20 Lovey-Dovey Real and Imaginary Couples
In matters of love, it’s generally considered sensible to focus only on that which affects us directly. After all, love is difficult enough to find and keep in one’s own life without having to worry about finding it for another. Plus, sometimes it’s considered rude to nose into the affairs of a third party. But sometimes, you have two people that you just know would be totally right for each other. When they’re together, their chemistry is so palpable the atmosphere practically feels electric. They might send each other quick glances, or show more concern for the other’s welfare than is really necessary. Or they might even go the other route and try to hide their feelings by teasing each other mercilessly. In these cases, you might suspect that the two are seeing each other privately, but are keeping their relationship on the DL. There’s just really no way of knowing, is there? But occasionally, in the best of worlds, you discover that the stars have aligned and this guy and girl who belong together have opened their eyes and are now officially involved.
As most of us know, this particular phenomenon is called “shipping,” and here on Soompi, the shipping community is alive and thriving on our shippers’ paradise forums. Over the past month, we held a friendly contest for our shipping community to commemorate Valentine’s Day, and the various fandoms showed up in full force to support their “ship.” Pictures, videos, and text — every team did a wonderful job of making us understand and believe in why their ship belongs together. Here we condensed a bit of content from every participating fandom. In completely random order, let’s do a run-down of 20 of the best real and imaginary couples in the world of Korean entertainment!
Park Shin Hye + Lee Min Ho (MinShin Couple) Fan Vote 2nd Place
Face-to-face: In 2009, Park Shin Hye and Lee Min Ho first crossed paths as ambassadors for cosmetic brand Etude House. Then in 2013, they costarred in “The Heirs,” which went on to become one of the blockbuster hits of 2013.
Why you should ship them: Both of them are among the top Hallyu stars of their generation. When you put them together, they become an unstoppable force!
Moon Chae Won + Song Joong Ki (Burning Toast Couple)
What brought them together: The two starred together in the 2012 drama “Nice Guy.” Aside from their onscreen chemistry, fans who witnessed the filming were quick to note that Song Joong Ki put his coat over Moon Chae Won to protect her from the cold.
Their personalities: She’s polite and honest, but ever-so-slightly aloof. He’s an easy charmer whose smile lights up the room. When put together, their chemistry was such that the scriptwriter and director had the easy task of translating their real-life connection to the drama.
Why you should ship them: After Song Joong Ki returns from the military in 2015, he will undoubtedly need someone to welcome him back to the real world. Someone as beautiful, talented, and famous as he is… yes, that sounds just like Moon Chae Won!
Song Hye Gyo + Jo In Sung (O2 Couple)
Why are they the O2 couple? Jo In Sung and Song Hye Gyo starred in “That Winter, The Wind Blows” as (fake) siblings Oh Soo and Oh Young, hence O2. Also, as their shippers reminded us: “O2 stands for oxygen. These two will take your breath away once you watch their story.”
Drama love quote: “Love is like the wind… you can’t see it, but you can feel it.”
Who should ship them: Those who think a big height disparity is super cute (Song Hye Gyo is 1.61m, Jo In Sung 1.87m). Song Hye Gyo said, “Even I thought we looked good together onscreen. Since he’s tall and I’m short, it feels like a romance comic.”
Jun Ji Hyun as Cheon Song Yi + Kim Soo Hyun as Do Min Joon (Alien Couple)
Who they are: He’s an alien who landed on earth 400 years ago during the Joseon dynasty. She’s a modern-day top Hallyu actress. (Or, in another life: He’s an up-and-coming actor and singer, and she’s… a modern-day top Hallyu actress.)
What brought these two together: He experienced a deep bond with her Joseon-era doppelganger, only to remove himself from human attachment until she moved into the next-door apartment. (Or, in another life: They starred across each other in the hit movie “The Thieves.”)
Who should ship them: Anyone going through “Man From the Stars” withdrawal syndrome (just as we are).
Park Shin Hye + Jung Yong Hwa (Dooley Couple)
Background: These two clearly have a good rapport, as evidenced by their frequent mentions and praise of each other in interviews throughout the past few years. The two met in 2009 when both starred in “You’re Beautiful.” To this day, Park Shin Hye is the only female celebrity followed by CNBLUE’s official Twitter.
Unofficial motto: Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest… It’s about who came and never left your side.
Who should ship them: Anyone who believes that the strongest love has its foundation in long-lasting friendship.
Son Na Eun + Lee Taemin (First Love Couple) Fan Vote 3rd Place
Who they are: SHINee’s adorable maknae and A Pink’s adorable visual combined their adorable forces in “We Got Married” to make the sweetest, most innocent married couple you ever saw.
