Admittedly, when watching a K-drama the first kiss scene is heavily anticipated, however, a hug scene can be just as impactful, intimate, and vulnerable. There are many types to be admired — back hugs, run hugs, lift hugs, reunion hugs, and more — and they have the power to make our hearts soar with butterflies or swell with tears. Fortunately, as the K-drama world continues to deliver excellent romances and relationships with every new show, there are many hugs that have wiggled their way into our hearts. Here are some of our favorite K-drama hug scenes.
Warning: spoilers for dramas below.
Kang Mo Yeon & Yoo Shi Jin in “Descendants of the Sun”
Is there a more appropriate scene for a hug than one where someone discovers that their lover isn’t actually dead? “Descendants of the Sun” follows the story of a doctor named Kang Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo) who falls in love with a soldier named Captain Yoo Shi Jin (Song Joong Ki). While they meet in a hospital, they eventually come to work together in Uruk where they’re thrust into a few dangerous situations. As the drama unfolds and Shi Jin is stationed elsewhere, he goes missing in action and is pronounced dead. On the year anniversary of his death, he is finally able to reunite with Mo Yeon and the pair tearfully embrace.
Song Hye Kyo and Song Joong Ki’s chemistry carries the emotional impact of this scene, as they squeeze each other tightly and lean into the other. They perfectly capture how it feels to hold your loved one close after thinking they were gone forever.
Start watching “Descendants of the Sun”:
Kang Chul & Oh Yeon Joo in “W”
Some K-drama hugs can unintentionally fall flat when they don’t match the emotion that the scene calls for. For example, when near-death scenes happen, sometimes there is an embrace but the leads look like they’re barely hugging. Fortunately, “W” did away with this detail when Kang Chul (Lee Jong Suk) embraces Oh Yeon Joo (Han Hyo Joo) after having a nightmare of her being killed in front of him.
If you watch the behind-the-scenes for this take, the director asks Lee Jong Suk to hug her tighter — after all, he just thought the love of his life died. Lee Jong Suk effortlessly complies, and the scene is packed with just the right amount of intensity so it doesn’t fall flat. You can feel the relief Kang Chul has, knowing that he hasn’t lost Yeon Joo the same way he lost his family.
Start watching “W”:
Kim Je Ha & Anna in “The K2”
Another iconic form of K-drama hugs is the run hug, which usually occurs when one character returns from a dangerous task and their lover sees them for the first time afterward. A memorable run hug takes place in “The K2” between Kim Je Ha (Ji Chang Wook) and Anna (YoonA). While their story begins in Spain, the pair aren’t formally introduced until Anna’s stepmother, Choi Yoo Jin (Song Yoon Ah), hires him as a bodyguard. The pair fall in love and when Je Ha is sent on a dangerous mission that could cost him his life, Anna makes him promise to come back to her. He makes good on his word, and when he returns, Anna runs down from her room and straight into his arms.
“The K2” is a drama that’s packed to the brim with action and always has you wondering if Je Ha will make it out alive. This scene is a great breather moment, where you can really appreciate his connection with Anna. They’re full of soft smiles, anticipation, and relief as they get yet another moment to spend in each other’s arms.
Start watching “The K2”:
Kim Bok Joo & Jung Joon Young in “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo”
What is a K-drama without an iconic back hug? Of course, there’s plenty of them to admire and rave about, but one in particular to make your heart feel warm is the one in “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo.” This fan-favorite drama follows the story of an aspiring weightlifter in college, Kim Bok Joo, (Lee Sung Kyung) who falls in love with a swimmer at the same school, Jung Joon Young (Nam Joo Hyuk). Soon after they become a couple, there’s a scene where Joon Young clings to Bok Joo’s side. She tries to shrug him off so they won’t draw attention so he back hugs her instead.
This hug perfectly captures the butterflies, teasing, and youthful feelings of what it’s like to be in love for the first time. Their smiles and giggles are sickeningly sweet and you can’t help but fall in love alongside them.
Start watching “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo”:
Ahn Min Hyuk & Do Bong Soon in “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”
Ahn Min Hyuk (Park Hyung Sik) and Do Bong Soon (Park Bo Young) perfected the achingly slow, tension-filled build up to a romantic relationship. As Min Hyuk helps Bong Soon learn how to control and use her secret super-strength powers, they share several almost kisses, a back hug of sorts, and other warm embraces. These two are known as a puppy couple, so it’s no surprise that one of their cutest hug scenes involves them arguing outside about who will leave first.
Doesn’t this hug make you feel warm and gooey inside? They’re too cute for words.
