It is based on the Japanese manga Itazura Na Kiss written by Tada Kaoru. The Korean series is the third television adaptation of the manga following the Taiwanese It Started with a Kiss in 2005, and its sequel They Kiss Again in 2007. Though Playful Kiss received low ratings in South Korea in the five to seven percent range, it was sold to 12 countries in Asia for approximately US$3,400,000 and developed a strong cult following, having been streamed 70 million times on Viki and earning US$400,000 in ad revenue through online streaming. Due to its international popularity, a short special edition was aired on YouTube after the series finale.
On October 19, 2012 it was announced that the drama would be edited down into a film version. This theatrical edition was released exclusively in Japan on a limited run to selected theaters in Tokyo and Osaka in December 2012. It was screened with the original Korean dialogue with subtitles in Japanese. Afterwards, a DVD of the theatrical edition was also released in Japan.