Descendants of the Sun

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Descendants of the Sun
Promotional poster
Hangul태양의 후예
Created byKBS Drama Production (KBS 드라마 제작국)
Written by
Directed by
  • Lee Eung-bok
  • Baek Sang-hoon
Creative director(s)
  • Yoo Young-eun
  • Kim Hyung-joon
Country of originSouth Korea
Original language(s)Korean
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes16 + 3 special episodes
Executive producer(s)Bae Kyung-soo
  • Ham Young-hoon
  • Yoo Jong-seon
  • Park Woo-ram
Production location(s)
  • South Korea
  • Greece
  • Albania
  • Kim Si-hyeong
  • Uhm Jun-seong
  • Choi Jung-won
  • Kim Young-joo
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)
Budget13 billion[2]
Original networkKBS2
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital
Original releaseFebruary 24 (2016-02-24) –
April 22, 2016 (2016-04-22)
External links
Production website

Descendants of the Sun (Korean태양의 후예; RRTaeyang-ui Huye) is a 2016 South Korean television series starring Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, Jin Goo, and Kim Ji-won.[3][4][5] It aired on KBS2 from February 24 to April 14, 2016 for 16 episodes.[6] KBS then aired three additional special episodes from April 20 to April 22, 2016 containing highlights and the best scenes from the series, the drama's production process, behind-the-scenes footage, commentaries from cast members and the final epilogue.[7][8]

The series was a major hit in South Korea where it drew a peak audience share of 38.8%. It received several awards, such as winning the Grand Prize in television at the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards; and was named the Most Popular Show of the year by Korea Broadcasting Advertising Corporation.[9]

The show was broadcast across Asia where it was hugely popular,[10] and has been credited with a rise in tourism to Korea.[11] Local adaptations has aired in the Philippines[12] and Vietnam,[13] and an adaptation is planned in China.[14] The actors in the show also received international recognition.


Yoo Si-jin (Song Joong-ki) is the captain of a South Korean Special Forces unit. He and his friend Master Sergeant Seo Dae-young (Jin Goo) are off-duty when they witness a young man stealing a motorcycle and apprehend him. The thief, Kim Gi-bum (Kim Min-seok), is injured during the chase and therefore sent to the hospital. Dae-young realizes his cell phone was stolen by the thief and goes to the hospital along with Si-jin to retrieve it.

In the emergency room, Si-jin meets Dr. Kang Mo-yeon (Song Hye-kyo) for the first time, and is instantly attracted to her. Mo-yeon mistakenly assumes Si-jin is part of the thief's criminal gang after hearing him being addressed as "Big Boss", which is actually his call sign. He proves his identity with the help of army surgeon Yoon Myung-ju (Kim Ji-won).

Si-jin and Mo-yeon begin to date, but due to Si-jin being called in for duty, their dates are interrupted halfway. Si-jin receives his orders to be deployed on a peacekeeping mission in the fictional war-torn country of Uruk. Meanwhile, Mo-yeon is upset because she had been passed over for professorship in favor of a less-capable colleague who had familial connections to the hospital management. When Si-jin returns and meets Mo-yeon again, she directly asks him to explain his sudden disappearances and his job but he is unable to go into too much detail due to the highly classified nature of his assignments. They talk about their views on life and realize how different they are. Si-jin, as a soldier, kills to protect lives while Mo-yeon, as a doctor, honors the Hippocratic Oath and tries to save lives. Due to their philosophical differences, they agree to part ways. Dae-young, on the other hand, faces a dilemma on whether to continue his relationship with Myung-ju or risk being forced out of the army for breaking fraternization rules by Myung-ju's father, who is a three-star general and commander of the Special Forces.

Eight months later, Mo-yeon rebuffs the romantic advances of the hospital director and, as a result, is assigned against her will to lead a team of medical volunteers to Uruk. There, Si-jin and Mo-yeon reunite and both gain a deeper insight into one another's jobs as their respective teams endure an earthquake and a viral epidemic. While in Uruk, Mo-yeon accidentally confesses her feelings (much to the amusement of their respective teams) and the two officially start dating. She gradually comes to terms with the possibility of him being killed in action and the fact that she may never have full disclosure of his whereabouts. In the meantime, the usually stoic Dae-young finally works up the nerve to show more affection toward Myung-ju after she nearly dies in quarantine after being infected with the virus.

