Happy Father’s Day: Lee Do Hyun in 18 Again, Jang Ki Yong in The Atypical Family and more; celebrating with K-dramas’ best dads

Father’s Day 2024 has finally arrived. Let’s celebrate this amazing occasion with some of our best K-drama dads, including Lee Do Hyun in 18 Again, Jang Ki Yong in The Atypical Family, and more.

Published on Jun 16, 2024  |  01:01 AM IST |  122.3K
Lee Do Hyun, Jang Ki Yong (Image Credits- JTBC)
Lee Do Hyun, Jang Ki Yong (Image Credits- JTBC)

“Dads don’t automatically become dads the moment you’re born, either. It’s my first time being a dad, too. So… I’d like it if you could go easy on me.”- Reply 1988’s dad Sung Dong Il said these words that deeply resonate on what fatherhood is all about. Dads often don't receive as much appreciation as moms, but there are some fictional fathers who truly deserve the Parent of the Year title. 

They're consistently supportive, offering valuable life lessons and advice. These characters can be funny or even tragic, yet they're always brimming with love. Fathers may not always express emotions openly, which sometimes leads to misunderstandings. It's important to remember that dads, like everyone else, are human—they make mistakes and are perfectly imperfect.

And let's not overlook the K-drama dads, who offer the same kind of unwavering support and love to our favorite K-drama characters. In celebration of Father's Day, here are some iconic father figures you'll meet in K-dramas.

Lee Do Hyun in 18 Again

Hong Dae Young (Yoon Sang Hyun) finds himself at 37 years old, filled with regret over missed opportunities. His frustrations deepen as his wife, Jung Da Jung (Kim Ha Neul), files for divorce, he loses his job, and his two children view him with pity. In his youth, Dae Young was a promising basketball player scouted by universities.

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However, when he suddenly wakes up as his 18-year-old self (Lee Do Hyun) in the present day, he sees it as a chance to rewrite his life. Amidst this second chance, the one thing he hopes remains unchanged is his role as a father to his twins.

He attends the same school as his children and becomes their protector. Dae Young steps up to bond with them, confronts bullies, encourages them to aim high, and transforms into the supportive friend he should have been from the start. He regrets his past unavailability and strives to make amends, becoming their closest confidant. Lee Do Hyun delivers a remarkable and heartfelt performance as the young Dae Young. His acting versatility shines through, making his portrayal truly outstanding.


Jo Jung Suk in Hospital Playlist

Played by Jo Jung Suk, Lee Ik Jun embodies the ideal of a loving and devoted father in every way. As a brilliant surgeon, he adeptly balances the demands of his high-pressure career with his role as a single father to his charming son, Woo Joo. Despite his hectic schedule, Ik Jun consistently prioritizes his son's happiness, whether cooking for him, sharing quality time, or even dancing together. 

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Despite the challenges of being a single dad with limited time, Ik Jun never compromises on his responsibilities as a father. While he occasionally feels guilty about not being present enough, what's truly remarkable is Woo Joo's maturity in understanding his father's dedication to saving lives. Ik Jun's playful yet responsible personality makes him a deeply relatable and beloved father figure among K-drama enthusiasts.


Jeon Bae Soo in Extraordinary Attorney Woo

Woo Young Woo (Park Eun Bin), a brilliant rookie lawyer with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD), secures a position at one of Korea's top law firms. While she may struggle with social interactions, her courtroom skills, aided by her photographic memory, sharp wit, and innovative case-handling approaches, earn her widespread acclaim within the firm. Yet, behind her success lies a supportive father who has consistently stood by her side.

Woo Gwang Ho (Jeon Bae Soo) is a devoted single father who selflessly set aside his own ambitions of becoming a lawyer to prioritize caring for his daughter, Young Woo. As her primary caregiver, he goes beyond making her favorite gimbap to providing unwavering emotional support. 

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He comforts her during low moments and empowers her with the confidence to tackle life head-on. While he stands as a pillar of strength when she feels emotionally vulnerable, Gwang Ho also understands the importance of letting Young Woo grow independently, avoiding any tendencies to smother her with his protective nature.


