Is it one of those days when all you want to do is just grab some snacks and have a good cry? You’ve come to the right place. If you’re a fan of K-Dramas, you know that there’s no better catharsis than binge-watching sad romance dramas until your tear ducts are drained. So, we compiled the most heart-wrenching, sad romance K-Dramas that will make you believe in love all over again.
If you are new to K-Dramas, check out these sad romance K-Drama titles we have selected to find which ones suit your taste! For K-Drama connoisseurs, you’ve probably watched all the dramas listed below, and if not, it is time to add them to your watchlist!
Note: This list is not a ranking, but we’re opening a poll at the end of the article where you can vote for your favorite. The vote will not be closed, so no result article will be published.
1. “My Dearest”
Cast: NamKoong Min, Ahn EunJin, Lee HakJu, Lee DaIn
Summary: Set in Joseon during the tumultuous time of the Qing invasion of 1636, “My Dearest” tells the heart-wrenching love story of a feisty noblewoman, Yoo GilChae, and a mysterious young man, Lee JangHyeon, who hold on to each other despite the forces around them tearing them apart.
Watch Because: When it comes to sad romance K-Dramas, no list would be complete without this one. “My Dearest” is one of the most charming, endearing, and passionate historical romance K-Dramas we’ve seen in a very long time. Ahn EunJin as Yoo GilChae and NamKoong Min as Lee JangHyeon portray the innocence and resilience of love in the midst of war with such outstanding power and resonance that you cannot help but root for them with all your heart. The drama boasts extraordinary writing and even more gorgeous cinematography, making for a viewing experience that is unforgettable, to say the least.
Cast: Lee SungKyoung, Kim YoungKwang, Sung Jun, EXID’s HaNi (Ahn HeeYeon), Kim YeWon
Summary: Sim WooJoo is a woman set on revenge. After being forced out of her home by her late father’s mistress, he is fuelled by vengeance and approaches the woman’s son Han DongJin. Han DongJin is an overworked and lonely young man whose life begins to change after meeting WooJoo. Slowly, a gentle romance blooms between the two, but being together isn’t as easy as it may seem.
Watch Because: “Call It Love” is a stellar melodrama that brings out the strengths of the genre. It is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys heartfelt, poignant, and affecting stories of ordinary and flawed human beings. WooJoo and DongJin’s heartening romance is enduring despite adversity and truly tugs at our heartstrings. With brilliant performances by our cast, this drama will effortlessly make a place for itself in your hearts.
3. “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo”
Cast: IU, Lee JoonGi, Kang HaNeul, EXO’s BaekHyun, Hong JongHyun, Nam JooHyuk, Kang HanNa
Summary: Go HaJin is a heartbroken young woman down on her luck. On the day of a total eclipse, she falls into a water body and is transported back in time to the Goryeo Dynasty, where she is now called HaeSoo. There she meets several handsome princes who fall in love with her and inadvertently turn her into a pawn for palace politics.
Watch Because: As K-Drama fans, it is our duty to never let “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” leave any list about the most heart-breaking sad romance K-Dramas of all time. With a star-studded cast who deliver the most outstanding performance, this drama is an exploration of pathos, told through tales of love and loss. HaeSoo goes through hell and high water to protect her loved ones but is betrayed and abandoned time and time again. There’s nothing more tragic than watching HaeSoo try to cope with the complexities of this strange time slip while grappling with her own emotions, to no avail. Get ready for some serious waterworks with this one.
Cast: Seo InGuk, Jung SoMin, Park SungWoong
Summary: A mysterious murder suspect, Kim MooYoung meets a kind, warm-hearted, but scarred young woman Yoo JinKang. An irresistible romance blooms between them through unpredictable push and pull as they slowly discover that their ill-fated relationship goes way back to the root of their trauma. However, JinKang’s brother Yoo JinKook could not be warier of their relationship and will do whatever it takes to protect his little sister. With the world against them, will destiny allow their love to persevere?