Si-jin and Mo-yeon continue their relationship after returning to Korea, until Si-jin and Dae-young are sent on a classified operation in which they disappear and are assumed to be dead. Months pass, and Mo-yeon mourns Si-Jin's death, deciding to commemorate his passing by volunteering with a medical team sent to Albania. This is where Si-jin eventually finds her on the day of their one-year death anniversary, after he and Dae-young are rescued from captivity by "a friend from afar", a soldier from North Korea whom Si-jin had helped before. Si-jin and Mo-yeon along with Myung-ju and Dae-young are all happily reunited with each other.



The Captain and leader of Alpha Team, a fictional elite special forces team of the 707th Special Mission Battalion in South Korea. He followed in the footsteps of his father, a retired Sergeant Major, into the military and graduated from the Korea Military Academy at the top of his class. Si-jin cares little for the politics of war and believes in protecting and defending those who need help, his country and his men's honor, even if it means having to question his superiors' orders. His light-hearted approach to life and witty sense of humor make him popular with his team and subordinates but Mo-yeon quickly realizes that it is his way of deflecting her questions about his job and coping with the pain of losing comrades. At the end of the series, he is promoted to Major. He falls in love with Mo-yeon at first sight but gets rejected by her three times.
  • Song Hye Kyo as Doctor Kang Mo-yeon (Maxine Kang) (a.k.a. Beauty and Pretty one)[16]
A cardiothoracic surgeon who works at Haesung Hospital. She is a beautiful, strong and assertive woman who believes that competence should outweigh connections but must confront the harsh reality that she cannot get anywhere without connections. She stands firmly by her principles and doesn't fall prey easily to her emotions, though she is not afraid to admit her mistakes. Her first meeting with Si-jin begins awkwardly when she mistakes him for a criminal boss and becomes attracted to him. Although the feeling is mutual, she rejects him three times as she finds herself struggling to accept his occupation as a soldier in the special forces and what it entails.
As the most senior non-commissioned officer in Alpha Team and Si-jin's right-hand man and best friend, Dae-young is a career soldier who sticks to his principles and is extremely loyal to his commanding officer, Si-jin and comrades. He is notorious among recruits and Academy cadets as a no-nonsense and strict instructor (he was also Si-jin's former drill instructor at the Academy). His level head and vast experience often come in handy in times of crisis during deployments. He is the straight man to the happy-go-lucky Si-jin and possesses a sharp deadpan sense of humor. For much of the series he struggles with expressing his true feelings for Myung-ju.
An army doctor who is also the daughter of Lieutenant General Yoon, commander of the South Korean Special Forces Brigade. She followed her father's footsteps and graduates from the Korea Military Academy, where she was a junior of Si-jin, before doing an internship at Haesung Hospital. During her first assignment, where she was the medical officer on duty during a training exercise, she first meets Dae-young and is instantly attracted to him. Their relationship is well-known among the other doctors at Haesung Hospital and fellow soldiers, but is considered a taboo as she is an officer and he is a non-commissioned officer. However, it does not deter her from pursuing Dae-young, much to the Lt. Gen's chagrin.


Alpha Team Members[edit]

Haesung Hospital Medical Services Team[edit]

People at Haesung Hospital[edit]

  • Hyun Jyu-ni as Pyo Ji-soo (Pathology Specialist)
  • Tae In-ho as Han Suk-won (Chairman of Haesung Hospital)
  • Park Ah-in as Kim Eun-ji (Thoracic Surgery Specialist)
  • Jo Woo-ri as Jang Hee-eun (1st Year Resident of Anesthesiology) (wife of Dr. Lee Chi-hoon)[20]

Tae Baek Army[edit]

Uruk area[edit]

  • Cho Tae-kwan as Daniel Spencer (Peacemaker Emergency Doctor Team)[21]
  • Jeon Soo-jin as Ri Ye-hwa (Peacemaker Emergency Nurse Team)
  • David Lee McInnis as David Argus (Gang Boss, former Delta Force Captain), the main antagonist.
  • Dean Dawson as the Chief of Police (Tae Baek Police Chief)
  • Jo Jae-yoon as Jin Young-soo (Chief Manager of Uruk Electric Power Corporation)
  • Lee Yi-kyung as Kang Min-jae
  • Zyon Barreto as Fatima
  • Elena Zhernovaya as Valentine[22]
  • David Pipes as Martin (World Times Reporter)
  • Ji Seung-hyun as Senior Lieutenant Ahn Jung-joon, Korean People's Army.
  • Kwak In-joon as Lee Han-soo (Minister of Foreign Affairs)
  • Joey Albright as US Army Delta Force member

