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9 K-Dramas Inspired By *True* Stories That You Should Watch Right Now

We're totally shocked by these discoveries!
K-dramas on Netflix and Viu based on true stories

Hello there, K-drama fan! We know you've already spent 123456789 hours watching your favorite actors and actresses on screen and we're pretty sure that at one point, you've said to yourself: "Nangyayari kaya ito sa totoong buhay?". Well, friends, while the majority of K-dramas are crafted by the creative minds of writers, there are some that are actually inspired by real-life events and people! 

We listed nine K-dramas that are inspired by real-life events and people, which you can watch on Netflix, Viu, and Viki:

1. Fight For My Way (2017)

Who’s in it: Park Seo JoonKim Ji Won, Song Ha Yoon, Ahn Hae Jong

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Viu

This rom-com drama won everyone's hearts for its hilarious, super nakakakilig, and inspiring storyline, but did you know that Ko Dong Man and Choi Ae Ra's characters are loosely based on the life of the mixed martial artist Choo Sung Hoon and his wife, Yano Shiho? Im Chang Soon, who wrote Fight For My Way, mentioned in an interview that his interest in martial arts fighters started when he saw Shiho crying while watching her husband in a match! And do they sound familiar? That's because Sung Hoon, Shiho, and their daughter Sarang were part of the pioneer cast of one of our favorite Korean variety shows, The Return Of Superman!


2. Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth (2016)

Who’s in it: Park Seo Joon, Park Hyung Sik, Choi Min Ho, BTS' V, Do Ji Han, Go Ara

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Viu

During the Silla era, the Hwarang—or the group of first-class young men—were treated as society's best. In the titular K-drama, Park Seo Joon, Park Hyung Sik, Choi Minho, Do Ji Han, BTS' V, and the other Hwarang members were trained to pursue a different path in protecting the kingdom.

3. Reply 1988 (2015)

Who’s in it: Lee Hyeri, Park Bo Gum, Ryu Jun Yeol, Go Kyung Pyo, Lee Dong Hwi

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Viu

This crowd-favorite isn't exactly based on a specific story, but one of the characters in Reply 1988 played by Park Bo Gum is actually inspired by Lee Chang Ho, a real-life Baduk player! Just like Choi Taek, Chang Ho is widely popular in South Korea for his extraordinary skills in the said board game, and has won a lot of local and international Baduk tournaments. 

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4. Signal (2016)

Who’s in it: Lee Je Hoon, Kim Hye Soo, Choi Jin Woong

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Here's a *super* horrifying K-drama reveal: The crimes shown in the top-rating K-drama Signal were derived from real cases in South Korea. This includes the Park Chorong Bitnari kidnapping case and the shocking Hwasong serial murders that took place in the Gyeonggi province. Gosh, can we just say nakakatakot ang parts na 'to? The case was also shown in the Bong Joon Ho classic, Memories Of Murder!

5. The Empress Ki (2014) 

Who’s in it: Ha Ji Won, Joo Jin Mo, Ji Chang Wook, Baek Jin Hee

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Viu

In this historical drama, Empress Ki is actually a real person who was born in Korea during the Goryeo sovereignty and started at the bottom of society. Later on, she was sent as a tribute to the Yuan dynasty and as time passed by, she became a high-ranking official, aka, an empress.


6. My Wife Is Having An Affair This Week (2016)

Who’s in it: Lee Sun Kyun, Song Ji Hyo

Where you can watch it: Viki

TBH, this K-drama is just one of the realest. We mean, love affairs really happen everywhere! In this series, a man uploaded a question online that became the talk of the town. His inquiry? "My wife is having an affair, what should I do?" Aray.

7. Hymn Of Death (2018)

Who’s in it: Lee Jong Suk, Shin Hye Sun

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Hymn Of Death is inspired by the popular Korean song, "Praise of Death", and brings us to the true-to-life tragic story of Yun Sim Deok, a professional soprano singer who met a writer named Kim Woo Jin. We don't want to spoil anything so we'll leave the description at that, but please prepare your box of tissues before you watch the drama, okay?


8. Taxi Driver (2021)

Who’s in it: Lee Je Hoon, Esom, Pyo Ye Jin, Kim Eui Sung

Where you can watch it: Viu 

The webtoon-based series Taxi Driver puts the spotlight on Kim Do Ki, who plots revenge per client request through the Rainbox Taxi Company. Here, we've seen him tangled in numerous criminal cases and most of them actually happened in real life. Take for example the Cho Doo Soon case—this appeared in the first few episodes of the drama and is about a notorious child rapist who was released from prison last year, which sparked anger and protest among South Koreans.

9. Move To Heaven (2021)

Who’s in it: Lee Je Hoon, Tang Joon Sang, Hong Seung Hee

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Move To Heaven is inspired by the non-fiction essay, Things Left Behind by Kim Sae Byul, a South Korean trauma cleaner. In an interview with The Korea Times, he mentioned that he once cleaned "the house of a man in his 70s, who died alone and was found many weeks later." Although it was in the form of different characters, this exact setting was featured in an episode of the Netflix original series that brought all of us to tears.


Bonus: Ms. Hammurabi (2018)

Who’s in it: Go Ara, Kim Myungsoo, Sung Dong Il,

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Viu

Not a direct spinoff of a true story, but what's interesting about Ms. Hammurabi, a K-drama that follows the life of judges, is that the script is actually written by a real-life judge! According to The Korea Times, Moon Yoo Seok, who works as a senior judge at the Seoul Central District Court, reveals his love for writing: "I am a story addict who imagines absurd stories even while walking. I have liked comics, novels, and films since I was young. I sometimes forget to get off at my stop on the subway, imagining stories." Ang galing lang

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