Watch Because: When talking about sad romance K-Dramas, we definitely cannot forget this masterpiece. This tragedy is as beautiful and poetic as it gets. Seo InGuk plays Kim MooYoung, who is best described as an anti-hero and Yoo JinKang is the anchor who tethers him to life. Despite worldly forces tearing them apart, MooYoung and JinKang stick by each other’s sides through thick and thin, even if that means putting their lives on the line. The predominant color palette of the drama – cold blue – is exactly what it’ll leave you feeling.
Cast: 2PM’s Lee JunHo, Lee SeYoung
Summary: Crown Prince Yi San strives to become a benevolent ruler. However, the crimes of his grandfather and the cruel passing of his father have traumatized him. Sung DeokIm is a bright and spirited young woman who wants to live her life the way she wants. San, who is secretly burdened by his position, meets Sung DeokIm first as a child, then later as an adult, and she is the only one he opens up to. The two fall in love, but when San becomes King and asks DeokIm to become his concubine, she initially refuses but soon realizes that their union is inevitable.
Watch Because: “The Red Sleeve” is historical melodrama at its finest. JunHo and SeYoung deliver the most poignant performances as San and DeokIm, and their chemistry is off the charts. However, the anguish that their romance brings will tug at your heartstrings without mercy. A large part of the charm of “The Red Sleeve” comes from the excellent writing that will leave you wanting more after every episode. Despite the gentle slow burn, trust us, once you start watching this drama, time will fly.
Cast: Go MinSi, Lee DoHyun, Keum SaeRok, Lee SangYi
Summary: Set against the background of the Gwangju Uprising of May 1980, “Youth Of May” tells the story of two young lovers, HeeTae and MyungHee, who face umpteen trials and tribulations to be together, only to be failed by the world they live in.
Watch Because: This is the K-Drama that singlehandedly broke our hearts into a million pieces. From the very opening scene of the first episode, this drama will suck you into its world, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself attached to these fictional characters. Lee DoHyun as HeeTae is dreamy but familiar, almost as if you’ve known him forever, whereas Go MinSi as MyungHee is brave and inspirational. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out and form the core of the narrative, which is why “Youth Of May” manages to leave such a deep impact on viewers. This one is not going to be easy to get over.
Cast: Jung SoMin, Lee JaeWook, Hwang MinHyun, Shin SeungHo, OH MY GIRL’s Arin, Yoo InSoo
Summary: “Alchemy of Souls” tells the story of a wanted shadow assassin, Naksu, who shifts her powerful soul to the body of a lowly peasant girl named MuDeok to survive. MuDeok is weak and unassuming, which renders Naksu powerless. However, Jang Uk, the noble but ill-tempered young master of the Jang family, recognizes her at once. To get her strength and energy back, she bets on Jang Uk and takes him under her wing.
Watch Because: “Alchemy Of Souls” is arguably the best fantasy drama to come out of the Korean entertainment industry. The first season introduces us to the lore of the drama and weaves an intricate tale of star-crossed lovers who are destined for each other but also for destruction. While “Alchemy Of Souls” does have a second season that is relatively less tragic, the first season will leave you feeling like an empty husk from how unbelievably painful it is.
8. “Uncontrollably Fond”
Cast: Kim WooBin, Suzy
Summary: Childhood sweethearts Sin JoonYoung and No Eul meet again as adults, years after breaking up. This time, JoonYoung is a celebrity, and No Eul is tasked with filming a documentary about him. The forced proximity brings them together as they give their love another shot, even though JoonYoung has little time left in the world.
Watch Because: “Uncontrollably Fond” is the type of drama that makes no pretensions about happy endings. From the very beginning, you know where the story is going, but you learn to enjoy the journey anyway. Filled with love and laughter on the one hand and helplessness and despair on the other, our couple is relentless in their pursuit of happiness and that is exactly what makes this drama so heartbreaking yet wholesome.