Special appearances[edit]

  • Lee Kwang-soo as shooting arcade operator (episode 1)[23]
  • Lee Jong-hyuk as Captain Kim Jin-seok (episode 2, 5, 10, 15)
  • Matthew Douma as Jordan, US Army Delta Force Captain (episode 2, 10, 12)[24]
  • Jung Ji-won as TV announcer (episode 2)
  • Park Tae-won as TV announcer (episode 2)
  • Ryu Hwa-young as Seo Dae-young's ex-girlfriend (episode 4)
  • Jun In-taek as Yoo Young-geun (Abraham Yoo) (Yoo Shi Jin's father) (episode 6, 7, 15, 16)
  • Park Joon-geum as Lee Chi-hoon's mother (episode 7, 11)
  • Yoo Ah-in as bank reception Eom Hong-shik (episode 13)[25]
  • Nam Ki-ae as Kang Mo-yeon's mother (episode 13)
  • Lee Jae-yong as Lieutenant General Choi Ji-ho, Korean People's Army
  • Red Velvet as themselves (episode 16)


Descendants of the Sun was fully pre-produced before airing which is a departure from the live-shoot production format that characterizes most Korean dramas.[26] The drama is Song Joong-ki's comeback project after serving his two years of mandatory military service.[27] The production cost 13 billion won (approximately $10.8 million) to produce.[28]

Initially, there were doubts about the profitability of the drama, as a story involving a soldier may not be enough to garner a very high successive rate. This is revealed when SBS were reluctant to continue with the project. It was then passed to KBS.[29] According to local reports by Newsis, lead actor Song Joong-ki was not the first choice of writers and directors for the hit South Korean series, as he was deemed too slender for the role of a heroic special forces officer.[30] Song was later cast as the producers decided to change the character of the role.[31] The 6 June episode of tvN's The List 2016 revealed the names of four actors who rejected the role before Joong-ki was chosen. As per the show, the A-listers who passed the role includes Won Bin, Jo In-sung, Gong Yoo, and Kim Woo-bin.[32] Reportedly, the actors were skeptical on sporting the army style short hair. It is also said that the artists expressed slight discomfort on portraying a role of a soldier and could not commit with the pre-production format of the show.[33]

On June 12, 2015, lead actors Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo filmed their first scene in Seoul.[34] On September 28, 2015, the entire cast and crew (including the four leads, Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, Jin Goo, Kim Ji-won, as well as supporting actors Kang Shin-il and Onew) departed for Greece.[35] The team resided in the country for approximately a month to shoot episodes crucial to the drama's plot.[36][37] According to Greek and South Korean news portals and blogs, filming mainly took place in Zakynthos, Arachova, Lemnos, and Navagio.[38] The series' location was modelled after Iraq, a remote area located at the margin of Balkan Peninsula; but changed its name to Uruk to avoid diplomatic conflict.[39]

On November 25, 2015, it was announced that actor Song Joong-ki injured his arm while filming an action scene for the drama on November 23. On December 7, 2015, Song Joong-ki returned to work only 2 weeks after he was injured and spotted filming at a station in Seoul.[40][41][42] The MERS-CoV outbreak in South Korea in 2015 also seriously hampered filming schedules. The outbreak claimed the lives of 33 people, according to WHO.[43]

The location which served as the Mowuru Company's base camp was set at the exhausted Taebaek Hanbo Coal Mine while earthquake scenes were mostly filmed at the Samtan Art Mine. Filming also took place at Camp Greaves DMZ Experience Centre, once a US Army base camp during the Korean War.[44] Filming at Haesung Hospital was actually done at the Seoul St Mary's Hospital.

