‘Gwenchana’: Korean slang expression goes massively viral on TikTok

‘Gwenchana’: Korean slang expression goes massively viral on TikTok‘Gwenchana’: Korean slang expression goes massively viral on TikTok
via @lee2kyung
Bryan Ke
October 4, 2023
A Korean slang expression popularized by K-dramas is quickly amassing millions of views on TikTok, with users creating ironically hilarious clips of them saying “gwenchana” as they slowly break down in tears.
Key details: The term, which means “I’m alright,” “It’s fine,” “It’s fine with me,” “I’m OK” or “It’s alright,” depending on the context, became a viral meme on TikTok after Malaysian vlogger Imran Bard uploaded a clip of himself saying gwenchana repeatedly before breaking down sobbing on his TikTok channel on Sept. 11.
Bard’s clip has already amassed over 44.3 million views since it was first uploaded.
Its origin: “Gwenchana” originated from a humorous scene in the K-drama series “Welcome to Waikiki,” which ran from 2018 to 2019.
The scene starts with Lee Joon Ki (played by Lee Yi Kyung) picking up Kang Dong Gu (Kim Jung Hyun) and Han Yoon Ah (Jung In Sun) with the car he named Rebecca, which is way over its prime condition.

As Kang and Han enter the car, the man notices that everything inside it is slowly breaking apart, such as the seat belt, grab handle and glove box, prompting the car owner to repeatedly tell his passenger, “gwenchana,” as parts of his car break down.
How people reacted: Many TikTok users used Bard’s sound clip to showcase their own take on the “gwenchana” meme. One viral clip shows a cat with begging eyes, while another shows a user applying skincare products to his face while the on-screen text reads, “When you do your skincare but your skin doesn’t care.”
The biggest take: However, the most viral take of all was made by “Welcome to Waikiki” actor Yi Kyung Lee himself when he recreated the meme using Bard’s video and sound clip. Lee’s post has amassed over 46 million views since being posted on Sept. 21.
In the video, Lee can be seen asking Bard if he is OK. Like in the source material, the two slowly spiral into melancholy as they repeatedly say “gwenchana,” culminating in Lee telling Bard, “I feel you.”
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