January 14, 2022 is the 20th Anniversary of the Premiere of the Biggest Hallyu Drama of All Time Winter Sonata

Twenty years? Seriously, twenty years! Who would have thunk it and who here remembers living through this entire experience which kick started the Hallyu era. Today on January 14th, 2022 marks the exact 20th anniversary of the date Winter Sonata premiered on Korean televisions. I don’t think ANYONE could have predicted on January 14th, 2002 that this drama would change the future of South Korean television programming. Korean movies were already gaining a niche cult status around Asia but dramas it was not until Winter Sonata that the dam burst open. To say this drama was huge is an understatement, it singlehandedly created Hallyu (the Korean wave) which impacted more than just dramas but also brought K-pop to other Asian countries and later of course worldwide recognition to date. Dae Jang Geum elevated K-drama watching one step over WS years later but WS was the trailblazer. It’s sad that the four leads are Winter Sonata are not active in K-ent in different ways 20 years later – Choi Ji Woo hasn’t done a drama since The Most Beautiful Goodbye in 2017 and had a baby last year so who knows when she will be back, Bae Yong Joon leveraged his fame and fortune to step into agency management and hasn’t been seen on TV in a decade, my beloved Park Yong Ha is no longer with the world since his passing in 2010, and Park Sol Mi was in a drama last in 2018. But these four will always live on forever as their youthful selves capture on celluloid in Winter Sonata, even if Bae Yong Joon as a thirty year old back then playing a 17 year old high school student remains one of the most lulz teenage counterpart performances.


January 14, 2022 is the 20th Anniversary of the Premiere of the Biggest Hallyu Drama of All Time Winter Sonata — 24 Comments

  1. Winter Sonata is still one of my all-time fave K-dramas. It may not be qualitatively great with the makjang, draggy plot and candy heroine, but it was the experience it brought at that time when I watched it (being the first K-drama aired in my country’s local tv) that gave a long lasting feeling and impact. Thus WS deserves its “legendary status”. Without WS Korea as a whole (be it entertainment or culture) would not be as it is today. These days, everything Korean sells.

    • Same with me, It’s Jan 2022 (still watching it in YouTube- Korean version with English subtitles, longing to have a DVD but I don’t think it’s still available by this time). My all-time favorite K-drama is always WINTER SONATA. I watched it first in 2002 (I was still single), in my country, I used to watch it every night after office work, then I’ve been watching it over and over again this Dec 2021. I did watch also the Autumn in my Heart in 2000, but I like WINTER SONATA better! I just thought I’m already a graduate from watching K-drama especially Winter Sonata, I still cry, yes, and always excited to see Bae Yong Joon and Choi Ji Woo, love scenes. The series is a complete package of different angles/aspects of love – from puppy love, teenage love, true love, friendship, and family relationships.That’s the main reason why it became a huge success all over the world. For me, it’s not just a great love story of all time, or not just an ordinary, teleseries, it’ more on a learning moments,the Korean language- words/phrases, the beautiful places in South Korea, the weather there is I think is also very cold, but here in Canada it’s more colder (it reaches with temp of -40 plus the windchill of -45 or -49 sometimes)

  2. Hmmm.. I think the first drama that was aired in my country was Autumn in My Heart and everyone was crazy about Won Bin.. But back then Taiwanese dramas were more popular, even more so when Meteor Garden aired. Then Winter Sonata aired and every ayi was crazy about Bae Young-joon, but for me no one can beat Jang Dong-gun in All About Eve! ???

    • Yes! jang dong gun was like my kdrama ideal man for ages until several other kdrama men came along. I just need to close my eyes when he smokes, everything else about his character was perfect.

    • Honestly I wish Netflix would pick more of these old school korean and taiwanese dramas from the 90s and 00s rather than the newer ones. The old ones are gems that need to be shared with a wider audience.

  3. I’ll never forget the absolute craze over Winter Sonata and Meteor Garden in my country. All the moms and aunts in my neighborhood became avid fans of Bae Yong Joon and F4. Early 2000s still feels like the peak of hallyu.

  4. Now I am reminded of those days 20+ years ago going through hoops just to watch new episodes of these beloved K-dramas. 🙂

  5. I know winter sonata and Dae Jang Geum is very popular especially in my country… Unfortunately, I’ve never watched both of them and never get the hype among my friend and my roommates. I actually feels the korean drama craze when Autumn in My heart show in my country. My rommates is went crazy we watched it through vcd from 6pm to 3am. crazy.!

