Kim Seo-hyung.

Mad for Each Other

New on
Image courtesy of Netflix.

Do you have a weak spot for romance? Then Mad for Each Other will be right up your alley. Noh Hwi-oh (Jung Woo) and Lee Min-kyung (Oh Yeon-seo) each have their own painful stories when they first meet. The two of them are dealing with difficult matters like anger management issues and intense anxiety. As they get to know and understand each other, they begin to heal and fall in love.

Directed by Lee Tae-kon of the Hello, My Twenties! series, you’ll also be able to see Lee Soo-hyun from Part-Time Idol and Kim Nam-hee from Sweet Home.

Mad For Each Other will begin on Netflix this May 10.

Move to Heaven

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Image courtesy of Netflix.

Move to Heaven tells the story of Cho Sang-gu (Lee Je-hoon) and Han Geu-ru (Tang Jun-sang) who work together as trauma cleaners. Geu-ru, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, shows his new guardian Sang-gu how to respectfully clean and organize the possessions of those who have passed away. This way they assist the deceased with their final move and convey messages left behind by the deceased. The heartwarming series about life and death will also feature special cameos from actors including Ji Jin-hee and Lee Jae-wook. You’ll be able to watch the entire K-drama on May 14.

Racket Boys

Racket Boys
Image courtesy of Netflix.

If you love heartfelt stories about youth, Racket Boys is a series you won’t want to miss out on. 16 boys and girls team up and pursue their dreams of becoming badminton superstars. It’s a diverse bunch with a baseball player, an attention seeker, a fashion king, an excessive talker, and more.

Led by their trustworthy coaches, the students strive to achieve their goals. There’s a lot of rising young talent to look out for with actors like Tang Jun-sang, Son Sang-yeon, Choi Hyun-wook, Kim Kang-hoon, Lee Jae-in, and Lee Ji-won. The inspiring tale of the badminton players’ sweat and tears will be coming soon in May.

Which May K-drama are you most excited for? Don’t forget to watch them all, only on Netflix!

#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.

What to know about Asian fox spirits; huli jing, kumiho and kitsune

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Asian fox spirit is often depicted as having nine tails. Credits: Pixabay

Different cultures have their own versions of almost the same mythical creature, which is almost always inspired by the same animal. Take the fox, for example. Although there are some variations in their depictions, the fox often appears in the folklore of many cultures.

Typically, they are known as symbols of cunning and trickery, especially in Western and Persian folklore. Perhaps this reputation derived from fox’s ability to evade hunters.

Similarly in Asian folklore, they appear as fox spirits with the ability to disguise themselves as beautiful women. The widely known Asian fox spirits are huli jing, kumiho and kitsune which comes from Chinese, Korean and Japanese cultures respectively.

Here are some interesting facts and stories about these three Asian fox spirits:

1. Chinese fox spirit, Huli jing

Overall in Chinese mythology, all things are capable of acquiring human forms, magical powers and immortality.

The ideas of species being able to transform, especially from non-human to human, started during the Han Dynasty.

Since then, the idea of the fox being able to form itself into human started to take shape.

The Huli jing walks on its four legs but has nine tails, which is why it is also known as the nine-tailed fox. As for how they are able to transform into a human? A fox needs to find a skull that fits on its head to be able to transform into a human being.

Chinese fox spirits often appear as young, beautiful but dangerous women.

There are several early accounts depicting the physical appearance and capability of huli jing.

Chinese historian Guo Pu wrote in Records from Within the Recondite, “When a fox is fifty years old, it can transform itself into a woman. When it is one hundred, it becomes a beautiful woman or a shaman; some become men and have sex with women. They can know events from more than a thousand li (miles) away and good at witchcraft, beguiling people and making them lose their senses. When they are a thousand years old, they can commune with the heavens and become heavenly foxes.”

Apparently, it is not pleasant to bump into one of these huli jing especially if you are a woman.

Qian Xiyan in the book The Garden of Cleverness (1613) said: “Foxes hide all day and run around all night. Foxes love women’s chambers, and when women in the capital have their period, they throw their dirty rags in the gutter, and the foxes come and lick up all the menstrual blood. No one sees them. This is probably the reasons they turn into monsters.”

2.Korean fox spirit, Kumiho

As all nine-tailed foxes come from China, the Korean counterpart of huli jing is a kumiho. If you are a huge Korean drama fan, you might be familiar with this fox spirit.

In 2010 My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, Shin Min-ah plays the role of a kumiho. In that version of kumiho, she has superhuman strength, is exceptionally fast and can identify people and objects from far.

On the downside, she has a fear of water. This is due to her fox bead, which stores her life energy, and is made from goblin fire.

Meanwhile in Tale of the Nine-Tailed (2020), Lee Dong-wook is a kumiho named Lee Yeon who abdicated his position as the mountain spirit of Baekdudaegan to search the reincarnation of his mortal love. He follows her soul into the afterlife to give her the fox bead as her mark when she is reborn again.

Unlike other Asian fox spirits, kumiho is known to have a fox bead or yeowoo guseul.

According to Korean mythology, the fox bead provides power and intelligence to kumiho as well as absorb a human’s energy with it.

Furthermore, kumiho is often depicted as evil entities, compared to other fox spirits who have at least some moral compass and can therfore be either good or bad.

Just like the kumiho in Tale of the Nine Tailed, they are known for their capability to change their appearances. In most tales, they change into a beautiful woman who aims to seduce men in order to eat their livers or hearts.

In other versions of the folklore, if a kumiho abstains from killing and eating humans for a thousand days, it can be a true human and lose its evil character.

3.Japanese fox spirit, Kitsune

Just like kumiho, Japanese fox legends had their origins in Chinese huli jing. Similar to other fox spirits, kitsune is known to have shape-shifting ability.

However, they have to live a life of a normal fox for a hundred years before it can transform into a human. They can be male or female at any age but like other Asian fox spirits, kitsune’s preference is to be a young beautiful woman.

It was believed that any woman encountered alone, at dusk or night, could be kitsune. Kitsune’s other powers include fire breathing, being able to create lightning like Thor and enter people’s dreams as they please.

As for kitsune’s tails, it can have from one to nine of them. The only way to kill a kitsune is to cut off all of its tails. While only one of the tails is believed to be the source of its power, it is better to cut them all since you might not which tail is the main one.

Kitsune can be good or bad. The zenko kitsune is a follower of Inari, the Shinto deity of agriculture, harvest and fertility. Meeting a zenko kitsune is definitely a good sign.

On the contrary, the yako kitsune is not only mischievous but evil too.

According to Japanese mythology, a fox can possess a human and the victim is always a young woman.

The method of possession? The fox may enter beneath her fingernails or through her breasts. In order to get rid the fox spirit, an exorcism should be performed on that person, preferably at an Inari shrine.

Once the victim is freed from possession, he or she would never be able to eat food favoured by kitsune such as tofu or adzuki beans.

Special mentions: Ho Tinh

The least famous among these Asian fox spirits is the Vietnamese ho tinh.

Legend has it that ho tinh is a huge nine-tailed fox that inhabited a deep cave in Long Bien.

In a typical Asian fox spirits’ move, ho tinh would disguise itself as a beautiful woman. Then she would trick its victims into following it back to the mountains.

Somewhere in the mountains is ho tinh’s cave where it would trap and feed on them.

What is an Imoogi, the villain in K-drama Tale of Nine Tailed (2020)?

Are you watching Tale of the Nine Tailed (2020) right now?

Tale of Nine Tailed
Tale of the Nine Tailed (2020)

The drama focuses on 100-year-old gumiho (nine-tailed fox) named Lee Yeon (Lee Dong-wook) who abdicated his position as the mountain spirit of Baekdudaegan for the reincarnation of his first love Ah-eum (Jo Bo-ah).

She was killed by Imoogi, a serpent beast in human form and Lee Yeon’s arch-nemesis.

This romance fantasy series is interesting to watch, especially if you love folklore and urban legends. It stars Lee Dong-wook, Jo Bo-ah and Kim Bum.

But first, what is an Imoogi? Is it as evil as it is depicted in Tale of Nine Tailed?

Imoogi, a Korean lesser dragon

According to Korean folk mythology, most dragons were originally imoogi or lesser dragons.

While other dragons are related to fire and destruction, the Korean dragon is associated with water and agriculture and can bring on rain and clouds.

It is said that imoogis resemble gigantic serpents. In some depictions, imoogi is depicted carrying a yeouijui in one of its claws.

Remember the Philosopher’s Stone in the Harry Potter series? A yeouiju is sort of like that.

Essentially, Korean mythology describes these imoogis as dragons in training. It will take them over a thousand years to become a true dragon. If (or when) they do catch a yeouijui falling from the sky, then they will become a full-fledged dragon.

Some legends say that the Korean Sun Goddess created imoogi from human girls. When they are born, the girl is marked on her shoulder with a dragon symbol. When the girl turns 17, she turns into an imoogi.

Legend of Kim Si-min and imoogi

While the battle is between a nine-tailed fox and imoogi in the drama, the fight is in fact between a soldier and the creature according to legend.

Kim Si-min was a soldier who fought during Imjin War or the Japanese Invasions of Korea (1592-1598).

When he was nine, his village was terrorised by a large imoogi that lived in a nearby cave. It often came out to frighten people and harm their livestock.

One day, Si-min decided to kill the imoogi. After reading a book about how a snake was caught using a mulberry bow and a sprouting arrow, Si-min had an idea.

At once, he gathered the local children and ran to the stream near the cave where the imoogi hid. They also placed a large stone to cover the entrance to the village.

Then, one of the children climbed a tree right next to the stream and the shadow of the child was reflected in the stream.

When the imoogi saw the reflection of the child in the stream, it came out from the cave. The moment its head popped out, Si-min shot it using the mulberry bow and a sprouting arrow that he brought.

The imoogi was killed and its blood turned the colour of the stream to red for days.

Imoogi’s power

It was believed that if a lake, pond or river had more than 2,500 fish, an imoogi would appear to become the king of all living creatures in that fresh water.

While a dragon was believed to have power to bring rain, typhoon and thunders, an imoogi, being the lesser dragon, could only bring clouds.

The good thing is that the spring water would not dry out if there was an imoogi living nearby.

Additionally, this mythical creature tended to be territorial. There were many cases of imoogis fighting each other over the rights of a lake.

Naturally, the stronger imoogis dominated the larger lakes with more fish while the weaker imoogis had to live in small ponds and rivers.

According to Lisa Graves in her book Mythical Beasts and Beings, there are theories that the imoogi could have actually been a titanoboa, a giant and thankfully, extinct snake that lived 58 million years ago.

Titanoboa was the longest and heaviest snake to ever exist.

However, the titanoboa was native to areas around South America and not Korea.

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)

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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 South Korean dramas about reincarnation to watch

Korean dramas love playing with the ideas ‘I will love you even in my next life’. With Buddhists accounting for 46 per cent of the South Korean population, the idea of reincarnation is not a foreign concept for the viewers there.

The idea of reincarnation in a Korean drama usually offers one common question, who was the character in their past life?

Here are 10 South Korean dramas about reincarnation you should watch:

1.Goblin (2016)

Kicking off the list is Goblin, a high-rated Korean drama written by Kim Eun-sook.

Kim Shin (Gong Yoo), is a decorated military general from the Goryeo Dynasty.

After all he has done for the country, he is framed as a traitor and killed by the young king.

Years after his death, he is cursed to be the immortal goblin as punishment for the kills he committed in the wars to protect his country.

The only way to put an end to his immortality is the Goblin’s bride. She is the only one who can see the sword in his body and pull it out to end his painful immortality.

In the meantime, Ji Eun-tak (Kim Go-eun) is a bubbly high school student who summons the goblin by chance.

Their story starts to unfold after the Goblin’s nephew Yoo Deok-hwa (Yook Sung-jae) leaves the Goblin’s house to a Grim Reaper (Lee Dong-wook) and the two end up living under the same roof.

Meanwhile, Eun-tak works as a part-timer for Sunny (Yoo In-na) who runs a chicken shop.

What are the connections among the four of them and how do their fates overlap?

The drama is entertaining to watch for those who want to escape from a reality for awhile.

2.Chicago Typewriter (2017)

Han Se-joo (Yoo Ah-in) is a famous writer who is in a slump struggling with writer’s block.

As he continues to struggle, he comes across a fan of his work, Jeon Seol (Im Soo-jung) and Yoo Jin-oh (Go Kyung-pyo), a mysterious ghost writer.

What the trio do not know is that they all have connections which date backs during the 1930s Japanese occupation of Korea.

Are there any reasons why they meet up again in this present life?

Watch the trailer here.

