Historical K-dramas have captivated the world since the mid-2000s, and some of them have been particularly beloved. The reputation of these series is based on their romantic love stories, sometimes a little excessive, which is an important factor.

Romantic comedies are often found, but many others fall into the category of historical dramas, the most popular of which are Scarlet Heart Ryeo: Moon Lovers, Queen and I, and The Moon Embracing the Sun. It’s true that there is nothing more characteristic of a K-drama than a romantic comedy set in a historical context, and that’s without mentioning all the slightly ridiculous clichés that are the basis of the viewers’ enthusiasm for K-dramas. Here is the ranking of the 10 best historical romance K-Dramas of the last 5 years according to IMBd’s rating. 

  • ‘Tinted With You’ (2021-2022) – IMDb: 6.3

Tinted With You bl

This K-drama features Eun Ho, a student from our time, who is transported to a painting from the past. There he meets the crown prince, Lee Heon (Hyun Woo Yoo), who is on the verge of death, both physically and mentally, because he was exiled by his brother. Prince Heon decides to use Eun Ho to carry out his orders but over time, the two young people begin to have romantic feelings for each other, which gives rise to a sweet love story .

Based on a web drama titled Nobleman Ryu’s Wedding, Tinted With You is a BL type K-drama. Reminiscent of Splash, Splash, Love, where the main female character travels in time and is surprised by the crown prince, Tinted With Love evolves in the same direction, while being relatively short at 10 minutes per episode. The plot, although fast-paced and condensed, cut to the chase, proving that the chemistry between the Crown Prince and Eun Ho is real and easy to get attached to.

  • ‘Moonshine’ (2021-2022) IMDb: 7.2

Ranking of the 10 best historical romance K-Dramas of the last 5 years K-Selection

In the capital of Hanyang, prohibition has reigned for ten years. In the series, we find Kang Ro-seo, the poor girl who lives to make ends meet by doing all kinds of odd jobs without wanting anyone’s help, Nam Young the humble, honorable and reserved young scholar and Lee Pyo (Wook Seok), the crown prince who is more trouble than he’s worth sometimes, as he sneaks out of the palace to drink alcohol, even during prohibition.

Starting off in a bold way with a fierce woman, Moonshine is a pretty hilarious K-drama that features Ro-seo, who is out to prove that she is not a woman to be trifled with. Even though many female characters in K-dramas often try to prove their toughness, such as Jan Di in Boys Over Flowers, sometimes they are more fragile unlike Ro-seo who is one of the first female characters to show his toughness across the board. His idealism therefore often clashes with that of Inspector Nam Young, resulting in an entertaining rivalry that develops into good romantic chemistry.

The large number of characters that appear in the series can make it a little confusing, despite its uniqueness, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is refreshing for viewers.

  • ‘Queen: Love and W@r’ (2019) IMDb: 7.4

Ranking of the 10 best historical romance K-Dramas of the last 5 years K-Selection

It is the Joseon era when Queen Eun-ki is assassinated in broad daylight during an attempt on the king’s life. Eun-bo (Jin Se-yeon), Eun-ki’s twin sister, is thirsty for revenge but this means she must become queen, which is not as simple as it sounds, d ‘especially since his own secrets prevent him from establishing a sincere and honest relationship with the king.

Queen: Love and War is reminiscent of many old K-dramas and their clichés. Among these popular plots is that of the hidden secret that one of the main characters must hide from the other, which is very common in favorite series such as You’re Beautiful, My Girl, and Gu Family Book. This kind of intrigue often gets in the way of romances and prevents the main couple from truly coming together, but in this case it’s a refreshing approach. 

With plenty of surprising twists and turns that keep viewers entertained, Queen: Love and War is a murder mystery drama that is definitely worth watching.

  • ‘The Forbidden Marriage’ (2022) IMDb: 7.5

Ranking of the 10 best historical romance K-Dramas of the last 5 years K-Selection

The Forbidden Marriage is set in the Joseon Dynasty, following King Lee Heon’s ban on marriage after his wife committed suicide, although he believed she had been murdered. This ban does not prevent scammer Ye So-rang (Park Ju-hyun) from running a business specializing in marriage compatibility. For their part, King Lee Heon’s assistants try to convince him to father an heir, but the task unfortunately proves impossible due to the fear and fascination that King Lee Heon feels for his previous queen.

Following her imprisonment, So-rang decides to pretend to be possessed by the king’s late wife, leading Lee Heon to be convinced and keep So-rang by his side.

The Forbidden Marriage is a fun K-drama, brimming with humor and laughter with an almost absurd concept, as it tells the love story of a grief-stricken king and a woman who does not respect the the ban imposed on him. However, it is this concept that makes the series fun, especially thanks to Park Ju-hyun’s acting, which brings out So-rang’s character. The series still remains very interesting despite its short duration.

  • ‘Bossam: Steal the Fate’ (2021) IMDb: 7.5

Ranking of the 10 best historical romance K-Dramas of the last 5 years K-Selection Taking place in the Joseon Dynasty, bossams which involve kidnapping or kidnapping a widow and forcing her to marry the kidnapper happened during the reign of Gwanghaegun, and so Ba-woo (Jung Il-woo) participated in it. Unlike most bossams, Ba-woo mistakenly kidnaps Princess Su-kyeong (Kwon Yuri), the evil widow, which begins the search for the king’s missing daughter, although his father-in-law tries to resolve the question of his disappearance by his own means.

