The 10 Best Documentaries About South Korea

Oct 3, 2023 | Best Of, Culture, Geography

Do you want to explore different cultures and experience life in South Korea? If the answer is yes, then why not check out some of the best documentaries about South Korea available online. From stories about human rights issues to profiles of everyday people, there are a number of fascinating films that provide an insight into this unique culture and its people. In this article, we will highlight some of the most popular and well-reviewed documentaries about South Korea. So grab your popcorn and get ready for an eye-opening experience! First on our list is Democracy in North and South Korea, a documentary which focuses on the stark differences between the two countries.


1. South Korea. The most advanced country in Asia

South Korea stands out among its neighboring countries as the most advanced country in Asia, and you can learn a lot about its past by watching documentaries. I had the chance to visit both North and South Korea and my experiences there were eye-opening. 70 years ago, these two countries were split into different political systems: North Korea was supported by the Soviet Union while South Korea was supported by the United States and other Western countries.


2. The Untouchable Chaebols of South Korea

The story of South Korea’s chaebols is one that deserves to be heard. From Samsung and Hyundai, to the SK Group and beyond – these companies are at the heart of Korea’s economy and their power can often lead to corruption, monopolies, and labor abuses. But there’s a darker side to this modern Asian superpower. To outsiders, South Korean life may look glamorous, but behind the scenes lies a stark class divide.


3. From Makeup To Military: The Changing Korean Male

The modern Korean man is a force to be reckoned with – encompassing the full spectrum of style, from traditional military uniforms to cutting-edge K-pop fashion. But what lies beneath this outward transformation? This documentary explores the changing face of masculinity in South Korea and examines how its effects have been felt across generations. With interviews from industry figures, media experts and everyday Korean men, this film explores the cultural shifts behind the changing face of Korea’s modern male and what it means for its future.


4. South Korea’s Obsession With Plastic Surgery

South Korea is famous for many things – from its cuisine, to its technology, and even its beauty standards. In this documentary series, Jason Godfrey dives into the heart of South Korea to uncover its unique obsession with plastic surgery. From extreme body modification trends and skincare routines to cutting-edge medical technologies, Godfrey explores all aspects of this fascinating nation’s allure for self-improvement. From interviews with plastic surgeons, to conversations with locals who’ve undergone surgery, this series will uncover how South Korea is defining beauty on its own terms and why it’s become the new normal.


5. The Wall Between North And South Korea: A Border Story

The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) has been a source of tension between North and South Korea for many years. It serves as both an example of the complexities of international relations, and a barrier to peace between two nations with a long history of conflict. The Wall Between North and South Korea: A Border Story takes an in-depth look at the wide-reaching implications of this significant boundary line.


6. South Korea: An Obsession With Health

South Koreans have an almost obsessive relationship with health and longevity. This obsession is documented in the widely watched series of documentaries, South Korea: An Obsession With Health. The documentary reveals how South Korea has managed to maintain its impressive record of life expectancy by focusing on preventive medicine, healthy lifestyle habits, and access to quality healthcare.


7. Hell Joseon: The Price Of Happiness In South Korea

With its fast-paced success story, South Korea has certainly had a meteoric rise in the global spotlight. From an agriculturally focused nation to one of Asia’s most developed countries, this is a country that has seen remarkable growth and development. However, beneath the glitz and glamor of South Korean success lies a sobering statistic – it also has the highest suicide rate in the developed world. This documentary, Hell Joseon: The Price of Happiness in South Korea, takes a deeper look at why this is.



8. The bullying crisis sweeping across South Korean schools

Bullying and suicides have become an epidemic among South Korean schoolchildren in recent years, with a shocking one in three students reporting they’ve been victims of peer abuse. This heartbreaking issue has been thrust into the spotlight, prompting many to search for answers and solutions to this tragic problem. To that end, several documentaries have emerged that explore the subject and shed light on what’s really going on in South Korean schools. These films offer a unique perspective that can help build understanding and, ultimately, provide us with strategies to tackle this issue head-on.


9. The Power Of Hallyu – But At What Price?

The way South Korean culture has spread across the globe is nothing short of remarkable. From grandmothers in Tunisia singing along to BTS, to K-beauty products endorsed by popular K-drama actors, it’s clear that the impact of Hallyu – or ‘Korean Wave’ – has been profound. This multi-billion dollar industry has even given Hollywood a run for its money, creating a global phenomenon that shows no signs of stopping. But what’s the true price of this success? Documentaries such as The Power of Hallyu take an in-depth look at the journey South Korean media and culture have taken to become so popular worldwide.


10. Korea, The Tech Nation: A Double-Edged Sword?

South Korea is a nation experiencing rapid change and growth due to its technological advancements. On one hand, this provides opportunities for economic prosperity and innovation. But does it come at a cost to traditional values and culture? This documentary looks into the impact that digital revolution has had on the country. It explores the cultural shifts, asking how much the digital evolution has changed South Korea for better or worse. Along with this, it examines how this may affect the country’s future. A must-watch for anyone looking to understand the complexity of modern Korea.


Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B