3.Black Knight: The Man Who Guards Me (2017)

If a love story transcends 200 years in a Korean drama, there must be reincarnations in it. How about an obsession that lasts for two centuries? Must it take 200 years to accept the fact that your love is not accepted?

Jung Hae-ra (Shin Se-kyung) works for a travel agency but never travelled abroad herself. Her life was turned upside down, after the death of her parents and her family went bankrupt.

After reaching a breaking point of her life, she tries to kill herself. Then she remembers she ordered a wine-coloured coat she had ordered at Sharon’s Boutique as a child.

Due to her family’s sudden bankrupt, she never had the chance to pick the coat.

After picking up the coat from the mysterious owner, good things start to happen to her. Why?

Besides the love and immortality themes, the story touches on gentrification happening in Seoul.

Like any other big cities in the world, Seoul is struggling on embracing the new development and keeping the old in the same time.

Black Knight manages to highlight some of the problems and ways to work around gentrification.

Watch the trailer here.

4.Legend of the Blue Sea (2016)

This Korean drama about reincarnation is inspired by Korean folklore written by Joseon scholar Yu Mong-in. It tells the story about country magistrate Kim Dam-ryung who released mermaids into the ocean after they were caught by the fishermen.

The drama first sets sometime at 1598. A newly appointed governor Dam-ryung (Lee Min-ho) stays for a night at an inn run by Yang (Sung Dong-il).

That evening, Yang shows Dam-ryung a captured mermaid named Se-hwa (Gianna Jun). The mermaid is actually his childhood friend who saved him from drowning when he was a child.

Later that night, Dam-ryung releases her into the ocean.

In the same time, Dam-ryung has premonition that in the far future dangers will afflict on himself and Se-hwa.

Thus, he commissions a time capsule containing a portrait of himself with a message to his future reincarnation.

Fast forward in the present day, Joon-jae (also played by Lee Min-ho) is a smooth talking conman who swindles money from rich women.

Using the money from his scams, he escapes to Spain for a vacation. There, he meets a mysterious woman.

However, when he returns to Seoul, Joon-jae realises there are gaps in his memories.

What happen to him and who is the mysterious woman? Plus, will Dam-ryung get the message across to his future self?

5.Abyss (2019)

If you are reincarnated into someone else’s body immediately after being murdered, it is natural to find the murderer of your past body.

Go Se-yeon is a beautiful prosecutor and his friend Cha Min is an unattractive but a rich heir.

After their deaths in separate incidents, they are both revived into different bodies by an unknown being using an ‘Abyss’.

While Se-yeon takes on a plainer look than before, Cha Min is reincarnated into a very attractive looking person.

Together, they work to find out why did they reincarnated and the nature of their deaths.

Watch the trailer here.

6.49 Days (2011)

The concept behind this drama is inspired by Korean shamanism ‘bardo’ in which a soul usually wanders the earth for 49 days before moving on to the next life.

The drama focuses on Ji-hyun (Nam Gyu-ri), a pampered yet kind bride-to-be. She seems to have everything in life, parents who adore her, friends who admire her and fiance who loves her.

One day, she is caught in an accident. When she wakes up, she sees her own body being carted into an ambulance and nobody notices her existence except for a man on a bike.

He is the Scheduler (Jung Il-woo), a death reaper of sorts who takes souls to their final destinations.

The Scheduler tells Ji-hyun that if there are three people (besides her own family) who genuinely shed tears over her comatose condition, she can wake up from her coma.

She is so confident, thinking that her two best friends and fiance would definitely cry for her.

Little does she know that not everything seems like she thought it would be.

7.My Love from the Star (2014)

This is a love story between an alien and a celebrity. When an alien arrives in Korea during the Josean period, he falls for a young girl named Yi-hwa.

She dies while saving him, and the alien Do Min-joon (Kim Soo-hyun) waits for his time to return to his home planet.

During his 400 years of a lonely and isolated life, he meets a celebrity named Cheon Song-yi who looks exactly like Yi-hwa when she was younger.

Soon, Do Min-joon’s quiet, private world is shaken by Song-yi’s chaotic celebrity life as they slowly fall for each other.

Overall, the series turned out to be one of the most famous and influential Korean dramas of all time.

All of clothes, accessories and make-up products worn by Jun Ji-hyun were a craze among fashionista.

As Kim So-hyun’s character keeps on quoting from The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, the book became top of the bestseller lists in Korean bookstores that year.

8.Mystic Pop Up Bar (2020)

Based on popular webtoon Twin Tops Bar by Bae Hye-soo, the drama stars Hwang Jung-eum, Yook Sung-jae and Choi Won-young.

It tells the story of Weol-ju who is the hot-tempered owner of Mystic Pop-up Bar. Her customers do not know that she is in fact of 500 years-old, cursed to settle the grudges of 100,000 souls in atonement for her sins.

One day, she meets Han Kang-bae who has the ability to make people confess the truth by making physical contact with them.

In order to get rid of this unique ability, he is willing to work for Weol-ju.

Who is Kang-bae in his past life and why his fate with Weol-ju is intertwined again in this present day?

Watch the trailer here.

9.Hotel Del Luna (2019)

Hotel Del Luna

Speaking of an ill-tempered immortal woman in K-drama-land, one cannot not mention Jang Man-wol in Hotel Del Luna (2019).

Starring Lee Ji-eun and Yeo Jin-goo as the owner and manager of a hotel respectively, the drama is one of the highest rated Korean drama in cable television history.

It follows the story of a supernatural hotel which caters only to ghosts who have unfinished business in their past lives.

Moreover, the hotel serves as a stopover before they move on to the afterlife and get ready for reincarnation.

The owner, Jang Man-wol has been stuck to serve the hotel for the past 1000 years due to her past sins.

Hence, what happen when she comes across with the reincarnations of people she knew centuries ago?

10.Born Again (2020)

By the title of this drama, you already have a clue that it is a drama about reincarnation.

Honestly, the reincarnation method and concept in this drama is ridiculous. There is no head or tail on how it happened and why. Lovers are simply reincarnated and remember their past lives.

Putting these aside, the drama is entertaining to watch as it is full of suspense and thriller.

It is the 1980s and Detective Cha Hyung-bin (Lee Soo-hyuk) is in love with Ha-eun (Jin Se-yun), a bookshop owner suffering from heart disease.

At the same time, serial killer Gong Ji-chul (Jang Ki-yong) has also fallen in love with her.

One thing after another, their paths collide and three of them die. In the present time, the three of them are reincarnated.

