I love my oppa/ge ge: the charm of incest dramas

THAT WINTER THE WIND BLOWS is on the halfway mark (episode 7 this week out of 16 episodes) and it’s getting more exciting. I like the suspense and so far, I can still suspend my disbelief on some plot points, but more on that later. Meanwhile, the incest angle between brother Oh Soo and sister Oh Young is starting to develop and those who are watching this drama are saying they need therapists because they don’t feel icky when scenes of the two starting to fall for each other are shown. Where is that queue for the therapist? I need to get a number.


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But seriously, I don’t feel uncomfortable at all seeing the two characters fall for each other: Oh Soo more than wary than Oh Young, because Soo and all of us know that they are not real brother and sister after all. Though poor Young, what will happen if she discovers that the one person she trusts in the whole world is actually the conman she has been warned about?

Jo In-sung and Song Hye-kyo really make a very beautiful pair. They’re one of the most attractive couplings I have seen onscreen, but it all stops there for me. No more illusions that reel can turn real especially with the rumors surrounding JIS’ sexual orientation… but anyway!

THAT WINTER THE WIND BLOWS is not the only incest drama in this side of the world. The topic has been explored in dramas (and movies) not only in Korea but in Japan and Taiwan. I checked out a few but I have actually watched only a couple of them:

IRELAND (Korea, 2004) – Joong-Ah, an Irish adoptee, returns to Korea and aside from getting to know the country where she came from, she also starts to fall in love with her brother, Jae-Bok. Stars Lee Na-young and Hyun Bin. (Did not watch this so I don’t know how it ends, and if they were really brother and sister; you never know with these dramas and all that incest scare going on.)

AUTUMN IN MY HEART (Korea, 2000) – Features birth switching and another incest scare: Yoon Joon-suh and Yoon Eun-suh grew up as siblings but when she gets into an accident, they find out that she has been switched at birth. She returns to her real family and years later, they meet again. (I vaguely remember watching this when Hallyu was staring to be in vogue a decade or so ago. But I watched it more for Won Bin. It stars Song Seung-hun and WINTER WIND’S Oh Young herself, Song Hye-kyo. Does this make her the queen of incest dramas?)

THE ROSE (Taiwan, 2003) – When her grandmother dies, the heroine, Zheng Bai He, finds out that her real mother is a famous actress. She is not only reunited with her mother but with three half-siblings, one of them, Han Kui. Stars S.H.E.’s Ella Chen and Joe Cheng. (Do they fall in love? I don’t know since I never watched this.)

DEVIL BESIDE YOU (Taiwan, 2004) – Based on a Japanese manga, it tells the story of Qi Yue who finds herself living in the same house with her mother’s new husband and his son, Ah Meng. They fall in love but Ah Meng’s grandmother tries to stop the taboo relationship. Mike He and Rainie Yang, one of the most classic  pairings in Taiwan dramas, star. (Truth to tell, I can write an extensive review of this drama with my eyes closed as it’s one of my favorites. The ending though left so much to be desired, I prefer the manga’s ending more. And wait, neither Japan nor Korea did their own version of this? It’s a fun story.)

MARMALADE BOY (Taiwan, 2002) – Another one based on a manga. Guang Xi’s parents tell her that they are getting divorced and switching partners with another couple who has a son, You. And all of them are moving into one big house. Cray cray plot I know.  Stars Ken Zhu a year after F4 broke into the scene in METEOR GARDEN.

ONE FINE DAY (Korea, 2006) – Seo Gun’s father married a single mother with a daughter, Haneul. When their parents die, Haneul gets adopted by a rich family. Then they start to fall in love… Gong Yoo and Sung Yu-ri are in this drama. (I think that’s the synopsis or what I can make of it. Another incest scare plot apparently.)

TREE OF HEAVEN (Korea, 2006) – Hana’s mother returns to Japan with her new Korean husband and a son Yunsuh. Both Hana and Yunsuh have sad memories of the other half of their parents dying. What else? They start to have feelings for each other. Park Shin-hye pre-HE’S BEAUTIFUL and some actor named Lee Han are in this.