The crew wrapped up the last shoot in the early morning of December 30, 2015.[45] The director's cut, which feature a re-edited version of the last and 16th episode, as well as deleted scenes, a music video and behind-the-scenes footage, was released in the second half of the year.[46]

Due to the success of the drama, an OST concert was held at the Grand Peace Palace at Kyung Hee University in Seoul on May 14, 2016; and featured performers of the drama's soundtrack.[47][48]


After the success of Descendants, the industry saw a shift toward pre-production of Korean dramas.[49] This is because pre-production allowed producers to secure investment and distribution in a carefully planned fashion; and allowed the show to air simultaneously in China, thus bringing greater profits.[50][51] Kim Won-seok, co-writer of Descendants, said the system helps raise quality of the drama.[52] However, apart from Descendants, none of the other pre-produced dramas thus far such as Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Uncontrollably Fond and Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth have been successful.[53]


Production company NEW said that there have been hundreds of violations of their publicity rights by businesses, in an attempt to take advantage of the drama's success.[54] The announcement came about when lead actress Song Hye-kyo sued jewelry firm J.Estina for using her pictures for promotion though the contract ended in January.[55] J.Estina said in a press release that it abided by the contract with production staff of Descendants, which allowed it to use stills from the episodes as one of the main sponsors of the series. However, NEW refuted the claims, saying that the jewelry firm's arguments lacked legal grounds.[56] Song eventually won the legal battle, and donated the damages received to charity.[57]

Original soundtrack[edit]

The soundtrack of the series topped local music charts.[58] Preorders for the soundtrack album surpassed the 10,000 mark,[59] and eventually sold over 60,000 copies.[60]

Descendants of the Sun
Original Soundtrack Vol. 1
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedMarch 25, 2016
LabelMusic&NEW, OU Entertainment
Volume 1
1."Always"Yoon Mi-rae3:25
2."Everytime[61]"Chen and Punch3:08
3."This Love[62]" (이 사랑)Davichi3:46
4."You Are My Everything[63]"Gummy4:00
5."Once Again" (다시 너를)Kim Na-young feat. Mad Clown3:55
6."Save The Day"Various Artists3:20
7."Mission Part 1"Various Artists4:25
8."Time Is Running Out"Various Artists3:29
9."Hidden Genius"Various Artists4:53
10."Endless War"Various Artists2:48
11."My Everything"Various Artists2:54
12."Heart Break"Various Artists4:16
13."Military Dignity"Various Artists2:08
14."Mission Part 2"Various Artists6:14
15."I Love You"Various Artists2:53
16."Aroma"Various Artists1:56
17."War Of Tomorrow"Various Artists3:58
18."The Lover"Various Artists3:25
19."You're My Everything (English ver.)"Gummy4:00
Descendants of the Sun
Original Soundtrack Vol. 2
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedApril 21, 2016
LabelMusic&NEW, OU Entertainment
Volume 2
1."Talk Love" (말해! 뭐해?)K.Will3:37
2."With You[64]"Lyn4:15
3."By My Side" (사랑하자)SG Wannabe3:46
4."Wind Beneath Your Wings" (그대, 바람이 되어)M.C the MAX3:55
5."How Can I Love You[65]"XIA (Junsu)4:20
6."No More War"Various Artists3:52
7."Always I Love You"Various Artists2:42
8."Fighter"Various Artists2:32
9."Mission2 – Epic Tension"Various Artists4:45
10."Lonely Road"Various Artists4:18
11."Vital Fantasy"Various Artists3:01
12."Love You 2"Various Artists2:58
13."Don't Forget Me"Various Artists3:30
14."Time Is Running Out (Ver. 2)"Various Artists3:41
15."Attention (Mission ver.)"Various Artists3:25
16."Move Forward"Various Artists3:41
17."Freedom"Various Artists3:40
18."Attention O.R.I"Various Artists1:51
Chart Performance
Title Year Peak chart positions Sales [66] Remarks
"Always" (Yoon Mi-rae) 2016 2
  • KOR (DL): 1,454,125+[68]
Part 1
"Everytime" (Chen and Punch) 1
  • KOR (DL): 1,241,255+[69]
Part 2
"This Love" (Davichi) 1
  • KOR (DL): 2,500,000[70]
Part 3
"You Are My Everything" (Gummy) 1
  • KOR (DL): 1,600,720+[71]
Part 4
"Once Again" (Kim Na-young ft. Mad Clown) 2
  • KOR (DL): 1,056,319+[72]
Part 5
"Talk Love" (K.Will) 1
  • KOR (DL): 1,347,821+[73]
Part 6
"With You" (Lyn) 15
  • KOR (DL): 532,924+[74]
Part 7
"By My Side" (SG Wannabe) 8
  • KOR (DL): 864,429+[75]
Part 8
"Wind Beneath Your Wings" (M.C the MAX) 7
  • KOR (DL): 588,832+[76]
Part 9
"How Can I Love You" (XIA (Junsu)) 1
  • KOR (DL): 674,908+[77]
Part 10
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.