  6. I was actually teaching some Korean students in my English class when WS aired in my country. All About Eve and Autumn In My Heart aired first in 2000 but WS really cemented the Hallyu boom. WS was so popular that I started using the characters names whenever I write some sample sentences in my class just to add some fun. My best friend and I even spontaneously went to Seoul for a 4 day holiday after watching WS. Lol. After WS came Jang Nara’s Successful Story of A Bright Girl. The theme song instantly became my cell-phone ringtone. I think the first Hallyu wave peaked around 2006 with Goong.

  7. interestingly, autumn in my heart and winter sonata were both aired by kbs. kbs should air a special 20th anniversary this year to celebrate their most successful hallyu dramas. I hope trees die on their feet with son ye jin, kang ha neul will re-start the kbs led hallyu boom again. it has an old school epic feel to it.

    • I remember Hotelier was popular too with BYJ & SHK. The hotel theme normally hit jackpot like Hotel Del Luna. Youn Yuh Jung was in Hotelier too as the hotel owner. She being offered the role of hotel owner in Trees is such an irony or is it a deliberate ploy by KBS?

  8. Its Autumn In My Heart which started the Hallyu Wave for me. Won Bin was my bias back then and had the second lead syndrome etc. I also checked the dates and Autumn was aired in Korea in 2000 so it came early than Winter Sonata and it was popular in Asia too. Although I have watched Sonata, I’m not a fan compared to Autumn back then.

  9. That was the time I disliked k drama. HK drama was fast paced and interesting while K drama FL always sick and being pitiful. After 20 years, k drama has global influence while HK drama only left with some very senior actors. Really don’t expect k drama to shine that long ..

  10. It’s such a classic old-school kdrama, the hit ones of those days were imperfect and sometimes really frustrating but still had enough heart to carry the story through. The early 00s was the era when I first started hearing about kdramas so I always think of them fondly.

  11. Old times, 20 years !I tend not to watch melos anymore , probably thanks to my hormones ! 2OO2 My love patzzi , Dating now ,All about eve, thanks to theses dramas i became fond of Jang Nara, Chae Rim ( i do miss her a lot) So ji Sub, and Kim So Yeon . No wonder i still like them 20 years later ! And 2022 it’s the 10 th anniversary of Nice Guy ,Reply 1997,Rooftop prince and i miss you 2 dramas that i can’t watch anymore thanks to a certain person, The moon that embraces the sun , The king 2hearts and Arang and the magistrate , i named theses dramas because of Song Joong Ki, Moon Chae Won, Yoon Eun hye, , Lee Jung Ki,Shin Min AH Lee Seun Gi, Ha Ji won . All theses actors have a special place in my heart . And it was the breeding ground year of now talented actors Yeo Jin Goo, Kim Soo Hyun ,Choi Woo Sik, Kim So Hyun, Lee Se Young, Park Eun Bin, Kim Yoo Jung, Seo In Guk, Kim Woo Bin (A gentleman’s dignity) Yun Woo Jin , and the recognition of the talented Jo Jung Suk, Oh Jun SE, …

      • @Royal We , it seems like it was yesterday , a yesterday of 10 years . A decade of good memories of watching new genres , after my first classic decade ( 2002 /2012) . I’m going to cry while listening The Beatle’s “Yesterday”. ??

  12. The irony of it was winter sonata was average in Korea ratings but very huge overseas unlike autumn in my heart which was huge in Korea as well as overseas.It remains a pacesetter among Korean dramas

  13. Oddly enough, I could not get into Winter Sonata or Autumn In My Heart. Even at a young age, I thought the plots to those shows were crazy. Not even Won Bin’s beautiful face could make me watch Autumn. All I really cared about at that time was Meteor Garden and jdoramas (Long Vacation, GTO, Gokusen, Beach Boys, Orange Days). It wasn’t until I saw Full House, All About Eve, Story of a Bright Girl and My Love Patzzi that kdramas really drew me in.

    • quality wise, Winter Sonata and Autumn in My heart both are average. I watched it for following the buzz with my friend and I really has a Soft spot for Melo genre. I wish pure melodrama genre get hype up again like the old days. I agree at the time after autumn in my heart and all about eve, I’ve never follow any kdrama adterwards, the reason I never feel the hype with Dae Jang Geum and winter sonata. I was so into manga, anime and japan relate.

  14. Despite its fame I could never get into Winter Sonata for the superficial reason I found both male leads so unattractive. I didn’t understand what the hype was about Bae Young Joon. Autumn in My Heart at least had real eye candy with the two male leads especially Won Bin so I muchpreferred it lmao

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