And the murders commited in the 80s are happening all over again. Is it because Gong Ji-chul is reincarnated or was he not the real killer in the first place?

Watch the trailer here.

KajoPicks: 10 South Korean revenge dramas you need to watch

On, we have covered Korean revenge movies so here are our favourite Korean revenge dramas you need to watch:

1.Doctor Prisoner (2019)

Korean revenge drama

What would you do if you were fired unfairly from your job? Normal people would file a complaint with the labour department, but in this Korean revenge drama, the main character goes as far as applying for a job at the prison.

Doctor Prisoner (2019) centers around an ace doctor named Na Yi-je (Min Nam-gung) who works at a university hospital’s emergency care center.

However, his medical license gets suspended as a result of a medical malpractice incident which he did not cause.

He then gets his certificate as a medical internist and applies to work at a prison.

His plot is to cozy up to all the big-shots in the prison such as business tycoons, celebrities, sports stars to win allies.

Using his connections, he is planning to get revenge against the hospital that ousted him.

2.The Innocent Man (2012)

Song Joong-ki as Kang Ma-ru, is a smart but poor medical student who has to singlehandedly look after his little sister.

He was in love with Jae-hee (Park Si-yeon) who left him for a rich CEO, as she always dreamt of being rich. (Cuz, who doesn’t?)

Six years after Jae-hee leaves, he becomes an arrogant playboy who works as a bartender. Now, he is no longer the ‘innocent man’.

He then meets Seo Eun-gi (Moon Chae-won) as part of his revenge plan against Jae-hee.

Slowly, Ma-ru starts to care for her and eventually falls in love with her. In the end, can he really see through with his revenge onJae-hee?

3.Secret Love (2013)

How much do you love someone? Are you willing to sacrifice your future by going to prison for your boyfriend?

When Do-hoon (Bae Soo-bin) kills a woman in a hit-and-run accident, he asks his girlfriend Kang Yoo-jung (Hwang Jung-eum) to admit she was the one who drove.

Yoo-jung agrees and ends up in prison. Then Do-hoon dumps her when she is in prison.

In the meantime, Jo Min-hyuk (Ji Sung) is burning with revenge after the death of his girlfriend who was killed in the hit-and-run accident.

After realising the truth that Yoo-jung was not the one behind the wheel, Min-hyuk begins to help her making a fresh start in life.

4.Monster (2016)

When you lose all your family wealth, causing you to fall from being a rich, spoilt heir to blind beggar, it is natural for you to seek for revenge.

Born Lee Guk-cheol (Kang Ji-hwan), he was the heir to Sudo Hospital, until the deaths of his parents and aunt.

While he survived several murder attempts against him, he lost everything and became a beggar.

Blinded by the car accident that killed his parents, Guk-cheol’s sense of hearing is heightened to superhuman level, an ability he would continue to possess as an adult.

Years later, he undergoes surgery to cure his blindness and change his appearance.

He obtains a new identity – Kang Ki-tan, using it to take revenge on those responsible for his misfortune.

5.I Hear You Voice (2013)

KajoMag picked this drama as one of our favourite ‘noona’ drama since the main characters are in love with each other and six years apart.

Revenge-wise, it offers viewers a slice of thriller and suspense with a murderer running around trying to kill the main characters.

Lawyer Jang Hye-sung (Lee Bo-young) is a public defender who doesn’t care about her clients and only does her job for the salary.

When she was a teenager, she testified on the witness stand causing the murderer of Park Soo-ha’s father to be convicted and imprisoned.

Meanwhile, Soo-ha has the supernatural ability to read people’s minds by looking into their eyes. He gains it after witnessing his father killed.

Ten years later, the murderer has been released from prison. Now, he is getting revenge on Hye-sung and Soo-ha as well as their loved ones.

6.City Hunter (2011)

Dive South Korean officials plan a covert operation, codenamed “Operation Cleansweep”, to enter North Korea and kill several top members of the North’s high command.

Lee Jin-pyo (Kim Sang-joong) and Park Moo-yeol (Park Sang-min), two Presidential Security Service bodyguards and best friends organised a 21-man team for the mission.

The operation is successful, but as the troops swim out to return, the Navy submarine assigned for their extraction, snipers aboard the submarine open fire on them.

An already injured Moo-yeol sacrifices his life to save Jin-pyo. Jin-pyo then swims back to shore and returns to South Korea.

There he finds out that the assault team’s service and personal records have been erased.

Promising to avenge his fallen comrades, Jin-pyo kidnaps Mu-yeol’s infant son, and names him Lee Yoon-sung (Lee Min-ho).

He flees to the Golden Triangle to raise the child as his own and trains the boy intensively in combat.

Yoon-sung returns to South Korea to avenge his father’s killers.

7.Iris (2009)

Two elite National Security System (NSS) agents and best friends, Hyeong-jun (Lee Byung-hun) and Sa-woo (Jeong Jun-ho) both are in love with fellow agent Seung-hee (Kim Tae-hee).

However for the sake of his friend, Sa-Woo suppresses his feelings for Seung-Hee.

Hyeon-Jun is then sent off on a solo mission to Hungary.

In Hungary, Hyeon-jun accomplishes his mission but wounded while making his escape.

Shortly after that, he finds out that he was betrayed by his friend Sa-woo.

At that time, Seung-hee steps in to help Hyeon-jun escape, but a car explosion separates the two and both are misled to believe that the other person are dead.

Hyeon-jun is then saved by an unknown organisation and learns of the secret society “IRIS”.

One year later, Hyeon-jun returns to Korea to seek revenge. During this time, the two Koreas are set to reunify, while the group “IRIS” are intent on stopping the reunification.

Full of action and suspense, Iris (2009) is one of the most expensive Korean series ever make.

8.Golden Cross (2014)

Speaking of secret societies here is a drama about a secret society known as ‘Golden Cross’.

It secretly controls the Korean economy and marketplace using its deep connections and financial power.

In the midst of it, prosecutor Kang Do-yoon (Kim Kang-woo) gets entangled in the society when his sister is murdered and his father gets framed for it.

Due to this, Do-yoon is set to get his revenge against the powerful man behind the organisation, Seo Dong-ha (Jeong Bo-seok).

Things gets complicated when Seo happens to be the father of the woman he loves. So do you seek vengeance on your potential father in-law?

Watch the trailer here.

9.Defendant (2017)

How do you prove your innocence when you have amnesia? Park Jung-woo (Ji Sung) is a renowned prosecutor at the Seoul Central Prosecution Office.

