by XingBack, August 28, 2020

Every time a new drama that has a character or actor age gap comes out the 1st reaction is "WHY?", and the comment section gets filled with people arguing about how they won't watch it because of the gap vs people saying others are being too sensitive and no one can break them apart.

Basically this is how it looks like for an outsider xD

For me, age gaps could go wrong by the way they make the dynamics, but not because of the number ;) 

So in this article I'll mention a few examples of what worked for me vs what didn't, this is a purely personal opinion, and I do not judge the people who might've had a different reaction, plus I don't force my views on others, so just have fun~

1. Mr. Sunshine

Kim Tae Ri
Age: 28
Lee Byung Hun
Age: 48
Go Ae Shin
Age: 26

Eugene Choi
Age: 38 

  • Actor age gap = 20
  • Character age gap = 12

Both characters are mature yet naive in some ways, their characteristics match and somewhat complete each other. 

Eugene trusted Ae Shin to make her own choices... And, at times, when she was immature and naive, Eugene was composed and mature. But when she was calm, direct and honest, then Eugene would get all flustered and childish... Also, at times, both act composed and mature, or both act all silly and immature together...

2. My Mister

Age: 25
Lee Sun Kyun
Age: 43
Lee Ji An
Age: 21
Park Dong Hoon Age: 45
  • Actors age gap = 18
  • Character age gap = 24

The age gap is larger than I thought, but this was not really focused on the romance, they were not a couple, but this was some strong human connection? The most beautiful purest heartbreaking, healing love? 

Ji An was an independent girl, maybe too independent to the point she couldn't rely on anyone, and Dong Hoon showed her that it's ok to ask for help, it was society's fault for making her so ragged and reserved. On the other hand, Dong Hoon was too calm and cold, he wouldn't show his true feelings, so he doesn't burden people. Overall, they both helped the other healing.

3. Search: WWW

Im Soo Jung
Age: 40
Jang Ki Yong
Age: 26
Age: 38
Park Mo Geon
Age: 28
  • Actors age gap = 14
  • Character age gap = 10
Lee Da Hee
Age: 34
Lee Jae Wook
Age: 21
Age: 37
Seol Ji Hwan
Age: 30
  • Actors age gap = 13    
  • Character age gap = 7

I think this is the best example of a noona romance and a "big" age gap.

 Tammy and Park Mo Geon were both mature and independent, I especially liked how he wouldn't let her "interfere" with his career, while Scarlett and Seol Ji Hwan were both so pure, sweet and adorable~

4. Hotel del Luna

Age: 26
Yeo Jin Goo
Age: 21
Jang Man Wol Age: 1300(?)Goo Chan Sung 
Age: 28
  • Actors age gap = 5
  • Character age gap = 1272

She's a total boss, and he's a competent mature person. That's all I care about ;) and Goo Chan Sung has a cute charm, but he's really manly and independent and sweet~

5Mystic Pop-Up Bar

Hwang Jung Eum
Age: 35
Choi Won Young 
Age: 44
Wol Joo
Age: 500
Chef Gwi
Age: 500(?)
  • Actors age gap = 9
  • Character age gap "N/A"

The character age gap here depended on their young counterparts' age gap, so they could've been same-aged, or she was 18, and he was 22, as the actors?

Either way, I feel like as long as the actress is also above 20 while the actor is in his 40s, the age gap would be less awkward and noticeable, and they can naturally fall into their character's personalities.

1. Goblin 

Kim Go Eun
Age: 25
Gong Yoo 
Age: 37
Ji Eun Tak 
Age: 19
Kim Shin
Age: 900
  • Actors age gap = 12
  • Character age gap = 881

This is a supernatural drama, so the "age gap" was not about the number, it was about Eun Tak's mental age, which was like 5. And Goblin's actions towards her seemed like a creepy ahjussi going after a young girl. 

I didn't continue this for long, but I heard they really started their romance after a time skip, but I remember one scene where Eun Tak had her "1st drink", and it was too creepy to see Goblin's reactions.

2. Romance is a Bonus Book 

Lee Na Young
Age: 40
Lee Jong Suk
Age: 29
Kang Da Ni
Age: 37
Cha Eun Ho Age: 32
  • Actors age gap = 11
  • Character age gap = 5

I didn't know the character age gap was that small, but I guess the real age gap is the problem... 

She looks her age (which is not an insult), and he kinda looks younger than his age, so it's really mismatched, especially since they knew each other since childhood and they never lost contact. She feels like a constant reassuring real older sister who sees him as a kid, and I can't shake that image. He saw her get married to someone else, he saw her get divorced, and he just creepily waited for her all those years. And the fact that they made her so miserable until the guy saves her makes it even worse...


3. Doctors

Park Shin Hye
Age: 26
Kim Rae Won
Age: 35
Yoo Hye Jung 
Age: 19
Hong Ji Hong 
Age: 27
  • Actors age gap = 9
  • Character age gap = 9

She started as a "tough bully in school with a prickly personality that always goes wayward", but suddenly she lost all of her characteristics when she became older, she literally became characterless, especially around the HJH.

