Was produced in March 2002 in South Korea. It was broadcast on Japan's NHK and has been a major part of the Korean wave both there and throughout Asia.
What is it about Winter Sonata that touches so many women of all ages throughout Asia? this Korean TV drama series offers more than a complex love story, intriguing plot twists, good acting, memorable scenes and lines, not to mention, breathtaking winter scenery backed up by melancholic music tunes. Unlike most tragedies with a sad ending, Winter Sonata reached a bittersweet conclusion even though everyone who had intimate connection with the two main characters paid the heavy price of emotional and mental agony.
The main reason for Winter Sonata's popularity could be attributed to its bold exposition of the various aspects of love: 1) puppy love; 2) first love; 3) possessive love; 4) lost love; 5) parental love; and 6) true love. Everyone in the audience has experienced at least one or more of these different shades of love, where he or she could empathize with any of the characters at one time or another in this melodrama.
The story begins when Joon-Sang, the son of an eminent musician, moves to Chooncheon, a rural city in South Korea. As an extraordinarily talented student, Joon-Sang is welcomed by his fellow students as well as teachers, but remains a quiet, introverted young man. As a result of his belief that his father is dead, as well as conflict with his mother, Joon-Sang believes that no one truly loves him.
One day on the ride to school, Joon-Sang's classmate Yoo-Jin interrupts him on the bus. Joon-Sang soon falls in love with Yoo-Jin, who opens herself to him with an innocent heart. Their love, however, is cut short after Joon-Sang is involved in a serious auto-accident and, due to brain damage, is unable to recall his past life.
Joon-Sang's mother, desiring Joon-Sang's love and respect, has Joon-Sang brainwashed by a psychologist, so that Joon-Sang will not remember his painful childhood, as an illegitimate child. As a result, Joon-Sang's memories prior to the accident are erased. Joon-Sang's mother decides to move to the United States with Joon-Sang, where he can start a new life under the identity of Lee Min-Hyeong. His friends and teachers are told that Joon-Sang is dead.
Ten years later, Min-Hyeong is an award-winning architect in the United States. He does not remember anything about his life in Korea. He is completely different, an open-minded person who cares about other people, including his mother. He returns to Korea and Yoo-Jin sees him on the street, prompting her to put off her engagement to childhood friend Sang-Hyeok. Little does she know that Min-Hyeong is dating her friend and sometime rival Che-Rin. The story's plot intensifies when Yoo-Jin begins work at the firm where Min-Hyeong is employed, and tries to find out if he is her lost lover Joon-Sang.
In conclusion, Winter Sonata delivered a tearjerker with a moving tale and unforgettable characters. It brought a paragon mate for a modern woman to life, exemplified by Joon Sang -- handsome, sensitive, intelligent, and successful in life. More importantly, he was able to love a woman with complete gentleness and understanding, even at the risk of his own welfare and happiness. In addition, the drama series successfully revealed the manifestations of love in real life, to which everyone in the audience could relate. As Winter Sonata makes its appearance around Asia, its popularity will certainly grow, for it possesses all the elements of a classic drama.
It has also been adapted into an anime series which aired in October 2009.
Here is the link direct to drama and anime -