NHK to cease airing Korean dramas

As reported by Soompi, it was revealed on October 11th by Japanese news outlets that the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) will no longer be airing Korean dramas.

According to the report, the network first started airing Korean dramas in April 2003 with Winter Sonata. However, after the drama Empress Ki finishes airing, NHK has decided to cease airing any further Korean dramas. One industry professional said of the limits of Korean dramas, “Japanese people are starting to feel that more recent dramas [coming to Japan] lack the passionate love that they remember from Winter Sonata.”

Another writer added, “Of course in Korea young actors are popular, but they don’t resonate much with the older fans in Japan.” She added that she didn’t think there were many idols or young actors who could successfully follow in the footsteps of the so-called “Four Gods of Hallyu”: Bae Yong Joon, Lee Byung Hun, Won Bin, and Jang Dong Gun.

Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV has actually come under fire before for broadcasting too many Korean dramas. Hate speech is prevalent in Tokyo’s Korea Town neighborhood, and in general the growing atmosphere of anti-Korea sentiment has led to the downward trend of Korean media consumption in Japan.

  • Comments

    • trebletones

      Wait. Kwon sang woo is not among the top 4 actors of Hallyu?

    • kimi

      winter sonata is soooo overrrrated

    • I got tired of the same pattern Korean dramas follow. I haven’t watched any for years.

      • sena

        Me too but Japanese dramas are pretty lacking in the romance department. I want some passionate romances with real kisses. No one loves like Long Vacation or Orange Days no more? Is romance dead in Japan?

      • Jo

        I tried Shark. Everyone was saying it was good, revenge and intense shit. I tried so hard till ep 8 and decided to drop because there was awfully too much romance and long hours of characters’ melancholically romantic stares at each other. I fast-forwarded too much and I lost track of the story so I gave up. Wasted precious hours of my life.

      • Try these:

        I find Heartless City a bit different from other K-dramas:

        • Sana masala

          A gentleman dignity is a good and refreshing drama, really love the way it was filmed and the four different love stories .
          Loved the drama Healer!

    • guest

      winter sonata was one long and boooooooring drama

    • Arron Hayre

      The whole of Korean Entertainment has become so boring over the past couple of years. Its like they figured out a formula to attract world wide appeal to their music and drama’s, but the re-used the same old patterns constantly that eventually its leading to their decline.

      • Exactly. Around 2008, there was this massive boost in quality. 2009 – 2011 were glory years. After that, they started resting on their laurels. They just keep cranking out the same product, but with different faces. They don’t really try to break new ground or hold onto older fans.

        • anons.

          I don’t think “resting on their laurels” is an accurate picture. The problem with Kpop is that it’s saturated with a bunch of small, shady agencies looking to make a quick buck off the hype. But it’s not like the bigger companies aren’t looking for more sustainable and groundbreaking stuff to work with. I think they’ll get there eventually, especially when all the idol group no-names inevitably drop out of the industry.

          As for kdramas–they hit the same kind of brick wall during the first Hallyu wave so I don’t see why they won’t sort themselves out again. You have something relatively different in he likes TVN, who are producing much better material and doing quite well for themselves. Meanwhile, public broadcast scriptwriters are getting a lot of heat these days so it’s only a matter of time before their wishy-washy formula is scrapped and they actually have to *write* something from beginning to end.

          • The bigger companies are looking for things outside of music though. I’m talking about more experimentation in terms of sound rather than aping whatever it being done in the US Top 40.

      • me

        i stop following KDrama since 2007, coz for me, most of KDramas are just the same old brand new story! with different titles, diff. chara, and diff.cast but the storylines are just cinderella’s syndrom where the leading actor needs to save the weak leading actress as her knight in shinning amor. of course not all of KDramas are like that, sometime once in awhile they have a diff genre like Master’s Sun, A Gentlemen’s Dignity, Bride of Century, Super Daddy…but that’s kinda rare to see.
        and why is it on most of KDramas, everyone is the owner/CEO who has the biggest power to rule the country like they are more powerfull then the president/politician?

        • K.Y.

          THIS. I’ve watched about 5 or 6 kdramas, and I’ve liked it, but it’s the same story with different actors: poor girl in love with rich man, who’s in love with other woman and a male friend/relative who’s in love with the main girl. And that’s all.

          People complain about jdramas but at least Japan offers some variety in their plots.

        • Unknown Carrot

          believe me Samsung and other chaebol families are more powerful than the president… lol

        • P.A.

          The only good K-Dramas recently are from Cable TV Broadcasters. K-Drama in Public TV Broadcasters are just…lack of story and cast, tbh.

          • Actually SBS dramas are good storywise. MBC’s Angry Mom was so underrated but the international fans like that drama because it was different.

            I find KBS’s Masked prosecutor to be a bit different from other drama:

            Healer from KBS is a bit different from other drama IMO:

      • AA

        It has it’s ups and downs, there was a period I was bored with K- dramas and than I watched Healer and fell in love again.
        Personally I find J dramas -every single one that I’ve watched- boring.

        • Jenny Limage

          There are good J Dramas like Kaseitsu no mita, Galileo, doctor X (season 1), N no tame ni…

        • Omnirosa

          Healer is so good but I watched another KDrama after it and I feel like I made the wrong decision lol.

        • kunyit

          j drama genre is much wider actually :D

        • lwavesurfer

          Last Friends.

      • Jenny Limage

        Yeah you’re so right but it’s even truer w/ KDramas.They’re so on Romance like wtf? In detective or medical dramas they can’t help it but to put romance. In general it’s not bad b/c everyone loves some romance but it’s like at the end there’s only romance and it ruins the whole thing. (I’m not a native speaker sorry if you don’t understand my point). don’t know if it’s just me though…

        • kunyit

          the korean love romance story so if there is no romance the maker is afraid it wont sell

    • zillon

      “Of course in Korea young actors are
      popular, but they don’t resonate much with the older fans in Japan.” She
      added that she didn’t think there were many idols or young actors who
      could successfully follow in the footsteps of the so-called “Four Gods
      of Hallyu”: Bae Yong Joon, Lee Byung Hun, Won Bin, and Jang Dong Gun.”

      Even k-netizens agrees with this, there’s just too many idols now that be landing a spot in leading roles in a drama and many of those idols lack in acting.

      • notadeluluArashifan

        Too many idols landing a spot in Leading roles?? Only Yoochun comes to mind for an idol who always has the Lead role. Choi Siwon and Yonghwa had a lead role once, but I don’t think that counts as Too many..

    • Midori

      I might be biased, because I’m from Japan and everything, but Kdramas are just boring. I started a few, but never finished one. I also don’t watch too many Jdramas, but there are a few I REALLY love! I prefer books after all.

      • TomPolly

        Can you suggest some for me?

        • Midori

          Sure! Here are my favourite ones:

          * Maou
          * Dear Sister
          * First Class (but only the first season, the second one was terrible! -.-)
          * My Girl
          * Last Friends
          * Liar Game
          * Kagi no Kakatta Heya
          * Ryūsei no Kizuna

          • TomPolly

            Thanks a lot 😘 I will watch these now! 😊

            • Midori

              No problem! I hope you’ll enjoy them all as much as I did or at least some of them! ^.~

            • Jenny Limage

              Watch N no tame ni or Wakamonotachi, Hero (if you like law), Love Shuffle (one of my favorites I love Karina)

            • sena

              Here’s my rec: Kimi wa Petto (matsumoto jun), Long Vacation (Kimura takuya as Sena), SPEC (toda erika), 1litre of Tears (erika sawajiri and prepare tissues), Pride (Kimura Takuya), Stand Up! (Nino+yamaPi), Mukodono 2003 (nagase tomoya), My Boss My Hero (nagase), Kisarazu Cats Eye (okada junichi +sho), Hanakimi (toma), Haikei Chichiuesama (Nino), Legal High (sakai masato) & Maou (sacchan)

            • sena

              Sorry. Rec you the wrong mukodono. Its mukodono2001 with Yuko Takeuchi and Tsunku. Please ignore mukodono2003. Here’s a link to get you started:

          • sena

            I don’t watch Kdrama but the only one I’ve actually finished was Mawang which was adapted to Maou. Finished it when Maou was still airing lol. Both dramas were great with awesome ost. Imo, Ohno as the lawyer was better than the Korean version while Toma pales in comparison to the Korean detective.

            This just made me want to watch both again…

        • gee3x

          You should try Tantei no Tantei. It’s an action-packed mystery drama and it’s really good.

        • notadeluluArashifan

          Honestly, the list Midori suggested is like a list for an Arashi fan. The dramas she suggested are not bad but they’re not that good either… For Arashi drama, the best would probably be Kazoku Game and Lucky Seven..

          For reco, you could never go wrong with an Eita drama! The guy knows how to choose project.

          Sunao ni Narenakute
          Saikou no Rikon
          Last Friends

          N no Tame is a good drama too! Makes you want to know more and more as the episodes uncover.

          • sena

            “Honestly, the list Midori suggested is like a list for an Arashi fan.
            The dramas she suggested are not bad but they’re not that good either…
            For Arashi drama, the best would probably be Kazoku Game and Lucky

            She only suggested 3 Arashi dramas lol. Maou, Kagiheya & RnK are actually waaaay better recs than Lucky Seven. Lucky Seven bore me aside from Jun being an eye candy. Kazoku Game is good tho.

          • really?

            “The dramas she suggested are not bad but they’re not that good either…
            For Arashi drama, the best would probably be Kazoku Game and Lucky

            Kazoku Game is fine but Lucky Seven is pure crap. Have you actually watched any of the Arashi ones she recommended?

        • swirly

          Seconding Saikou no Rikon, 1 Litre of Tears, Haikei, Chichiue-sama

          Also recommending:
          Nodame Cantabile<-Not my cup of tea, but EVERYONE seems to love it.
          Seigi no Mikata <-straight up comedy
          Kekkon Dekinai no Otoko<-atypical romcom
          Deto – Koi to wa Donna Mono Kashira<- another atypical romcom
          Karei naru ichizoku<-tragedy
          Yasashii Jikan<-slow pace but beautiful
          Change<- typical "believe in your self and all that is good" type of drama, i like it though:P

      • Perhaps Healer would be different:

        D-day is a interesting K-drama, try giving this one a watch:

        • GT

          Healer is boring and smell romace too fucking much that it made the whole watching unberab;e. .

          • Then don’t watch any dramas from Asia because they all have romance in them whether big or small. Is there any drama from Asia that you really watch?

            • Random

              Japan has ton of dramas without romance…I know because I only watch dramas without romance lol.

    • Jo

      We haven’t had enough good JDrama for so long!!!! If they stop broadcasting Kdrama, I hope they have more slots for Jdrama to develop.

    • I tried watching K-dramas for a bit. Some were entertaining, but so many of them are too melodramatic and repetitive to watch. It was painful to watch them and some of the plots/characters make me want to hit something. People say J-drama doesn’t have enough romance…well K-dramas have too much! It’s always this love octagon and it gets ridiculous lol. I don’t think every drama needs romance to be good. It can come off as forced sometimes. J-dramas have romance, but not that soap opera-like over the top romance. The romance tends to be more subtle and an addition to the plot rather than a main component. But Japan does have some great romances and romantic comedies.

      One thing J-dramas do well is portraying friendship, family, and the everyday lives of people. In K-dramas everyone’s so rich and have the perfect looks and fashion, so to me it doesn’t feel as “real.” The poor people even have the latest technology. Even J-dramas with the over the top plots have that sense of authenticity. You can really relate to the characters a lot of the time. It’s not all glitz and glam. Plus there is some great humor if you are used to the Japanese humor.

      And if you follow J-dramas you’ll see that every season there are romance dramas every season. Pity that many don’t get subbed.

      Anywman this comes as no surprise. Japan seems to have been over the Hallyu thing for a while.

    • light

      I was never that into Korean dramas,even for romance i usually went to Taiwanese ones. There are surely different kinds of dramas but i still feel Japanese ones have more variety.
      It may also have to do with the fact that i follow japanese entertainment, but when i tried to search

      recommendations for korean dramas it’s almost always romance (with the same pattern).

      But well,to each his own.

    • Yuri

      While I agree K-dramas are incredibly stale and repetitive, can’t the same be said about a lot of current popular media in general? Why not just cancel shows that don’t perform well like the US does? Cultural exchange is never a bad thing and this just seems unfortunate…

      • Uh have you watched these dramas:

        They’re not the “stale and repetitve” one like you describe.

        • Yuri

          Have I watched EVERY K-drama? Nope. And I actually didn’t mention any dramas by name, but was more referring to the romance genre ones. I also disagree with Japan ceasing to air K-dramas and I’m half-Korean. Thanks for your recs.

    • Never watched K-dramas before so I have no opinion but hey…that’s how it is.

    • I’ve only finished Dream High and ended up liking it… somehow. The few others I watched made me bored because like people say, most of them drag their stories too much (I actually fell asleep watching City Hunter and yet everyone is talking about how great it is).

      Well, I’m sure there are actually really good (and original) K-Dramas. I’m not really into anything Korean so I have no knowledge of it. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, Winter Sonata is originally a manga right?

      • Light11520

        Check out vampire prosecutor it’s only like I think 12 episodes a show, but boy is it good, it has two seasons for a reason, seriously when shit like boys over flowers drown out stuff like vampire prosecutor there is a problem, hell right now there is a drama called dday, thriller, action, and zero romance (except for some romantic tension), even though the plot is a bit shaky and there many cliches at least that is something diffrent from everything else.

        • Vampire? Is there actual biting? Lol, can’t really stomach those..

          • Light11520

            Yea, but it is very tight and well written detective series, with some cool action scenes, interesting, mysterious lore, the only weak spot is characterization, most characters are either stale or cliched, only the main protagonist is at all interesting, but if you can get passed that it’s really great and fun, think detective Conan, but with vampires lol.

            • do you have any more recs for police/detective, generally anything that’s action and not romance-based, drama? I exhausted that genre on j-drama and have been wanting to stray to the path of K-drama…

              • Light11520

                There aren’t many in kdramas the only other one I known that is detective based is ten and it has two seasons so it must be good, this is after 6 years of being a kdrama fan, you can try d-day, it’s about a surgeon who has to help out when a large earthquake hits Seoul, it is only 7 episodes in, and no romance so far, it’s a bit sloppy, but still enjoyable for not being romance orientated.

      • “Winter Sonata is originally a manga right?”

        No it wasn’t. I think you’re talking about the anime that was based on the K-drama:

        • Oh my bad, it’s because I remember reading a magz about japanese culture and they’re talking about Winter Sonata and how the tourists are making a mess on the place that’s featured on the drama. My memory’s faulty, perhaps it was about korean culture after all

          • Wouldn’t it have been a hassle to just do some research on Wikipedia.

            • L Koshka

              Hostile + adding dozens of video clips which slow down the thread = majorly annoying

      • If you want a K-drama that doesn’t bore you, I could suggest a few:

        If you lived in the US, you can watch it on Dramafever or Hulu:

        It’s a good drama I watched the first one myself, I need to watch the 2nd one later. You can try watching this drama:

        It’s on Viki:

    • notadeluluArashifan

      Until today, I’m still pissed about the time I wasted on The Heirs.. Any Park Shin Hye drama is a cliche drama for sure…

      They’re talking about the main stream dramas. There are good not cliche and not repetitive dramas from time to time. Like I hear your voice, Emergency Couple, Kill me Heal Me….

