The 1 thing these good-looking Korean actors are guilty of doing to sell the dramas they appear in

1 June 2014 / 2 years 4 months ago

Song Seung Heon has done it at least four times, Lee Min Ho a minimum of three times, Choi Si Won twice and Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Seung Gi, Choi Jin Hyuk and Lee Dong Wook all at least once. Kwon Sang Woo is another repeat offender.

According to an article in The Straits Times, these good-looking Korean actors are guilty of taking off their shirts to sell the dramas they appear in.

Men showing skin in K-dramas is so common that Choi Si Won, in a 2011 episode of variety show Strong Heart, said he was surprised at not being asked to do so in espionage drama Athena: Goddess Of War (2010-2011). He is known to flaunt his six-pack abs on stage as a member of boyband Super Junior and also did so in the dramas Oh! My Lady (2010) and The King Of Dramas (2012).

Sure, selling sex appeal to boost ratings is one of the oldest tricks in a television producer's books, but the unusual thing in South Korea is that the actresses are left out of the equation. Compared with their male co-stars, they remain relatively covered up in K-dramas, even in bed scenes. The reverse sexism occurs because Koreans like their women to be demure and conservative.

Media studies lecturer Tan Li Yi, who is married to a Korean information technology manager, observes that K-dramas depict everyday life in South Korea and reflect how women are supposed to behave and dress in society.

According to Ms Kelly Yu, 38, a Korean mother of two living in Singapore, women in South Korea do not wear revealing tops or dresses, not even during the hotter summer months. If they do, people might stare and some senior citizens might even go up to these women to scold them.

It was only after Ms Yu moved to Singapore about 14 years ago that she wore her first spaghetti-strap top. She also notes that even K-pop girl groups have to sell sex in a covert way by showing off their legs rather than cleavage.

Radio DJ Lee Xin Ying, 29, who used to host a K-pop radio show and Web television programme, says producers of these dramas, which are usually aired during prime-time from 8 to 11pm in South Korea, probably take into account the fact that children and their grandparents could be watching the shows.

Ms Lee, who now hosts the entertainment news segment on UFM 100.3, says: "While some might object to seeing a woman take her top off, most are okay with a man without his shirt on screen. That's why the responsibility to heat things up on screen falls on the actors' shoulders."

And how the Korean hunks have been manning up to the task. For actor Song Seung Heon, 37, from as early as 2003 in Summer Scent, pondering a dilemma or getting all angst-ridden over an emotional problem is not complete without him doing it topless and in the shower. Including Summer Scent, he has stripped in no fewer than four shows, including East Of Eden (2008), My Princess (2011) and When A Man Falls In Love (2013).

For the full story, pick up a copy of The Straits Times. 

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