[HanCinema's News] South Korean Dramas Show Strong Presence on Netflix in Japan

A continued strong presence of South Korean dramas on Netflix in Japan has helped to spur talk of a new Korean Wave in the country. Figures released by Netflix on August 10th showed that "Crash Landing on You" was the number two drama for that day, with "Itaewon Class" in number five. Previous figures have also shown that "Crash Landing on You" was the number one drama for the month of July.

But these two are hardly the only dramas to have enjoyed sustained popularity in Japan, with "The King: Eternal Monarch" and "It's Okay to Not Be Okay" also showing frequent appearances on the list. And those are just the dramas from this year, with older dramas such as "Pretty Sister Who Buys Me Food" also making intermittent appearances on the strength of lead actors who have also appeared in more recent dramas.

While much of the growth can be attributed to COVID-19 forcing people into more home intensive hobbies, the strong performance of South Korean dramas compared to those of other countries internationally remains noteworthy. Part of what makes the shift new is how South Korean dramas as a whole have been redefined. The current crop of dramas has noticeable distinctions compared to previous iterations of the Korean Wave cycle.

The original Korean wave was dominated by romantic melodramas. In more recent years South Korean media was best-known for an obsession with revenge stories. But lately, high-concept romanticism has been the main recurring theme. Take "Crash Landing on You", which in addition to being a literal romance also holds out hope of rapprochement between North and South Korea. The success of this current trend makes more dramas in a similar vein likely in the near future.

Written by William Schwartz