Are you a fan of Sageuk or Historical period korean dramas? If you are, then you must have noticed that aside from aesthetic sceneries, fabulous clothes and grandiose palaces, Korea has a long and interesting political history.

Sageuk drama is a great way to learn about Korea’s fascinating history and culture. Thus, we listed each of the historical periods and popular kdramas that took place in that reign. Join us as we travel and learn about the past!

1. Three Kingdoms Of Korea

This period started when the Korean Peninsula was divided into three Ancient Kingdoms namely Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla. Each of the Kingdom has their own unique distinction.


Located on the Northernmost part and was the largest of the three kingdoms. It was founded by Jumong who was known for his archery skills and who was believed to be the grandson of the water god Habaek.

Jumong — the story mainly revolves about the founder of Goguryeo who is Jumong.


It is the kingdom located in the Southwest part of the Peninsula. It was founded by the third son of Jumong, Onjo. Baekje was known for its naval power.

ALSO READ:  Park Bo Gum is BLOOMIN' on his first Japanese album
Gye Baek — Set in the Baekje kingdom in the mid-7th century, the drama chronicles the life and times of the storied warrior General Gyebaek.


Located in the Southeast portion of the peninsula. Silla dynasty was known for its heavily decorated costumes and palaces. They were known to wear plenty of accessories. Thus, this dynasty is known as the glittery nation. This era gave birth to the Hwarangs, a group of male warriors who studied art, martial arts, and swordsmanship. Silla is known for their hierarchical system called the bone rank system. This is a rigid lineage-based system that will rank you according to your position in the society.

Hwarang — An elite group of young men called Hwarang discover their passions, love and friendship in the turmoil of the Silla Kingdom.
Queen Seon Deok — A young queen unites three turbulent kingdoms despite opposition from a powerful lady of the court.

2. Unified Silla and Balhae

With the help of China, Silla defeated Goguryeo and Baekje and was able to unify the three kingdoms in the South, the peninsula was later called the Unified Silla. Meanwhile in the North, Dae Jo Yeong founded Balhae as a successor state of Goguryeo.

Dae Jo Yeong — is a historical korean drama about the life of Dae Jo Yeong, the founder of the kingdom of Balhae.

3. Goryeo

The dynasty that ruled over for centuries. Established by King Taejo. The name Goryeo inspired the name of Korea.

Empress Ki — A woman sent to the Yuan Empire in China as tribute eventually rises to become the primary Empress.
Faith — It is about a modern-day plastic surgeon who is kidnapped and travels back in time to the Goryeo period, 700 years in the past. There, she falls in love with her kidnapper, a warrior who is the leader of the royal guard.
Scarlet Heart Ryeo — During a total solar eclipse, a 25-year-old 21st-century woman, Go Ha Jin is transported back in time to the Goryeo Dynasty. She wakes up in the year 941 in the body of Hae Soo and encounters the many royal princes of the ruling Wang family.
Shine Or Go Crazy — about the romance between a Goryeo prince and a Balhae princess.

4. Joseon

ALSO READ:  LOOK: Kim Mi Kyung shares mother-daughter chemistry photos with Jang Nara from her wedding

Most of historical kdramas took place in this period because of its rich advancement in arts, science, and literature but among all the significant achievements in this reign was the birth of Hangul which was invented by King Sejong.

Six Flying Dragons — The story of the foundation of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea and ambitions, success and conflicts of several real and fictional people, with a focus on the young prince Lee Bang Won.
Jewel In The Palace — It is based on the true story of Dae Jang Geum, the first female royal physician of the Joseon Dynasty.
Gunman in Joseon — Joseon’s last swordsman, Park Yoon Kang, ditches his sword for a gun and becomes the era’s hero.
Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People — tells the story of Hong Gil Dong, the son of a servant who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, and his journey in becoming Joseon’s first revolutionary activist.
Arang And The Magistrate — Arang returns after her death to find her killer and bring him to justice. Arang enlisted the help of Eun Oh who can see and hear her. Their journey to solve the mystery of Arang’s death is full of laughter and unexpected romance.
Moon Embracing The Sun — Love story between King Lee Hwon and a female shaman named Wol. Wol was born from a noble family and became the crown princess, but she was entrapped and faced execution.
Love In The Moonlight — A crown prince begins to fall in love with his political eunuch, who is really a young woman posing as a man.
Jang Ok-Jung, Living by Love — it is a reinterpretation of Jang Hui-bin’s life, as a woman involved in fashion design and cosmetics-making.
Queen Of Seven Days — A love story between Queen Dangyeong and King Joongjon.
My Sassy Girl — Love story of a cold city scholar Gyeon Woo who’s known as “Joseon’s national treasure” and the sassy princess Hye Myung.
Yi San, Wind Of The Palace — dramatizes the life of Korea’s King Jeongjo, the 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty. He is remembered in Korean history for his sympathy with the plight of the common man, in spite of his own pampered upbringing as royalty.
Dong Yi — Choi worked in the royal palace as a lowly water maid. King Sok-jong then selected Choi as his concubine. Choi would then give to birth to the second son of King Sok Jong and the future king of Joseon.
Sungkyunkwan Scandal — centers around 4 young handsome students who study at Sungkyunkwan University and tells the story of their love and friendships.
Scholar Who Walks The Night — A daughter from a collapsed noble family, due to being branded a traitor, dresses up like a man and goes out to sell books. She meets an attractive scholar walking at night who is a vampire.
Ruler: Master of the Mask — is about a Joseon prince who is forced to hide his face with a mask who fights against injustice in society by going up against a shadow organization wanting to privatize the waters of Joseon. 
Mr. Sunshine — centers on a young boy who is born into slavery but after a traumatic event escapes to the United States during the 1871 U.S. expedition to Korea.

5. The Japanese Occupation

Japan officially took control of Korea in 1910 and renamed it Chosen. Japanese reign was often quite harsh. For the first ten years Japan ruled directly through the military, and any Korean dissent was ruthlessly crushed. Japanese occupation of Korea lasted until 1945 when the Japanese were defeated in World War II. Following the war, Korea was divided by Western powers.

Chicago Typewriter — tells the story of three writers who lived during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1930s and are reincarnated into the present.

6. Korean War

The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea. The war started on June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border. As a product of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, Korea had been split into two sovereign states.

Legend Of The Patriots — its production was spawned to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War. The story centers around the lives of eleven Korean soldiers fighting in the Korean War.

That was a long trip! If you were given the chance to travel back in these periods, which dynasty would you like to go?

Share this post:

25 thoughts on “A Guide To Historical Period Kdramas

  1. Thank you for this. 💙💜 I indulge more on Sageuk dramas [and when I am fully interested, I add researches to understand more the rich Korean history]. This journey to read is both a pleasure and a learning experience. May you be a new fan or not. Thank you for sparking the interest on the other periods as well. I am currently watching Six Flying Dragons and I just love everything especially Yoo Ah-in. 😊😊

Leave a Reply