Over the past five years in K-dramas, a particular romance concept has risen in popularity known as the “noona romance,” a relationship in which the man is younger than the woman. Some K-dramas known for having noona romances include A Witch’s Romance, High School King of Savvy, I Need Romance 3, Birth of the Rich (also known as Becoming a Billionaire), Let’s Eat, and I Can Hear Your Voice.
Even now, noona romances are being featured in some of the most popular and highly-anticipated K-dramas. Producer featured one when Baek Seung Chan (Kim Soo Hyun) tried to romance Tak Ye Jin (Kong Hyo Jin). The recently premiered The Time We Were Not In Love (Also known as The Time I Loved You, 7,000 Days) also established a noona romance with “umbrella couple” Oh Ha Na (Ha Ji Won) and her co-worker (L from K-pop group INFINITE), as reported by KDramaStars.
Though said noona romances are entertaining to watch, what makes them so popular in K-dramas? Why are they featured numerous times show after show? Fortunately, K-drama journalists and enthusiasts from multiple Korean entertainment websites, especially DramaFever, have provided understanding to such inquiries.
1. Noona Relationships Have A “Forbidden Aspect” In Itself – Generally in society, the aspect of an older woman dating or married to a younger man is in itself still considered a taboo albeit a minor one. Most people are generally hot-wired to view men in couples to be older of the two. By switching the age seniority, said “hot-wiring” is messed with which in turn piques interest.
2. The Age Difference Is Another Barrier Both Need To Pass Together – Playing off point number one, because the relationship is in itself viewed generally as a taboo, the age difference comes into play too. One or both of the members of the couple have to overcome fear of society not accepting their relationship. Once they do, their relationship can progress.
3. Noona Relationships Have An Aura Of Being Risqué – The taboo belief of older woman/younger man relationships stems off society making such a relationship risqué. In the United States, for example, they are often given sexual undertones. An older woman dating or married to a younger man is called a “cougar.” Most often, cougars are observed as older women wanting younger men because only young men can satisfy their sexual appetites. Let’s not forget that such a relationship also brought birth to the infamous acronym “MILF.”
4. The Aforementioned Reasons Makes Noona Romances Interesting For K-Dramas – Anything outside society’s limits usually make great material for shows. A testament to this can be seen through premier channel shows like Game of Thrones, Dexter, or True Blood. Though K-dramas usually don’t go to the extreme as American shows, K-drama writers and producers do have a wide range of creative directions with noona romances.
Though many reasons exist among fans, the above reasons from numerous Korean entertainment sites are the ones agreed upon all of them. For those who are interested in watching any K-dramas featuring noona romances (such as those listed in the first paragraph), as well as current K-dramas featuring budding noona romance like The Time We Were Not In Love, they are all available to watch for free (with ads) at DramaFever.
[Image via Screen Capture of The Time We Were Not In Love]