MY SISTER, MY LOVE (Japan, 2007) – The movie version of the well-known manga “Boku wa imouto ni koi wo suru”. There is no incest scare here because Yori and Iku are real brother and sister… they are even twins. He loves his twin sister in THAT way, she loves her brother but not in THAT way. Matsumoto Jun and Eikura Nana star as the twins. (I watched this for the love of Matsujun and if for anything, it proves I don’t need a therapist after all because I know when incest love is right and when it is wrong. This movie made me feel icky and bias aside, Matsujun was good in conveying the agony and the weirdness that the role demanded from him. His choice of roles oftentimes surprises me because after playing Domyouji in HANA YORI DANGO, I was scared that he’d be typecast in that kind of role. But I suppose picking roles like Yori is his way of avoiding being typecast and other unexpected roles he took worth mentioning would be in SMILE (as a Japanese-Filipino wrongly accused of a crime), BAMBINO (imagine coming from Domyouji’s DoS personality, you see him in a character where he gets bullied) and even LUCKY SEVEN (lovable yes, but bumbling and awkward instead of dashing). But then again, this is the same guy who did TOKYO TOWER where he played a boy toy. Okay, enough of the Matsujun rave.)

Coming from MY SISTER, MY LOVE, it surprises me that incest is actually “legal” in Japan (in the absence of a law criminalizing it). Or maybe it shouldn’t. Japan loves incest plots especially in manga. I checked the information I got from here and indeed, Japan abolished a law against incest but it does not mean they are allowed to marry, and it is still considered as taboo in the country. In China, marriage between adopted and natural children are allowed. More laws regarding incest in other countries here.

Back to THAT WINTER THE WIND BLOWS, this drama is really an eye candy not only because of the beautiful main stars but also the location and the cinematography. It makes winter very picturesque. Watch this MV of Grey Paper, the drama’s theme song by Super Junior’s Ye Sung, to see what I mean:



There’s another song in the drama sung by a female with the following lines:

“You can’t see love with your eyes
I can’t find where love is
So blundering to look for it
I guess it finally touched my fingertips.”

I am loving the suspense so far but the double play would have to unravel sooner than later because I don’t know for how long I (and those who are watching it) can suspend disbelief over the fact that a big company like PL Group has not launched an investigation on Oh Soo’s background considering the fortune that is involved. It’s not even all about DNA testing and all that shindig and covert investigations that Secretary Wang and the fiance Lee Myung-ho are doing behind Oh Soo and Oh Young’s back. It’s just a matter of going to the investigation bureau and hand over a photo of the living Oh Soo to find out who he really is.

Also, in that cabin scene in episode 7 when Oh Soo tells Oh Young about the conman Oh Soo, he talks about how that guy was dumped by his mother under a tree and at 19, lost his girlfriend who was pregnant. Didn’t it cross Oh Young’s mind that her “oppa” Oh Soo also has a similar story about losing a girlfriend in an accident? Or am I wrong that she knows about the Hee Joo back story? I mean, the story has capitalized so far on her sharp instincts that she relies on being blind, but is it that she is blind (pun not intended) when it comes to her oppa? Now I’m as confused as Oh Soo, although when it comes to them having feelings for each other, I am as crystal clear as the bell that chimes on Oh Young’s window and as white as the snow in this drama: they should be together!

“Some people talk about falling in love at first sight. I have no eyes to see to fall in love at first sight. I can only be with someone who tells me he likes me.” – Oh Young

Now, as to how they will get to that stage and have a happy ending with all the betrayal that everyone watching knows is bound to happen is anyone’s guess. But I do have faith that writer No Hee-kyung and director Kim Kyu-tae will not make this a total makjang/garden variety melodrama and still come up with a decent, logical and memorable work that won’t lose the goodwill that has been built in the first six episodes.

“Fool, it’s the same to me, whether it’s night or day.” – Oh Young

For recaps and reviews on WINTER WIND, only dramabeans does it best.


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I wonder if Oh Soo is having YELLOW tea, because that’s the rating for this post (and I love the tea set they’re using in this scene).

For guide to this blog’s tea ranking, check here.

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12 thoughts on “I love my oppa/ge ge: the charm of incest dramas

  1. Ah… “The Rose”… Now that’s a drama that I could watch again! (I’ve seen it twice.) It’s Joe Cheng’s first role of any note and he’s just saw raw and talented and naively perfect in his role. The intensity of his emotions for his half-sister and half-brother (yes, double the incest angle) is so blazingly pure and true that I found myself rooting for him to find happiness, even if it were to be incest. Apparently the source manga has an interlude where this comes “true” for a period of time, but as I’ve not read it, I can’t confirm that.

    I’m curious: how does the “Devil Beside You” manga play out? I loved that drama too (with a similar ending quibble) and Mike He and Rainie Yang just sizzled onscreen. Maybe it’s a good thing it’s not been remade in Korea or Japan; they don’t seem to be able to fully embrace the idea that sexuality is a good thing (generally speaking).


  2. wonder,why Da Mo korean drama is not in your list?I love this drama and see the intense feeling of love between the sister and her brother in through out the series…


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