10 Award-Winning Historical Korean Dramas

These are the 10 most awarded historical Korean dramas of all time:


1. Moon Embracing The Sun (2012): 22 wins out of 65 nominations

Genre: Historical, Romance, Fantasy
Synopsis: A historical drama about a woman who is betrothed to a crowned prince, until she loses her memory and becomes a shaman.
Based on: Moon Embracing the Sun
by Jung Eun-gwol
No of episodes: 20
Starring: Kim Soo-hyun, Han Ga-in, Jung Il-woo and Kim Min-seo
Written by: Jin Soo-wan
Directed by: Kim Do-hoon, Lee Seong-jun
Date: January 4 to March 15, 2012
Network: MBC

Awards: Best Drama & Best Actor for Kim Soo-hyun at 2012 Baeksang Arts Awards; Best Actor at 2012 Korea Broadcasting Prize; Silver Award for Best Foreign TV Series at 2012 Shanghai Television Festival Magnolia Awards; Best Child Actor & Actress at 2012 Pierson Movie Festival; Best Original Soundtrack at 2012 Korea Drama Awards; Excellence Award (Actor) & Best Young Actress at 2012 K-Drama Star Awards; Best Achievement for a Production at 2012 Grimae Awards; Drama of the Year, Top Excellence Award (Actor & Actress), Golden Acting Award (Actress), Best Young Actor & Actress, Writer of the Year, Popularity Award for Kim Soo-hyun at 2012 MBC Drama Awards; 20’s Drama Star & Upcoming 20’s at 2012 Mnet 20s Choice Awards; Special Jury Award at 2013 WorldFest-Houston


2. Queen Seondeok (2009): 22 wins

Genre: Historical, Romance, Action
Synopsis: It chronicles the life of Queen Seondeok of Silla.
No of episodes: 62
Starring: Lee Yo-won, Go Hyun-jung, Uhm Tae-woong, Kim Nam-gil, Park Ye-jin
Written by: Kim Young-hyun, Park Sang-yeon
Directed by: Kim Geun-hong, Park Hong-kyun
Date: 25 May to 22 December 2009
Network: MBC

Awards: Grand Prize (Daesang) for Kim Geun-hong & Park Hong-kyun, Best Actress at 2009 Grimae Awards; Grand Prize (Daesang) for Go Hyun-jung, Top Excellence Award (Actor & Actress), Excellence Award (Actor), Golden Acting Award (Supporting Actor & Actress), Best New Actor, PD Award, Best Young Actress, Writer of the Year, Best Couple Award, Viewer’s Favorite Drama of the Year at 2009 MBC Drama Awards; PD Award, Acting category for Go Hyun-jung at 2010 Korea Producers & Directors’ (PD) Awards; Grand Prize (Daesang) for Go Hyun-jung, Best New Actor for Kim Nam-gil at 2010 Baeksang Arts Awards; Best Actress at 2010 Korea Broadcasting Awards; Best Series Drama, Outstanding Korean Actress & Screenwriter at 2010 Seoul International Drama Awards


3. Love In The Moonlight (2016): 19 wins out of 42 nominations

Genre: Historical, Coming-of-age, Romantic comedy
Synopsis: The series is a coming of age story about Crown Prince Lee Yeong’s growth from a boy into revered monarch and his unlikely relationship with eunuch Hong Ra-on.
Based on: the novel Moonlight Drawn by Clouds by Yoon Yi-soo (story) and Kim Hee-kyung (illustrations)
No of episodes: 18
Starring: Park Bo-gum, Kim Yoo-jung, Jung Jinyoung, Kwak Dong-yeon, Chae Soo-bin
Written by: Kim Min-jung, Im Ye-jin
Directed by: Kim Seong-yoon, Baek Sang-hoon
Date: August 22 – October 18, 2016
Network: KBS, Viki

