A very common trope in the world of K-dramas is the rich/poor trope where one of the main protagonists is incredibly rich and the other is incredibly poor. This often adds to the romance and drama of the show in that the poor character is always trying to find a way to fulfill his dreams in order to earn more money. By doing this, there always seems to be a loving relationship that develops. Here are eight K-dramas that have that trope many have come to know and love.
For more titles, check out the first part of this feature here.
1. “A business proposition”
Ahn Hyo Seop plays chaebol Kang Tae Moo who falls in love with Shin Ha Ri (Kim Sejeong), a woman he meets on a blind date. What he doesn’t know about Ha Ri is that she replaces her best friend who doesn’t want to go on the blind date. After finding out that he was cheated on, he offers Ha Ri the opportunity to be his fake girlfriend for the time being.
“A commercial proposal” was the unexpected surprise of the year. With all the classic K-drama tropes in one series, the rich/poor trope being one of them, it managed to sweep the hearts of fans around the world. Tae Moo, the chaebol who is also Ha Ri’s boss, is cold at first, but as he develops feelings for Ha Ri, he becomes irresistibly sweet. Ha Ri wouldn’t have to worry about making ends meet with this chaebol by her side!
2. “Coffee Prince”
“Coffee Prince” is about a tomboy named Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) who gets a part-time job at a cafe owned by Choi Han Kyul (Gong Yoo). The two protagonists find themselves in a complicated relationship where Han Kyul falls in love with Eun Chan while thinking that she is a boy, and Eun Chan cannot find the courage to reveal her true gender to Han Kyul. It’s a whirlwind of a romance.
The obvious classic on this list and one that definitely has the rich/poor trope, “Coffee Prince” is a rom-com that has continued to win hearts. Go Eun Chan plays the poor girl who takes on multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet. She gets a job as a barista at a cafe and also gets involved with her boss Han Kyul. Seeing how much Han Kyul falls in love with Eun Chan and how willing he is to look beyond things to be with her has made this series one that fans keep close to their hearts. It’s a must-have watch!
Check out the drama here:
3. “Meant to Love You”
Jang Nara stars in “Fated to Love You” as an ordinary, simple girl named Kim Mi Young. Fatefully, she meets Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk) one day, and the two have a one-night stand. This results in a pregnancy that forces them to marry. Although they are unsure about their feelings for each other, Lee Gun pushes Kim Mi Young away.
The adorable duo of Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara have reunited in “Fated to Love You,” bringing us this memorable romantic comedy. Jang Hyuk is a chaebol while Mi Young is a regular office worker. The dynamic of their relationship takes viewers on a roller coaster of emotions, and with the added angst of second lead Danny (Choi Jin Hyuk), the storyline is absolute perfection. This series also includes one of the most heartfelt proposals in all of K-drama history – bonus!
Watch “Destined to Love You” here:
4. “Shining Legacy”
Go Eun Sung (Han Hyo Joo) has had a lot of bad luck in her life, which has led her to live a poor life. She works very hard to try to achieve her dreams. Fatefully, she meets the CEO of a food company who is a grandmother and got amnesia. Eun Sung takes care of the grandmother, and when she regains her memory, the CEO hires her to work for his company, but she has to get along with the grandmother’s grandson named Seon Woo Hwan (Lee Seung Gi).
This whole series is led by Go Eun Sung trying to find a way to make money. When she meets the incredibly rich Seon Woo Hwan, she not only falls in love with him, but also has the opportunity to acquire a lot of wealth. Seeing the dynamic between the two main protagonists and how opposite they are in terms of personality and social class only makes the love story that much more romantic. There’s something about seeing an underdog succeed that really tugs at the heart.
Watch the series here:
5. “Love in the Moonlight”
Hong Ra On (Kim Yoo Jung) is a eunuch to Crown Prince Lee Young (Park Bo Gum). Lee Young is completely unaware that one of his eunuchs, who are all supposed to be men, is actually a woman. He begins to notice Ra On and is attracted to her, which leads him to take a lot of risks and make a lot of sacrifices to be with her.
This series was a major hit domestically in South Korea and for obvious reasons. No one could get tired of the adorable chemistry as well as the story of the eunuch and the crown prince. With the obvious rich/poor trope surrounding the story, it made things even sweeter when the Crown Prince finds out his eunuch is actually a woman. The prince wanting to jump through all those massive hoops to be with a eunuch is unheard of, which is why this story is so compellingly beautiful!
Watch the series here:
6. “Romance is a bonus book”
A more recent drama that deserves a spot on this list, “Romance Is a Bonus Book” stars Lee Jong Suk as Cha Eun Ho, a writer and editor at a publishing house, and Lee Na Young as the role of Kang Dan Yi, a mother trying to re-enter the workforce. The two met when they were kids, and in a turn of events, became best friends. Fast forward to adulthood, Dan Yi divorces and must find a job to support his daughter. She turns to Eun Ho for help, and Dan Yi ends up getting a job at the same company as Eun Ho.
Dan Yi being a mother who has passed her early years of career search, it made her even more encouraging and hopeful when she got a job in a publishing house. It also helps that her good friend who happens to be head over heels in love with her is rich and able to give the connections to get into the business. Seeing their romance come to fruition is just the icing on the cake!
7. “It’s normal not to be well”
Moon Kang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun) works as a nurse in a mental hospital. He meets a woman named Go Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji) who writes dark children’s books, and she likes him very much. She is determined to win Kang Tae’s heart, but Kang Tae can’t be bothered with romance and relationships as he devotes himself to taking care of his older brother Moon Sang Tae (Oh Jung Se) who is on the spectrum of autism.
With the lavish clothes and the mansion in which Go Moon Young lives, she embodies this rich life. So when she meets Kang Tae and her brother Sang Tae, who live in a small apartment and try to make ends meet, their lifestyles couldn’t be any different. Despite being complete opposites, Moon Young needs Kang Tae in her life and is willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. This passion and drive creates an emotional journey as their love story progresses.
8. “I’m not a robot”
Yoo Seung Ho as Kim Min Kyu and Chae Soo Bin as Jo Ji Ah are two main actors I would love to see back on the small screen. When Min Kyu gets a robot, he finds himself drawn to it. But it is later revealed to him that his robot is, in fact, a human. This results in a heartbreaking ordeal of shattered trust, as the two protagonists also yearn to be with each other.
Jo Ji Ah is so poor that she is willing to be a fake robot to get paid. But when she begins to develop feelings for her “master” Kim Min Kyu, it creates a delicate but necessary relationship. This romantic comedy is unique, and seeing the two work past their differences gives all butterflies. It’s a must-have, especially if you like the rich/poor trope!
Start watching the drama here:
Hey Soompiers, which of these K-dramas featuring the rich/poor K-drama trope is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG, but has recently been seen obsessing over Hwang In Yeop. Be sure to follow binahearts on Instagram as she browses her latest Korean madness!
Currently watching: “Young Actors’ Retreat”, “The Law Cafe” and “Love in Contract”.
Favorite dramas of all time: “Secret Garden” and “Star in my Heart”.
I can not wait to: Won Bin’s return to the small screen.
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