Descendants received immense popularity both locally, with a peaking rating of 40% in South Korea,[78] as well as internationally,[79] where it has been sold to 32 countries and translated into 32 different languages.[80][81] The success of the drama helped revive the Hallyu wave that was in decline over recent years, boosting tourism and spreading Korean culture.[79][82] The series was also watched in North Korea, one of the most secluded countries in the world.[83]

The drama's success factors were attributed to its elaborate screenplay, beautiful love story and the co-production between South Korea and China.[84] The Korea Times said, "At a time when Korean melodramas are said to have been losing steam, 'Descendants of the Sun' brought fantasy together with a number of different genres to create a high quality production." and "the drama appeals to viewers' desires for justice in a society that appears to lack it."[85] The drama also earned plaudits from (former) president Park Geun-hye, who praised the drama for instilling "patriotism" among young Koreans.[86] She also called Descendants an exemplary case of the positive effects of cultural content on the manufacturing industry.[87]

Economic effect[edit]

The drama's success helped boost Korea's economy; contributing in a rise of tourists, overseas sales of products (exports) and creating new jobs.[11] Descendants has been reported to have earned 3 billion won from product placement advertisements (PPL) and 10 billion won from sales of related sound tracks and video-on-demand service.[85][88] According to reports, the direct and indirect economic effects of Descendants are estimated to hover above 1 trillion won ($880 million).[11]

The "Two Tone Lip Bar" lipstick that Song Hye-kyo wore in a scene on the show has broken sales records for Aritaum in South Korea with Laneige subsequently hosting its own Descendants of the Sun makeup event on its homepage. The product became so popular that it sold out four days after its release on the popular Chinese shopping website, 11th Street, owned by its Korean parent-company, SK Planet.[89][90] The same product also experienced "double digit growth" in Singapore.[91]

Laneige, Dal.Komm Coffee, KGC Cheong Kwan Jang Korean Red Ginseng, Subway and Hyundai all reported a surge in sales after exposure of their products in the drama.[92][93] The popularity of the show has also led to KBS launching several merchandise of the drama, such as cookies, memory sticks, emoticons and commemorative medals, which were specially created and sold to fans.[94][95][96][97]

Cultural impact[edit]

Filming locations and sets of the show underwent restoration by the government, due to the demands by both local and foreign tourists.[98][99] Camp Greaves, the former U.S. military camp near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Paju, north of Seoul, was turned into a park composed of separate zones focusing on natural scenery, culture and arts, and military experience.[100][101] The Taebak film site was also re-modeled as a tourist site, where visitors can browse the medical camp and military base wearing costumes with the same design as those worn by the cast.[102] The set in Taebaek was featured on popular variety shows 2 Days & 1 Night[103][104] and Battle Trip.[105] Navagio, one of the iconic locations where the "relationship between the lead characters blossom", experienced a surge in popularity among Chinese and Korean tourists.[106][107][108]

The success of the drama has given rise to the popularity of "soldier talk", a style of Korean speaking only used in the military.[109] There is also a spike in the number of young men wanting to join South Korean special forces units for their mandatory military service.[110]

After Samgyetang was featured in the drama, it gained wider appeal among the Chinese.[111][112]


However, there has been controversy surrounding the use of product placement in this drama.[113][114] Some critics argued that there was excessive product placement in the drama and that the use of product placement undermined the drama's content and artistry.[115] Kim Si-hyoung, cinematographer of Descendants admitted that product placement was excessive, but argued that they were “essential,” as he and other production staff found it hard to secure revenues from TV advertising.[116]

The series also drew criticism for its unconvincing plot and unrealistic storyline.[117] Critics say that the drama ironically reflects what today's Korean society lacks, such as the cohesive military culture; and also pointed out deeply embedded sexual discrimination featured in the drama.[118] The drama was also accused of missing a noticeable plot, and kept with the terrestrial tradition of being overly predictable.[119]


In this table, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.

Ep. Original broadcast date Average audience share
TNmS AGB Nielsen[120]
Nationwide Seoul Nationwide Seoul
1 February 24, 2016 12.6% (7th) 12.7% (4th) 14.3% (4th) 14.4% (4th)
2 February 25, 2016 13.5% (6th) 14.5% (4th) 15.5% (3rd) 16.0% (4th)
3 March 2, 2016 21.8% (2nd) 22.7% (1st) 23.4% (2nd) 24.6% (2nd)
4 March 3, 2016 22.9% (2nd) 23.5% (2nd) 24.1% (2nd) 25.1% (2nd)
5 March 9, 2016 24.6% (2nd) 26.3% (1st) 27.4% (1st) 29.2% (1st)
6 March 10, 2016 25.4% (2nd) 27.6% (1st) 28.5% (1st) 29.8% (1st)
7 March 16, 2016 27.0% (2nd) 28.9% (1st) 28.3% (1st) 30.1% (1st)
8 March 17, 2016 25.9% (2nd) 28.7% (1st) 28.8% (1st) 30.5% (1st)
9 March 23, 2016 29.7% (1st) 32.3% (1st) 30.4% (1st) 31.0% (1st)
10 March 24, 2016 28.8% (1st) 31.0% (1st) 31.6% (1st) 33.3% (1st)
11 March 30, 2016 29.1% (2nd) 31.3% (1st) 31.9% (1st) 33.5% (1st)
12 March 31, 2016 31.1% (1st) 33.9% (1st) 33.0% (1st) 34.3% (1st)
13 April 6, 2016 30.4% (1st) 33.7% (1st) 33.5% (1st) 35.0% (1st)
14 April 7, 2016 31.1% (1st) 33.5% (1st) 33.0% (1st) 35.6% (1st)
15 April 13, 2016 31.1% (1st) 35.6% (1st) 34.8% (1st) 37.5% (1st)
16 April 14, 2016 35.3% (1st) 40.5% (1st) 38.8% (1st) 41.6% (1st)
Average 26.3% 28.5% 28.6% 30.1%
Special[121] April 20, 2016 15.3% (5th) 16.6% (4th) 17.7% (4th) 19.5% (3rd)
April 21, 2016 12.3% (6th) 13.9% (5th) 13.6% (5th) 14.7% (5th)
April 22, 2016 10.9% (7th) 11.8% (6th) 12.2% (5th) 13.2% (6th)

Awards and nominations[edit]

International broadcast[edit]


  • In China, iQiyi bought the exclusive rights to stream the show for US$250,000 per episode which, in total, is equivalent to about 40% of the show's production costs. The show was released simultaneously in South Korea and China, the first Korean drama to do so, and was viewed 2.4 billion times by April 2016.[122][123] The success of the drama was credited for driving up the paid membership of iQiyi.[124]
    Government mouthpiece People's Daily praised it as "an excellent advertisement for conscription" showcasing South Korea's "national spirit" and "communitarian culture".[125] However, its popularity in China caused concern with the country's Ministry of Public Security, posting a warning on its official Weibo account against the drama warning viewers "watching Korean dramas could be dangerous, and even lead to legal troubles".[126] It was part of a growing concern among Chinese officials at the time who were wary of the growing influence of Korean pop culture on the Chinese populace since the similar success of My Love from the Star which aired in 2014.[127]
  • In Singapore, the drama was streamed on Viu with English and Chinese subtitles. Each episode was available to stream eight hours after the original South Korean broadcast. During its run it was the most-watched show on Viu in the country and enjoyed ratings as high as 31.8%.[128][129] Statistics from March 2016 showed about 60% of users on Viu had tuned in to watch the drama.[130] In the week following its finale, eight songs from the drama's soundtrack occupied the top 10, including the top six positions, of Singapore's Top 30 Singles chart.[131] In May 2017, it was aired on Channel U and premiered on May 3, 2017.[132] It was dubbed into Mandarin and featured English and Mandarin subtitles.[133]
  • In Pakistan, the drama was dubbed into Urdu language and was shown on LTN Family by the name Tum hi ho.
  • In Malaysia, the drama was streamed on Viu with English, Malay and Chinese subtitles within 24 hours of the original South Korean broadcast.[134] It aired one week later on KBS World through ASTRO channel subscription. It premiered on 8TV on June 9, 2016, with Malay subtitles.[135]
  • In Vietnam, the drama premiered on April 21, 2016, on HTV2.[136] The popularity of the show drew 8000 tourists from Vietnam, who signed up for tour packages to visit major sightseeing areas and filming locations of Descendants.[137] Prior to the airing of the show, there was a debate on whether it's appropriate for Vietnamese to watch it given the alleged atrocities committed by Korean soldiers against civilians during the Vietnam War.[138][139]
  • In Thailand, the drama premiered on May 7, 2016, on Channel 7.[140] Prior to the screening of the drama in Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha, the prime minister of Thailand, called for citizens of Thailand to watch the drama claiming it conveys messages of "patriotism, sacrifice, obeying orders and being a dutiful citizen".[141] The drama's lead star, Song Joong-ki, was invited to Thailand by Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.[142] He visited the country to promote the drama as part of his Asia tour.[143]
  • In Japan, the drama premiered on June 21, 2016, on the cable channel BS Sky PerfecTV!.[144] Reports have claimed that the drama was sold for US$100,000 per episode.[145]
  • In Hong Kong, it was streamed on Viu with Traditional Chinese subtitles four hours after the original broadcast and also aired on ViuTV. Song-Song couple attended a promotional event for the premiere.[146] It recorded over 1.2 million views.[147][148]
  • In the Philippines, it was aired on GMA Network from July 25 to September 16, 2016, dubbed in Filipino.[149]
  • In Indonesia, the drama is available to stream on Viu with Indonesian subtitles.[150] It premiered on RCTI on July 25, 2016[151] and re-aired on Global TV on July 24, 2017.
  • In Cambodia, the drama premiered on August 5, 2016, on Hang Meas HDTV under the title, "រឿងភាគកូរ៉េ "ម្ចាស់ព្រះអាទិត្យ" dubbed in Khmer.[152]
  • In Sri Lanka, the drama is available to stream on Iflix with Sinhalese and English subtitles.[153] In late 2016, Google Trends revealed that in 2016 most people in Sri Lanka searched for "Descendants of the Sun" rather than "Donald Trump" which stood in stark contrast to most of the world.[154] A Sinhalese-dubbed version of the drama was later broadcast on Sirasa TV premiering on March 7, 2020 under the name "හිමන්තරා (Himanthara)".[155]
  • In India, it premiered on February 8, 2017 dubbed in Hindi and was on Zindagi and was well received by Indian audiences.[156] The Hindi dubbed version of the Series is also available to stream on a VOD platform owned by ZEEL, called ZEE5.

Other countries[edit]

  • In Greece, the drama premiered on December 7, 2016, on TV100 The Municipal Television of Thessaloniki with Greek subtitles. TV100 is the only TV network in Greece that airs K-Dramas.[157][158] The drama also contributed to the rise of tourism in Greece, where scenes of the drama were shot.[159]
  • In some countries, the drama is available to stream on Viki with subtitles in many languages created by the volunteer community. Each episode was available to stream a couple hours after the original South Korean broadcast.[160] The drama was also broadcast around the world on KBS World with English subtitles.[161] In particular, it enjoyed popularity in the United States, where the drama was the most-searched on Viki.[162]
  • The drama was put up for streaming worldwide on Netflix.[163]
  • In Peru, it was broadcast on April 10, 2017 through Panamericana Television in HD and SDTV on its digital and analog channels. Reruns of the show were aired during midnights in 2018.[164]
  • In Ethiopia, it aired on Kana TV dubbed in Amharic.[165]

Adaptation and sequel[edit]


A Chinese film adaptation produced by Huace Film & TV and directed by Zhang Yibai is planned.[14] A book based on the script is also planned for release.[166]

A Philippine television adaptation produced by GMA Network, starring Dingdong Dantes and Jennylyn Mercado, premiered on February 10, 2020.[12]

A Vietnamese television adaptation titled "Hậu duệ mặt trời", starring Song Luân, Khả Ngân, Cao Thái Hà, Hữu Vi, was aired on September 2018 for 48 episodes.[13]


As per KBS's Head of Drama, Jung Sung-ho, said the sequel is in planning, and filming would likely to take place in Greece.[167] This time, the sequel will be co-produced by Jidam Inc., the production company behind the hit and award-winning TV dramas My Daughter, Geum Sa-wol and Jang Bo-ri is Here!.[168]


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External links[edit]