by JojoOnDatBeat, May 10, 2020

"To find happiness in danger, hope in despair, and to find out who we really are."

Drama: Chicago TypewriterGIF source unknown

It was World War II. The world was in chaos. People were desperately trying to make do with what they had, and work to make up for losses the economy had incurred. As women entered the industrial workforce in a larger magnitude, mother-daughter duo Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers went to work at creating a manual/handbook that would effectively provide an idea of what jobs would be suited to these women's strengths and capabilities. First released in 1944, drawing heavy inspiration from the work of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, this handbook underwent multiple changes throughout the decades. It ultimately became known as the infamous, Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test that took the whole world by storm not too long ago. If you're a KPop fan, you must certainly have seen your favourite groups taking this test.

"The underlying assumption of the MBTI is that we all have specific preferences in the way we construe our experiences, and these preferences underlie our interests, needs, values, and motivation."

Psychological Testing: Principles, Applications, and Issues (2009), p. 502.

How the test works:

(Please feel free to skip this section if you're already aware of the mechanics of it or are aware of your own type.)

The test takes into account four categories of cognitive learning styles, with each being further subdivided into two, resulting in a total of eight different options. These options combine in groups of four to indicate one’s personality type, thus resulting in a combination of sixteen personalities that are widely known today. The eight learning styles are as follows, the highlighted letters correspond to how each will be addressed henceforth:


*Sensing is used interchangeably with Observing. For the sake of ease, I shall refer to the former.

Depending on how you answer questions in the test, you can get any of the sixteen combinations from the categories depicted above. Click here to take the test if you haven't already. 

While being proven to have been very effective at gauging the basic blocks of what makes up one’s personality, there’s still much room for error and contemplation, as it is quite impossible to put people into boxes since there’s so much the human mind is capable of doing. So don’t read too much into your results and just enjoy learning about all these wondrous types.

With that overload of information out of the way, we reach our question of interest. What personality types would kdrama characters fall into? The answer, dear reader, is within your grasp. Before we begin, however, there are a few things to note I’d like to get out of the way (I know, I’m sorry.)

  1. The list of characters included is fairly subjective as my main criterion was picking characters I really enjoyed watching on screen. 

  2. My criteria for categorizing a character rests on the following four references:

    • 16Personalities Official Site. (Quite honestly all you need to know)

    • This handy little chart that very simply, but very effectively categorizes the basics.

    • This wonderful YouTube channel.

    • And of course, watching the entire drama itself.

    • Lastly, taking the test emulating the responses the character would likely give.

  3. For the sake of coherency, and the sanity of everyone involved, I shall only cover eight types in this already way too long article, and the rest shall be covered in part 2.

Now finally, let’s get started, shall we?!

(click on the headers below if you wish to read more about each type.)


Kim Sung Ryong, Chief Kim (2017)

We enter, guns ablaze, into TQ Group's Accounting department. A man lazes around in his seat, feet propped up on his desk, tie askew, a lollipop hanging lazily from his mouth. Upon spotting us he springs to his feet, with a mischievous glint in his eyes, as a worthy challenge has just been thrown at him. Of course, to him, everything's a challenge. 

Making up only 3% of the population, ENTPs (Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving) are born to argue their way out of anything and everything. Everything is like a fun challenge for them. They're outspoken, analytical, often rebellious, and total visionaries. They like to think big and are unafraid of criticism. Brainstorming is their forte, but they'll always try to avoid getting involved in menial or repetitive tasks. Their unpredictable spontaneity and a quick wit make them absolutely amazing to be around, but their aversion towards long term commitment to something hurts in the grander scheme of things.

Our Chief Kim is a brilliant man! He's incredibly witty, well-spoken, and unpredictable. His actions are unconventional and often implausible, but they're effective nonetheless. He has a powerful aura, but deep down, ironically so, he has trouble truly communicating and conveying his feelings. Here's to all the badass ENTPs, we appreciate you!


Kim Min Joon, Mad Dog (2017)
Prince Yeon Ing, The Royal Gambler (2016)

When sitting down to make a list of potential characters, I immediately knew I would be working on at least one of these amazing (-ly messed up) men. What I didn't know, for better or for worse, was that all three of them would end up in the same personality type.

Pay attention to the pictures above (and every character picture to be fair.) There's a reason I chose these pictures. That's because they show these men at their deadliest. Kim Min Joon as the adorable, bumbling idiot, Yeon Ing when he gets the gambling money in his hands, and Gwi... well Gwi is always deadly.