What they share in common: Rosary rings and baptismal names (they’re both Catholic), a love of meat, and being in the same middle school class (albeit at different times).
Who should ship them: Anyone who believes that the first love is the most everlasting.
Lee Min Jung + Lee Byung Hun (Hunnie Couple)
Background: The international superstar and the up-and-coming actress dated briefly in 2006, broke up, and reconciled in 2012. This time it was for good — the couple got married on August 10, 2013, at the Grand Hyatt Seoul.
What they share in common: Both were born in the year of the Dog, and both have O blood type. (In Korea, these traits have additional significance regarding the person’s character: people born in the Dog are said to be loyal, honest, and thoughtful; and people with O blood type are said to be ambitious and confident.)
Who should ship them: The extremely pragmatic — this couple is actually married in real life, so need to dream about the impossible.
Seohyun + Jung Yonghwa (YongSeo Couple) Fan Vote Winner
How they met: CNBLUE’s Jung Yong Hwa and Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun were introduced to each other on February 11, 2010 as the second couple of the second season of “We Got Married.” Their onscreen marriage lasted a little over a year, during which time they endeared thousands with their politely awkward behavior that slowly warmed into a considerate and gentle marriage.
It’s never the end: Recently, when asked whether he keeps in touch with Seohyun, Jung Yong Hwa admitted that they contact each other once in awhile, and that he wouldn’t be ready to film another season of “We Got Married” with a new wife.
Who should ship them: Anyone who believes in strength in forces: The “gogumas,” as the YongSeo fans call themselves, are arguably the most famous fandom of this type, and their willpower is not to be underestimated. They even managed to get YongSeo as a Wikipedia article. Why not see what all the fuss is about?
YoonGi Couple (Im YoonA + Lee Seung Gi)
Why 2014 is the Year of YoonGi: YoonGi shippers woke up on New Year’s Day to a wonderful surprise — the news broke in Korean media that the couple was actually dating in real life!
Who they are: Lee Seung Gi and YoonA are known as the CF king and queen in Korea. To be fair, those same titles also gone to various others, including Kim Soo Hyun, Kim Tae Hee, and Suzy. Still, the two are known as some of the most coveted celebrities for product endorsement. Talk about a power couple!
Who should ship them: Anyone who enjoys seeing loyalty finally earning its reward. On variety shows, Lee Seung Gi has named YoonA as his ideal type for five years in a row, so many times that it became a running joke. YoonA had also expressed her positive feelings about Lee Seung Gi. And now the two are dating!
Jung Yumi + Jung Joon Young (PocaGuri Couple) Staff Pick 3rd Place
Official couple motto: “Devote as we please.” (It’s a combination of the personal mottos of the two.)
What they share in common: A love of alcohol (so their WGM home was well-stocked with beer and soju)!
Why you should ship them: Yumi’s nickname is Pocahontas. Joon Young’s nickname is Raccoon. But unlike the Disney movie in which the Raccoon acted as the sidekick of Pocahontas, these two met on “We Got Married” as a partnership of equals.
Jung So Min + Kim Hyun Joong (Oppa/Dongseng Couple)
How they met: The two starred in the 2010 drama “Playful Kiss.”
What they have in common: Strong willpower. She’s an actress who defied her father’s order to stop taking the ballet lessons through which she was introduced to the acting field. He’s an actor and singer who ran away from home after his parents refused to support his dream of becoming a musician.
Who should ship them: Anyone who believes that living one’s life with constant determination and perseverance will lead you to your dream.
Ha Ji Won as Ki Seung Nyang + Ji Chang Wook as Ta Hwan (TaNyang Couple) Staff Pick 2nd Place
Who they are: She’s the strong-willed woman who evaded her fate as a tribute woman and instead joined the Goryeo military, dressing as a man to do so. He’s the young emperor whose kingdom is threatened by his own weakness.
Why they need each other: “They complement each other… Ta Hwan is weak but Seung Nyang makes him strong. Seung Nyang is strong, but Ta Hwan makes her whole.”
Why you should ship them: Because “Empress Ki” is still airing, and you need your fellow shippers to share the joys and sorrows of TaNyang.
Yoon Eun Hye + Park Yoochun (ChunHye Couple)
How they met: Although they appeared together on the variety show “X-Man” in 2004, their first acting appearance was when they starred opposite each other in the 2012 drama “I Miss You.”
Trademark feature: When asked on separate occasions to describe the other, both Yoon Eun Hye and Park Yoochun used the word “baeryoshim.” Baeryoshim is a Korean word meaning putting others before oneself. Yoon Eun Hye once said that Park Yoochun possessed a lot of this quality, and Park Yoochun echoed a similar sentiment in an interview, saying that baeryoshim is the word that comes to mind when he thinks of Yoon Eun Hye.
