K-dramaThe Secret Message

The Secret Message ~ Review ~ Dramajjang


“Sometimes, there are things that can be felt without using any words.
Sometimes, there are things i want to convey without using words.
At times like that, we utilize different means other than using words.
A means that only you and i can understand, a special language.”


This is an article written by Kwon Sang Seung only for Dramajjang.co.


Ueno Juri had entranced me in Nodame Cantabile with her unforgettable and one of a kind performance and T.O.P, except for being my favorite Big Bang member, was exceptional in 71: Into the Fire. Truth be told, it was debatable on whether i wanted to watch The Secret Message or not and at some point i decided to watch the first episode out of curiosity.

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“I believed that one could only meet his/her true self through falling in love.”

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The Secret Message felt kind of directionless and all over the place in the beginning, but soon enough it started forging its own universe which was progressing with meaningful and distinctive steps. Without even noticing it i was already being gently devoured by its twofold aesthetic somewhere between humor and emotion and i could only finish it in one take. At the end of the day, i felt rewarded as i could often relate to the storyline’s flow.

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“Do you have days that you regret?”

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The Secret Message floats in a sea of fundamental questions about love and the way it affects people’s lives, questions which are usually enveloped in a rhetorical hourglass as personal as one’s feelings and so is the answer; if it ever appears in gracious light. The timing, the longing, the personal experiences, the wounds, the gloom of reminiscence and the agonizing hope for a heart’s sunrise are all engulfed in The Secret Message’s world.

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“Love is all about timing.
If something goes wrong while two people
Are exploring the chemistry between them
Fate separates them; mercilessly.”


Like a lengthy movie fragmented in parts, The Secret Message possesses a late 90s – early 00s film aesthetic, but it’s being filtered through a modern prism. Korean introversion and Japanese lyricism blend together to greet both countries’ temperament when it comes to an excessive sense of humor, unforced or slapstick. The humorous aspects of The Secret Message aren’t an end in itself, they’re there to lighten up its emotionally fortified nature and they succeed in it.

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“Love is a funny thing.
It seems like it will last forever, but it all ends in vain.
And the person who’s left behind is the only one who gets hurt.”


Subtle and elegant, at times poetic without feeling verbose or forced, The Secret Message infuses its older aesthetic through the natural cinematography’s modern point of view while emphasizing on the lighting factor, the surrounding environment and the character’s feelings. There’s a certain Japanese touch of faded yet caressing warmth accompanying the characters’ nighttime or golden brown afternoons followed by the closeups reflecting the figures’ internal world on the canvas of their faces. Just like the main characters come from South Korea, Woo Hyun (T.O.P/Choi Seung Hyun), and Japan, Haruka (Ueno Juri), the overall attempt holds a marriage of a wide variety of both countries’ characteristics through hilarious and sentimental explosions.


“Even so, when you loved someone,
Weren’t you happy enough at that point?
That’s why people love again despite everything, isn’t it?”


The Secret Message feels like sparse pictures in a collage of two people getting to know one another’s emotional map. The pieces of the puzzle come closer together through its ongoing chapters which possess their very own vibes as they steadily relate to one another. Gradually, the main figures’ intricate background stories become more specific and two seemingly parallel universes get intertwined in the middle of a magnetic wind. Hyun Woo filming an interview-oriented documentary concerning people falling in and out of love and Haruka dancing and expressing herself work as a self-healing process in search of answers which could chase away the shadows of the past.

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“Is it okay to consider this a type of fated encounter?
Is it okay for my heart to be aflutter, like this?”

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Both T.O.P and Ueno Juri were marvelous in their characters’ presentations and they lived up to my personal expectations with the first one being utterly hilarious but also filled with emotion whenever he had to and the second one with her refreshing sense of tranquility and emotional eloquence. The chemistry was strong between them through a sense of absence that was making each one of them more than present  in one another’s lives with their characters’ distinctive auras. The Secret Message is all about Woo Hyun and Haruka, all secondary figures were there to strengthen the main characters’ development, solely and together. However, this doesn’t mean that they didn’t have their own specific yet simplistic background stories playing their own part with their humorous surface and sentimental underlays in this emotional intelligence quest .

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“What are the chances that one man and one woman
Out of the seven billion others in the world would meet?”


The Tokyo Tower possessed its own Over Time (Takashi Sorimachi and Makiko Esumi) dynamics, more like a feeling rather than in terms of scenario structure and deeper symbolism, but it became a central aspect of The Secret Message at some point. The Secret Message reminded me a bit of Il Mare (Jun Ji Hyun and Lee Jung Jae) in terms of ambiance, but with a different sense of mailbox and its very own characteristics and approach.


“The two of us existed in the same space, at the same time.”


The Secret Message is a parallel yet intersecting journey of two worlds apart yet together about “the things i’d like to ask just once and the things i’d never want to ask you, because it makes me a bit scared, but i would like to hear your story; because it’s you.”


This is an article written by Kwon Sang Seung only for Dramajjang.co.


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Kwon Sang Seung

Kwon Sang Seung

elles viennent
autres et pareilles
avec chacune c'est autre et c'est pareille
avec chacune l'absence d'amour est autre
avec chacune l'absence d'amour est pareille
-Samuel Beckett-


  1. December 11, 2015 at 10:39 am — Reply

    wow, this is excellent and does it justice….this short series was a total (pleasant) surprise to me. i called it cerebral, modern, and artsy. i really wish we could have more like this one.

    i love how you were able to put a narrative to the balance between the korean & japanese aspects of it. the tonality of this work is why i love certain jdramas and anime…secret message resonated with me in a similar way.

    awesome review.

  2. December 11, 2015 at 10:50 am — Reply

    ps. i did my year end dramalist here if you get bored 🙂 secret message is on it, along with some others you’ll recognize.. https://studiocafebleu.wordpress.com/

  3. March 29, 2016 at 5:04 am — Reply

    Thank you for the thoughtful review.

    I just finished watching the drama, and I love its gentle tone and simplicity. It quietly resonates with you even before you know it.

    • March 29, 2016 at 5:15 am — Reply

      You’re very welcome and thank you so much for commenting! 🙂 The picture formation is a bit odd because we recently migrated the blog, but in time i will fix all the older articles one by one! 😀 Indeed, before you even notice it you simply can’t stop watching until you finish it, but then you’d wish it was a bit longer even if you know that its duration was just perfect for conveying everything it had to 🙂

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