One day, he wakes up in a prison cell and is told that he has killed his wife and that his daughter is currently missing.

To make things worse, he suffers from temporary amnesia not remembering what happened.

Can Jung-woo proves his innocence as well as find the real culprit behind it?

The drama also stars Um Ki-joon, Kwon Yu-ri, Oh Chang-seok and Uhm Hyun-kyung.

Watch the trailer here.

10.Pinocchio (2014)

This Korean revenge drama showcases how irresponsible media organisations could ruin families and affect public perception.

It also shows how the rich and powerful could control the media by deverting the public’s attention to juicy, but ultimately unimportant news.

After a misleading news report destroys his family, Ha-myung (Lee Jong-suk) begins to live a new life as Dal-po.

He hides his intelligence and past memories behind a facade.

After years of being a taxi driver, he decides to become a reporter to prove his family’s innocence.

However, not everybody is like him who takes the high ground in taking revenge. Some people who just take the violent and bloody way to seek vengeance.

KajoPicks: 10 South Korean police procedural dramas you need to watch

Also known as police crime drama, a police procedural series focuses on the investigative procedure of crimes.

The protagonist of this type of drama is usually a police officer or the whole team from a department.

Instead of focusing only on the crime itself, this genre of drama draws the viewers’ attention to the effort goes into solving the crime.

There are different angles of a police procedural drama. For examples, the CSI franchise, Bones, and Body of Proof focus on solving crimes using forensic.

If this is your cup of tea, here are 10 South Korean police procedural dramas you need to watch:

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Did watching any police procedural dramas inspired you to be a police as a child? Credits: Pixabay.

1.Stranger (2017)

When Hwang Shi-mok (Cho Seung-woo) had brain surgery as a child, it caused him to lack in emotion.

He grows up to be a rational but cold prosecutor who is never involved in corruption. One day, he comes across a murder case. Together with police lieutenant Han Yeo-jin (Bae Doo-na), they work together to solve the homicide case and eradicate the corruption cases plaguing the prosecutor’s office.

Stranger (2017) is one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history. It was even featured in New York Times’ list of Best TV Shows of 2017.

The show will be returning for a second season in 2020.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Special Affairs Team TEN (2011)

The background story of most main characters in these Korean police procedural dramas is that they have to live with the death of their spouses.

From the story build-up on how they handle the guilt and grief to become a badass cop again.

This drama follows Yeo Ji-hoon (Joo Sang-wook), a former ace detective who now works as a police academy instructor.

After his wife was brutally murdered, he gives up teaching to get back to the field. Ji-hoon is tasked to be the lead investigator of the special task force TEN.

The team includes a criminal profiler Nam Ye-ri (Jo An), a veteran cop Baek Do-shik (Kim Sang-ho) and Park Min-ho (Choi Woo-shik), who is the runner doing all the ground work.

TEN is specialised to tackle the most violent, hardcore crimes which usually have less than a 10 per cent success rate of arrests.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Criminal Minds (2017)

Based on the American television Criminal Minds, this drama stars Lee Joon-gi, Son Hyun-joo, Moon Chae-won, Lee Sun-bin, Go Yoon and Kim Yeong-cheol.

It follows a group of highly trained profilers in the fictional National Criminal Investigation (NCI).

Unlike the American drama where the team travels in a jet, this Korean remake has its team travel around in a bus.

With only 20 episodes, the drama features the crimes and storyline from the first season of the American version.

Watch the trailer here.

4.Children of a Lesser God (2018)

Cheon Jae-in (Kang Ji-hwan) is an elite and genius detective. He can only sees facts, logic and numbers.

Meanwhile, Kim Dan (Kim Ok-bin) is a warm-hearted rookie detective who has a supernatural ability to see death.

Together, the two detectives work together to expose the corruption within a powerful organisation.

While Kang Ji-hwan was fighting crime in this drama, he found himself on the other side of the law in real life. On Dec 5, 2019, Ji-hwan was found guilty for the sexual assault of two of his agency’s female employees.

5.Phantom (2012)

With so many cyber-crimes happening around the world, it is necessary to have a team specifically tackling them.

Phantom (2012) follows Detective Kim Woo-hyun (So Ji-sub) from the cyber investigations unit who finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with faceless criminals in the cyber world.

This Korean police procedural drama takes on the criminal aspect of the cyber world which filled with mysteries, conspiracy and not forgetting the good old corruption.

6.Pied Piper (2016)

One of the most crucial part of a police investigation is the negotiation. Communicating especially with criminals requires skills and experiences even in real-life.

Pied Piper (2016) focuses on a police negotiation task force which specialises in tense, worst-case scenarios.

Their cases range from suicide, hostage situation to terrorist attacks.

The drama stars Shin Ha-kyun as lead negotiator Joo Sung-chan and Jo Yoon-hee as Inspector Yeo Myung-ha. Meanwhile, Yoon Hee-sung (Yoo Jun-sang) is the anchor of TNN Night News channel.

Watch the trailer here.

7.Voice (2017)

Here is another Korean police procedural drama about a detective whose spouse was killed by a serial killer.

Jang Hyuk plays Moo Jin-hyuk who was a popular detective with an impressive record of solving major cases. Things in his life spiralled downwards after his wife was murdered by a serial killer.

Meanwhile, Kang Kwon-joo (Lee Ha-na) is a policewoman gifted with perfect psycho-acoustic skills.

She was working at the emergency call centre when a murder case takes place and her policeman father was called to the scene.

At the scene, her father gets killed and Kwon-joo was listening in over the phone.

Three years later, both detectives come together to form a team to solve crimes. Both detectives have one thing in common; to catch the serial killer who took their loved ones.

Unlike most Korean police procedural dramas which end in one season, Voice was continued with another two seasons in 2018 and 2019.

8.H.I.T (2007)

In this drama, it is the female detective who is haunted by the death of a spouse.

Cha Soo-kyung (Go Hyun-jung) is the leader of Investigation Team 1 at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency.

Years ago, a serial killer killed her fiance and got away with it. When a new murder case pops up resembling the old killer’s crime, Soo-kyung is appointed as the first female detective to head HIT or the Homicide Investigation Team.

Her work ethic often comes in conflict with the carefree, playboy district attorney Kim Jae-yoon (Ha Jung-woo).

Despite their differences, the duo makes a great crime-fighting team.

9.The Missing (2015)

One of the commonly seen character in any Korean police procedural dramas is a genius character.