Who should ship them: Those who believe that having sensitivity to the needs of others, and always being willing to deliver upon those needs, is a crucial component to a successful relationship.
Choi Sulli + Choi Minho (MinSul Couple)
From the same source: Both are idols from SM Entertainment: He’s the SHINee member with the puppy-dog cuteness; she’s the equally cute member of f(x).
In the same drama: The two starred across each other in “To The Beautiful You,” and it was there that people began to notice that the onscreen charisma was matched by offscreen chemistry. Sending each other looks and smiles, staying close together, visiting each other on set — every moment was noticed by the keen-eyed MinSul shippers!
Who should ship them: Anyone with a SM bias.
Fujii Mina + Lee Hongki (Daramji Couple)
Who they are: He’s the outgoing lead vocalist of FTISLAND who’s been in the spotlight since launching his career as a child actor. She’s the quiet, bookish Japanese actress who’s appeared in many K-Pop MVs. During their first meeting, each of them commented that they found the other to look like a chipmunk (“daramji” in Korean). Thus, the Daramji Couple was born!
What they share in common: Fluency in Japanese and Korean (and widespread recognition in both countries).
Who should ship them: Anyone who believes that opposites truly do attract. Also, anyone who likes chipmunks.
IU + Jo Jung Suk (JoU Couple)
How they came together: The two starred as the charming protege and arrogant but awkward manager in “You’re the Best, Lee Soon Shin!”
Their other names: Besides JoU, this couple has two other names in Korea. Their official couple name is actually the Gwiyomi Couple, “Gwiyomi” being derived from the 2013 hit song of the same name. The phrase is now used as a form of slang to mean “aegyo,” the Korean word for “cutesy.” In other words, JoU is known as the Cutesy Couple. Their other couple name is “Eye Smile” Couple, which refers to the presence of the charming “eye smile” present in both Jo Jung Suk and IU every time they are in each others’ presence or discussing each other during interviews.
Why you should ship them: Anyone who likes their couples adorable to the max. Besides, Jo Jung Suk has publicly chosen IU as his ideal type and tweeted about JoU selcas with captions of being “very, very happy.” How can you not love that?
Go Ara as Najeong and Yoo Yeon Seok as Chilbong (Cider Couple)
Why they belong together (even if dramaland deemed otherwise): “Passion is fleeting, and reality is quick to set in to couples who are blinded by passion without having reasons to stay together. What lasts longer is the relationship that starts off as a slow burn, getting hotter and larger with time, effort and mutual respect. In Chilbong and Najeong, they are the yin to each other’s yang. What one lacks the other makes up for. Put their skills together, and these two could have really gone places — a power couple.”
Why you should visit the thread: For all the “what ifs” in your world. Sometimes you just need to see how things could have been in an alternate reality.
Why you should ship them: “Unfortunately, in the dramaland of ‘Reply 1994,’ the Cider Couple did not end up together. However, their potential as a couple and their chemistry was too enormous and beautiful to ignore. Cider is for the gut-wrenching, heart-shaking splendor of the things that could’ve been and the things that never were.”
Gong Hyo Jin + So Ji Sub (SoGong Couple) Staff Pick Winner
What they share in common: Tattooed forearms, Chrome Hearts jewelry, and being former models.
What they don’t share in common: He’s a loner; she’s an outgoing spirit who knows how to laugh in most situations.
Why you should ship them: Free-spirited and oh-so-cool, SoGong is a couple for those who are less interested in puppy love and more interested in the mature connection between two unique souls. Plus, there’s evidence of their onscreen and offscreen chemistry (even the “Master’s Sun” crew couldn’t help but ship SoGong)!
Lee So Yeon + Jeon Yoon Han (SoHan Couple)
Who they are: Lee So Yeon is a model/actress who starred in “Dr. Jin” and “Dong Yi.” Jeon Yoon Han is a pianist/composer who has released several singles and two full albums. Together, the two form a harmonious, multi-tasking duo.
How they met: The pair were coupled on the fourth season of “We Got Married.” Inspired by her beauty, Jeon Yoon Han played an impromptu piece for Lee So Yeon. It was the beginning of a virtual marriage that won over many with the couple’s honest and realistic portrayal that made you think that the pair would do well together in real life too!
Who should ship them: People who feel sad that the SoHan era ended on “We Got Married” — don’t worry, you can ship the couple forever here on Soompi (and wait for news that they are getting married in real life).
Go Ara as Najeong and Jung Woo as Trash (Nareki Couple)
Congratulations to all fandoms! To see the full entries (and you must, because they are so much more awesome than the very very very condensed versions seen in this article), check out all of our contest rounds here: