Unless you are watching a drama set in a time before phones were invented, cell phones will play an important part in the plot of whatever k-drama you watch. The cell phone or hendeupon, to use its Konglish name, is used so frequently in drama plots that it almost becomes a character in its own right.
Characters never leave the house without their phones and almost everyone, no matter how poor they are, can afford the latest model. And while the whole world increasingly uses cell phones to stay in touch, k-drama characters use them to hatch evil plots, blackmail people, complicate their romances, and in general move the plot forward.
In "School 2013" Lee Jong Suk used a cell phone to warn the bullies who tormented him that he has recorded their threats. In "Rooftop Prince" Park Yoochun sends a picture to his villainous cousin to warn him that he knows what he did in the past. In "The Heirs" Lee Min Ho secretly watches Park Shin Hye to see how she will react to her phone messages.
In "I Need Romance 3" Kim So Yeon is annoyed at Sung Joon when he calls her not realizing he is the same person she has been crushing on.
And if a k-drama character gets separated from his or her phone, trouble can ensue. When Lee Jong Suk has his phone taken away by his teacher, it puts Lee Bo Young in danger.
There are a few reasons that cell phones are everywhere in k-dramas. A 2013 International Telecommunications Union study found that more than 100 percent of all South Koreans have cell phones, while only 50 percent of Americans did. That means many South Koreans have more than one phone. That same year another study found that among South Koreans, ages 6 to 19, at least 65 percent had smartphones.
Why the prevalence of phones? South Korea is home to electronics giant Samsung Electronics, one of the world"s largest smartphone makers. And phone manufacturers undoubtedly pay to place their products in dramas.
Why do k-drama characters type so fast? The simplicity of the Korean language and the way the symbols are set up on the keyboards of Korean cell phones make it easier to type really fast.
Cell phones play a big part in dating in the real life of South Koreans too. There"s less waiting for a phone call or playing it cool. If you meet someone you like in Korea, you are likely to text that person right away.
And yes, because so many students have cell phones, teachers will confiscate them and hold them until class is over. That"s another reason students may have more than one mobile phone.