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Are Korean Guys like They Are in K-Dramas?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Many romance-based K-dramas feature several very good-looking Korean guys. 

They present a very chivalrous attitude and are quite protective of their lovers, or they come off as very rude and mean but show their soft sides later on. 

When foreigners watch these, they may wonder if the man’s portrayal in K-dramas is the same in real life.

So, are Korean guys like they are in K-dramas? To some extent, there’s an echo of truth to their behavior in certain social concepts. But, in general, no. For instance, it’s true they’re romantic, protective, and stubborn. 

Yet it’s false to think all Korean guys are rich, spoiled, and treat women below themselves.

K-dramas reflect life in the same way as any movie or TV show. Sure there’s an element of reality to it, but it’s not true to life at all. 

Korean guys, like men from anywhere else, run a range of personalities, temperaments, and preferences.

Let’s dive deeper.

Depictions of Men in K-Dramas

Many K-Dramas depict men in a highly sexualized way, displaying power, money, and status in some form.

While there are some shows that depict a man being kind and gentle, this isn’t often the case. 

Usually, he is mean, stubborn, and cruel, treating a woman as if she’s not good enough or of a lower status.

But when this woman turns on him, calls him out, shows him up or goes bat crazy on him, then his feelings change and there is a character arc. 

He becomes incredibly loyal, spending his every waking moment trying to please her.

The K-Drama male character grows with intense passion, love and “oppa” for his girlfriend. “Oppa” is the idea of taking a very serious and responsible role by way of protectiveness and chivalry. 

While many K-dramas will take this theme in various directions, the elements are the same.

Real Korean Guys

Korean men are romantic, loyal, and protective. This is true, but the ways and means by which they execute this is not usually like what you’ll find in a K-Drama. 

Korean men don’t model themselves or their behavior after these TV shows. 

They don’t feel the need to use them as a blueprint for their “oppa.”

Regardless, Korean men do love playing a chivalrous role on a date. 

They will take that concept far beyond when in a committed relationship. 

It’s just that most Korean men are not rich billionaires or distantly related to some wealthy tycoon. 

Most of them sit somewhere in the middle class.

They are willing to work very hard in every way to please their girlfriend or wife. 

But he expects the same in return, of course, under the auspices of the prescribed gender roles. 

Regardless of that, Korean men not only seek to please their women but also to earn their respect. It’s very important this happens in a relationship.

What’s True VS. What’s Not

Even though it very much is true that Korean men take care of themselves and their appearance, not all of them are fashion buffs. 

Of course, who doesn’t want to look well kept together and clean with decent threads to boot. 

But, what you see on a K-Drama are the latest high fashion crazes that most people don’t wear.

This is not much different than in the West with pop stars, soap operas and mainstream Hollywood TV. 

No one between the east and west coasts of the United States wears, looks, talks or lives like what these media stars portray. 

They are projections, not reality. The same is true in Korea with K-dramas and how guys act.

The only real thing that actual Korean guys share with their K-drama counterparts is some semblance of “oppa” and their outright obtuseness in being stubborn. 

Other than that, they don’t go around treating girls like they’re less than human or being mean to them upon first meeting.

What Korean Guys Say about K-Dramas

Actually, if you peruse places online where Korean men talk about K-dramas in regards to social status and relationships, you get a different picture. 

One thing that’s true about how women act in K-dramas is their attraction to men with money. 

They will go for the guy with the most money even though he treats her the worst.

Women’s Attraction to Money

This is apparently a very common behavior among real Korean women, and it’s something they share with some Western women too. 

There is no denying how many women all over the world choose money over love. 

They will not look at a man unless he has a certain amount of money, social position, or some other powerful standing.

Such ideas do come across rather strongly in K-dramas. 

So, it’s easy to think that this is also how men are because it is a common behavior in how Korean women act. But it simply isn’t so. 

Certainly, Koreans want to have enough to be happy and take care of their family. 

While money is a prime goal, it’s not everything.


It’s true that there are some elements to K-dramas that are true to life when it comes to the guys. 

But these are very cheesy exaggerations that often do not have much to do with the real thing. 

Yes, they are protective, romantic, and stubborn. 

But every Korean guy expresses this to varying degrees.

Some are very much at one with their “oppa” while others are not overly protective. Yet, some guys can be insistent their lover pay every moment of attention to them. 

They run the gamut, which means each one is unique and special in his own right.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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