Awards: Top Excellence Award for a Hallyu Drama & Outstanding Korean Actor for Park Bogum at 2017 Seoul International Drama Awards; Best Drama Series at 2017 Asian Television Awards; Best New Actress at 2016 APAN Star Awards; Best Star Award & Asia Star Award, Best Icon Award, Best OST at 2016 Asia Artist Awards; Top Excellence Award (Actor), Excellence Award (Actress), Best Supporting Actor, Best New Actor, Netizen Award (Actor), Best Couple, Best Young Actor & Actress at 2016 KBS Drama Awards; Platinum Remi Award at 2017 Annual WorldFest Houston; Most Popular Actor & Actress at 2017 Baeksang Arts Awards


4. The Slave Hunters (2010): 19 wins out of 29 nominations

Genre: Historical, Action
Synopsis: Set in the Joseon Dynasty about a slave hunter who is tracking down a general-turned-runaway slave as well as searching for the woman he loves.
No of episodes: 24
Starring: Jang Hyuk, Oh Ji-ho, Lee Da-hae, Gong Hyung-jin, Lee Jong-hyuk
Written by: Chun Sung-il
Directed by: Kwak Jung-hwan
Date: January 6 to March 25, 2010
Network: KBS

Awards: Grand Prize (Daesang), Best Miniseries, Outstanding Korean Director & Actor at 2010 Seoul International Drama Awards; Grand Prize (Daesang), Best Short TV Drama, Best Director & Screenplay at 2010 Korea Broadcasting Awards; Grand Prize (Daesang) for Jang Hyuk, Top Excellence Award (Actor), Excellence Award (Actor), Best Supporting Actor & Best Couple Award at 2010 KBS Drama Awards; Grand Prize (Kim Jae-hwan, Son Hyung-sik) & Best Actor at 2010 Grimae Awards; Best Drama, Actor & Writer at 2010 Korea Drama Awards; Best Screenplay at 2010 Baeksang Arts Awards


5. Six Flying Dragons (2015): 16 wins out of 35 nominations

Genre: Historical, Political
Synopsis: The story tells about 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 Yi Bang-won.
No of episodes: 50
Starring: Yoo Ah-in, Kim Myung-min, Shin Se-kyung, Byun Yo-han, Yoon Kyun-sang, Chun Ho-jin
Written by: Kim Young-hyun, Park Sang-yeon
Directed by: Shin Kyung-soo
Date: October 5, 2015 – March 22, 2016
Network: SBS

Awards: Best Foreign Drama at 2016 Tokyo Drama Awards; Best Actor for Yoo Ah-in at 2016 Baeksang Arts Awards; Best Feature-Length Drama at 2016 Korean Broadcasting Grand Prize Awards; Best Series Drama at 2016 Seoul International Drama Awards; Top Excellence Award (Actor & Actress), Special Award (Actor), Top 10 Stars, Best Couple, New Star Award at 2015 SBS Drama Awards; Excellence Award for Jeong Yu-mi at 2016 APAN Star Awards; Best New Actor for Yoon Kyun-sang at 2016 Grimae Awards


6. Mr. Sunshine (2018): 15 wins out of 30 nominations

Genre: Historical, Romance, Melodrama
Synopsis: The series is set in Hanseong (present-day Seoul) in the early 1900s, and focuses on activists fighting for Korea’s independence.
No. of episodes: 24
Starring: Lee Byung-hun, Kim Tae-ri, Yoo Yeon-seok, Kim Min-jung, Byun Yo-han
Written by: Kim Eun-sook 
Directed by: Lee Eung-bok
Date: July 7 – September 30, 2018
Network: tvN, Netflix

Awards: Best Actor for Lee Byung-hun at 2019 Baeksang Art Awards; Drama of the Year, Grand Prize (Daesang) & K-Star Award for Lee Byung-hun, Best Actress & K-Star Award for Kim Tae-ri, Best Supporting Actress for Kim Min-jung at 2018 APAN Star Awards; Grand Prize (Daesang), Artist of the Year, Fabulous Award & Korean Tourism Appreciation Award for Lee Byung-hun, Best Actor & Artist of the Year for Yoo Yeon-seok at 2018 Asia Artist Awards; Best Actor & Best Supporting Actor at 2018 The Seoul Awards


