Fan service is one of the terms viewers learn early on when watching k-dramas. The term comes from anime and manga fandom and means anything added to please the audience. In k-dramas it often refers to scenes in which a male actor reveals his abs purely to please fans.
While a k-drama plot may create a reason for the actor to disrobe, it"s often purely for the sake of eye candy. Here are some reasons we have observed for k-drama actors going shirtless.
1. The Shower Scene: The shower scene is the number one way to provide lingering looks at an actor"s abs. The point of the scene may be to express how anguished the character is about what has or might happen, but the focus is only partially on his face. Some notable shower scenes include Kim Soo Hyun in "You Who Came From Another Star," Lee Min Ho in "Boys Over Flowers," "Personal Taste" and "City Hunter" and Gong Yoo in "Coffee Prince," but just about every k-drama actor of note has done one. In historical dramas shower scenes may be substituted with bath scenes such as the one Ji Chang Wook did in "Empress Ki."
2. Swimming pool scenes: Pool scenes are the next best excuse k-dramas have for showing abs. Jung Il Woo had an anxiety attack while swimming in "Flower Boy Ramen Shop" but not before showing viewers his form. He also swam a few laps in "49 Days." Hyun Bin showed off his strokes in "My Lovely Kim Sam Soon," while Choi Si Won of Super Junior undressed to impress and swam in "Oh My Lady."
3. Getting dressed for work: That moment takes place before the actor puts on his crisp white shirt to head to the company he invariably runs or the fancy private school he attends. In a brief flash viewers get to glimpse the abs the actor worked so hard to develop. Think Kim Hyun Joong in "Boys Over Flowers" or Lee Soo Hyuk in "High School King of Manners." Or even Hyun Bin in "My Lovely Kim Sam Soon," before he heads out to make life tough for Kim Sun Ah.
4. Injuries: While treating an injury may be a legitimate reason for removing your shirt, it"s also an opportunity for more fan service. Cha Seung Won proved he still had what it takes when injured in the line of duty on "You"re All Surrounded." As k-drama villains rarely stab anyone where it might actually kill them, a chest or stomach wound can create drama without obscuring too much of an actor"s abs.
5. Waking up in bed next to someone you did not mean to spend the night with: This does not happen too often but when it does the characters are always embarrassed by their lack of clothing. Still Jang Hyuk in "Fated To Love You" and Lee Jang Woo" in "I Do I Do" got to show off their abs before they hurried to dress.
Do you have a favorite shirtless scene? Let us know.