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Five K-Drama Characters Who Lived In An Orphanage

BY Julie Jones | Apr 29, 2015 10:11 AM EDT


K-dramas are full of characters that grew up in an orphanage. And that mirrors the fact that there are hundreds of orphanages in Korea. According to a January 2015 BBC report, about 25 children are abandoned at orphanages every month. And once they are abandoned at an orphanage they will likely remain there.

Adoption is not as common in Korea as the U.S. and until recently was considered taboo. Families that did adopt might do so in secret.

That's changing but it's still unusual that Lee Eun Bi, one of the characters Kim So Hyun plays in "Who Are You - School 2015," knows she is adopted.

She is one of at least five k-drama actors who played characters that lived in orphanages.

Kim So Hyun:

Kim plays the happily adopted Lee Eun Bi but she also plays Ko Eun Byeol, whose life is sadder for having stayed in the orphanage. The stigma of being an orphan follows Ko Eun Byeol to school where she is mercilessly bullied. Lee Eun Bi was adopted at the age of 5 and her life has been blessed with maternal love, friends and educational opportunities.

Ko Eun Byeol is not the first k-drama characters to show the ill effects of growing up in an orphanage, no matter how nurturing an environment that foster care provided.

Kim Jaejoong and Im Si Wan:

In "Triangle" Kim Jae Joong and Im Si Wan play two brothers who were left at an orphanage by their father. A wealthy family secretly adopts Im Si Wan while he is still a baby. He has career and educational opportunities, even if his father is a monstrous man. Kim Jae Joong stays at the orphanage and grows up to be a con man because he has no other options. Once he gets some options, he becomes even more successful than his brother.

Park Shin Hye:

The actress plays two more characters who grew up in an orphanage in "You're Beautiful." She plays the fraternal twins Go Min Nyeo and Go Mi Nam, who were abandoned at the same time. When they are young other children make fun of them for not having a mom or dad. But they are tough and have each other.  He becomes a singer and she is ready to become a nun when she has to pretend to be him. He's off having botched plastic surgery corrected when she stands in for him as a member of the top group A.N. Jell.


Kim Baek Won is one of seven orphans in "Golden Rainbow." These orphans were among the lucky ones as they were all adopted by the same father. When he goes to prison, they take care of each other. Having lost a family, Uee is even more dedicated to her adoptive family. Holding it together is her priority.

Other k-dramas that feature orphans include "God of Study," "Crazy Love" and "Fermentation Family." Do you have a favorite drama about an orphan? Let us know.

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