Sung Dong Il in Reply series

Sung Dong Il, portraying the father in each Reply series starting from Reply 1997, has consistently captured fans' hearts with his warmth and humor. Despite occasional gruffness, his genuine love for his children, whether biological or not, shines through. 

Even as he navigates the complexities of understanding teenage girls—three times over—his character reminds us that even seemingly strict or distant fathers can overflow with love for their children. He may not show it in flashy ways, but his unique expressions of affection resonate deeply.


Jang Ki Yong in The Atypical Family

Jang Ki Yong portrays Bok Gwi Joo, a former firefighter who falls into depression following his wife's death. His unique ability allows him to revisit past happy moments. But now, as he is battling depression and alcoholism, he can’t visit his happy moments anymore, and he becomes distant from his daughter, Yi Na (Park So Yi), until a mysterious woman, Do Da Hee (Chun Woo Hee) comes into his family’s life. 

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In the series, Gwi Joo strives to bridge the gap between them, seeking to understand and support her through their shared grief. As a single father coping with the loss of his wife, he soon realizes Yi Na also struggles deeply with her mother's absence. Throughout each episode, Gwi Joo seizes every opportunity to bring joy to Yi Na and works tirelessly to see her smile again.


Ahn Gil Kang in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) is a champion weightlifter, and her biggest supporter is her dad, Kim Chang Gul (Ahn Gil Kang), who runs a small chicken restaurant. He shows his love and encouragement through food, believing there's nothing a good serving of fried chicken can't fix. He happily fulfills his daughter's requests, delivering fried chicken to Bok Joo's teammates, friends, and anyone who supports her. It's his simple yet heartfelt way of expressing gratitude and prioritizing his daughter's dreams above all else.

This father-daughter duo brings plenty of humor to the screen, making it impossible not to root for them both. Overall, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo is a delightful and entertaining watch in every way.


Son Hyun Joo in Itaewon Class

This series had fans in tears right from episode one. Park Sae Royi (played by Park Seo Joon)’s father, Park Sung Yeol, portrayed with quiet intensity by Son Hyun Joo, instilled in his son the importance of standing by his principles, morals and fighting for justice. 

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Sae Royi’s actions, driven by his father’s teachings, lead to significant consequences. Despite this, Park Sung Yeol expresses pride in his son, and they set out on a new path together, only to face a tragic end. His unwavering support became the driving force behind Sae Royi's journey to success, ultimately fulfilling his dream of opening his own restaurant.


Bonus: Choi Hyun Wook in Twinkling Watermelon

An honorary dad on the list, Choi Hyun Wook plays a younger version of Ryeoun's dad. Eun Gyeol (Ryeoun), a mature high school student at just 18, has taken on the role of caretaker for his family: his parents and older brother. Despite being the only one who can speak and hear, he bridges their world to the outside by interpreting their signs. While his parents dream of him becoming a doctor, Eun Gyeol's heart beats for music. With his guitar, he weaves spells of melody, though his family opposes his passion.

One day, he inexplicably travels back to 1995 and meets his father, Lee Chan (played by Choi Hyun Wook), a young aspiring musician who can hear and speak. Here, Eun Gyeol encounters Se Kyung (Seol In Ah) and Chung Ah (Shin Eun Soo), a deaf artist. Through this time slip, Eun Gyeol aims to reshape his destiny, seeking to harmonize his familial duties with his musical dreams.

In the past, Yi Chan, who doesn’t know he is the father of  Eun Gyeol, takes care of him anyway, and their interactions lead to hilarious situations. Despite Yi Chan being unaware of their true connection, he always extends a helping hand whenever Eun Gyeol needs it. This gradually changes Eun Gyeol's perspective on his father, whom he previously resented for not supporting his musical ambitions.

As Eun Gyeol witnesses Yi Chan's own youthful dreams and aspirations, particularly his desire for a "Twinkling youth," he begins to see his father as more than just a parent. The series beautifully illustrates the idea that parents are individuals with their own dreams and desires, sometimes overlooked by their children. Through Yi Chan's journey in the past, Eun Gyeol learns to empathize with his father and appreciate him as a person with his own life story.


ALSO READ: Best 7 Ryu Jun Yeol movies and TV shows to watch

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About The Author

Pratyusha Dash is an English Literature Graduate from Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies with a deep passion for Korean

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