Curious to know what are the favorite K-Dramas of overseas fans? We are as well! The 2023 annual survey report on the Korean Wave was released on March 10 and gives us all the details on Hallyu in 2022.
The Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE, an institution designated by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) works on this report every year. This year they broadened their spectrum by including more countries in their data. They interviewed 25,000 people between 15 and 59 years old from 26 countries from November 11th to December 7th about Korea. The surveyed countries include the US, Brazil, Argentina, the United Kingdom (UK), France, Turkey, Russia, China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Australia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mexico, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Kazakhstan.
In one part of the survey, the respondents were asked to answer: “what is your favorite Korean drama you watched this year?”. They chose their favorite Korean drama by writing it down (not selecting it). Let’s find out their answers below!
Top 5 Favorite K-Dramas
Netflix’s most successful and popular show of all time, “Squid Game”, unsurprisingly takes the top spot. With the extraordinary plot and phenomenal cast (starring Lee JungJae, Park HaeSoo, Jung HoYeon, Wi HaJun, and more) combined with excellent cinematography, stage design, and score, “Squid Game” became a cultural phenomenon that shaped the Hallyu landscape in recent years. 11.3% of the answers mentioned “Squid Game”, creating a huge gap with the second position.
In second place with 2.8% is “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”, starring Park EunBin and Kang TaeOh. This K-Drama was lauded worldwide for its representation of the autism spectrum, and also opened important discussions about the same, especially in terms of the workplace. Park EunBin’s incredible acting was appreciated and the drama also launched actors Kang TaeOh and Kang KiYoung to global success.
Next in line with 2.6% is “All Of Us Are Dead” – the zombie blockbuster that was hailed as the next “Squid Game” because of its popularity. It achieved great commercial success worldwide and was also appreciated critically. Currently, the second season of “All Of Us Are Dead” is highly anticipated. The young actors who appeared in the drama, including Yoon ChanYoung, Lomon, Park JiHu, Cho YiHyun, Lee YouMi, Yoo InSoo, and more, also enjoyed a great boost in their careers with this work.
The biggest rom-com of 2022, “Business Proposal”, continues to enjoy worldwide success even today. So, it is no surprise that the drama is number 4 on this list with 1.9%. Kim SeJeong and Ahn HyoSeop stole hearts all across the globe and the two actors also won Kpopmap’s very own “WINNER OF WINNERS” poll, with Shin HaRi and Kang TaeMu being voted the best female and male K-Drama characters as well as the “Best Couple” of 2022 by global fans. What can we say? The K-Drama was simply just that good!
Finally, in 5th place, also with 1.9%, is the timeless romance K-Drama that brought us our favorite reel & real-life couple: Hyun Bin and Son YeJin. Despite being released in 2019, the drama has continued to dominate watchlists all over the world and fans just can’t get enough of it. After all, it is a representative K-Drama that has attained legendary status, with some fans still wishing for a second season.
Top 5 Favorite K-Dramas By Countries
If you want to access the original data, you can do so from page 88 onwards in this pdf.
Note: In blue, you can find the mentions of “Squid Game”.
It is interesting to note that the top 5 favorite K-Dramas are now available on Netflix for viewers all over the world. This accessibility has certainly boosted the growth of Korean dramas worldwide. “Squid Game” is ranked #1 in 16 countries (out of 26), which speaks volumes of its massive popularity. In particular, in Italy, 46.1% of the answers mentioned “Squid Game” as their favorite K-Drama; in France, the percentage was 26.1%; in Russia, it was 24.8%, in Turkey – 23.7% and in Germany – 22%.
K-Dramas that were not in the top 5 but were still amply mentioned include classics like “Descendants of the Sun” (6), “Boys Over Flowers” (5), “Jewel In The Palace” (4), “The Heirs” (3), and “Goblin” (3) as well as newer dramas like “Big Mouth” (7), “Tomorrow” (7), “Alchemy of Souls” (5), “Little Women” (4), “Ghost Doctor” (3), “Under The Queen’s Umbrella” (2) and “Snowdrop” (2).
It seems to be a common trend for overseas K-Drama fans to watch older representative works like “Stairway to Heaven” (1) and “Winter Sonata” (1) alongside newer ones like “True Beauty” (3) and “My Name” (4). This means that international viewers are interested in past productions as well as present ones, so there’s always something on their watchlist.
If you want to read more about the data released on this survey, such as the favorite actors, idols, and movies. Check out the articles below:
*Publication coming soon, please look forward to it.