There must be a character – be it the main or supporting character – that is a genius or a graduate from an Ivy League college.

In The Missing (2015), the genius in the drama is Gil Soo-hyun (Kim Kang-woo) who entered Harvard at the age of 10.

After working for the FBI for a decade, he return to South Korea. There, he is assigned to lead a special missing persons task force.

He is assigned to a partner, Oh Dae-young (Park Hee-son) who is an experienced detective. Unlike Soo-hyun who is analytical, Dae-young is more into his gut feeling kind of a guy.

What happen if these two opposite characters collide when solving cases of missing persons?

10.Signal (2016)

This television series is definitely one of the must-watch Korean dramas of all time. It received widespread acclaim not only for its storyline, but also for its performances.

On top of that, it is one of the highest-rated dramas in Korean cable television history.

What makes the drama so intriguing to watch is that the crimes were inspired by real-life cases in South Korea.

For example, its first episode featured a kidnapping case was inspired by the 1997 Park Chorong Bitnari Kidnapping Murder Case.

Speaking of real-life cases, the drama, of course, could not leave out the infamous Hwaseong Serial Murders. The case inspired the second episode of Signal (2016).

Unlike most of the Korean police procedural dramas on this list, Signal has a dose of fantasy in it.

The plot circles around a mysterious walkie talkie which allows a detective in the year 1986 to communicate with a cold case profiler from 2015.

It stars Lee Je-hoon, Kim Hye-soo and Cho Jin-woong.

Watch the trailer here.

KajoPicks: 10 movies inspired by the Korean war to watch

The Korean war began on June 25, 1950 when about 75,000 North Korean soldiers headed south to begin their invasion on South Korea.

The invasion was the first military action of the Cold War.

North Korea had its support from China and the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, the United Nations, principally the United States, was supporting South Korea.

Overall, the Korean War was among the most destructive conflicts of the modern era. It was estimated about three million people died and that there were massacres by both sides.

The North Koreans were accused of torturing and starving their prisoners of war (POW). North Korea also became among the most heavily-bombed countries in history.

In popular culture, the Korean War has beenthe source of inspiration for many movies, especially by South Korea. As expected, the course of events in these movies have been heavily disputed by North Korea.

Here are 10 South Korean movies inspired by the Korean war to watch:

Korean war movie 3
The Battle of Jangsari (2019). Credits: Youtube.

1.The Last Witness (2001)

The movie follows Hwang-seok (Ahn Sung-ki), a political prisoner who is released after 50 years of solitary confinement. He is imprisoned as a communist sympathiser in the Korean war.

A day after he is released, a body with stab wounds is found near a harbour. Detective Oh (Lee Jung-jae) investigates the death and finds the deceased is named Yang, a former soldier.

Following the evidence, the detective comes across a blind antique dealer named Ji-hye.

As it turns out the murder victim Yang was responsible for the imprisonment of Hwang-seok.

This makes Hwang-seok a suspect for Yang’s murder. The plot unravels with a series of flashbacks to the Korean War and the infamous Geoje POW Camp.

Located on Geoje island, the camp was a UN POW camp which held North Korean and Chinese prisoners.

So what happened at the camp which connects with Yang’s murder?

Watch the trailer here.

2.Taegukgi (2004)

Directed by highly-acclaimed director Kang Je-gyu, this wartime action film stars Jang Dong-gun and Won Bin.

It explorers the story of what happens when two brothers fight each other from opposite sides of the war zone.

Brothers Jin-tae (Jang Dong-gun) and Jin-seok (Won Bin) are unwillingly drafted into the South Korean army during the Korean War.

A superior tellS Jin-tae if he can earn the highest award for a South Korean soldier, his younger brother can be sent home.

His heroism during the urban Battle of Pyongyang (Oct 17-19, 1950) when the UN forces recaptured Seoul finally earns Jin-tae’s nomination for the medal.

As things sometimes don’t turn the way we planned, both in movies and in real life, the brothers somehow have to face each other in a battle field.

This tragic war film is one of biggest successes in the South Korean film history, attracting up to 11.74 million people to the theatre.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005)

Tucked away on a remote mountain and untouched by the ongoing Korean War, there is a village called Dongmakgol.

In a twisted fate, three fighting forces come together in that village.

First is a US fighter pilot whose plane crashed in the mountains, then there are three retreating North Korean soldiers and two lost South Korean soldiers.

When the North and South Korean soldiers want to fight against each other, the villagers of Dongmakgol have them agree to a temporary truce.

After a grenade destroys the village’s food storage, the soldiers decide to stay and help the villagers.

Meanwhile, the US believesthere is a major North Korean military presence in the village area and plan an air strike.

In order to spare the village from being destroyed, the soldiers decide to work together to divert the attack.

The movie is actually based on the same-titled long-running stage play by Jang Jin. Although it was director Park Kwang-hyun’s debut film, the film was a commercial and critical success.

Moreover, it was South Korea’s official entry for the foreign language film category of the Academy Awards in 2005.

Watch the trailer here.

4.A Little Pond (2009)

Noguen-ri (also known as No Gun Ri) is a village in North Chungcheong Province in central South Korea.

It is the closest site of the No Gun Ri massacre which took place during the Korean War.

The massacre saw the US military kill South Korean civilians who were fleeing their nearby villages.

A South Korean government committee in 2005 certified the names of 163 dead and missing and 55 wounded with many other victims that were never reported.

After reading the Korean translation of The Bridge of No Gun Ri by Associated Press journalists, executive producer Lee Eun of Myung Films was determined to tell the story on the screen.

Because the story is controversial, not many investors wanted to invest into the films. Many of the cast and crew involved in the movie did it pro bono with some even bringing their family members to play the roles of villagers.

5.71: Into the Fire (2010)

From June 1950 to March 1951, students were recruited to fight for South Korea during the Korean War. They called them student soldiers.

These students volunteered or were conscripted in the Republic of Korea Army as emergency troops to fight against the North Korea.

71: Into the Fire is based on a true-story of a group of 71 student soldiers during the Battle of P’ohang-dong on Aug 11, 1950.

Despite being undertrained, underarmed and outgunned by the North Korean forces, they managed to defend the local P’ohang girls’ middle school.

In the end, 48 of the student soldiers died defending the school. Directed by John H. Lee, the movie stars Cha Seong-won, Choi Seung-hyun and Kim Seung-woo.

The film was made in commemoration of those who fought during the Korean War. Moreover, the movie is to raise awareness of the existence and importance of the student soldiers at that time.

