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by Stasiamae on April 14, 2014
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Off Screen: Age Differences

When you’re watching dramas, you’re usually pretty aware of the ages of your favorite characters right? You at least have an idea. Whether it’s because the main characters did or used to go to the same school, or university, you’ve gathered enough to assume they’re in the same age group, or to what age group they belong - I know I for sure do. And, in these dramas, the majority of the time, there really isn’t much of an age difference, either, is there? I’ve seen a handful, but not much more. Nothing too intolerable, at least, as in more than five years (in the drama). But after recently finishing The Prime Minister and I and finding the age difference between the two in real life, I got to thinking: do any of us really know the age difference between our favorite leads off screen? Depending on if you’re a drama noona who stalks your favorite main leads, or the noonas who just watch the dramas and maybe do a little snooping, but usually not (this is me). If you’re like me, though, you will be surprised by some of the age differences between your favorite leads. It’s not something that’s usually very noticeable, either, considering the many surgeries these stars undergo, and their knack for wearing makeup that drags them five years into the past. So, I went back to some of my favorite dramas, and not-so-favorite dramas, and took a look at the lead actors. Some of the age differences I was surprised by, and some I wasn’t. I usually thought I knew, and I was surprised by how often I was wrong. So, here’s a list of dramas with age gaps that I was expecting and some I wasn’t!

(아직도 결혼하고 싶은 여자)
Starring Park Jin Hee and Uhm Ji Won

Kim Bum – 24
Park Jin Hee – 36
“This drama depicts lives of three women who are closing one chapter of their life and entering the next. Lee Shin Young, Jung Da Jung and Kim Boo Ki are three women in their 30s whose romantic relationships have faltered due to their career ambitions, but find themselves given a chance to make a fresh start.”–MyDramaList

This drama is one that I’ve been meaning to watch, but I haven’t gotten a chance to. I’ve been itching to see Kim Bum in another romantic drama, but I wasn’t expecting this. Definitely a change from the kind-hearted, blunt Kim So Eun from Boys Before Flowers, and also one of his closest friends in real life (I must admit, I ship it hard) to a thirty-something noona (ahjumma maybe?) ten years older in the drama. Well, it seems that they picked the perfect actors, because they are twelve years apart off screen. Who knew!?

(イタズラなKiss~Love in TOKYO)
Starring Miki Honoka and Furukawa Yuki

Furukawa Yuki – 26

Miki Honoka – 16
“Based on the manga "Itazura na Kiss" by Kaoru Tada. At a high school entrance ceremony, high school student Kotoko Aihara, who isn't that smart, notices pretty boy Naoki Irie. She falls in love with him immediately. Kotoko initially doesn't express her feelings to him, but finally has a chance to tell him how she feels. Unfortunately, Naoki turns Kotoko down, saying "I don't like dumb women." One day, Kotoko Aihara's house is severely damaged by a meteorite. Until the house is rebuilt, Kotoko Aihara and her father decide to live with her father's friend. When Kotoko Aihara moves to her new temporary house, she is surprised to learn that Naoki Irie lives there as well.”–MyDramaList

Wow, this one really surprised me! I wasn’t expecting this one at all, Yuki Furukawa looks so young, I would never have guessed he is 26, neither would I have ever guessed that Miki Honoka is 16! They have good chemistry, and I like the story, although I’m biased. I’ve seen the anime, the Korean version, and the Taiwanese version, too, so I’m pretty secular when it comes to this drama. ISWAK is probably my favorite variation, but I still enjoyed this version. Kotoko is very funny, and Miki is adorable, I can’t wait to see her in other dramas, and watch her rise in the drama world! 

Starring Lee Min Ho and Kim Hee Sun
Lee Min Ho – 26
Kim Hee Sun – 36
“A 21st-century plastic surgeon Eun Soo gets kidnapped and brought 700 years in the past for her healing powers. Goryeo era bodyguard to the king General Choi Yeong is smart but a little naive, he almost never smiles. He faces conflicts with the female doctor Eun Soo, but soon feels attracted to her.”–MyDramaList

Oh man, Lee Min Ho in this one… I can’t even. The serious side of LMH in armor is sizzling hot, I’m sorry, I can’t suppress the fangirl noona inside of me. Anyway~~ Faith was a drama that I thoroughly enjoyed. To be honest, in the story I thought Choi Young was older than Eun Soo, so he obviously plays an older, serious male lead well. And Eun Soo doesn’t look a day over 23 even though she’s 36, and this was her comeback role after taking time off to have a family. She’s stunning, absolutely stunning, and brilliant, too. I never would have guessed that there’s a 10 year difference between the two. I’d really love to see Min Ho in more serious roles like this one, he plays them well, and I think they fit him much better, but that’s my personal opinion. C: 

(아가씨를 부탁해)
Starring Yoon Eun Hye and Yoon Sang Hyun
Yoon Eun Hye – 29
                                                                   Yoon Sang Hyun – 40

