Tree of Heaven Korean Drama Review

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Lee Wan and Park Shin Hye

Tree of Heaven is a classic 2006 drama about a teenage Korean girl (Park Shin Hye) named Ha Na who is living in Japan. Her mother remarries a man with a son (Lee Wan), and they leave the son and Ha Na with their mean aunt while they go on a trip.

Ha Na struggles to connect with her step brother who is closed off and doesn’t speak after experiencing trauma as a child. But the two eventually grow closer and soon develop romantic feelings for each other.

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Park Shin Hye

Park Shin Hye plays Ha Na. Her father died when she was young, and her mother later remarries. She is sweet, caring, and beyond excited to get to know her new step brother. Park Shin Hye was just a teenager in this drama, and she was so adorable! I already loved her, but this just made me love her even more.

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Lee Wan

Lee Wan is Yoon Suh. Losing his mother when he was young traumatized him which caused him not to speak and be withdrawn and aggressive. But he begins to open up to Ha Na, and she becomes his whole world.

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Park Shin Hye, Asami Reina, Kim Chung

We’ve also got our villains which consist of possibly the most horrible aunt (Kim Chung) and cousin (Asami Reina) ever. They scheme, are rude, and the aunt is abusive towards Ha Na. It’s just awful to see all they put her though.

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Lee Wan and Park Shin Hye

Tree of Heaven has been on my watch list for ages, and I was waiting for a good opportunity to squeeze it in between some of the newer dramas. This forbidden love story between step siblings is a quick watch with only 10 episodes. And well, this drama was…interesting to say the least. I had a lot of mixed emotions regarding it.

First, it was a bit difficult to watch at times because of how Yoon Suh treats Ha Na, especially in the beginning. He has a traumatic past which has caused him to be very closed off and not speak. He’s also very inconsiderate and standoffish.

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Lee Wan

As he slowly begins to warm up to Ha Na, it’s evident that he cares for her. But since he’s never had feelings like this, finally connecting with someone combined with his issues makes him quite possessive of her.

He’s aggressive with her, pushes her, and basically stalks her. Being rude and dismissive is one thing, but getting physical is another level. It’s not “meant” to be abusive, but it definitely crosses a line. A lot of the scenes were just uncomfortable to watch.

In order to try and enjoy the relationship, the drama requires some serious suspension of how we would normally view this type of behavior (as a side note, please never let anyone treat you like this in real life no matter how much you love them or they say they love you).

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Park Shin Hye Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Lee Wan

From a story perspective, Yoon Suh is portrayed as a man who is traumatized that finally connects with someone for the first time. It’s all new to him, and he becomes possessive since he doesn’t want to lose her.

So I fully understand the dynamics at play. This drama definitely takes a certain lens to view it though. And thankfully, the aggressive behavior does settle down a lot as the drama progresses.

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Lee Wan and Park Shin Hye

These are two struggling people who love each even that haven’t been dealt the best hand in life.Β At first, they aren’t supposed to be together because they are step siblings. They didn’t meet until they were older, but a relationship like this is very frowned upon. So that’s adds a juicy forbidden aspect to the romance.

Their feelings are much more troublesome for Ha Na who is more active in trying to push Yoon Suh away. That’s what causes some of the extra aggression on his part since he is desperate not to lose the one person he loves and who he knows loves him too.

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Park Shin Hye Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Lee Wan

We follow the story of our lovers from a small town to Tokyo where things get even more complicated for them. There is plenty of angst to go around as Ha Na just can’t catch a break in life with bad things just constantly happening to her.

The duo still struggle with what their relationship is too. There’s a whole lot of back and forth between them in that regard. Park Shin Hye cries buckets of tears in this drama!

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Lee Wan and Park Shin Hye

As the drama progresses, I knew I was supposed to be taking a lot of things seriously, but Yoon Suh’s behavior was portrayed and then edited in such a way that it felt like it was some kind of satire because of how over-the-top he was.

He’s meant to be a protector of Ha Na who is always there for her…whether she knows it or not. He’s always lurking around and doing things for her without her knowing. It’s meant to be romantic, but the way it was edited just made it funny because it seemed ridiculous.

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Park Shin Hye and Uchida Asahi

Do you see that faint image of a man in the window up high?

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Lee Wan

Yep, it’s him doing his stalker thing πŸ˜‰

If you actually just changed the music and attempted to portray his actions a bit differently, you would seriously think he was a stalker or serial killer. It was so over-the-top! I just had to laugh at it. I still enjoyed the drama despite that though.

Something unique about the series was that it was a joint venture between South Korea and Japan. It was set in Japan and had a mixture of Korean and Japanese actors. That gave it a very different flavor that I really enjoyed. I also loved the wintery feel of the drama as the cold and snow were used frequently as a backdrop throughout it.