They met again as 31 and 40-year-olds, so it shouldn't have been a problem, but she acted more immaturely than her high school years, and he looked like a creepy ahjussi going through midlife crisis chasing after younger girls.. That one scene in the rain, when he started dancing, ew, I got chills xD


4. About Time 

Lee Sung Kyung
Age: 28
Lee Sang Yoon 
Age: 37
Choi Michaela
Age: N/A
Lee Do Ha
Aeg: N/A
  • Actors age gap = 9
  • Character age gap = N/A

Their drama age is not available, and I don't think it was mentioned, so I'll pretend they had their real age, because if their age difference was smaller, then this would have been even more awkward xD

This was another case of female lead acting like a helpless poor innocent self-righteous girl and the creepy old ahjussi who "only wants to date her because he feels like it" kind of a relationship.


5. Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter 

Moon Chae Won
Age: 32
Seo Ji Hoon
Age: 21
Sun Ok Nam Age: 699Kim Geum Age: 25+

This is kinda confusing, apparently in the webtoon she ends up with Kim Geum who is in his "late 20's" here, but I don't know if he is her "husband"... In the drama, they seemed to be more focused on Jung Yi Hyun who is in his "early 30's". Though, after reading a spoiler, she indeed ends up with Kim Geum, and he is her lost husband...

The fairy is 699, but they usually see her as Go Doo Shim (67). So, seeing Seo Ji Hoon flirting with a 67 and even a 32-year-old is too weird, especially since he does not look or act as if he is in his late 20's. And seeing Jung Yi Hyun with the 67-year-old grandma is just as bad...


1. Mr. Back 

Jang Na Ra
Age: 33
Shin Ha Kyun
Age: 40
Eun Ha Soo
Age: 30s
Choi Go Bong
Age: 70
  • Actors age gap = 7
  • Character age gap = 35?
  • Lee Joon (26).

The drama is a supernatural story of a 70-year-old that transforms back to his 30s physical appearance. 

The actor's age gap was not a problem, but the weird father/son love triangle and a 70-year-old's interest in someone that is his son's age were creepy.  And with that ending, the whole drama seems pointless.

2. Radio Romance  

Kim So Hyun
Age: 19
Yoon Doo Joon
Age: 29
Song Geu Rim
Age: 20s
Ji Soo Ho 
Age: 20s
  • Actors age gap = 10
  • Character age gap = N/A
  • Yoon Park (31)

The drama age gap is not clear, probably they were "same-aged friends", but the awkwardness here was in the making, KSH acted like someone in her mid-20s. She just didn't seem like someone who goes off to work and drive her car every day.

 3. Clean With Passion For Now

Kim Yoo Jung
Age: 19
Yoon Gyun Sang
Age: 31
Gil Oh Sol
Age: 24?
Jang Sun Gyeol 
Age: 25?
  • Actors age gap = 10
  • Character age gap "N/A"
  • Song Jae Rim (33)

Just like RR, it feels awkward to see a 19-year-old who looks her age play someone in her mid-20s, and JSG looks too mature in comparison.. Especially since they actually made her overreact and be childish while the ML was super cold.

4. Unforgettable 

Kim So Hyun
Age: 17
Do Kyung Soo
Age: 23
Soo Ok
Age: 16?
Beom Shil
Age: 17?
  • Actors age gap "6"
  • Character age gap = 1?

The acting was amazing, and the whole movie was great, the only awkwardness was the umbrella kiss scene (if only the umbrella were 5ft closer) xD And this is where the problem with age gaps (and younger actresses) begins, they don't want to force an awkward kiss scene on a minor which is great, but then they do weird angles or umbrella kisses just to add a kiss ;D Another example is Bring It On Ghost.

And when there's no kiss scene, people complain about that too.

5. Flower Boy Ramen Shop 

Lee Chung Ah
Age: 27
Jung Il Woo
Age: 24
Yang Eun Bi
Age: 22?
Cha Chi Soo
Age: 18
  • Actors age gap = 3
  • Character age gap = 4

Again no available age for the characters, but he's a senior and she's preparing to be a teacher. Overall, they tried a "student/teacher" relationship with the smallest age gap possible so it wouldn't get weird. And it was a little "awkward" because he didn't look like a highschooler xD

In real life, honestly, the age gap is business only to the people involved and I never judge - nor anyone else should tbh. And in most fictional stories and "urban fantasies" usually the characters are stuck in the appearance they transformed in -like vampires or werewolves- so again it's easy to ignore, but sometimes in dramaland, they are just too weird.

I first made a list back on Nov 27, 2018, and I need to update it with 2 recent Jdramas I dropped, but basically, I needed to understand my own interpretation of what works for me entertainment-wise :D

Click on the pictures or actor's name to be redirected to each actor's profile page, I didn't want to ruin the aesthetic color scheme of the tables, especially since they change color to fit the dark/light mode ;p

All ages are from the time the dramas aired

*Gif and picture credits to owners, all found around Google.

Editors: BrightestStar (1st editor) & Cookie (2nd editor)

age gap noona romance ahjussi romance