“Of the high-rolling top 'hot celebrities' of the wealthy upper class in Korea's high society, Kang Hye Na is the one desired by the men, feared and hated by the women. Being the only successor to the largest conglomerate company, Kang San Group, Kang Hye Na has both the looks and the background. She is the owner of the 'Lady Castle' and lives a 'princess-like' life with her servants. Until one day, out of pure coincidence, she comes across Seo Dong Chan who turns her life upside down. Not only does he make her do community service, he even kidnapped her... and now he's the new household manager!!! Even after stepping on him, crushing him and biting him, he still doesn't run away. She may have finally met her match...”– MyDramaList

I have to admit, this is one of my personal favorites. I’ve seen it twice all the way through, and I’d watch it again in a heartbeat.  I’m not really sure why, since it’s a pretty typical, predictable drama. I’m a sucker for simple, cute romances, I admit it! I always thought Dong Chan looked a little older, but I never really explored it. I kind of liked the idea of him pulling her out of this immature, naïve state. I hated her character in the beginning of the story, but their gradual love for one another had me hooked. I was so into their love story, I pushed aside the fact that he looked a little older, but you know what, I have to admit that Yoon Sang Hyun has such swag (for lack of better terms). Literally, when he walks, I melt. How does that even work? (I guess I’m a little strange…) But when I found out that there’s an eleven year difference between the two, I was shocked. Yoon Eun Hye and Yoon Sang Hyun had such good chemistry and everything, I guess I was shocked a little, but not as surprised as the others. I figured there was an age difference, but I was thinking 5 years at the maximum! 

 (총리와 나)
Starring Lee Bum Soo and Im Yoon Ah
Lee Bum Soo – 44
Im Yoon Ah – 23

“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.” -MyDramaList

I think this one is the one that shocks everyone, even if Lee Bum Soo does look older. I think what gave away his age was actually his voice, but I grew to like it. He has such a deep, rich voice, I wouldn’t mind it if my man had that voice, and his smile was absolutely adorable. I think older actors should get more chances at leading. A lot of people were uncomfortable with the 21 year difference, but I’m someone who cares about plot and development more than appearances, so I really didn’t think too much about it. In my opinion, Yoon Ah played a fairly decent role as 28 year old Da Jung, and there were many times where I actually thought she looked older than 28. This one was definitely a shocker, even when I could see that there was an age gap. Again, I wasn’t expecting more than 10 years since, in the story, there’s a 14 year difference. But 21 years is the biggest age gap I’ve seen to date. But like I said before, strangely enough, I thought they had fairly good chemistry, and remember: acting is just that, acting.

(너의 목소리가 들려)
Starring Lee Bo Young and Lee Jong Suk
Lee Bo Young – 35
Lee Jong Suk – 24
“Jang Hye Sung, a bold, sassy, thick-faced, comical, and materialistic public defender who becomes a lawyer after overcoming poverty and painful memories from her childhood, comes to realizations about society and justice after meeting Park Soo Ha, a 19-year-old boy who reads other people’s thoughts and Cha Kwan Woo, an innocent lawyer who lives a disciplined life. Jang Hye Sung is actually Soo Ha's first love after she gave a decisive testimony on his father's murder case 10 years ago and Soo Ha promised to protect her from the killer's threats. Meanwhile, Cha Kwan Woo is Jang Hye Sung's fellow lawyer who is a cheerful and idealistic former cop even though his character a bit slow, he is nice and pleasant with a firm idea of his principles and justice. Together they will team up to to find the justice in the courtroom and solve the toughest cases with less than 1% chance of winning.”– MyDramaList

I have yet to finish this drama, but I’m half way there. I know I’m not the only one who recognized their age difference. There’s an age difference in the show, too, although Bo Young doesn’t look a day over 25 if you ask me. Their romance cracks me up, and the way she handles it. I think my favorite scene is when she wakes up and she says something along the lines of, “every girl wakes up like this.” Their relationship is hilarious, and I really need to get to finishing it, I really want to see their romance blossom. Jong Suk and Bo Young have good chemistry, too, and I would never have guessed that they’re 11 years apart. I wasn’t expecting that one! 

(자체발광 그녀)
Starring So Yi Hyun and Kim Hyung Jun
So Yi Hyun – 29
“Kim Hyung Jun plays Kang Min, a top star in the Korean entertainment business, who is a bit temperamental. The leading lady is a newly minted scriptwriter played by So Yi Hyun. Park Kwang Hyun plays a well-known producer and the drama follows the in and outs of the entertainment business and the love triangle that ensue between the three main characters.”– MyDramaList

This was a drama I watched over a year ago. It isn’t one of my favorites, for one particular reason that I can’t say, but I actually enjoyed it. I personally never found Park Kwang Hyun the most attractive man on this planet, but here’s another instance where I’m happy that he got a chance to play one of the main leads, even though I didn’t particularly like him. I don’t think older actors get as many chances at playing lead roles as they should, and I like what they bring to the show! I also love age differences, within the stories, and off-screen. Not to mention, their costar and the second lead, Kim Hyung Jun, is just a few years younger than So Yi Hyun. 

Are there any age gaps you’ve noticed between your favorite drama leads off screen that I haven’t listed? Comment them below, and I hope you enjoyed reading this! 

-Stasiamae (a.k.a. Seka)

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