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Girls (And Boys) In Disguise: 11 Gender Bender Korean Dramas

Promise—you'll never get bored of this genre!
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) MR. QUEEN/TVN, COFFEE PRINCE/MBC, LOVE IN THE MOONLIGHT/KBS2
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Remember all those Korean dramas where girls had to pretend to be boys (and vice versa) because of specific, awkward, and sometimes life-threatening situations? It sure looks like Mulan isn't the only girl who's got it tough out there! Over the years, K-dramas have featured girls dressing up as guys and becoming eunuchs, members of boy bands, and students in all-boys schools. Guess what? Sometimes, guys *pretend* to be girls, too!

Here are 11 gender bender K-dramas to binge if you're in the mood for some laughs and feels: 

Coffee Prince (2007) 

Where you can watch it: Netflix and Viu

The stars: Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun Hye

The sitch:  Choi Han Gyul (Gong Yoo) is from a rich family, has never had a job, and does not care for responsibility AT ALL. He finally tries to prove himself to his grandmother and the girl he loves by managing a coffee shop called "Coffee Prince". In order to attract female customers, he only hires good-looking male employees. Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye), who is often mistaken for a guy, hides her gender to get a job at his cafe. 

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P.S: If you've already watched this classic Koreanovela, click here for an update on the cast (who had a reunion last year!).

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You're Beautiful (2009)

Where you can watch it: Netflix and Viu

The stars: Park Shin Hye and Jang Geun Suk 

The sitch: go Mi Nyeo (Park Shin Hye) lives a quiet life to fulfill her dream of becoming a nun. Her life goes crazy when she's forced to pose as her twin brother after his botched plastic surgery. She takes his place in a band called A.N.Jell. (just for a month, his manager promises) because a path to fame will help them find their real mom. She struggles to fit in with the other band members and has a hard time winning lead vocalist Hwang Tae Kyung (Jang Keun Suk) over. 

Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010)

Where you can watch it: Viu

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The stars: Park Min Young and Park Yoo Chun

The sitch: In the Joseon era, a time when women were not allowed to be educated, Kim Yoon Hee (Min Young) pretends to be a boy to earn a living as a book transcriber. Her family's dire circumstances and the encouragement of a noble's son finally drive her to attend the prestigious Sungkyunkwan University, which is forbidden for females! There she becomes friends with a group of handsome men (yay!) while trying to hide her secret. 

Secret Garden (2010)

Where you can watch it: Netflix and Viu

The stars: Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin

The sitch: Hyun Bin plays a rich, bored heir to a department store chain and Ha Ji Won is a simple girl who works as a stuntwoman. Circumstances become really strange when their souls accidentally SWITCH BODIES, and, as they cooperate with each other to figure out what the hell happened, they slowly fall in love.

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Ma Boy (2012)  

Where you can watch it: YouTube

The stars: Kim So Hyun and Kim Sun Woong

The sitch: In this mini-series, Jang Geu Rim (Kim So Hyun) dreams of becoming a popular singer and transfers to an elite musical high school where her favorite K-pop idol also studies. She hopelessly gets entangled in secrets when she becomes the roommate of Irene (Kim Sun Woong), the most admired girl in the school—who turns out to be a boy in disguise! 

To The Beautiful You (2012)

Where you can watch it: Viki

The stars: Sulli and Choi Min Ho

The sitch: Goo Jae Hee (Sulli, who passed away in 2019), a Korean girl who lives in the United States, sees a track and field competition on TV and she becomes attracted to one of the high jump competitors, Kang Tae Joon (Choi Min Ho). To get closer to Tae Joon, who is now her *inspiration*, she transfers to South Korea to attend the same school as him—an all-boys school—where she cuts her hair and disguises herself as a male student! 

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Empress Ki (2013) 

Where you can watch it: Netflix

The stars: Ha Ji Won and Ji Chang Wook

The sitch: Ki Seung Nyang (Ha Ji Won) is captured as a child and is sent to Yuan as a tribute slave. After a failed escape attempt, her family dies while saving her. She goes back to Goryeo (Korea) dressed as a boy and enters the service of a wealthy businessman with the intent to find the culprits behind her family's death. She grows up to be the most famous fighter in the country, but everyone still takes her for a man! She ascends to power and eventually becomes Empress. NICE. 

Splash Splash Love (2015)

Where you can watch it: Coming soon on Viki

The stars: Kim Seul Gi and Yoon Doo Joon

The sitch: Jang Dan Bi (Kim Seul Gi), a high school student, wishes she can escape reality and run away from her responsibilities. One day, while she's mimicking the children's game of making a wish while jumping in a puddle of rainwater, she is transported back in time to the 15th century! Here, she's mistaken for a eunuch and she enters the royal court where she befriends King Sejong the Great (Yoon Doo Joon), and they develop a cute and quirky relationship.

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The Scholar Who Walks The Night (2015)

Where you can watch it: Netflix

The stars: Lee Joon Gi and Lee Yu Bi

The sitch: This drama  

Love In The Moonlight (2017) 

Where you can watch it: Netflix and Viu

The stars: Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung  

The sitch: In this romantic period drama, Bo Gum portrays a young and mischievous Crown Prince who falls for Ra On (Kim Yoo Jung), a young woman who's pretending to be a male eunuch living in the palace. 

Mr. Queen (2020)

Where you can watch it: Viu

The stars: Shin Hye Sun, Kim Jung Hyun, and Choi Jin Hyuk

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The sitch: A famous chef (who happens to like a lot of women) from the modern times named Bong Hwan (Choi Jin Hyuk) suddenly found himself in a sticky situation. He gets into an *accident* where he fell into a swimming pool and wakes up as a queen (Shin Hye Sun) in the Joseon dynasty. You will definitely find yourself laughing and crying while watching this high-rating K-drama.

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