More Things Learned From Watching K-Dramas

I heart kdrama

Younger siblings can’t call older siblings by their first names.  Sources:

High Kick*, where Grandpa thumps the younger brother on the head and tells him to be more respectful, because younger brother was rude to his older bro- who is, btw, much shorter than him, and only about a year older.  These siblings are teens in high school

The Wedding Scheme* features a family consisting of a single mom and four daughters, three of whom are adults.  In one scene the firstborn has borrowed the second born’s laptop, switching out flashdrives.  Secondborn (Guh-hee) is a career woman of 30 or thereabouts, and it turns out that the switched flashdrive causes her to ruin a key presentation at work and get demoted (she’s lucky she wasn’t fired).   Dramabeans recaps and explains:

“Gun-hee comes home shouting for her sister, who arrives just after her. Gun-hee yells at Sun-hee for the flash drive and calls her by her first name, which earns her a slap from Mom—mostly for disrespectfully using Sun-hee’s name (instead of unni), but also because tensions are already high and it’s been that kind of day.

(Side note: In case you wonder what the fuss is, you just cannot call an older family member by name, especially out of anger and not, say, in jest. I was slapped for this once in my life, and I was joking. Lesson learned. And if you do want to tempt the fates, do it out of parental earshot.)”

*Neither of these are on my recommended for family viewing list.

More about the Maknae position:

To those of us living outside of Korea, that might just means the newest or youngest member of a group. But in Korea, the maknae of a group or company has TONS of responsibilities to the older members. That includes being extremely respectful to the older members all the time, following orders without complaint (which could be costume choices, who gets the best seat in the car, first pick of anything), and they also have to do things for their “unnies” and “hyungs”. For example, maybe they’ll have to eat last, or hand out all the coffee, they might have to clean up after everyone eats in the dorms, or share a bathroom with the other youngest/newest member. There are tons of things the maknae has to do for their elders. Why? Because their elders were once maknae’s to someone else, whether in school, at a job, or at home so this is the time for them to be respected by someone younger then them. You’ve got to think of it like being in the army, where the maknae is the new recruit and everyone else is ranked higherVia Eat Your Kimchi

In K-pop bands, traditionally the Maknae is also supposed to be cute and indulge in lots of aegyo, but this isn’t always the case, and of course, in the Boy Bands at least, they are eventually allowed to outgrow that- to what degree varies with the band.

Examples: Baby-Faced Beauty; interviews with Big Bang where Seungri will talk about things he does ‘because I am the Maknae.’; Assorted Gems (where you will earn more about the pros and cons of being the Maknae by comparing the Maknaes of two families and watching how they behave); Pasta; …

Wait, ‘aegyo?’ What is that?:

It’s laying on the cute.  It’s laying on the cute.  It can include baby talk.

Aegyo Examples:

(start at about the 2 minute mark for the aegyo. But this is also a good video for noting that the American and the Eastern version of the ‘come here’ gesture are reversed)

Older brothers have lots of responsibilities.

  According to the book Korea 2010: The Challenges of the New Millenium, By Paul F. Chamberlin, the eldest son in a Korean family ‘bears the responsibility “for implementing his father’s will in the family by guiding and caring for his siblings.’

That, btw, is one of the things I enjoy about Korean dramas which feature families with small children. It won’t even be the main part of the story, necessarily, but watch, and on the sidelines the oldest brother is doing quite a few things for the younger siblings. I find it charming, although I know it comes with its own set of burdens, too.


1 % of Anything– family with four essentially adult children, three in their 20s.  When one of the girls has stayed out all night with a boy (even though everybody knows nothing else happened)- both parents and the oldest boy sit up to discuss how to handle this, and then Oppa tells his sister to go to bed and they will tell her the result in the morning. She does.  There’s a lot of that family conference kind of thing, with Oppa’s role as Dad’s disciplinary side-kick clearly displayed.

Stars Falling from the Sky–  Lots of great scenes.

My Husband Got a Family– Oldest brother here has been estranged for 30 years because he was lost as a child and then went to America as an adopted child.  He finds his family and has two little sisters who were born after he was lost. He still has both the right and even the responsibility to scold them when they need scolding (and they are in their 20s)

Attic Cat: mainly here it’s in the little moments going on behind the main action, because there’s not as much as I would like with the youngest children, but we also have the interesting bit where the oldest boy is the second child, yet when Dad locks big sister in her room (even though she is an adult), he puts her little brother in charge of escorting her to and from the bathroom and making sure she doesn’t leave to go back to that dreadful ‘attic cat.’ (I don’t really recommend this one, mainly because I could never see any reason at all for her to want him as a boyfriend.  She was great for him.  He brought nothing but trouble to the relationship and she had to be his mother more than his girlfriend).

See here for other things to know while watching a K-Drama

Shows I am currently watching but haven’t finished yet are described here.

You might also enjoy:

Dramas I’ve completed, recommend, and reviewed: see here.

K-Dramas I almost liked– most of these are just darker than I usually prefer. Some are just flawed.

Things to know when watching a K-drama

More Things To Know

Addiction, and why I like K-dramas

You might be watching a K-Drama if….

Where to get your fix: Sites where you can find subtitled K-dramas (and dramas from other countries, as well. I’ve watched a handful of J-dramas (Japanese) and TW (Taiwanese) dramas, but I vastly prefer the K-dramas, even though I know more Japanese – I got an A in my Japanese 101 class back in the day, when we actually lived in Japan and once I even knew both hiragana and katakana- but still K-dramas interest me vastly more).

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  1. DMartin
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Can you imagine the cultural revolution if there was a mass Christian conversion?!

  2. Headmistress, zookeeper
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Where? Here, or Korea? Korea sends out more Christian missionaries than any other country in the world but the U.S., and per capita, I think Korea has more claiming to be Christian than America does.

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