      • There are some mainstream drama that came out that is not repetitive like for example The Producers was different from other K-dramas:

        Healer is another mainstream drama which doesn’t use the cliche:

        I can say the same for Heartless City:

        Mrs. Cop is another drama that is different from the K-drama out there:

      • Kilo

        I hear you!
        Lucky I stopped after ep 5

    • Sana masala

      Really? There are so many good Kdrama recently… i am even more chocked that they are still talking about Winter Sonata … Just to say i am not okay with the article and the comments … I also watch jdrama , but i do kind of prefer the kdrama … sorry

        • Sana masala

          Oh i didn’t know i am French, drama fever does not work with me … personally i do watch them at myasiantv

        • Bee

          Thing is Japan is not doing the same methods like other countries did. One thing that you need to keep in mind that Japan is very strict on their copyright. While in South Korea almost every shows you can view it from Youtube for example. Japan also use Youtube but it’s not that truly famous to begin with or if it available on Youtube it might only restricted in Japan only.

          For Japanese dramas, if you are in South Korea, you can watch selective (mostly anticipated/popular/high rating ones) on Channel W. Channel W mostly show Japanese shows/dramas with Korean subs. So for those living in South Korea that one of their sources.

          In other countries (mostly in Asia) they also have TV medium for Japanese shows/dramas. Depend on what channels. NHK also have NHK world with English language. Although I never really watch NHK world that much on TV but i do check out some shows there.

          There are also an annual festival called “J Series Festival” which introduce popular Japanese drama from NHK, NTV, TBS, Fuji TV, TV Asahi and TV Tokyo. This festival is held outside of Japan. Thailand (2013-2014) and Indonesia (2015).

          No one knows how this Japan industries will bring to us in the future so I’m going to watch what else they can offer to us international fans.

    • lwavesurfer

      Excluding the Anti-Korea sentiment, I think it’s more because K-Dramas have been really boring these days.

    • Naru

      Am I the only person that doesn’t think that Japan is that strict when it comes to exporting entertainment? When you think of it, some of the biggest things in pop culture come from Japan. Anime, video games, manga, novels, and huge franchises like Pokemon, Yugioh, etc. have come from Japan. Japan has exported a lot when you think of it. Japan has exported lots of movies as well. You can find a good amount of Japan movies on the major streaming sites. People act like mainstream pop music and dramas are going to support Japan’s economy. They have so much more that supports them. Electronics, cars, food exports, the big franchises like I mentioned above, video games, etc. There was a time when all the hottest toys the kids were playing with were originally from Japan. Remember Tamagotchi, Beyblade, Yugioh, etc? All Japan. Ya’ll act like Japan is this closed off society like it was once. It is not. Sure, you may not be able to find music shows and dramas subbed and streamed with English subtitles. But at the same time, who really is demanding that other than a niche category of fans? And it’s not like in Korea where wins on music shows are a defining moment in musician’s careers so those shows aren’t really that important to fans. I do agree that more dramas should be exported, but they are taking baby steps to that point.

      As a J-drama fan who follows the drama fandom, I will admit that J-dramas aren’t really that huge among drama fans in general. That I will give to K-dramas even though I personally don’t like them. But looking at it in a broader perspective, there is actually a ton of Japanese entertainment available. AKB and the related groups all upload their videos to Youtube. LDH and Avex are doing the same (even if it’s short versions but whatev, they have to sell those DVDs). Indie rock groups and J-rock groups make their videos available too. Hip hop acts as well. Basically it’s mostly Johnny’s and the ilk that are holding out. But even in Japan it’s hard to go to a Johnny’s concert.

      I don’t know I’m just rambling at this point, but I don’t think that Japan is in such dire straits when it comes to globalization even if Cool Japan is a failure. I

      • L Koshka

        I agree with a lot of this.