Korean vs. Japanese vs. Taiwanese Dramas

*whistles* THAT’S….a long title. Oh well.

I know, at least within my friend group, that there’s a lot of debate which country has the better dramas: Korean, Japanese, or Taiwanese. Now, to me, it really depends on what you mean by “better”. What does Korea do that you like better than what Japan does, or vice versa? What about Taiwan? Are their plot lines so amazing all Korean ones are pale in comparison?? To me, the factors that make a “good drama” are: Plot, Characters/Acting, Cinematography, Emotional. Here are my scores out of 10 for each country in those sections and why:


  • South Korea: 7/10. To me, the most popular South Korean dramas have a pretty basic plot: the poor, feisty girl, a rich, spoiled brat of a guy, the poor, sweet second lead and a jealous bi*ch of a second girl. Examples? Too many to list. While some dramas use this to their advantage and they can make a really good drama out of it, some, it just seems like “okay…he’s going to become a better person at the end so can we just skip this??”. Although there are some jewels out there “Mixed-up Investigative Agency” , “Can’t Lose” and “Vampire Prosecutor”, this trope is used so many times it would take me forever to list them all. But remember, there are dramas that use this trope are amazing: “My Name is Kim Sam-Soon” and “Pretty Boy Raymun Shop” are just a couple.
  • Japan: 9/10. Yep, that’s right, Japan got the highest score. True, some of their best dramas are based off to mangas, but this isn’t a scoring for originality (okay…maybe a LITTLE). To me, Japanese dramas have some of the most INTERESTING and ENTERTAINING plots ever! The conflicts are good, there isn’t one “I’m going to ruin your life because I feel like it” character, and for the most part the pacing is good. Examples? “Kimi wa Petto”, “Hana Kimi”, “One Litre of Tears”, and “Koizora”. Usually, when I just want to watch a good drama with a good plot, I usually go with a Japanese one (This also has to do with the fact that Japanese dramas are shorter, so there’s no “extra” episodes).
  • Taiwan: 6/10 Eh. You want the complete truth?? I watch Taiwanese dramas either for the kisses or for Rainie Yang. The plots, although good, just don’t intrigue me that much. Now, like with all things, there are gems in the rubble. “Hi My Sweetheart” and “Miss No Good” are some of those gems.


  • South Korea: 8/10. I have to admit, Korea’s got some pretty darn good actors and actresses. Now, I don’t want to name them all (partly because I can’t remember their names), so you’re just going to have to trust me on this. To tell you the truth, sometimes the actors and the characters are what keep me watching–they’re that well though out and well-acted. But again, this isn’t always the truth. Character examples?? The bi*ch and the bas*ta*d are just to name a few. Oh yeah, and the marriage crazy parents who are there just to keep the main characters apart, even if there’s no reason for it.
  • Japan: 7.5/10. Why only seven out of ten?? To tell you the truth? Characters: amazing. Acting:…not the best. Yes, I absolutely LOVE the characters, and usually the actors do a pretty good job. But…it’s the actors, I’m sorry. They’re pretty, they have good lines, good character development and all, but there’s just something missing. Don’t ask me what it is, because I don’t what it is.
  • Taiwan: 9/10. It’s really the characters keep me going. They’re funny, adorkable, well-acted, and over-all just amazing. Ranie Yang, Wilber Pan, and Mike He are just a few AMAZING actors. They bring so much to their characters it’s not even funny. Thank you, THANK YOU actors for making me keep watching your dramas.


  • South Korea: 9/10. You know, sometimes I think they’re focused more on the cinematography than the rest of the drama. Nine times out of ten the camera work is amazing, and it’s very nicely done. They have amazing angles and different shots, and they all come together to make a nice, cohesive piece of art.
  • Japan: 8/10. Hm…really, nothing that amazing. It’s nice, and they do have those moments of “wow, that’s a cool shot!” but most of the time, it’s just too simple for my tastes. Not that it’s bad…it’s just not my cup of tea. Although…they have pretty epic entrance scenes for different characters, I HAVE to say.
  • Taiwan: 7/10. simple, but sufficent. It works, fits with the story, and is overall, not that bad. While this decision is only based off of the top of my head, I truly believe Taiwanese Drama cinematography is just…average. Nothing special.


  • South Korea: 8/10. While I have yet to cry during a South Korean drama, I’ve been close. But at the same time, Emotional is not all about crying. Korean dramas can make me laugh out loud, go “AWWWW”, and even make me angry enough I almost threw my tea at the screen, but those are only at select moments, and in select dramas. For the most part, Korean Dramas are the ones that have made my parents look in and see me laughing on the ground (That was quickly turned into an awkward moment).
  • Japan: 10/10. Wow…never thought I’d give one of those out. For me, Japanese dramas have the emotional aspect down to an art. And yet…the actors don’t have the highest score…strange. It’s strange…I’m not a big crier and I actually CRIED MYSELF TO SLEEP watching 1 litre of tears. I’ve NEVER done that in my entire life. But again, emotional is not all about crying. Japanese dramas have also, like Korean ones, made me laugh until my parents have come into my room just to give me weird looks. At times, I even think the Japanese have comedy in dramas down to an art. A literal ART!! THAT is why I gave them a 10/10.
  • Taiwan: 7/10. I’m sorry Taiwanese dramas, but I just haven’t been feeling the love. Sure, I’ve laughed a couple times, went “awwwwwwww” a couple times, but that’s about it. Sorry, but that’s about it. SORRY!!! But to give you some credit, your kisses are the best I’ve ever seen in any kind of drama, so GO YOU!!! I think that’d be under emotional….


