Marriage contract Korean dramas are so great to watch. Even though the storyline tends to be repetitive and cliche, the actors always do a great job in making the drama loveable. I’ve made a list for you; keep in mind that there are plenty more to be added.
Marriage Contract (2016)
Kang Hye Soo, a widow single mom, has a 9-year-old daughter to raise but is diagnosed with a brain tumour. Then, she is offered to be her boss Han Ji Hoon’s legal wife just for 3 months and accepts his offer hoping to leave her two daughters in the care of a legal guardian. The underlying message of this drama is that money and fame are meaningless when it comes to attaining happiness, and love is the only salvation for people.
The development of the main characters as it relates to the removal of their layers of complexities in order to heal, grow and love was also poignant. If you’re looking for a heartwarming love story with some difficult life issues then this is the drama for you.
Bride of the Century (2014)
“Bride of the Century” is one of those hidden gems with a great story. It shows that love prevails despite one’s background.
It tells the story of the Choi family, who runs Taeyang, they have been supposedly been under a curse for a hundred year that the first bride of the eldest son will always die. When the wealthy heiress Jang Yi Kyung disappears right before her wedding to chaebol heir Choi Kang Joo, Na Doo Rim, a lookalike impostor, is brought in to take her place. But unlike the cold and calculating Yi Kyung, Doo Rim is sweet and sunny, and Kang Joo falls genuinely in love with her. As the wedding plans progress, Kang Joo and Yi Kyung’s mothers both scheme and plot behind the scenes.
1% of Anything (2003)
“1% of Anything” is considered one of the earliest K-dramas that employed the “contract marriage” trope, and is based on a popular novel about a kind teacher named Kim Da Hyun (Kim Jung Hwa) who saves an elderly man that turns out to be a multimillionaire and owner of one of the largest conglomerates in the country. Thankful for her good deed, he writes her into his will, naming her the beneficiary to all his inheritance, while also writing out his own arrogant grandson.
His grandson, Lee Jae In (Kang Dong Won), in a bid to not lose everything, decides to enter into a contract marriage with Da Hyun to placate his grandfather.
Chae Gyeong is an ordinary high school student. One day, she receives some unexpected news. Because of her grandfathers will, she must marry the unendurable Crown Prince Lee Shin who also attends her high school.
As she struggles to adapt herself to the proper manners and royal duties of palace life and to her disagreeable husband, Lee Shin’s sentimental cousin and second-in-line to the throne, Yul, steps into her life.
Marriage, not dating (2014)
Wealthy plastic surgeon Gong Ki Tae is a successful and happy bachelor who does not want to find himself a wife. He believes that his life is perfectly planned, and being single is the only option he accepts. However, his family is badgering him to marry. In an effort to get his parents off his back about the constant string of blind dates and marriage prospects, Ki Tae purposely brings Joo Jang.
Fated To Love You (2014)
This drama is a story of an ordinary girl, Mi Yeong, who has neither outstanding looks, prestigious college degree nor any other charming qualities, facing her whole life abruptly changing when love comes knocking at her door. While on vacation, she accidentally happens to spend one night with an unknown rich man and even gets pregnant from that night. Through this incident, her life is never the same, and this fateful encounter brings love that transforms this not-so-special girl to an attractive, charming lady.
With a ‘baby’ added to the mix, Fated to Love You is a bit different from the others on the list. The story depicts the story of a couple who starts with marriage and tries to work their way backwards by getting to know each other and form a bond between them before their baby is born.
Full House (2004)
This is considered a classic and is the mother of the k-drama romantic comedy genre.
Ji-eun, an aspiring scriptwriter, lives in a house called “Full House” built by her late father. One day, her two best friends trick her into believing that she has won a free vacation. While she is away, they sell her house. On the plane, she meets a famous actor named Young-jae.
Though they do not get along with each other due to their contrasting habits, they agree to live with each other. At first, Ji-eun works as his maid in order to buy her house back. However, later, they enter into a contract marriage as Young-jae wanted to make his crush, Kang Hye-won, jealous. Complications arise as Ji-eun and Young-jae become attracted to each other.
Because This Is My First Life (2017)
A house-poor man and homeless woman become housemates in a drama that examines the institution of marriage and the problems that young people face today.
Nam Se Hee is a single man in his early 30’s. He has chosen to not marry. He owns his home, but he owes a lot on his mortgage. Meanwhile, Yoon Ji Ho is a single woman in her early 30’s. She does not own a home and envies those that do. She has given up on dating due to her financial struggles. Yoon Ji Ho begins to live at Nam Se Hee’s house. They become housemates.
Not only do the leads have incredible chemistry, but the rest of the ensemble is also just as fantastic!
Prime Minister and I (2013)
Prime Minister Kwon Yool works well at his office, but he struggles to raise his three children alone. Nam Da Jung is a reporter full of enthusiasm at work, but she always ends up missing big scoops. When Nam Da Jung chases Prime Minister Kwon for a lucrative exposé, she ends up scooping a whole lot more than she bargained for. Kwon Yool’s three kids receive a mother as a Christmas present, and that mother is Nam Da Jung.
Lie to Me(2011)
Gong Ah Jung, a level 5 Ministry of Culture official, gets entangled in a web of lies when she mistakenly lies that she’s married to Hyun Ki Joon, a noble hotel manager from an affluent family. Their relationship is further complicated when Ki Moon’s ex-fiance and a close friend of his brother’s, Oh Yoon Joo, reappears in his life.
My Lovely Kim Sam Soon (2005)
Kim Sam Soon is a baker who has a talent in making pastries and cakes. On Christmas Eve, she caught her boyfriend, Min Hyun Woo, cheating on her and breaks up. On that same night, she accidentally went into the men’s restroom and met Hyun Jin Hun. By sheer coincidence, Jin Hun needs a baker for his restaurant Bon Appetit and Sam Soon is unemployed. Sam Soon is hired as the restaurant’s chief baker and the two fight like cat and dog.
Which of these dramas have you watched? And which other dramas with this “contract marriage” trope would you recommend?
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