One of the things I find really interesting is the use of ghosts in Asian shows. Most Western shows treat ghosts as either evil beings or guest stars. We have shows like Medium or Ghost Whisperer which have ghosts, but none of the ghosts stick around for more than a couple episodes. Occasionally you’ll have a ghost as a regular guest star on shows like Charmed, but the only Western tv show with a ghost as a main character I can think of is Being Human.
Contrast that with their use in Asian dramas. Sure, we still get the evil beings and guest star versions of ghosts (think Master’s Sun), but we also get ghosts as main or supporting characters. Even when we don’t get actual ghosts characters still talk about them.
One of the grey areas is whether the spirit of a person in a coma counts as a ghost or not. I am going to say they are since in every instance I know of the person has the same rules as a ghost and many times they don’t even know know about the coma at first.
My criteria for the shows to be discussed are that they must include actual ghosts, not just mentions of them or one character having a vision of a dead person one time, and have aired since 2010.
Who Is the Ghost?
Ghost as Main Character
Interestingly enough, the shows which have a female ghost as a lead are Korean. In Arang and the Magistrate (2012) Arang is a virgin ghost with memory loss and a mystery about how she died. In Oh My Ghostess (2015), Soon Ae is a virgin ghost with limited memory loss and a mystery about how she died (anyone else see a pattern here?). In 49 Days (2011) Ji Hyun is in a coma and gets chance to live if she can accomplish some tasks as a spirit.
The only male ghost I know of that gets top billing is Lin Hong Pei in the currently airing I’m Sorry, I Love You (Taiwan). Hong Pei is a little different because his presence is directly tied to a watch he was holding when he died. Continue reading