Gone are the days that K-Drama male leads are toxic, mean, and even abusive and still manage to sweep the female lead off her feet!
For years, it seemed as if male leads, especially in dramas, were walking red flags. Now, writers are giving us viewers what we really want.
So, let us introduce you to walking green flags for a change.
You might have heard both phrases “green flag” and “written by a woman” on TikTok.
“Written by a woman” is the ultimate compliment because it means the man is kind, respectful, and not one to fall victim to toxic masculinity. Well, these 5+ K-Drama male leads were literally written by women, thanks to their respective series’ writers…
1. Choi Ung (Our Beloved Summer)
Some would say Choi Ung (Choi Woo Shik) is actually the human embodiment of a “green flag,” considering he is not only charming but also loving, patient, and caring above all else.
Choi Ung (Choi Woo-Sik) and Kook Yeon-Su (Kim Da-Mi) broke up 5 years ago. A documentary they filmed during their high school days becomes popular. They don’t want to, but they have to stand in front of the camera.
Choi Ung seems naive and a free spirited man, but he wants to have something for the the first time in his life. For that, he shows what he holds in his mind. Kook Yeon-Su aimed to become the top student at her school, but she is now an adult who lives fiercely, adapting to her reality.
Writer Lee Na Eun was inspired to write Our Beloved Summer after watching a 2015 EBS documentary similar to the one featured in her K-Drama but confessed that actor Choi Woo Shik’s real-life personality featured in interviews and reality show Summer Vacation also helped shape Ung.
One thing I’m sure of is that I want to work with Choi again. If I ever come up with a new script that is more than satisfactory, I’ll take it to him.
— Lee Na Eun
2. Lee Jun Ho (Extraordinary Attorney Woo)
Name a man better than Lee Jun Ho (Kang Tae Oh); we’ll wait. This man always stands up for what is right, is an amazing listener, attentive, supportive, and takes consent seriously! The list could go on…
Creator and writer Moon Ji Won knew exactly what she was doing when she created Lee Jun Ho.
Woo Young-Woo (Park Eun-Bin) is extremely smart and she also has autism spectrum disorder. She never forgets what she sees, but she lacks in social skills and empathy. Woo Young-Woo begins to work as a trainee lawyer at a large law firm. While working there, she faces prejudice and irrationality against her, but she solves cases with her own unique perspective and grows as a lawyer.
3. Ri Jeong Hyeok (Crash Landing On You)
Get you a man willing to risk everything to save you and be with you like Ri Jeong Hyeok (Hyun Bin).
The greenest flag of the green flags : Ri Jeong Hyeok 💚 pic.twitter.com/m7xx19qHfi
— Am 🪂🌸💕 #BinJinAreMarried #soontobeparents ❤️ (@AmLiRa7) August 7, 2022
Writer Park Ji Eun might be a genius for creating not only one of the best male leads of all time but also one of the best K-Dramas ever.
Yoon Se-Ri (Son Ye-Jin) is an heiress to a conglomerate in South Korea. One day, while paragliding, an accident caused by strong winds leads Yoon Se-Ri to make an emergency landing in North Korea. There, she meets Ri Jeong-Hyeok (Hyun-Bin), who is a North Korean army officer. He tries to protect her and hide her. Soon, Ri Jeong-Hyeok falls in love with Yoon Se-Ri.
4. Hong Du Sik (Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha)
Hong Du Sik’s (Kim Seon Ho) love language is literally Acts of Service. Need we say more? But then he says things like this, too…
Writer Shin Ha Eun created one of the highest-rated series in cable TV history. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha is also one of Netflix’s most-watched non-English series.
Yoon Hye-jin (Shin Min-a), an intelligent and pretty dentist living in the big city, loses her job after she righteously accuses the clinic’s head doctor of overdoing patients’ treatment for profit. She embarks on a trip to the idyllic seaside village of Gongjin, where she meets jack-of-all-trades Hong Du-sik (Kim Seon-ho). Du-sik is held in high esteem in the village because he takes care of the elders and does not shy away from any odd jobs. By chance, the paths of the two people cross several times and they take a liking to each other, while Du-sik constantly helps Hye-jin out of trouble.
5. Ki Seon Gyeom (Run On)
Ki Seon Gyeom (Siwan) is the sweetest, gentlest man to exist. Still, he has a strong moral compass and isn’t afraid to fight for what he believes in.
Run On tells the love story of Ki Seon-gyeom, a former sprinter who is working to become a sports agent, and Oh Mi-joo, a subtitle translator.
Run On is one of Park Shi Hyun‘s few writing credits, but she surely proved what she was doing while creating the best boy.
6. Baek Yi Jin (Twenty Five Twenty One)
Even before Baek Yi Jin (Nam Joo Hyuk) and Na Hee Do (Kim Tae Ri) dated, he was always incredibly supportive of her.
Na Hee-Do is a member of her high school fencing team. Due to the South Korean financial crisis, the high school fencing team gets disbanded. Getting through all the difficulties, she becomes a member of the sabre fencing national team.
The South Korean financial crisis also causes Back Yi-Jin’s father’s business to go bankrupt. This leads to a life change for Back Yi-Jin, from living the life of a wealthy person to a poor person. While studying, he works part-time jobs like delivery newspapers. Later, he becomes a sports reporter for a broadcasting network.
While we have mixed feelings due to that ending, we are still grateful to Writer Kwon Do Eun for introducing us to some of the greatest characters ever.
7. Ryan Gold (Her Private Life)
Ryan Gold (Kim Jae Wook) is progressive and resolves conflict quickly. And rather than be unbothered by his girlfriend’s fangirling over a K-Pop idol, he is supportive and even joins her fansite.
Her Private Life is based on Kim Sung Yeon‘s 2007 novel Noona Fan Dot Com and adapted for TV by Kim Hye Young.
Sung Deok-Mi (Park Min-Young) works as a curator at an art gallery. She is a huge fan of idol group member Shi-An and secretly runs a fan website about him. Because of her affection for Shi-An, she has experienced several personal break-ups. Sung Deok-Mi now focuses only her job and doing activities as Shi-An’s fan in her private life. One day, Ryan (Kim Jae-Wook) begins work as the new director of the art gallery where Sung Deok-Mi. He was once a famous painter, but he does not paint anymore. Ryan doesn’t have much interest in other people, but he happens to learn that Sung Deok-Mi is a fan of Shi-An and runs his fan website. Ryan takes an interest in Sung Deok-Mi.
These men are the standard, and we refuse to settle for anything less.