Hallyu, also known as the Korean Wave, is in a unique position presently. For the first time, the international fandom of K-pop and K-dramas are having more of an impact than the domestic fans in South Korea.

The statement has been proven true multiple times over the past couple of years. An example pertaining to K-pop includes K.A.R.D. as they aren't the most popular K-pop act in South Korea but have major appeal internationally, especially in South America. As for K-dramas, last year's "Scarlet Heart Ryeo" didn't do so well in viewership ratings but was the most expensive K-drama sold to China and the most watched K-drama on DramaFever during its run.

Now a new K-drama is proving to be South Korea's most popular TV export! "While You Were Sleeping" proves to be highly popular internationally before and during its airing as it trumps mediocre appeal in South Korea.

Fans show unprecedented levels of engagement for K-drama

Internationally or specifically for the United States, "While You Were Sleeping" is airing on streaming site Rakuten Viki. Prior to its airing, Clara Kim, the communications manager at the streaming site, stated they were "seeing an unprecedented level of engagement from their fans from just the trailer alone."

On their Facebook account, ongoing campaigns related to "While You Were Sleeping" already earned more than 882,000 total in reach. This includes more than 190,000 views for short videos and trailers too.

A love story formed out of saving lives

It shouldn't be a surprise why "While You Are Sleeping" has received the amount of hype and engagement prior to airing.

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For starters, the male and female leads are Lee Jong Suk ("Doctor Stranger," "Pinocchio," and "W") and Bae Suzy ("Dream High" and "Uncontrollably Fond"). Second, it is written by Park Hye Ryun, the same writer known for "Dream High," "I Hear Your Voice," and "Pinocchio."

The synopsis details the K-drama is about a woman named Hong Joo (Bae Suzy), an unemployed journalist who can see unfortunate events in her dreams. She meets (and eventually falls in love) with Jae Chan (Lee Jong Suk), a prosecutor who knows about her dreams as he himself has the same ability or power. Chan does all he can to prevent both his and Joo's dreams from coming true.

International fans have shown their love!

"While You Were Sleeping" has all the elements for a successful K-drama. However, its appeal and viewership in South Korea have been mediocre. Nationwide, the K-drama only earned single-digit viewership ratings. What's worse is at times it is actually getting close to numbers that might be so low that a rating may be impossible to record.

International fans, on the other hand, have shown nothing but love and support for "While You Were Sleeping." It is one of the most watched K-dramas on Rakuten Viki. To see why it is so popular, "While You Were Sleeping" airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 PM KST on the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS). For those who don't have access to that channel, it can be viewed exclusively on Rakuten Viki.