Loan sharking as a common plot element

I notice that loan sharking appears in Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and Taiwanese dramas. Though most of these cases it is BL stories, I suspect that loan sharking is a common plot element. But correct me if I am wrong. I would be interested if it is in primarily BL dramas but not in general.

I remember that loan sharking used to be in American TV dramas and movies, but I think it stopped in the 1960s or early 1970s. I don’t know if loan sharking actually stopped, but I don’t remember loan sharking being in a drama. It might be that it was a subject that writers stopped using. But on the other hand in news reporting you would hear of loan sharking and then it stopped being a topic in American news.

It shocks me that in the Korean dramas they can seize and injure citizens. I would think it would be injurious to national feelings about the identity of the nation. But maybe that is because I don’t see it in American dramas or it isn’t as prevalent as K-dramas make it out to be.

So some questions.

  1. Is loan sharking prevalent? Or is this over represented in dramas?

  2. What is the general public feeling about loan sharking?

Of course I should point out that predatory loan practices do exist in the USA, but you aren’t going to be beaten up if you can’t pay.

For example, there are Pay Day loans which are usurious. But they take future payment of wages and grant money upfront so there is no need for enforcement.They just collect the paycheck.

There are complaints about the Student Loan program also.

This is one of the striking elements of East Asian dramas, and it might just be ethnocentric perceptions from myself.

It’s not just BL it’s a prevalent trope in Asian Dramas in general. I don’t know a lot about Korean culture other than the little I’ve read and Kdramas but I have the impression that it’s not uncommon. I don’t know if you’re very familiar with Knowing Bros (aka Men on a Mission) one of their cast members has been quite open about his debt and has talked a little about loan sharks. If it wasn’t common I don’t know why they’d talk so openly and even joke about his debt, which he finally paid off, I think it was last year.

I can’t remember many dramas it’s in but let me try Cinderella and Four Knights, When Time Stopped, Boys Over Flowers, Heirs, Revolutionary Love (I think,) Well Intended Love Season 1 (supporting character)


Thank you for the info.

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