In Korea, age is significant. Koreans have a variety of methods for properly approaching someone older than them, both in real life and in K-Dramas.
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In addition to using respectful and formal words, they also utilize the usage of honorifics, with reference to older men as hyung (what younger males say to older males), oppa (what younger females say to older males), or ahjussi (what both genders call middle-aged males). For older ladies, there are also noona (what younger males say to older females), unnie (what younger females say to older females), and ahjumma (what both genders call middle-aged females). Specifically, the term "noona" is particularly used by men to refer to women who are older than them.
When both of you are already of legal and consenting age, age gaps are most certainly simply a number when it involves love. Because of the societal norms and outdated beliefs people live by, particularly people who are extremely conservative, may not approve and frown upon women who are dating a man who is younger than them. But that doesn't imply that melodramas would not depict stories and tales of that plot, especially if it shows a great story. K-Dramas, in particular, featured many amazing couples over the years and showed that age doesn't matter when there is chemistry!
Here are some of the "noona" K-Dramas (younger male-older female) you should definitely binge-watch!
"My Name is Kim Sam Soon"
"My Name Is Kim Sam Soon" is probably one of the classic noona romances in K-Dramas. The protagonist of this series is a feisty and sassy baker with an old-fashioned name Kim Sam Soon (Kim Sun Ah). Due to her lack of accomplishments, her weight, and the fact that she is single despite her relatively older age, she is frequently underestimated by many others. Hyun Jin Heon (Hyun Bin), the chaebol owner of a sophisticated French restaurant, saw Sam Soon's messy breakup with his cheating boyfriend. As she also lost her job then, Sam Soon eventually becomes Jin Heon's new pastry chef at Bon Appetit. They had an acrimonious relationship, to begin with, but a turn of events forces Sam Soon to pose as his make-believe girlfriend in exchange for the money. The plot gets better as Jin Heon's ex-girlfriend comes back alongside a handsome doctor, not to mention the blatant rejection of Jin Heon's mother towards Sam Soon as her son's girlfriend.
"When the Camellia Blooms"
A blend of love, humor, and societal problems is featured in the hit series "When the Camellia Blooms." The story primarily revolves around a single mother named Dong Baek (Gong Hyo Jin), who decides to move to the village of Ongsan. She raised some eyebrows when the community noticed she was opening a pub called Camellia, as this was frowned upon in a traditional area. Hwang Yong Shik (Kang Ha Neul), a young and determined policeman, falls in love with Dong Baek at first sight. Even if Dong Baek is originally hesitant of Yong Shik's advances, Yong Shik was never put off despite the rumors, her status as a single mother, or her occupation. The re-entry of her ex-boyfriend Kang Jong Ryeol (Kim Ji Suk), a baseball star and the father of her child, their neighbors' initial rejection of their relationship, and a serial killer on the loose tests their love and life.
"Romance is a Bonus Book"
After being a stay-at-home mother, Kang Dan I (Lee Na Young) is just attempting to revive her career. Despite Dan I's great history working in advertising, no one wanted to employ her due to her prolonged break from the profession. She then makes the decision to exclude a sizable portion of her CV and apply instead for an entry-level position. She is fortunate enough to land a job at a publishing house, and it just so happens that Cha Eun Ho (Lee Jong Suk), her dongsaeng, serves as one of the chief editors. Eun Ho met Dan I when they were young and has regarded her like a noona ever since. But as they grew older, he learned to respect her courage and her compassionate aspect, but he never actually had the courage to pursue her. Eun Ho found it harder and harder to suppress his emotions as they began to interact with one another more frequently due to business. He eventually succeeds in setting Dani's heart aflutter, but there are obstacles in their path.
"Encounter" revolves around the story of Cha Soo Hyun (Song Hye Kyo), a woman in her late thirties, a daughter of an influential politician, and the ex-daughter-in-law of the executives of a sizable multinational company. Only for political motives did she and her ex-husband wed. She requested a hotel as alimony after they got a divorce, and she ran it brilliantly entirely on her own. Soo Hyun goes to Cuba as part of her responsibilities as CEO and meets there the carefree Kim Jin Hyuk (Park Bo Gum). He's simply a regular 20-year-old man touring before embarking on a promising career path. He was unaware that Soo Hyun was the hotel's CEO when the hotel recruited him. However, he still makes an effort to approach her and win her devotion despite their differences in age and circumstances.
"Something in the Rain"
Yoon Jin Ah (Son Ye Jin), a professional woman in her 30s, is friendly and upbeat, she yet feels incomplete and alone. She isn't very skilled at relationships, and she often gets dumped because she is uninteresting and unoriginal. Then she meets Seo Joon Hee (Jung Hae In), her best friend's younger brother. She originally saw him just as her younger brother, but he ultimately wins her heart over with his endearing personality. They struggle when they choose to be in a relationship with each other and must often hide and sneak out together because of how connected their families are. Due to their differences, they also disagree on various circumstances and occasionally fight over little things. However, throughout the series, their sweet and beautiful journey through those difficulties displays the brilliance of profound love.
"A Witch’s Romance"
Ban Ji Yeon (Uhm Jung Hwa) is a single 39-year-old reporter who is tremendously motivated at her job. In actuality, her excessive passion makes her unlikable, and as a result, they referred to her as a "witch" behind her back. After being abandoned at the altar by her future husband, Ji Yeon eventually finds it difficult to share her emotions with others, and she doesn't believe in love anymore. On the other hand, Yoon Dong Ha (Park Seo Joon) operates an errand shop with a friend where they perform a variety of errands for anyone willing to pay a fee. She eventually meets Dong Ha and doesn't click right away because of an incident. However, they eventually start to feel drawn to one another. When Ji Yeon finds that Dong Ha is just 25 years old, she freaks out about their relationship, and chaos ensues further as her ex-boyfriend comes back.
"Secret Love Affair"
A lot different from the other noona romance series mentioned above, "Secret Love Affair" explores a forbidden affair between an older woman and a talented pianist. Oh Hye Won (Kim Hee Ae), a 40-year-old woman, learns love as she falls for Lee Sun Jae (Yoo Ah In), who is 20 years old. They first connected at a piano recital held at an art gallery where Hye Won works. It gets much more complicated as Hye Won is actually married to Kang Joon Hyung (Park Hyuk Kwon), a piano instructor and was the one who discovered Sun Jae as a potential student because of his talent as a pianist. Sun Jae first fell in love with her, and the other hand, she believed Sun Jae was the best person to help her comprehend what "true" love was. They developed their covert relationship despite the fact that they both understood it was wrong. The plot of the series is indeed dark and heavy, but it is amazing to watch, especially as the lead actors showcase an outstanding portrayals.
"Temperature of Love"
"Temperature of Love" is a romantic melodrama that centers on Lee Hyun Soo (Seo Hyun Jin), a budding dramatist who spent ten years as an assistant writer. Through an internet platform with the user name 'Jane,' she connects with the username 'Good Soup,' who is a young chef, On Jung Seon (Yang Se Jong), who owns a Michelin-star restaurant called Good Soup. They discovered that their lives and goals are more closely related than they had anticipated after actually meeting. They fall in love, but Hyun Soo would rather concentrate on her work. Park Jeong Wu (Kim Jae Wook), Jeong Seon's business colleague, complicates their relationship as he is also interested and attracted to Hyun Soo and won't accept a no. Ji Hong Ah (Jo Bo Ah), a friend of Hyun Soo who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and aspired to be a scriptwriter, falls for Jung Seon and is accustomed to getting her way in life.
Which of these dramas is your favorite? Which other noona romance dramas are your go-to series and would be recommended to other K-Drama viewers as well?