Eight Sageuk K-Dramas That Give Us a Glimpse of South Korea's History


Sageuk refers to South Korean historical films, plays, and television series. The genre exhibits the country’s traditional clothing, politic...
Sageuk refers to South Korean historical films, plays, and television series. The genre exhibits the country’s traditional clothing, political system, infrastructure, way of life, challenges and successes, values and beliefs, and so on. If you are interested in this genre, we have put together a list of Sageuk that will take you through the history of South Korea.

Queen for Seven Days

Queen for Seven Days is a sageuk based on the true story of the woman who reigned as Queen of South Korea for the shortest time. It recounts the story of Lady Shin or Queen Dangyeong (Park Min Young), who was dethroned and expelled from the palace by her political rivals after only seven days as Queen during the Joseon dynasty.

You can watch Queen for Seven Days on Netflix and Viu.

Moon Embracing the Sun

Moon Embracing the Sun is based on a novel of the same name. It tells the story of Crown Prince Lee Hwon (Kim Soo Hyun) and his first love, Heo Yeon Woo (Han ga In), who became Crown Princess but lost her memory and became a shaman during the Joseon Dynasty. Yeon Woo returns years later to reclaim her rightful place as queen.

You can watch Moon Embracing the Sun on Netflix and Viu.

100 Days My Prince

100 Days My Prince follows Crown Prince Lee Yul (Do Kyung Soo) as he spends 100 days with a new identity after losing his memory during an attempted assassination and meeting the head of a detective agency in Joseon, Hong Sim (Nam Ji Hyun).

You can watch 100 Days My Prince on Netflix.

The Red Sleeve

The Red Sleeve is based on historical records, but several details have been fictionalized. It tells the story of Crown Prince Yi San (Lee Jun Ho), who fell in love with Sung Deok Im, a strong-willed and free-spirited court lady (Lee Se Young). When the Crown Prince later ascends to the throne as King Jeongjo, she tries to persuade Deok Im to become his official concubine.

Aside from the romance between King Jeongjo and Uibin Sung, the series also provides a glimpse into the lives of the court ladies, or lady officers of the royal court who are ranked and serve the king and royalties while staying in the palace.

You can watch The Red Sleeve on Viu.

Love in the Moonlight

Love in the Moonlight narrates how Crown Prince Lee Yeong (Park Bo Gum) falls in love with his eunuch, Hong Sam Nom (Kim Yoo Jung), a woman who has lived her entire life disguised as a man.

Despite the fact that the series is purely fictional and not based on historical events, it vividly depicts the lives of eunuchs, or castrated men who serve the king and other royalties within the palace.

You can watch Love in the Moonlight on Netflix and Viu.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal

Kim Yoon Hee (Park Min Young) disguises herself as her brother to make ends meet for her family in Sungkyunkwan Scandal. She worked at various jobs before becoming an illegal substitute test-taker for the entrance examination on Joseon Dynasty's highest educational institute, Sungkyungkwan. The plot then follows Kim Yoon Hee on her journey through Sungkyunkwan, where she meets characters who will make her journey more interesting.

The series is also good to watch as it is set in a time in Korean society when women were not allowed to be educated or employed.

You can watch Sungkyungkwan Scandal on Viu.


Hwarang is top billed by Go Ara, Park Seo Joon, Park Hyung Sik, Kim Tae Hyung, Choi Min Hoo, and Do Ji Han. It tells the story of an elite group of young men who are trained to be warriors during the Silla Kingdom. Although the drama is not based on actual events, there was a real group of Hwarang, which translates to Flowering Knights, who existed during the Silla period.

You can watch Hwarang on Viu.

Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung

Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung depicts the journey of Goo Hae Ryung (Shin Se Kyung) as a rookie historian in the Joseon royal court, all while developing a romance with prince Yi Rim (Cha Eun Woo), who is secretly working as a romance novelist.

The series gives us an interesting look at what it's like to be a female historian during a time when women are generally looked down on due to their gender.

You can watch Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung on Netflix.

Which Sageuk plot caught your attention? Share it with us in the comments! You can also follow our official Facebook and Twitter pages for more fun ways to learn about South Korea’s culture, history, and more!

Written by: Niña Shane Cantero
Niña Shane Cantero is a Digital Marketing intern at PS Media Enterprise and an incoming fourth-year BA Broadcasting student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines—Manila.



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PinoySeoul.com: Eight Sageuk K-Dramas That Give Us a Glimpse of South Korea's History
Eight Sageuk K-Dramas That Give Us a Glimpse of South Korea's History
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