It’s a no from me, but also a yes.

Hello, it's 민지(Minji) here, bringing you the latest from Korea. Are you into scary movies or dramas? I'm easily spooked, so I rarely watch content from the horror genre. However, among my favorites are dramas where, surprisingly, ghosts👻 are the main characters. We call this ‘Ghost Romance’! It's like not having a sweet tooth but not being able to resist chocolate, you know?🤣 Now, let me introduce two of my 'chocolate' ghost romance dramas!

ⓒtvN, Screenshot from <Oh My Ghost> Episode 1

Actress Park Bo-young in her timid personality before being possessed.

ⓒtvN, Screenshot from <Oh My Ghost> Episode 9

A possessed Park Bo-young acting cutesy towards the male lead.

ⓒtvN, Screenshot from <Oh My Ghost> Episode 6

Are you possessed or something? Yes!

The epitome of ghost romance: <Oh! My Ghost>. Kang Sun-woo (played by Jo Jung-suk) and Na Bong-sun (played by Park Bo-young) are a head chef and his assistant, respectively, maintaining a strictly professional relationship. However, things take a turn when Bong-sun gets possessed by a bold ghost named Shin Soon-ae. The drama delves into their ensuing romance💗. Traditionally, possession isn't seen in a positive light in Korea. Yet, <Oh! My Ghost> turned this concept into a rom-com element and achieved significant success. Bong-sun's transformation post-possession and her aegyo charms in disarming the aloof Sun-woo were a major attraction. It even sparked jokes about Jo Jung-suk having to pay to act alongside her and compilations of Park Bo-young's adorable aegyo!🤭

ⓒtvN, Screenshot from <Hotel Del Luna> Episode 1

Jang Man-wol (IU) and Goo Chan-sung (Yeo Jin-goo)

ⓒtvN, Screenshot from <Hotel Del Luna> Episode 10

Flowers in full bloom on the tree binding the soul of Jang Man-wol (IU)

Not just an otherworldly romance but a romance spanning worlds and time

When talking about ghosts, it's almost a must to draw on the ghost's 'stories'. Some people believe that when a person dies, they move on to the afterlife. But those with unresolved grudges or sad tales remain trapped between our world and the next, a realm known as 'Gucheon' in Korea. <Hotel Del Luna>, starring IU, explores this concept. It portrays Gucheon as a hotel🏩 where souls with stories linger, trying to find closure. Within this setting, the romance unfolds between the enigmatic hotel owner Jang Man-wol (IU), who possesses timeless charisma yet is deeply vulnerable, and the pure-hearted hotel manager Goo Chan-sung (Yeo Jin-goo). Although 'wandering in Gucheon' generally has negative connotations, the drama reinterprets it with brilliant allegory and stunning visuals, capturing both box office success and critical acclaim!🥰

ⓒtvN, Screenshot from <Hotel Del Luna> Episode 3

Wait, why 'ghost' though?

When recommending ghost romance dramas to foreign friends, I often encounter puzzled reactions: Why focus on romance with ghosts? At first, I found this baffling. Love stories between humans and supernatural beings are common globally. So, why are Korean ghost stories particularly intriguing?🤔 Quiz time! What do wizards, superheroes, and aliens have in common? They all have 'bodies'. But ghosts? They're literally 'souls' without bodies. This could be the crux of why some foreigners find romance with ghosts implausible. So how do Koreans embrace it so naturally?

ⓒtvN, Screenshot from <Hotel Del Luna> Episode 16

I believe it boils down to 'familiarity'. To Koreans, ghosts are relatively familiar entities, especially when compared to wizards, superheroes, or aliens.🧙🦸👽 For instance, consider popular Korean phrases involving ghosts: "It's like a ghost did something weird", "That person isn’t taken by even ghosts", "Oh my, your hair looks so ghostly!" These idioms highlight how psychologically close ghosts are to Koreans, suggesting their potential to intervene in human lives and their established image in culture. Additionally, there are countless proverbs and idioms involving ghosts. While they're 'non-existent' in reality, ghosts are simultaneously perceived as inherently 'existing'.

It's said that viewers engage more when immersed in a familiar setting with just one twist rather than a wholly unfamiliar one. In that sense, when venturing into the fantasy realm of romance, who better to lead than the familiar 'ghost' for Koreans?

I hope you enjoyed these two sweet ghost romance dramas I introduced today! If you have questions about ghosts or anything related after watching the dramas, feel free to ask.😉


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