With the election of Mr Moon Jae In in May this year, South Koreans finally have a charismatic "People's President" to call their own.
Mr Moon, 64, is a liberal leader who listens to the people and reaches out to them. He clearly bears in mind that he rode to office on the back of public anger and desire for change after his predecessor was impeached in March.
Winning 41 per cent of the vote in a 13-way race, the former human rights lawyer and special forces soldier set out to restore faith in a nation reeling from the massive corruption and influence-peddling scandal that brought down former authoritarian leader Park Geun Hye.
"I will become a president who can wipe away the tears of the people. I will... open a new era of the 'Gwanghwamun president'," he said, referring to his decision to move his office from the heavily-guarded Blue House to the accessible Gwanghwamun .
Mr Moon was quick to roll out the people-friendly policies that were promised during his campaign, such as creating over 880,000 new jobs and implementing reforms to get rid of deep rooted corrupt practices.
Although loved by the people - his approval rating once shot to a record high of 87 per cent - Mr Moon has also drawn flak for pandering to populism as questions grow over how the government can finance his new policies.
He has also faced criticism on the foreign policy front, accused of being too soft on a belligerent North Korea that is fast advancing its nuclear and missile programme.
But the son of North Korean refugees seems determined to engage the North, to the point of asking Washington to consider delaying their joint military drills early next year to get Pyongyang to freeze provocations and return to negotiations.
Analysts have also warned of challenges of walking a tight rope between South Korea's security ally, the United States, and the country's largest trading partner, China. But Mr Moon appears to be coping fine, winning over US President Donald Trump, thawing strained ties with China and diversifying South Korea's trade and diplomacy by reaching out to South-east Asia.
His next hurdle will be improving ties with Japan, and it remains to be seen if he will accede to growing calls to scrap a "final and irreversible" deal signed in 2015 to end a wartime sexual slavery dispute.