Watch the trailer here.

6.In Love and War (2011)

Inspired by the a true story of her grandmother, screenwriter Bae Se-young decided to write the movie In Love and War (2011).

A group of North Korean soldiers stayed for a couple of days at the grandmother’s home because her father was the village leader). Touched by the villagers’ hospitality, one young soldier said that he wanted to stay.

This movie, however, follows a group of North Korean soldiers who enter a small South Korean village who come to “liberate” them.

In fact, the troop’s officer actually wants to find the charming young girl he met 12 years ago when Korea was one country.

As the villagers offer them heartfelt hospitality, strong friendship forms between the soldiers and the villagers.

7.The Front Line (2011)

Set during the 1953 ceasefire of the Korean War, this movies follows the final battle in determining the border between north and south Korean peninsular.

On the Eastern front line of the Aerok Hills, the fight continues in securing a small piece of land.

Those who have watched this movie would agree; there is no villain in The Front Line (2011). Both sides are as guilty and ruthless as the other.

Moreover, there are scenes of camaraderie from both sides as well.

Like any other war films, this movie depicts the horror and sadness of wars whereby there is no “winning” side. When a war breaks, both sides are already losing as both suffer losses and casualties.

The movie stars Shin Ha-kyun, Go Soo and Lee Je-hoon. It was selected as South Korea’s submission to the 84th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. However, it did not make the final shortlist.

Watch the trailer here.

8.The Long Way Home (2015)

Set three days before a truce takes place during the Korean War, here is another about the unlikely friendship between North and South Korea.

It follows Nam-bok (Sol Kyung-gu), a simple farmer before his conscription into the army.

He then receives an order to deliver a top secret document but an attack by the North Korean army leads him to lose the document.

In the meantime, Young-gawang (Yeo Jin-goo) is a teenage North Korean soldier. While his team is heading to the South, they are bombed and he is the only one left.

As he is about to return home, he comes across a top secret document.

What happen to both of them when their paths cross?

Watch the trailer here.

9.Operation Chromite (2016)

Here, Liam Neeson plays American General Douglas MacArthur who sends eight members of the Korean Liaison Office on a secret mission behind North Korean lines.

The team is led by a South Korean Navy Lieutenant Jang Hak-soo (Lee Jung-jae). They are tasked to carry out a covert operation called Operation “X-ray”.

Their mission is to determine the placement of North Korean defenses (such as mines and artillery) and the tactical characteristics of the Incheon harbour.

The success of the mission will allow MacArthur to launch the Incheon Landing Operation.

The event in the movie is a fictionalised version of the real-life CIA and US military intelligence operation “Trudy Jackson”.

Watch the trailer here.

10.The Battle of Jangsari (2019)

Starring Kim Myung-min and Choi Min-ho, this movie is the second installment in a trilogy following Operation Chromite (2016).

It tells the true story of a group of 772 student soldiers who staged a small diversionary operation at Jangsari beach in Yeongdeok village.

By doing so, they hope to distract North Korean attention from Incheon where the Incheon Landing Operation is about to take place.

Meanwhile, an American reporter and war correspondent Maggie (Megan Fox) who covers the Korean War is trying to to get help from the international community.

Help is definitely needed as the student soldiers struggle to accomplish their mission due to lack of proper training, weapons and food supplies.

The fictional character Maggie is actually based on American war correspondent Marguerite Higgins and photographer Margaret Bourke-White. Both Higgins and Bourke-White were covering the Korean War for New York Herald Tribune and Life respectively.

One critic said the film started out as something like Saving Private Ryan and ended up on the same lines as Pearl Harbour.

Watch the trailer here.

#KajoPicks: 10 South Korean fantasy movies you need to watch

A good fantasy movie is always fun to watch. Well, primarily because these movies challenge your imagination.

Here are 10 South Korean fantasy movies for you to watch:

1.Vanishing Time: A Boy who Returned (2016)

Vanishing Time: A Boy who Returned (2016) is a Korean fantasy movie inspired by true events.

Director Um Tae-hwa was inspired by the 2014 sinking of MV Sewol where 304 people died.

He believed that the government tried to hide the truth after the Sewol disaster.

The story follows 13-year-old Su-rin who moves to a remote island with her step-father after her mother passes away.

There, she befriends an orphan boy named Sung-min. One day, they decide to explore a cave together with a group of kids.

During their adventure, they discover a glittering egg. According to their local folktale, the egg could instantly turn a child into an adult.

Believing the myth, Su-rin tries to stop the boys from taking the egg. However, the boys take the egg anyway.

When she follows them out of the cave, she finds that the rest of the group have disappeared.

Hence, the police is immediately dispatched. They assume that this is an abduction case and begin their investigation.

Meanwhile, Su-rin tells the police about finding the egg but nobody believes her.

Suddenly, a mysterious man in his 30s shows up and tells Su-rin that he is Sung-min.

Starring Gang Dong-won as adult Sung-min and Shin Eun-soo as Soo-rin, the movie is Tae-hwa’s second long film. He is mainly known for his short films.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard (2009)

Here is another Korean fantasy movie starring Gang Dong-won. Based on a Korean folktale, the film was the third best selling film of 2009 in Korea.

The story begins in the Chosun Dynasty in 1509 when there is a magician named Jeon Woo Chi (Gang Dong-won) and his dog-turned-man.

Eventually, Jeon Woo Chi is sealed inside an ancient scroll for a crime he did not commit. Fast forward to 2009, he is summoned from the scroll to bring peace in a modern day Korea wracked by goblins.

The problem is Jeon Woo Chi becomes more interested in sight-seeing and womanizing rather than save the day.

Also known as Woochi: The Demon Slayer, this Korean fantasy movie is written and directed by Choi Dong-hoon.

Watch the trailer here.

3.The Piper (2015)

After the Korean War, Woo-ryong (Ryoo Seung-ryong) and his son Young-Nam (Goo Seung-hyun) walk to Seoul.

Woo-ryong wants to get Young-nam treated for tuberculosis. Along the way there, they find an obscured path on a mountainside road.

Woo-ryong decides to take the hidden path. The father and son pair soon come across a village. At first look, the village appears well-off and peaceful. The residents are led by a village leader (Lee Sung-min).

Subsequently, Woo-ryong learns the village is an idyllic place to live, except the area is infested with rats.

He offers to get rid of the rats and the village leader offers to pay him a hefty sum in return.

