7 K-Dramas Inspired by True Stories

We're totally *shookt* with these discoveries!
by Hanna Tamondong for Cosmo.ph   |  Dec 6, 2020
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Hello there, K-drama fan! We know you've already spent 123456789 hours watching your favorite actors and actresses on screen and we're pretty sure that at one point, you've thought: "Nangyayari kaya ito sa totoong buhay?". Well, friends, while majority of K-dramas are crafted by the creative minds of writers, there are some that are actually inspired by real-life events and people!

Here, a list of K-dramas based on and inspired by true stories:

1. Fight For My Way (2017)

Where you can watch it: Netflix, iQIYI, Viu

This rom-com drama won everyone's hearts for its hilarious, super nakakakilig, and inspiring storyline, but did you know that Ko Dong Man (Park Seo Joon) and Choi Ae Ra (Kim Ji Won)'s characters are loosely based on the life of the mixed martial artist Choo Sung Hoon and his wife, Yano Shiho? Im Chang Soon, who wrote Fight For My Way, mentioned in an interview that his interest in martial arts fighters started when he saw Shiho crying while watching her husband in a match! And do they sound familiar? That's because Sung Hoon, Shiho, and their daughter Sarang were part of the pioneer cast of one of our favorite Korean variety shows, The Return Of Superman.

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2. Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth (2016)

Where you can watch it: Netflix, iQIYI, Viu

During the Silla era, the Hwarang—or the group of first-class young men—were treated as society's best. In the titular K-drama, Park Seo Joon, Park Hyung Sik, Choi Minho, Do Ji Han, BTS' V, and the other Hwarang members were trained to pursue a different path in protecting the kingdom.

3. Reply 1988 (2015)

Where you can watch it: Netflix, iQIYI, Viu

This crowd-favorite isn't exactly based on a specific story, but one of the characters in Reply 1988 played by Park Bo Gum is actually inspired by Lee Chang Ho, a real-life Baduk player! Just like Choi Taek, Chang Ho is widely popular in South Korea for his extraordinary skills in the said board game, and has won a lot of local and international Baduk tournaments.

4. Signal (2016)

Where you can watch it: Netflix, iQIYI

Here's a *super* horrifying K-drama reveal: The crimes shown in the yop-rating K-drama Signal were derived from real cases in South Korea. This includes the Park Chorong Bitnari kidnapping case and the shocking Hwasong serial murders that took place in the Gyeonggi province. My gosh, can I just say nakakatakot ang parts na 'to? The case was also shown in the Bong Joon Ho classic, Memories Of Murder.


5. The Empress Ki (2014)

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Viu

In this historical drama, Empress Ki (Ha Ji Won) is actually a real person who was born in Korea during the Goryeo sovereignty, and started at the bottom of society. Later on, she was sent as a tribute to the Yuan dynasty and as time passed by, she became a high-ranking official, aka, an empress.

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

Where you can watch it: Viki

TBH, this K-drama is just one of the realest. We mean, love affairs really happen everywhere! In this series, a man (Lee Sun Gyun) uploaded a question online that became the talk of the town. His inquiry? "My wife is having an affair, what should I do?" Aray.

7. Hymn Of Death (2018)

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Hymn Of Death is inspired by the popular Korean song "Praise of Death" and brings us to the true-to-life tragic story of Yun Sim Deok (Shin Hye Sun), a professional soprano singer who met a writer named Kim Woo Jin (Lee Jong Suk). We don't want to spoil anything so we'll leave the description at that, but please prepare your box of tissues before you watch the drama, okay?


Bonus: Ms. Hammurabi (2018)

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Viu

Not a direct spinoff of a true story, but what's interesting about Ms. Hammurabi (Go Ara, Kim Myung Soo, Sung Dong Il), a K-drama that follows the life of judges, is that the script is actually written by a real-life judge! In an article by The Korea Times, Moon Yoo Seok, who works as a senior judge at the Seoul Central District Court, reveals his love for writing: "I am a story addict who imagines absurd stories even while walking. I have liked comics, novels, and films since I was young. I sometimes forget to get off at my stop on the subway, imagining stories." Ang galing lang!

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This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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