Tree of Heaven Korean Drama - Lee Wan and Park Shin Hye

Tree of Heaven is a sad, tearjerker type of show. It feels heavy, but it also has moments of levity. These forbidden lovers have a difficult road to walk both in life and in their relationship. Yoon Suh and Ha Na loved each other very deeply and brought us an emotional romance that packed a punch.

My Rating: 7/10

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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19 Responses to Tree of Heaven Korean Drama Review

  1. Timescout says:

    One of them oldies, eh. I watched a fair share of those when I was a drama noob. Mostly because there were several available, fully subbed. This wasn’t one of ’em though. My tolerance for OT makjang was already low and just reading the synopsis and few reviews had me running to the hills. πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Yep, I know pickings were a lot slimmer back then, hehe. I think you made the right call since I don’t think you would care for this one. It’s definitely over the top in the drama department. It feels a bit dated, but it was fun enough overall πŸ™‚


  2. Kdrama Crazy says:

    Park Shin Hye is looking so young. Haven’t heard of this drama before. Looks good. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ckdrama says:

    This fine line between love and stalking is such a thing in dramas, though I mostly see it in C-Drama’s. Your example of changing up the music is soo good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      That there is. This kind of love only works in dramas because we as the audience know the character’s motives are good, but thinking about if some drama behavior happened in real life, we’d just be thinking some of these guys are crazy stalkers, lol

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kate says:

    I worry about being honest here but I totally did not like this one. I finally dropped it after episode 7 even though there were only a few left. I liked nothing about it but the most difficult was having to endure PSH crying her eyes out in what seemed like every scene! And being a 16 year old actress who’s supposed to be playing someone much older in an obviously adult relationship was such poor casting! So sorry I couldn’t like it 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      I was going to ask how this one ended up fairing for you. Oooh, the completionist in me hurts that you dropped it with only a few left, lol. You’ve got skills πŸ™‚

      Whew, I know what you mean about Park Shin Hye. She cried more than I have ever seen. Such a pitiful character. I thought the casting choice of her was interesting. It’s much more common to cast older actors when they have to play teenage and adult versions of a character. But she fit the high school version so well I can see why they would want to cast her. Plus, she was already an established child actor which probably helped.

      Luckily, I found a good lens to enjoy this one through, but a lot of stuff that was supposed to be serious and emotional I found really funny. So maybe not how it was intended? hehe Sorry it didn’t work for you though. And no worries, always feel free to share your thoughts on a dramas whether good or bad. I’ve went to town on a drama or two I didn’t like πŸ˜‰


      • Kate says:

        I’m glad you enjoyed it and we have the same “need to complete” gene but oh my, I just couldn’t take it anymore 😦 At least you were able to find redeeming qualities to keep you going, that’s where the drama failed me/I failed the drama, I couldn’t find anything to like 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  5. MyKDramaticLife says:

    wow. haven’t known there is this kind of drama, dear Kay.


  6. MyKDramaticLife says:

    Anyways, did you just drop Perfume? I look forward to your review on that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Best Korean Dramas of 2019 | Kdrama Kisses

  8. Fama says:

    I loved reading your review! (Though I do respectfully disagree with some things) and I find this is one of the dramas that pierced me to my soul. The emotions this show brought out in me, I’ve never experienced with any other drama. Or movie. (Except for lion king lol)
    I think it was mainly the acting by the lead actors that had me so spell bound. Both of them had a rawness to their acting and it actually worked for this drama. They share a breathtaking chemistry and because I was so surprised to hear that lee wan hasn’t appeared in mat dramas, and because I want to see PSH and him in another melodrama but with a happy ending, I’ve created this petition on
    I hope you sign it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the read despite some differing opinions in place πŸ™‚ It really is such an emotional drama, and the actors really delivered some amazing performances. You could feel the intensity of their connection.

      Although I had some quibbles with it here and there, it was still a very good an enjoyable drama. It would definitely be great to see Lee Wan and Park Shin Hye together again in another melo. I’ll bookmark the petition to check it out later πŸ™‚


  9. Kat says:

    This is by far one of my favorites and I rewatch it every year πŸ™ˆ I loved your review and I agree haha, some parts where funny bc of the camera transitions/zooms. Also when they met up again after 2 years, he was stalking her a lot LOL but I understand that’s how his character loves her since the beginning. I really like how she loved her with his whole heart (literally too). If they can reunite again, that would be fantastic. If there is a remake of this kdrama, I think it’ll be super good too. I’m really happy now park shin hye is in a healthy relationship & lee wan is married πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      How great that you love this drama so much! πŸ™‚ I’m happy you enjoyed the review too. Yes, there were definitely some funny parts with how they filmed the drama and the stalkerish vibe of the main lead, hehe. But like you, I understood what they were going for with his character and how deep his feelings were for her. I too would enjoy a reunion between the duo sometime in the future πŸ™‚


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