7. Dong Yi (2010): 15 wins

Genre: Romance, Historical
Synopsis: Set during the reign of King Sukjong in the Joseon dynasty, the series is based on real-life historical figure Choe Suk-bin.
No. of episodes: 60
Starring: Han Hyo-joo, Ji Jin-hee, Lee So-yeon, Bae Soo-bin
Written by: Kim Yi-young
Directed by: Lee Byung-hoon, Kim Sang-hyub
Date: 22 March to 12 October 2010
Network: MBC

Awards: Grand Prize (Daesang) & Popularity Award for Han Hyo-joo, Top Excellence Award (Actor), Excellence Award (Actress), Best New Actress, Golden Acting Award (Supporting Actor), Best Young Actor & Viewer’s Favorite Drama of the Year at 2010 MBC Drama Awards; Achievement Award (Director), Best Actress & Supporting Actor at 2010 Korea Drama Awards; Best Drama, Actor & Actress at 2011 Hongkong Cable TV Awards; Best Actress for Han Hyo-joo at 2011 Baeksang Arts Awards


8. Gu Family Book (2013): 14 wins out of 31 nominations

Genre: Romance, Historical, Action, Fantasy
Synopsis: The fusion martial arts action historical drama is about a half-man half-monster who is searching for a centuries-old book that according to gumiho legend, contains the secret to becoming human.
No. of episodes: 24
Starring: Lee Seung-gi and Bae Suzy
Written by: Kang Eun-kyung
Directed by: Shin Woo-chul, Kim Jung-hyun
Date: April 8 – June 25, 2013
Network: MBC

Awards: Outstanding Korean Actress for Bae Suzy at 2013 Seoul International Drama Awards; Best Original Soundtrack at 2013 Melon Music Awards; 20’s Drama Star for Bae Suzy at 2013 Mnet 20’s Choice Awards; Best Action, New Actor & New Actress at 2013 APAN Star Awards; Top Excellence Award (Actor & Actress), Popularity Award for Lee Seung-gi & Best Couple Award at 2013 MBC Drama Awards; Outstanding Leading Actor, Costume Drama, Supporting Actor & Director at 2014 Asia Rainbow TV Awards


9. The Red Sleeve (2021-2022): 12 wins out of 18 nominations

Genre: Romance, Historical drama
Synopsis: It tells the record of a royal court romance between the King of Joseon who believes his duty is to his country first above love, and a court lady who wants to protect the life she has chosen.
Based on: The Red Sleeve Cuff by Kang Mi-kang
No. of episodes: 17
Starring: Lee Jun-ho, Lee Se-young, and Kang Hoon
Written by: Jung Hae-ri
Directed by: Jung Ji-in and Song Yeon-hwa
Date: November 12, 2021 – January 1, 2022
Network: MBC, Viu

Awards: Best Actor for Lee Junho at Baeksang Arts Awards 2022; Good Program of the Month (January) at Korea Communications Standards Commission 2022; Best TV Drama & Best Actor at Korea PD Awards 2022; Drama of the Year, Best Writer, Best Couple, Top Excellence Award (Actor & Actress), Best New Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Lifetime Achievement Award for Lee Deok-hwa at MBC Drama Awards 2021


10. The Princess’ Man (2011): 12 wins out of 32 nominations

Genre: Romance, Historical, Action
Synopsis: A period drama about the forbidden romance between the daughter of Grand Prince Suyang and the son of Kim Jong-seo, Suyang’s political opponent. 
No. of episodes: 24
Starring: Park Si-hoo, Moon Chae-won, Kim Yeong-cheol, Song Jong-ho, Hong Soo-hyun, Lee Soon-jae
Written by: Jo Jung-joo
Directed by: Kim Jung-min, Park Hyun-suk
Date: July 20 to October 6, 2011
Network: KBS

Awards: Television Drama – Bronze World Medal at 2013 New York TV Festival; Golden Bird Prize for Series Drama at 2012 Seoul International Drama Awards; Best TV Director at 2012 Baeksang Arts Awards; Best Drama Series at 2012 Asian Television Awards; Top Excellence Award (Actor & Actress), Excellence Award (Actress), Popularity Award (Actor & Actress), Best Couple Award at 2011 KBS Drama Awards