Date of Completion
Asian and Pacific Studies (ASPA)
Korean dramas are an important worldwide cultural phenomenon; however, there has been a lack of direct critical analysis on contemporary Korean dramas. Significantly, popular media is a potent tool to understand a country’s societal values. Given Korea’s intellectual contact with the West, it is possible to interpret K-dramas through the lens of self-realization. It’s Okay to Not be Okay teaches us that trauma must be faced to overcome it though the stories of Moon Gang-tae, Sang-tae, and Ko Moon-young. In Extracurricular, Jisoo and Gyuri represent how the current youth environment of South Korea stifles self-expression and self-realization. Itaewon Class, unlike many other K-dramas, shows how the multicultural environment of Itaewon aids in the development of marginalized people in South Korea. The three dramas are also concerned with themes of mental health, which is a largely stigmatized subject in South Korea. As Korean dramas grow in prominence, it is more important than ever to analyze them critically.
Chang, Kevin and Wang, Yanjie, "Self Hood and Self Realization in Contemporary Korean Dramas" (2021). Honors Thesis. 361.