Start watching “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”:
Ko Dong Man & Choi Ae Ra in “Fight My Way”
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the mention of rom-com king Park Seo Joon. While he has many memorable hug scenes across all of his dramas, a particularly memorable one is between him and Kim Ji Won in the drama “Fight My Way.” The story follows Choi Ae Ra’s (Kim Ji Won) and Ko Dong Man’s (Park Seo Joon) pursuit of their dreams and happiness as their youth ends. At the beginning of the drama, Ae Ra gives Dong Man a pep talk which leads him to tears. As he begins to get emotional, he sweeps Ae Ra up in a side hug and asks her to comfort him.
This hug is especially cute since Dong Man is the one asking for affection while Ae Ra is perplexed and awkwardly pats his arm. Usually in dramas, the roles are reversed and the girl is crying while the man awkwardly comforts her. As a plus, the floating petals in the background add to the ambiance, making this scene feel romantic and endearing.
Start watching “Fight My Way”:
Ha Moon Soo & Lee Kang Doo in “Just Between Lovers”
A drama that is slow and steady with its romance is “Just Between Lovers.” This melancholic drama follows the story of Ha Moon Soo (Won Jin Ah) and Lee Kang Doo (Junho) who are working on a new building to replace the shopping mall that collapsed on them when they were younger. The drama offers no rose-colored depiction of their trauma, so their romance comes in bursts until they’re finally ready to let the other in. Although Kang Doo tries his best to push Moon Soo away, she stands her ground and the two finally come together in a hug scene that’s sure to make your heart cry.
Despite the drama’s depressing nature, this hug shows what the drama is all about: healing. Both of the characters, namely Kang Doo, have finally learned that it’s time to stop being alone and allow love to come in.
Start watching “Just Between Lovers”:
Lee Hwi & Seong Ja Hyeon in “Grand Prince”
Is it really a saeguk if the main lead doesn’t “die” and come back to life just once? “Grand Prince” wastes no time and makes the missing prince Lee Hwi (Yoon Shi Yoon) return from the dead in the first episode, just as his great love Seong Ja Hyeon (Jin Se Yeon) is set to be married to another man. Although Ja Hyeon has already planned to become a nun in the mountains, Hwi rushes to her house as soon he hears the news to reunite with her. The pair run into each other’s arms and cling to the other desperately.
This hug truly sets the bar for their romance and keeps you curious about how they ended up separated to begin with. Yoon Shi Yoon and Jin Se Yeon’s chemistry and acting skills absolutely drive this embrace, solidifying its place on this list.
Start watching “Grand Prince”:
Jang Man Wol & Goo Chan Sung in “Hotel Del Luna”
Rather than emotional, intimate, and passionate kiss scenes, “Hotel Del Luna” masters the art of beautiful, cinematic, intimate hug scenes between Jang Man Wol (IU) and Goo Chan Sung (Yeo Jin Goo). The pair are thrust together at the Hotel Del Luna when Chan Sung has to become the manager due to the deal his father made with Man Wol years prior. While the pair often clash in the beginning, Chan Sung eventually breaks down Man Wol’s walls and helps her gain the love and peace she needs to move on to the afterlife. While they have many impassioned hugs, their hug when Man Wol asks him to stay by her side even if she disappears leaves a deep impression.
Hugs are usually the turning point of the lead’s relationship in a K-drama. It’s an act of intimacy that lets you know that one of the characters is finally letting the other in. This embrace, in particular, solidifies Man Wol’s willingness to open up to Chan Sung not only with the dialogue but with the images of the flowers on her tree finally blooming. It’s romantic, melancholic, and hopeful all at once.
Start watching “Hotel Del Luna”:
Jeon Nokdu & Dong Dong Joo in “The Tale of Nokdu”
Saeguks are known for keeping you on the edge even through the finale episode. Intimate and romantic scenes are far and few in between when the characters have to usurp the throne. However, “The Tale of Nokdu” delights viewers with the romance between Jeon Nokdu (Jang Dong Yoon) and Dong Dong Joo (Kim So Hyun). They meet in a village for widows that Nokdu infiltrates by dressing up as a woman to look for the person who attempted to murder him and his family. Dong Joo discovers his true identity and as she helps him keep it a secret from the others they form a deep bond. While there’s plenty of embraces to be admired, nothing is quite as heartwarming as their lift hug on the beach when Nokdu returns from a trip abroad.
While technically this turns into a kiss scene, their embrace is equally as heart-fluttering. It’s particularly refreshing because it’s the start of their happily-ever-after. While many historical dramas end with a promise that things will be better, “The Tale of Nokdu” satisfies viewers by delving right into it. This hug scene is cute, sappy, and joyous which makes it a great payoff to the climactic political plot that almost drove the characters apart throughout the drama. Their love truly conquers all.
Start watching “The Tale of Nokdu”:
Yoo Ryung & Ko Ji Seok in “Catch the Ghost”
In “Catch the Ghost” Yoo Ryung (Moon Geun Young) joins the subway police with ulterior motives to help find her missing twin sister. Her partner, Ko Ji Seok, (Kim Seon Ho) often clashes with her, since he’s very dedicated to following the rules and not getting into trouble. Although the pair start off at odds, they slowly fall for each other as their relationship progresses from enemies to friends to lovers. Their memorable hug scene lies in Ji Seok’s confession when Yoo Ryung returns to working with the subway police after filling in at another department.