Cast: Jung HaeIn, BLACKPINK’s JiSoo
Summary: “Snowdrop” tells the heartening story of love that blooms in the midst of chaos. Set in the tumultuous year of 1987 in Seoul, when South Korea was under a dictatorial regime, Eun YeongRo helps an injured young man named Lim SooHo, thinking he’s a student activist.
Watch Because: YeongRo and SooHo’s tragic love story is doomed from the start, but “Snowdrop” does an excellent job of building our expectations regardless. As a matter of fact, it is because of the hope that we hold on to for a happy ending that we’re so invested in the story. After all, who doesn’t want to root for the impossible? Faced with dire circumstances, YeongRo and SooHo go against all odds to protect their love and cherish each other, and that’s what gets the best of them. You might want to keep a box of tissues at hand for this one.
Cast: 2PM’s Lee JunHo, Won JinA
Summary: Two young people, Ha MoonSoo and Lee KangDoo, whose lives are intertwined because of an accident, reconnect and fall in love, healing each other’s wounds in the process.
Watch Because: “Just Between Lovers” is an outstanding study of survivor’s guilt and how it can swallow a person whole. At the center of the story are our main characters MoonSoo (Won JinA) and KangDoo (Lee JunHo), who suffered significant losses after the collapse of a mall that took the lives of their loved ones. Even though it’s been years since the accident, their wounds are fresher than ever, devastatingly affecting their daily lives. When they find refuge in each other’s arms, they slowly begin to process their trauma and move forward. “Just Between Lovers” is not your run-of-the-mill romance but tackles real psychological problems plaguing the human mind, highlighting the restorative power of love and connection. For this reason alone, “Just Between Lovers” is a must-watch.
Cast: Yoon KyeSang, Ha JiWon
Summary: Lee Kang is a man who dreamt of becoming a chef but is now a neurosurgeon, and Moon ChaYeong, the woman he inspired with his passion for cooking, is now a chef because of him. Fate brings them together once more in a hospice ward, where they mend each other’s hearts through compassion and food.
Watch Because: Just as the name suggests, “Chocolate” leaves a sweet aftertaste long after you’re done watching the drama. The mellow mood and slow but steady pace of the drama allow the viewer to savor every moment, making the experience that much more enjoyable. While the show is understandably dominated by some unfortunate, bitter circumstances and situations, it leads with hope, and by the end of it all, there’s a lot we can learn from. Yoon KyeSang and Ha JiWon, being veterans in this industry, deliver a memorable performance, and it is a sheer delight to see them together on screen.
Cast: So JuYeon, Seo JiHoon, Kim MinKyu, Yoon HyunSoo, Kang HyeWon, Oh YuJin.
Summary: “Seasons of Blossom” tells the story of young high school students on the verge of adulthood who navigate the complicated climate of love and loss at the tender age of eighteen.
Watch Because: This bite-sized web drama is a colorful portrayal of the shades of youth – both bright and dark. It is based on the webtoon of the same name by HONGDUCK and NEMONE, and features the first two seasons: “BoMi’s Flower” and “HaMin’s Flower”. The love story of Lee HaMin (played by Seo JiHoon) and Han SoMang (played by So JuYeon) from “HaMin’s Flower” is one of passion and regret that will elicit a bucket or two of tears as we watch these teenagers quietly suffer from their inner turmoil, pushing them to the extreme. You will almost want to jump into your screen to protect them simply because of how ordinary yet precious they are. “Seasons Of Blossom” is a fantastic adaptation of the source material and definitely deserves more attention.
What is the best sad romantic K-Drama according to you?
※You can vote multiple times without sign in.
“Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo”
“The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”
Note: The poll was first opened in March of 2023. “My Dearest” and “Call It Love” were added to the poll in November of 2023.
Which other sad romance K-Dramas would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments section down below!