While so distinct in their general personalities: we have a bad-good guy, a good-bad guy, and a so-bad-he's-good-bad guy (I hope this makes sense). Their underlying personalities are very similar to each other. They're all apparent introverts (private people) with larger than life auras, which give them excellent extraverted skills. They're great at making people do their bidding, or to put it in a less Machiavellian way, they have a talent for convincing people. Meticulous planning is second nature to them and they very rarely if ever, show what's really inside. Such is the norm for ENTJs (Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging), born to stand out, to shine, to do what others would really hesitate to do. It's lonely being at the top, but it is certainly a prestige!


San Ma Roo, The Package (2017)

While travelling, one should always check to make sure they have all the items on their list. So let's check to see if we have something missing. Do we have an adorable introvert, who at times exhibits sudden yet amazing bouts of extraversion? Check! Does the said adorable person follow his heart and end up in some strange situations because of his boundless curiosity? Yes, he definitely does. Is this curious person organized and a careful planner? Three guesses for the answer. Of course not! San Ma Roo is the man to get on the nerves of airport customs after he's taken in for questioning. He's not doing it deliberately either! He's genuinely trying to help the officers!

Make no mistake, INFPs (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving) are not stupid at all. It's just their idealistic tendencies that present them as someone who's naive to types that rely heavily on logic (refer to the two types above.) As mentioned, true idealists like San Ma Roo are born to see: the good in people, the beauty in life's tragedies, songs in the rain, a poem on a car ride. Listening to everything that goes on in their surroundings, while staying grounded to their own principles. These people are born artists with beautiful souls, just like our little misunderstood baby, San Ma Roo.


Choi Ae Ra, Fight For My Way (2017)
Kim Hwa Gun, Ruler of the Mask (2017)

Even if you are not really aware of most MBTI personalities, the infamous 'rarest type INFJ' is something most people have heard of. Comprising of only about 1% of the population, I found out exactly why this type is so rare when all my research was resulting in zero characters having this type. Then, I found two, but barely. There's a reason why INFJs (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging) can be anyone you want them to be, it's because they are. Both these characters could very well have landed in a different personality type, but their underlying thoughts and eventual actions make them worthy INFJs.

Take Ae Ra, for example. I was flabbergasted when the results pointed at her being an INFJ. She's loud, outspoken, incredibly extraverted, and she barely has her sh*t together. How on earth does that make her a quiet, meticulous planner? Turns out, she really is just that. Ae Ra raises her voice against injustice, 90% of the time when it's not about her. She fights for others more than she does for herself (typical of the type.) Her consistent efforts to land a job and working tirelessly to prepare for interviews despite having a dream (that may be a little out of reach) shows that she is ready to wipe her tears after every rejection and soldier on.

I'll be completely honest, ROTM was a poorly written drama riddled with problems. However, to my chagrin, it yielded me an INFJ for this article. Perhaps the most real INFJ I would have never found. Had I chosen to overlook this beautiful woman, the epitome of someone who lives for others (literally)? While on the peace-loving end of things due to their incredibly potent moral compass, INFJs do have tendencies of becoming real villains. See that picture above? This is a shot from Hwa Gun's most powerful moment in the drama, where she is on the precipice of leaving destruction in her wake. To some, she's a hero, to others, a villain. Whichever side you may lean on, one thing's for certain, she's not a rebel without a cause. Her extremely private nature made her unreadable to even her genius conspirator of a grandfather, and though she remains the most unsung character of the entire drama, she was undoubtedly the best, and most interesting one.


Lee Jin Sook, Cruel City (2013)
Nam Shin III, Are You Human Too? (2018)

Altruism at its finest! ESFJs (Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging) are the life of the party. Welcoming, caring people who are the best at making others feel at ease. Their generosity is boundless, as they are expert people pleasers. Known as more of the optimistic type, ESFJs take it upon themselves to ensure the happiness of those around them.

Our ESFJs here are similar people. What makes their images different from others is the involvement of other people. This is to accentuate how socially involved with others, ESFJs are. Take our first subject, for example. Madam Lee Jin Sook, resident fashionable badass of Cruel City is as ESFJ as they come. Despite running a thriving business of her own and attending parties every night, her underlying tendency to adopt and provide for those around her really supersedes her sassy, biting nature. This does not, by any means, say that she's a doormat, quite the contrary actually. If you cross her, you bet you're going to lose a limb or two. She's pretty lovable when she wants to be though.

Speaking of lovable people, can we just talk about robot Shin? You can't get more lovable than him. Sure, one can argue that he was programmed to be so, but can you really overlook the decisions he takes for himself? We as humans are told at a young age what's wrong and what's right. Now, how we interpret this duality and slowly blur the lines between the two as we age is subjective for everyone, and by this logic, a robot, like Shin, is constantly evolving too as he observes everything around him. He might not be the party animal our Madam Lee is, but he definitely knows how to win over others' hearts, and he makes it his purpose to solve others' problems, and to "hug them if they cry."