Although this hug takes Yoo Ryung by surprise, it’s hard not to feel swayed by Ji Seok’s embrace and confession. Kim Seon Ho has mastered the art of showing how feelings bubble over the top and explode. Ji Seok can’t hold in how much he likes Yoo Ryung but he doesn’t cross the line. He’s so sweet, patient, and understanding and you can tell how much he deeply cares and respects Yoo Ryung in this scene.
Yoon Se Ri & Ri Jung Hyuk in “Crash Landing On You”
“Crash Landing On You” employs the star-crossed lovers trope so brilliantly, there are a plethora of embraces that pull at your heartstrings. The story follows the journey of Ri Jung Hyuk (Hyun Bin), a North Korean soldier, trying to help Yoon Se Ri (Son Ye Jin) return safely to South Korea. Although their plans succeed, Jung Hyuk eventually travels to South Korea to protect Se Ri from Jo Chul Kang (Oh Man Seok). Eventually, he is caught and must be returned to North Korea with the rest of his troops. As he crosses over the border to be arrested, destined to leave without saying goodbye to his true love, Se Ri comes running up to him. He brazenly crosses back over to South Korea where the pair embrace.
Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin’s chemistry is phenomenal in this scene. Even though guns are raised and tensions are high, these two only have eyes for the other. You can feel their worry and heartbreak as they hold each other tightly before parting to assure each other how much they love one another and that they’ll meet again.
Go Moon Young & Moon Gang Tae in “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay”
In “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay,” Go Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji), a children’s book author who has an anti-social personality disorder, meets the closed-off Moon Gang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun) who leads an unstable life to take care of his autistic older brother, Moon Sang Tae (Oh Jung Se). The pair is known for their insane chemistry and steamy kisses, but in the first half of the drama, there’s an extraordinary hug scene where Gang Tae comforts Moon Young after she has an intense nightmare of her mother.
There’s just so much to love about this scene — from the way Moon Young tightly clings onto Gang Tae’s shirt despite yelling at him to leave, to the way he caresses her hair as he hugs her. Viewers can truly feel the emotions and the intensity of the pair’s relationship, which makes it a perfect example of an iconic K-drama embrace.
Baek Hee Sung & Cha Ji Won & Baek Eun Ha in “Flower of Evil”
In “Flower of Evil,” detective Cha Ji Won (Moon Chae Won) discovers that her husband, Baek Hee Sung, (Lee Joon Gi) is the prime suspect of an unsolved murder case. As the pair work on their own to solve the case, they eventually come together to clear Hee Sung’s name. Given the melo nature of this drama, almost all of their romantic scenes are laced with tears and a potent dose of torment. There’s no question that the show’s final embrace between the pair and their daughter, Baek Eun Ha, (Jung Seo Yeon) is one of the most moving hug scenes ever.
Nothing beats the euphoric relief of watching this hug. After watching them fight tooth and nail to be together despite the events of the past, this hug finally solidifies that they can be a happy family at last.
Start watching “Flower of Evil”:
Park Joon Young & Chae Song Ah in “Do You Like Brahms?”
Last, but certainly not least, is the iconic hug scene in the first half of “Do You Like Brahms?” The story follows the lonely pianist named Park Joon Young (Kim Min Jae) and a violin player named Chae Song Ah (Park Eun Bin). Both suffer from having an unrequited love. Although the pair has many sweet scenes when they’re officially together, their most poignant scene is when Joon Young comforts Song Ah on her birthday.
After finding out that Joon Young hid the truth about her friends Yoon Dong Yoon (Lee Yoo Jin) and Kang Min Sung (Bae Da Bin) seeing each other, Song Ah confronts him about it in the practice room. Instead of speaking with words, Joon Young plays her Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and mixes it with Happy Birthday. He then boldly proclaims they must be friends and embraces her.
This hug is the turning point of their relationship. Not only does Joon Young deeply console Song Ah, but it’s his first step in learning how to put action into his relationships, rather than just letting his music speak for him. Although the pair are only platonic here, this hug is full of the intimacy and romance that make K-dramas so addicting to watch.
Start watching “Do You Like Brahms?”:
Hey Soompiers! What’s your favorite K-drama hug? Let us know in the comments below!
kaityv spends most of her time watching K-dramas even though she should be writing. If she’s not watching a drama then she’s for sure dying over BTS’s and Red Velvet’s music and videos.
Currently watching: “Run On”
All-time favorite: “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”
Looking forward to: “So I Married an Anti-Fan,” “Double Patty,” “River Where the Moon Rises”