The Best Korean Historical Drama
Korean Historical Drama
Are you looking for the list of the best Korean Historical Drama of all time? Look no more, I've compiled the lists here.
Korean Historical Drama is a fictionalized dramatization of Korean history based on a specific era. It is usually portrays a journey of a person from their young lives until they made a history in that era. Sometimes, it's also portrays the life of a particular King and each of the obstacles, difficulties he experienced during his reign time as a King.
This genre of drama mainly involves very complex story lines combine with great martial arts and sword fighting. My husband used to say that historical drama is like a CSI movie but in Korean language. As the story is very complex and long, each drama usually have 50 episodes and each episode is one-hour long. Nowadays, the length is a bit shorter (around 24 episodes).
Korean Historical Drama also begin to sweep across the world, so most of them have English subtitles, making everyone who doesn't speak Korean be able to enjoy the drama as well.
Last Updated: January 2014
Dae Jang Geum
Dae Jang-Geum is the first Korean Historical Drama that I watched and it's the reason why I'm addicted to Korean Historical Drama.
Follow the journey of Jang-Geum who learnt cooking & medicine and in the end became King's personal female physician.
Title: Dae Jang Geum but also known as Jewels in the Palace
Number of Episodes: 54 and Each Episode is approx. 1 hour long
Original run: September 15, 2003 - March 30, 2004
The story is set in Korea during the reigns of King Seongjong (1457-1494), King Yeonsan-gun (1494-1506) and King Jungjong (1506-1544)
Main Cast Members: Lee, Young-Ae as Seo Jang Geum, Ji Jin-Hee as Min Jung-Ho, Hong Li-Na as Choi Geum-Young and Im Ho as King Jungjong
Dae Jang Geum Episode 1 Part 1
The story about King Jeongjo who is the only son of Crown Prince Sado and Lady Hyegyeong. Follow his journey as the Ruler of the Joseon Dynasty as he rises to power, his assumption of the kingship, and the labyrinthine palace intrigues that he must constantly guard against.
Title: Yi San
Number of Episodes: 77 and Each Episode is approx. 1 hour long
Original run: September 17, 2007 - June 16, 2008
The story is set in Korea during the reigns of King Yeongjo (1724-76) and King Jeongjo (1776-1800). They were the 21st and 22nd Ruler of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea.
Main Cast Members: Lee Seo Jin as Yi San / King Jeongjo, Han Ji Min as Seong Song-yeon (who later one became Lady Seong/Consort Ui of Seong Clan), Kyeon Mi-ri as Lady Hyegyeong, Park Eun Hye as Queen Hyoui
This historical drama is set during the reign of King Sukjong who is the 19th King of the Joseon dynasty - year 1683-1724. It focuses about the life of Choi Dong Yi who later on become Royal Noble Consort (Choi Sukbin) and gives birth to a son called Geum who later on become 21st King of Joseon, King Yeongjo.
Title:Dong Yi also known as Dawn
Number of Episodes: 60 and Each Episode is approx. 1 hour long
Original run:March 22, 2010 - October 12, 2010
The story is set in Korea during the reigns of King Sukjong (1674-1720) of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea.
Main Cast Members:Han Hyo Joo as Choi Dong Yi who later become Choi Sukbin, Ji Jin Hee as King Sukjong, Bae Soo Bin as Cha Chun Soo, Lee So Yeon as Jang Hee Bin / Jang Ok Jung, Park Ha Sun as Queen Inhyeon
Immortal Admiral Yi Soon-shin
The drama tells the story of one the world's greatest naval heroes, Admiral Lee Soon Shin who won victories against the Japanese Navy during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598) in the Joseon Dynasty.
Title: Bulmyeolui Yi Soon-shin also known as The Immortal Lee Soon-shin / Immortal Admiral Yi Soon-shin / Immortal Yi Soon-shin
Number of Episodes: 104 and 2 special programs
Original run:September 04, 2004 - August 28, 2005 (September 04, 2005)
The story is set in Korea during year 1592 - 1598
Main Cast Members:Kim Myung Min as Lee Soon Shin, Lee Jae Ryong as Yoo Sung Ryong, Choi Chul Ho as King Seonjo, Choi Jae Sung as Won Gyun
As a mysterious thief, Iljimae robs from corrupt government officials and gives to the poor. At the scene of each robbery, he leaves a small painting of a branch of red plum blossoms called a "mae hwa". (His name reflects this act: il means "one", ji means "branch" and mae means "plum tree".) Because of his goodwill, the citizens try to protect him while the King and the officials are trying their best to catch him.
Number of Episodes: 20
Original run:May 21, 2008 to July 24, 2008
Main Cast Members:Lee Jun Ki as Gyeom/Yong/Iljimae, Han Hyo Joo as Eun Chae, Lee Young Ah as Bong Soon, Park Si-Hoo as Cha Dol/Shi Hoo
This is a story about a boy, Jumong. King Geum Wa raises him as his own son and Jumong has to compete with his other siblings for the title of Crown Prince.
He will have to choose between the love of two very different women, the wise, beautiful So Seo No (Han Hye Jin) and the innocent, charming servant girl Bu Yeong (Im So Young). This drama portrays his journey in which later on he establishes one of three Three Kingdoms in Korea, Goguryeo and he is the first ruler of that kingdom.