At the same time, Woo-ryong also falls for a young female shaman (Chun Woo-hee) in the village.

While everything appears to be going well, Woo-ryong’s nightmare is about to begin.

This fantasy movie is inspired by the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

The legend dates back to the Middle Ages, describing a piper who dressed in multicoloured (which is the meaning behind ‘pied’) clothing.

The piper was hired by the town to lure rats away. We warn you; The Piper (2015) is the darker and more twisted version of the legend.

Watch the trailer here.

4.Will You Be There? (2016)

Soo-hyeon (Kim Yun-seok) is a successful physician who, during a humanitarian aid operation, saves the grandchild of an elder in Cambodia.

In return, he receives a few pills, which he tries when he is back in Korea.

As it turns out, these pills take him exactly 30 years back in time.

Knowing that he doesn’t have much time left due to a serious illness, he wants to meet his girlfriend Yeon-ah (Chae Seo-jin) who died in an accident (coincidentally) 30 years ago.

When he meets his younger self (Byun Yo-han), he realises that he can change the past.

As time runs out for him, can Soo-hyeon change his future by toying with the past?

Will You Be There? (2016) is based on the French novel, Seras-tu-la?, by Guillaume Musso.

Watch the trailer here.

5.The Phone (2015)

Here is another Korean fantasy movie about people wanting to rescue their dead loved ones.

A magnetic field anomaly allows a man to phone into the past to talk to his wife before she is murdered.

To save her, he has to identify the killer and warn her before the anomaly vanishes.

Through the phone call, the man enters a thrilling battle against time to rescue his wife.

This action thriller fantasy film is directed by Kim Bong-ju in his directorial debut.

It stars Son Hyun-joo, Uhm Ji-won and Bae Seong-woo.

Watch the trailer here.

6.The Restless (2016)

The Koreans believe that when a person dies, their soul spends 49 days in Jungcheon before their eternal fate is decided.

From there, they either go to heaven, hell or rebirth. And that is where accomplished demon hunter Yi Kwak finds himself as he lies on the edge of death.

Following his fiancee Yon-hwa’s tragic death, Yi enlisted with the royal squad of elite demon exterminators.

He enters Jungcheon where he finds Yon-hwa again. Unfortunately, she does not recognise him as she is a spirit of the afterlife now.

Moreover, she is deeply entangled in a great war between the white-clad warriors of reincarnation and a swarm of dark spirits determined to invade the living world.

The battle is desperately close to a terrifying ending, so Yi must draw his sword to defend the woman he loves.

To make matter worse, his deceased former mentor Banchu is the mastermind behind the demonic rebellion of dark spirits in Jungcheon.

Directed by Jo Dong-ho, The Restless (2006) stars Kim Tae-hee and Jung Woo-sung.

Watch the trailer here.

7.Psychokinesis (2018)

This movie is the first Korean superhero film. It is also director Yeon Sang-ho’s second live-action film after his live-action debut Train to Busan (2016).

It revolves around a bank security guard who gains telekinetic superpowers after drinking water from a mountain spring affected by a meteor.

Shin Seok-heon (Ryu Seung-ryong) then decides to use them for saving his estranged daughter and her neighbourhood from an evil construction company.

Many critics praised this movie saying it is one of the finest superhero movies of the decade.

Thrillist writer Karen Han stated, “The only pity is that Psychokinesis isn’t receiving a theatrical release outside of South Korea. Despite being about an ultimately mundane conflict, it’s filmed with the same energy and grand sense of scales as any recent blockbuster. Maybe it’s a little silly, but all superhero films are. Yeon is just the rare breed of director who knows how to turn that kind of genre stamp to his advantage.”

Watch the trailer here.

8.A Werewolf Boy (2012)

A mother moves with her daughters Sun-yi (Park Bo-young) and Sun-ja (Kim Hyang-gi) to a large home in the countryside.

They moved there under the advisement of her doctor as Sun-yi suffers from a lung ailment.

The home is provided by Ji-Tae (Yoo Yeon-Seok), the son of a business partner who worked with their deceased father.

While the family gets acclimated to their new surroundings, Sun-yi finds that a wild boy (Song Joong-ki) lives within a locked room in the barn.

At first, the family takes him in believing he is just an orphan with little social skills. Not everything in life appears like it seems, so is the boy hiding a secret?

The movie had its world premiere in the Contemporary World Cinema Section of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

Besides that, it was screened at the 17th Busan International Film Festival that year.

This movie is one of the most successful Korean melodrama movies of all time.

Korean fantasy movies 2
A Werewolf Boy is definitely one of the must-watch Korean fantasy movies of all-time. Credits: Youtube

Watch the trailer here.

9.Heaven’s Postman (2009)

If you could write a letter to your loved one in heaven, what would you say?

Kim Jae-joong plays as Shin Jae-joon who used to be a promising young CEO of an IT company.

One day, he unexpectedly becomes a postman. His work? To deliver the letters grieving people have written to their loved ones in Heaven.

Eventually, Jae-joon comes across Hana, who writes a letter full of resentment to the dead man that she used to love.

So he proposes that Hana delivers responses which come back from Heaven. Then they both think up various ways to give peace and happiness to those who are alive and left behind, sometimes by writing the responses themselves.

It is a story of love and acceptance as well as finding closure in the sorrowful experiences of life.

10.Along with the Gods series

Along with the Gods movies series are definitely on our list of must-watch Korean fantasy movies.

This action film is directed by Kim Yong-hwa and based on a webtoon by Joo Ho-min.

It stars Ha Jung-woo, Cha Tae-hyun, Ju Ji-hoon and Kim Hyang-gi. The film was shot as one but presented in two parts.

The first part, Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds, was released on Dec 20, 2017.

In the meantime, the sequel,titled Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days, was released on Aug 1, 2018.

The third and fourth installment is currently in development with Kim Yong-hwa returning to direct the sequels.

As for the plot, the first movie follows a firefighter navigates the afterlife with the help of three grim reapers.

Meanwhile, the second film circles around the three grim reapers guiding their 49th soul. After guiding their 49th soul, only then they could gain reincarnation.

Overall, the storytelling, CGI, and especially the acting for both movies are all terrific. The second film broke the opening day record in South Korea with more than 1.2 million viewers on the first day of its release.

Watch the trailer here.

Korean fantasy movies
The third and fourth of Along with The Gods are another two must-watch Korean fantasy movies. Credits: Youtube.

Do you have any favourite Korean fantasy movies? Let us know in the comment box.

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