  • South Korea: 8/10
  • Japan: 8.652/10
  • Taiwan: 7.25/10

So, do you agree with me??? Disagree? Come on, speak out!!!!!!!!!!!!

By gorgeousforever Posted in Dramas

5 comments on “Korean vs. Japanese vs. Taiwanese Dramas

  1. hi, I agree to most of what you said. XD although, Taiwanese dramas are just average but I can’t help but thank them for bringing in meteor garden. man, that drama just started everything for me on Asian dramas. It was like a catalyst of some sorts. Period. Although, looking at it now ten years after I can’t help but still laugh and realize out of the three this was the most memorable one. I suppose with the topic at hand, comparing which of the three nations have the best drama, one only have to look at how this drama in particular was remade in each of the countries and I believe from there you can more or less get a clue and compare their unique styles of making a drama.
    moving on, while Koreans have some of the best movies i’ve ever seen their dramas are more cliches now than original. I’ve grown tired of it and I guess too much overexposure is not as appealing to me as before.
    Japan….. I can’t explain on the “what the missing factor is” because of all the three they have some of the best plot, pacing, character driven dramas and all like you said very interesting, UNiQUE story lines . Japanese dramas are to me just have the best quality BUT something is missing!!!!! hmmm , I don’t know why. I’ll give Japan the upper hand of the three though.
    Overall, I would say I love Asian dramas no matter how cliched but aren’t all dramas (esp. telenovelas) xD and yes, every now and then we’ll always find a gem among the rubbles 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment! Yeah…Japan really is missing something, isn’t it? It’s nearing the point of where it’s the editing…maybe. And yes, Korean movies have some of the best plots! It’s like Korea…they have great plots and startings…they just can’t make those into good, long dramas. Maybe that’s just me thought 😛

  2. I haven’t watched JD’s. But comparing TD and KD I like Taiwanese actresses more as they are more real. A lot of Korean actresses are trying too hard to be cute, are too shallow or just plain annoying to the point were I often just stop watching. With actors I like both Korean and Taiwanese but again I find that the Taiwanese actors often have more range in their character and therefore are more interesting to watch. With regard to plot I find that KD’s can get so violent and the characters often so psycho that I don’t want to watch it. Quite often there there can be no character in Korean drama’s that I like or have any respect for. The endings in TD’s are much better than KD’s. I haven’t watched JD’s but would like too. I have watched more KD because I am only just discovering TD. I do often really enjoy the support actors in KD’s and I love their sense of humour and how they will playfully make fun of themselves. It’s so refreshing and I respect them for that. Also there have been many amazing KD’s which I have been very thankful to watch. It seems that this year 2013 so far there are less KD’s coming out that I want to watch.

  3. I agree with the overall scores. Japan definitely is the best when it comes to storyline, plot and what’s more, the emotions.

  4. never ending debate. hmmm, I think it all depends on how and which drama you came across. most people would point out MG as the catalyst for asian dramas becoming internationally known and yes, i would have to agree on that. does this mean taiwanese drama is better? No. I love your post because I do go check some of the tdramas for rainie yang too 😀 and your overall concensus especially describing Jdrama plots a literal art. I love them !!!
    it’s a good thing to point out that most taiwanese and korean dramas are based on japanese dramas and mangas.
    i had always had a fascination with japan and started watching their dramas(way before MG if i remember correctly 7th grade.) like crazy even without subtitles and back then the internet has just started too and lucky enough my parents continued the cable so you can call me bias if i say jdrama tops out for me.
    i got in to korean culture though through their variety shows and the first time i saw nonstop(boy was this funny) that’s when i started watching some of the dramas. yes a comedy show got me into korean dramas. LOL.
    what makes korean dramas so good or rather more appealing to international sensibilties is that they’re more westernized. kdramas are more likely to be comfortable and easygoing too even with some crazy plotlines but that’s the point of a drama too. you don’t have to take it too seriously. something a jdrama would be (kind of)
    so when we say something is missing in a jdrama i think this is because most jdramas are catered to their own culture, there is little advertising to sell it across the world and most of the time other countries like koreans make dramas and movies out of the dramas and comics from japan. 🙂
    I love taiwan movies but why can’t their dramas be of good quality too? 😦
    but thanks, T,K and J for making dramas and entertaining the heck out of us. fighting!!!

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