What does Ji An Mean to Dong Hoon?

~ An analysis of our titular ahjussi, Dong Hoon, and what Ji An means to him based on Ep 1-13, by Soompiers ~


Here is what we know so far: Ji-an is his source of strength, otherwise he would have died from the pain of losing his soul. Dong-Hoon does not want to say it to her because of the fear of how will that sound.

Why is he so afraid if those words don’t mean anything else? He is fine as long as Ji-an is in the confines of his world and workplace. It is selfish but that is Dong-Hoon’s personality. The same way that he keeps Yoon Hee in the state of purgatory. Always the safe approach and too afraid to take a step. I could understand the frustration of some people here because of the ambiguity but what else is new? This show has been walking that fine line of grey area since episode 7. Dong-Hoon’s character frustrates me a lot in this episode but I could forgive him a little because his brothers found out about the affair. So, the whole family dynamic needs to be shown and fleshed out. I really hate the fact that Dong Hoon still choose to remain a spectator in his own life. He would rather just suffer instead of dealing the hard choice of a crumbling marriage. I agree with @ninaanin that Yoon Hee revealed the affair to Ki Hoon because she is also tired of pretending like everything is ok and keep on suffocating in that apartment. Yoon Hee also wants to expedite the process of her punishment so that she can move on from living in hell. It is very hard for me to root for a male lead that does not directly say what he means. Words are important too. He again loves to mope around and walk in circles. This is 85% of the drama and our Ajusshi still remains ambiguous. He also have moments of pure courage like with Gwang Il and in that boardroom. I just wish the show focuses more on his strengths rather than his indecisiveness. There is a clear lack of development in Dong-Hoon’s character. Come on PDnim give me something here so that I can root for him! Dong Hoon is the male lead for goodness sake! How can you make this character so apathetic.

The longing never stops.. in fact Dong-Hoon never bothered to hide it anymore around the office. What a shocker! The restlessness, agitation, and annoyance from the knowledge Jian is not there. Those are the feelings that Dong-Hoon is exhibiting because he could not breathe from the emptiness without her. So it makes me wonder when his actual anger will start? All that breathlessness is not good for the brain. We all know Dong-Hoon is capable of such rage particularly Joon YoungD and Gwang Il are both trying to trap Ji-an into submission. He will erupt soon enough especially if she keeps on hiding like that.. Dong-Hoon will find Ji-an even in the depths of hell because she is the reason for him to keep on breathing and staying alive. Ji-an seems unaffected by the separation because of the phone tap. Wait until she will lose that ability. I guess another round of restlessness, agitation, heavy breathing, and panic? We already seen the glimpse of her behavior on episode 7 when she forgot to get off the train and was hurrying back to find him. The only time she took a deep breath was when she saw Dong-Hoon across the street. Viewers   may have different definitions about their connection but in my opinion their relationship never really fits into any mold or label. Ji-an is his reason to breathe and Dong-Hoon is her reason not to fall into the abyss. They unknowingly try to save each other from dying. This is a matter of life and death for them. And there is nothing more romantic than that… but of course this is just my own humble opinion.


Yeah, I love the progression.

During their first drinks/meals together, he was nervous and self-conscious. Their conversations were prickly and forced.

Then they grew comfortable around each other. He was no longer afraid to be seen with her. Looked for her, asking “Have you seen that pretty girl?” Shared a smile after chugging beers. When people criticized her at work for being rude, he openly defended her.

Dong Hoon and Ji An share smiles after chugging / choking on beer. Credit: @mujay

She kicks him so he doesn’t miss his subway stop. She slaps a team member who dares to criticize him. She runs to him when he’s fallen in the snow, and she runs to him when he lingers at a bridge for too long. She runs into the path of an oncoming car to stop his wife from hurting him any more. She tells him, “Fighting.” She tells his friends, “Thank you.” When anyone asks her if she likes him, she answers, “Yes.” Kwang-Il, Yoon-Hee, a room full of execs. It doesn’t matter who. She tells them the truth.

She loudly and proudly defended him in front of all the executives. He loudly and proudly defended her in the same way, in front of the same people. He will not let anyone talk crap about her. When she’s gone, the first thing he does is to go look for her. It’s the only thing he cares about right now. His career hangs in the balance and his home life is in shambles. But he sees those slippers in his drawer, and all he can think about is her.

Image result for swoon gif


I think Joon Young perfectly described who Dong-Hoon is when they fought on the roof.

We’re so constantly bombarded by the perfect male lead, that this pathetic, super-flawed Dong-Hoon is making us terribly impatient and angry. WHY IS HE STILL SO AFRAID??!!!! WHY IS HE STILL NOT IN CONTROL OF HIS LIFE?!!!

But there are many Dong-Hoon’s in this world, and while can stand by their side and cheer them on, ultimately they themselves must take the first leap. I too hope Dong-Hoon will learn from JH; that bar scene where it was just the two of them gives me hope.


Dong Hoon and Ji An are the most romantic non-romance ever!

What this writer/director team have proved: you don’t need hugs, kisses, back hugs, hand pulling, all that XXX to make the best damned love story.


Here’s another quote that I read that fits these two lonely souls who found each other:

The best kiss is the one that has been exchanged a thousand times between the eyes before it reaches the lips.

In their case, with the way they look at each other, then you can say that Dong Hoon and Ji An have already made love so many times.


That is why when someone ask you for a hug … Just hug them! OK?

Cause you’ll never know if you’ll ever get the chance to be asked by that person again.

You might end up with a pair of slippers instead.

Don’t go about exploding and shouting what-crazy-rabbit-emoticon.gif Ji-Aaaaan !!!
You had your chance.


The irony,

The slippers!! Wasn’t Cinderella supposed to leave her slippers and run away? But here’s Ji an (not a Cinderella) leaving a pair of slippers that fits our Ajusshi which makes him wild and lost in thoughts as he storms out to find Ji an… Just kidding!


I’m guessing the writer has a timeline when Dong-Hoon will make the crucial decisions he needs to make. Jung-hee waited 20 years? to move on… Give the Dong-Hoon a break. If I look on Dong-Hoon’s situation rationally, what is the right thing to do? I would have just rolled up in a ball and cried my eyes out. We are flawed as humans, and sometime watching other people being flawed we forget or own flaws. What would we do if we were in the exact same situation as the character? How would we handle it in the moment?


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