Article: Top 10 K- Drama That Caused Controversy

As we all have seen, the K-drama industry has seen a boom over the last two decades, especially now that services like Netflix and Amazon have made it available to audiences worldwide. Some of these popular K-dramas have stirred some controversies, be it due to historical provocation, scandalous sex scenes, product placement, cultural appropriation, and some insensitive references to disease.

1. The Glory

The famous K-drama The Glory produced quite an amount of buzz for showcasing topics such as emotional as well as physical bullying, substance abuse, child predators, cheating, family estrangement, and revenge. The story is about Moon One-run, a former victim of school violence who tries to take revenge on her bullies. The show wasn’t in line with the South Korean traditional pattern as per the media due to the nudity and their sex scenes, and were too vulgar.

2. Backstreet Rookie

Just after airing the first few episodes, over 7000 complaints were received by The Korean Communications Standards Commission, as it was criticizing the objectification of young women. The drama centers on a former troublemaker who works at a convenience store. The KCSC quickly slapped the show with a warning for airing inappropriate and proactive scenes, which got later removed.

3. The Penthouse: War In Life

The award-winning Korean drama focuses on the wealthy families of the Hera Palace and their children who attend Cheongsam-ah Arts School. Alex, played by Park Eun Suk, in the third season, sports gold teeth, face tattoos, and dreadlocks and uses a lot of American slang. This got subbed as a cultural appropriation and also racism. The actor apologized for this, and the creators also changed his appearance.

4. My Name

My Name is a story about Yoon Ji-Woo who to avenge her father's death joins a gang and becomes a mole in the police force. So-Hee once in an interview said that she only found out about the intimate scene during the production. Her fans were outraged and slammed her agency. Her agency then stated that during rehearsals, it was mentioned that there was a possibility of a love scene as the script was not completed then.

5. Snowdrop

Snowdrop is a dark action drama set in 1987 about the Democracy Movement in South Korea. The story's very premise sparked a controversy, as it was rooted in the country’s fight for democracy, featuring a North Korean spy who falls in love with a South Korean student who had saved him. More than 200,000 citizens had filed a petition for it to be canceled due to its distorted facts just so that the show could fit the romantic narrative and as they portray an enemy in a charismatic manner.

6. Joseon Exorcist

Joseon Exorcist is a historical Korean drama which follows the fight of a royal family with evil spirits. King Taejong, along with Prince Yangnyeong and Chungnyung, his two sons, fight the evil spirits to save Joseon. Only after airing two episodes did the show come under fire. The plethora of Chinese liquor, food, props, and historical inaccuracies distressed the audience and the critics. Over 156,000 people signed a petition for the show to be canceled and all the brands started withdrawing their sponsorships. In March 2021, the show was terminated even before it finished filming.

7. Mr. Queen

Mr Queen is a historical romantic and fantasy drama starring Kum Jung-hyun and Shin Hye-sun. The story focuses on a queen who finds her body is taken over by the soul of a modern-day man. The gender swapping raised quite a few eyebrows; some viewers complained to the Korea Communications Standards Commission that the records of the Joseon Dynasty, considered a national treasure, were branded as a mere tabloid on the drama. Also, the writer of the original Chinese novel is quite well known for negatively painting their country.

8. Twenty-Five Twenty-One

Twenty-Five Twenty-One is a coming-of-age romantic drama starring Nam Joo-Hyuk and Kim Tae-Ri. The show was criticized for promoting love between a minor and an adult. Though there was only a four-year gap between them, Na Hee-do was in high school when she got proposed. Along with him in episode 15, Back Yi-jin, the reporter is covering the 9/11 terrorist attack topic, and Hee-do smiles with pride while watching him. The American fans were angered by this scene as it was insensitive for bringing up such a deadly attack, and as it was also used to portray the struggle of the character's relationship.

9. Oh My Lady Lord

The story is about Han Bi Soo, a screenwriter, and Oh Joo In, a top rom-com actress. After the first episode aired in March 2021, fans called and wrote to complain about a scene about Oh Joo, who walks in on Han Bi-soo, her tenant, while he is in the shower. Even though the image was censored with a peach emoji, many of the fans expressed their discomfort with it, and some also referred to it as sexual harassment.

10. Nacro-Saints

Suriname, also called Nacro-Saints, follows the story of Kang In-gu, a businessman who doesn't have a choice but to cooperate with the National Intelligence Service’s secret operation, to be able to catch Jeon Yo-hwan who is a drug lord who took control of Suriname. The Suriname government filed a formal complaint about the negative portrayal of the country, also stating that they don’t have the image the series is showing and are no longer in this kind of practice.