Gumihos (구미호) are mythical fox-like creatures from South Korean folklore.
K-dramas often portray gumihos as nine-tailed fox spirits with unearthly beauty, intelligence, and supernatural abilities, such as shape-shifting into human form. Notable elements often include the gumiho’s ability to manipulate illusions, their mystical powers, and the moral dilemmas surrounding their pursuit of a human heart in order to become fully human.
Popular dramas such as My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and Tale of the Nine-Tailed (both of which we get to talk about in this list!) beautifully depict the allure and complexity of these mythical creatures while exploring themes of love, sacrifice, and identity.
So, here’s our list of the best Korean gumiho dramas!
My Roommate is a Gumiho, TVN (2021)
My Roommate is a Gumiho follows the life of a college student, Lee Dam, who accidentally swallows a gumiho’s bead, forcing her to live with a 999-year-old gumiho, Shin Wooyeo.
Wooyeo had lived all this time with a desire to become a human, so to prevent him from turning into an evil spirit, they must retrieve the bead from within Dam’s body. In exchange for the bead, Wooyeo agrees to help Dam achieve her dream of a perfect college life – including having a romantic relationship.
As they live together, they navigate their differences while developing a quirky friendship that eventually blossoms into something deeper.
The drama humorously captures their daily life, mishaps, and the challenges of living together as they embark on a quest to resolve their supernatural quest.
Tale of the Nine-Tailed, TVN (2020)
The fantasy drama series Tale of the Nine-Tailed revolves around Lee Yeon, a nine-tailed fox who hunts and exterminates malicious spirits as a former mountain spirit and guardian.
He has been looking for the reincarnation of his past lover, Aheum, and crosses paths with television producer Nam Jiah, who’s determined to uncover the truth behind her parents’ mysterious death. As they team up, they discover a connection between Jiah’s family tragedy and a malevolent presence known as Imoogi.
Alongside Lee Rang, Yeon’s half-brother, seeking revenge, they confront ancient grudges and embark on a quest to protect both the human and supernatural realms.
The drama intertwines their pasts, relationships, and the pursuit of justice against dark forces in the realm of myth and reality.
Gu Family Book, MBC (2013)
Gu Family Book follows Choi Kangchi, a half-human, half-gumiho born from a human mother and a legendary nine-tailed fox.
After tragic events force him to leave his home, Kang-chi embarks on a journey to find the Gu Family Book, a mythical manuscript that holds the secret to his transformation into a full human – a dream he has longed for his whole life.
Along the way, he encounters Yeo Wool, a skilled martial artist, and becomes entangled in various conflicts while seeking to uncover his origins and protect the people he cares about.
Kangchi navigates a world filled with the challenges of being neither fully human nor gumiho, all while striving to fulfill his destiny and find his place in the world.
The Thousandth Man, MBC (2012)
The Thousandth Man revolves around a gumiho, Gu Mijin, who has consumed the livers of 999 men to become human. She needs the liver of her 1,000th man to achieve her goal but only has a few months to do it before she disappears.
To complete her transformation, she targets a human named Kim Eungsuk. However, complications arise when Mijin develops feelings for Eungsuk’s kind-hearted nature.
To complicate matters further, Mijin’s younger sister, Gu Mimo, is sent to persuade Eungsuk to willingly sacrifice his liver for Mijin.
As Mijin gets closer to Eungsuk, she faces a dilemma between her quest for humanity and the genuine affection she begins to feel for the human.
My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, SBS TV (2010)
My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho revolves around Cha Daewoong, a young man who accidentally frees a legendary gumiho, Miho, from a painting.
Miho, a centuries-old mythical creature, desires to become human and needs Daewoong’s help to do so. In return for his assistance, she promises to help him achieve his dreams.
As they navigate their unusual arrangement, Miho learns about the human world while Daewoong grapples with the responsibilities and consequences of their bond.
Their relationship grows deeper as they face challenges from both the human and supernatural realms, but their growing relationship hits a speed bump when they learn that neither will be able to reach their dreams without consequences for the other.
Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho, KBS (2010)
Set during the Joseon dynasty, Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho (literally translated as Gumiho: Tale of the Fox’s Child from Korean) follows a mother-daughter duo who live under unfortunate circumstances.
Sandaek, a gumiho, has left her human husband and wanders the lands with her daughter Yeonyi, who has yet to learn how to use her gumiho powers. They meet Doosoo, who has a daughter of his own, Chook.
Chook is sick, leading Doosoo to plan a betrayal against Sandaek and Yeonyi. As he begins to fall in love with Sandaek, however, his plan changes and Chook begins to harbor negative feelings against the mysterious woman and her daughter, who has started to grow into her gumiho form.
Forbidden Love, KBS2 (2004)
Action drama series Forbidden Love introduces Shiyeon, a woman living two lives: by day, she works at the natural history museum, but by night, she is one of the best warriors of the Nine-Tailed Fox Clan.
Despite carrying a troubled past, she works hard to maintain the balance between their world and the world of men. However, life throws her in for a loop when she crosses paths with Detective Kang Minwoo.
She saves his life when his undercover identity is blown while investigating a serial murder case ravaging their city.
Now, they must work together to solve the case while Shiyeon makes sure that the detective keeps her identity as a gumiho a secret.