Number of Episodes: 81
Original run:May 15, 2006 - March 6, 2007
The story is set in Korea in 37BCE
Main Cast Members:Song Il Gook as Ju-Mong, Han Hye Jin as Soh Suh No, Kim Seung Soo as Prince Dae-So, Hu Joon Ho as Hae Mo-Su
Daewang Saejong (King Sejong the Great)
King Sujong the Great is known as one of the greatest King in history. He's one of the only two Rulers who's posthumously honored with the appellation "the Great". This drama depicts the life journey of King Sujong who is still one of the significant figure in Korea for developing Korean Language.
Title: Dae Wang Sejong also known as The Great King Sejong / King Sejong / Sejong the Great
Number of Episodes: 86
Original run:January 5, 2008 - November 16, 2008
The story is set in Korea during the reign of King Sejong (1418-1450) of the Joseon Dynasty
Main Cast Members:Kim Sang Kyung as King Sejong, Kim Young Chul as King Taejong, Choi Myung Gil as Queen Won Kyeong (Sejong's mother), Lee Yoon Ji as Queen So Heon, Lee Hyun Woo as Prince Choong Nyeong (later Sejong), Nam Ji Hyun as young Princess Shim (later Queen So Heon)
The Return of Iljimae
Illjimae is back to steal from corrupt government officials and help the poor. He's back to give justice to all the poor.
Title: Dolanon Iljimae / The Return of Iljimae also known as Iljimae Returns / Moon River
Number of Episodes: 24
Original run:January 21, 2009 - April 09, 2009
Main Cast Members:Jung Il Woo as Il Ji Mae, Yoon Jin Suh as Dal Yi / Wal Hee, Kim Min Jong as Goo Ja Myeong, Jung Hye Young as Baek Mae
The King and I
In every Korean historical drama, we always see the eunuch who always serve and protect the King. Hence, this drama is a life journey of Kim Cheo Seon who is a faithful eunuch for various Kings, such as the 5th King, Munjong, and the 10th King, Yeonsangun, during the Joseon era. The "I" in the title actually refers to the "eunuch" and this drama portrays the life journey of Kim Cheo Soen from childhood and during his time at the palace.
Title: The King and I also known as King and Me
Number of Episodes: 63
Original run:August 27, 2007 - April 1, 2008
The story is set in Korea during the Joseon Dynasty
Main Cast Members: Oh Man Suk as Kim Cheo Seon, Goo Hye Sun as Yoon So Hwa, Ko Joo Won as King Seongjong, Lee Jin as Jung Hyun
Queen Seon Deok
Beautiful story about Queen Seon Deok who is the first female ruler in the Sillia Dynasty.
Deokman was born as a twin, however she who was sent away outside the palace by her father, King Jinpyeong, in order to protect her from a court lady, Mishil who tries to snatch away the throne from the royal successor.
Later on, she's brought back into the palace and with her twin sister, Princess Cheonmyong, they fight together to oppose Mishil. Mishil's evil plan makes the two princesses exile from the palace and during a secret battle, Princess Cheonmyong is killed.
Princess Deokman asked General Kim Yusin to help her, they are able to eliminate Mishil and she ascends to the throne and become Queen Seon Deok.
Title: Queen Seon Deok also known as Seondeok Yeo Wang
Number of Episodes: 62
Original run:May 25, 2009 - December 22, 2009
The story is set in Korea during the reign of Jinpyeong (579 -632) i& Queen Seondeok (632-647) of the Silla Dynasty
Main Cast Members:Lee Yo Won as Princess Duk Man who later on become Queen Seon Dok, Nam Ji Hyun as young Princess Duk Man, Ko Hyun Jung as Lady Mi Shil, UEE as young Mi Shil, Uhm Tae Woong as Kim Yoo Shin, Lee Hyun Woo as young Kim Yoo Shin, Park Ye Jin as Princess Chun Myung, Shin Se Kyung as young Princess Chun Myung
Seo Dong Yo
Forget Romeo and Juliet, this is a beautiful love story in the Baekje Dynasty between Seo Dong and Seon Hwa. Seo Dong is actually a royal by blood, his mother who is a palace dancer have an affair with King Wadoek. However, he doesn't know about that fact and live outside the palace as a commoner.
Seo Hwa is a princess from Silla. They both fall in love and endure a difficult time as a relationship between commoner and princess are prohibited at that time.
Moreover, there more drama about General - Buyeo Seon who's trying to kill all King Wadoek's heirs in order to overthrow him from the throne. At the end, Seo Dong finally know about his royal blood and ascends to the throne & become King Mu, the 30th King of Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea
Title: Seo Dong Yo also known as Ballad of Seo Dong
Number of Episodes: 55
Original run:September 05, 2005 to March 21, 2006
The story is set in Korea during King Wadoek and King Mu Rules in the year between 600-641.
Main Cast Members:Jo Hyun Jae as Seo Dong /Prince Mugang/King Mu, Lee Bo Young as Princess of Silla, Ryu Jin as Gi Ru/Kim Do Ham, Lee Chang Hoon as Mok Rasoo, Kim Young Ho as Buyeo Seon