Dam Yeo Wool, Gu Family Book (2013)

Yeo Wool, oh Yeo Wool. This girl is almost too good to be true. If it weren't for her witty and often humorous nature, she'd be a regular ol' Mary Sue. With her personality, however, she's so much more alive than that. It's hard (for me personally) to form attachments to seemingly flawless characters: those with crystal clear morals, dedication to their duties (and those of others too, every so often), sticking up for what's right despite all opposition, and (unlike our ENTJs here) being actually caring leaders. Such characters remind us of our own inadequacies, and so are often disregarded.

GIF Source: We Heart It
Yeo Wool is the ESTJ (Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) who does not know how to give up.  She values facts over word of mouth, believing in only the most tangible truth. This makes her mostly insusceptible to tricks. However, in the instance, when she does face shortcomings, she'll be the first to acknowledge them. This well-rounded nature is what makes ESTJs so great. Her straightforwardness towards not only herself but everyone else makes her a brilliant decision-maker when it comes to choosing what's in everyone's best interest. However, her stubbornness often foils her plans. 


Lee Ji An, My Mister (2018)
Nam Shin, Are You Human Too? (2018)
Jeon Soo Young, 

I wanted to live the life, a different life. I didn’t want to go to the same place every day and see the same people and do the same job. I wanted interesting challenges.


The above-mentioned quote was not used for a general purpose. Each of the three sentences in this quote corresponds to one of the three characters preceding it. Have fun figuring out who corresponds to what. Bonus points if you figure it out correctly!

All jokes aside, the ISTP (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving) type is very close to my heart (no, it's not my type.) As the name suggests, these Virtuosos are amazing people to be surrounded by. No, you won't be bonding and chatting over gossip, quite the contrary. Being in their quiet presence and marvelling at how their brain works (you can almost see the cogs turning) is an experience everyone needs to have. ISTPs rarely feel the need to make their presence known, their sheer brilliance does it for them. I use the term brilliance to signify intensity in what they do, whether good or bad. 

Look at our three subjects here: we have a hero, a greyer hero, and an even greyer villain (have fun finding out who's who). All three characters at first glance will appear as closed off distrustful people, and you wouldn't be wrong. ISTPs face difficulty in relating to people who let their emotions drive them. However, the relationships they do manage to form are incredibly powerful: just look at Ji An's relationship with Dong Hoon, (human) Shin's relationship with Young Hoon, and Soo Young's with Ji Heon. None of these relationships is romantic in nature, yet they are so much more profound, which makes ISTPs great silent confidantes.


Kim Shin Hyuk, She Was Pretty (2015)

There are some people in this world who shine so brightly they leave everyone in a state of dazed happiness, or in awe of them. There's a reason why most of us fell victim to the dreaded Second Lead Syndrome while watching She Was Pretty. Kim Shin Hyuk was the light that gave our female lead the strength to shine exuberantly, breaking her out of her insecurity. Yet, they didn't even bat an eye before stamping their feet over said light and extinguishing him forever. Yes, I'm still hurt, badly so.

Sensitive to others' feelings, and in touch with their own feelings, ESFPs (Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving) are excellent people-persons. You could sit with them for hours and never get bored. They would always have something ready to pique your interest. If you've been sitting down too long, they'll probably have something fun in mind that would get you all hyped. That being said, ESFPs do tend to be non-serious sometimes, especially in the face of conflict. They'd much rather laugh their pain away (literally) than open-heartedly confront it. This might lead to them pushing away those who mean well and want to help.  Our sweetheart Kim Shin Hyuk did the same too! ESFPs need to know, they don't have to fight alone, everybody needs somebody! 

So, there you have it! Part one of 'K-Drama Characters Take the MBTI Personality Test!' The personality type banners were all taken from 16Personalities' official site. I shall keep my parting thoughts to a minimum here since we have to see each other again soon! I will say this, however, if you're interested in the math that went on behind the scenes for these two articles (since most of this was just stats and percentages), or would like to discuss this topic in general, feel free to drop me a message. ^-^

If you made it here, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for surviving this long article! You're a trooper! I hope this article (and its successor) prove(d) to be interesting. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Whether you want to categorize a favourite character of yours, share your own MBTI type, or just rant about how long this article was, write it down! xD



Drama: Eulachaha Waikiki GIF Source: Dramabeans

EditorsBrightestStar (1st editor) and Cookie (2nd editor)

mad dog fight for my way ruler of the mask cruel city gu family book my mister she was pretty children of nobody the package chief kim scholar walks the night the royal gambler are you human too