Another historical K-drama with an air of mystery and intrigue, Bossam: Steal the Fate examines an interesting and unexplored concept, bossaming, which then turns into an interesting plot about the consequences of kidnapping the wrong person . In addition to the plot, the characters were also very compelling, with the male lead, Ba-woo, showing a good amount of depth to his character. The politics of the series also helped pick up the pace.

  • ‘Lovers of the Red Sky’ (2021) IMDb: 7.6

Ranking of the 10 best historical romance K-Dramas of the last 5 years K-Selection

Set in the Joseon Dynasty, Lovers of the Red Sky features Cheon-ki (Kim Yoo-jung), who was left blind as a baby following a curse cast by Mawang, the god of death. Despite the impossibility for Samshin, the goddess of birth, to make Cheon-ki’s blindness disappear, she nevertheless offers him a solution for the future involving the arrival of a young boy named Ha-Ram (Ahn Hyo- seop) who will help her break the curse that weighs on her. Ha-Ram’s birth takes place at the same time and nine years later, Cheon-ki and Ha-Ram’s paths cross giving rise to a bond of friendship between the two of them.

They are then far from suspecting the future that Samshin has in store for them, namely the sacrifice of Ha-Ram to keep Mawang away and the loss of Ha-Ram’s sight which allows Cheon-ki to recover his. Following this incident, the two later meet again.

Lovers of the Red Sky is a historical K-drama with roots deep in the fantasy genre. There are historical fantasy K-dramas like Gu Family Book, Faith and Goblin, but this is one of the few that introduces mythology into the mix, resulting in a somewhat tense love story, especially when we know that Ha-Ram donated his sight so that Cheon-ki could regain his.

But at the same time it creates a beautiful story with a beautiful romance between two compatible characters. Lover of the Red Sky is worth watching, although the ending is a bit sadder and more emotional.

  • ‘Our Blooming Youth’ (2023) IMDb: 7.7

Our Blooming Youth

Following the mysterious death of the Crown Prince’s older brother Lee Hwan (Park Hyung-sik), a bigger problem arises for the new prince despite him being suspected because his arm was injured by a poisoned arrow and he does not fails to cure him, he will have to abdicate the throne. He also faces another problem because three years before the present day, Lee Hwan received a disturbing blackmail letter announcing betrayal and loss of the use of his limbs. Min Jae-yi’s (Jeon So-nee) family is murdered, making her the victim of a frame-up. Both facing their own problems, they agree to help each other.

Much more considered a thriller rather than a historical K-drama, Our Blooming Youth still features a love story between the two protagonists who develop a deeper connection with each other due to their insinuating circumstances. And although the pace is slower than other K-dramas on this list, the intriguing mystery and political drama that Our Blooming Youth develops makes it a thoroughly enjoyable film to watch.

  • ‘The Tale of Nokdu’ (2019) IMDb: 7.7

The Tale of Nokdu

The story takes place during the Joseon Dynasty. Jeon Nokdu (Jang Dong-yoon) is a swordsman whose family is attacked by assassins, who, to his surprise, turn out to be women. In order to discover the reason for these assassinations, Nokdu disguises himself as a woman to infiltrate an exclusively female village where he meets Dong-ju, a woman destined to become a gisaeng (an enslaved woman destined to be a courtesan).

The Tale of Nokdu is another historical drama that draws on the oh-so-common trope of mixing genres. Unlike the traditional exchange where the woman disguises herself as a man, in The Tale of Nokdu, it is the man who disguises himself as a woman, a twist that makes this series a refreshing Kdrama. On the romance side, the natural alchemy between Nokdu and Dong-ju can only captivate us.

Additionally, the concept of female killers is a new one; this is a new take on another plot device so commonly used that it brings a sense of mystery and amazement as to why a group of women attempted to murder the family from Nokdu.

  • ‘The King’s Affection’ (2021) IMDb: 8.8

The King's Affection

A princess gives birth to twins one night, but superstition holds that any prince who shares a girl’s womb is an abomination. These circumstances therefore force the prince to get rid of the princess and all the people who attended the birth. The princess is taken away, leaving the royal family to believe that only the prince remains.

Despite an extremely dark beginning The King’s Affection is a series that stands out for its dark and gloomy colors which however transform into much brighter colors, creating a surprisingly colorful and bright series that lightens the atmosphere at certain moments. Beyond the atmosphere, the plot of The King’s Affection is just fascinating, in fact after several years, the prince dies after being disguised as Dam-i (the one who was to be assassinated), so that his sister, Dam-i (Park Eun-bin), is to succeed him.

It’s true that many shows have done a gender swap before, but this is one of the few times where it’s been done believably, following a somewhat sad premise. On top of that, the chemistry is breathtaking.

  • ‘The Red Sleeve’ (2021-2022) IMDb: 8.5

Ranking of the 10 best historical romance K-Dramas of the last 5 years K-Selection

Determined to become a benevolent king capable of reforming the law after taking back the throne from his ruthless grandfather, Prince Yi-san (Lee Jun-ho) decides to put his country above all else despite still being traumatized by the death of his father. For her part, Sung Deok Im (Lee Se-young) is a court lady who values ​​her freedom and Prince Yi-san falls in love with her, but their respective resolutions and desires tear them apart.

The Red Sleeve is a wonderfully written drama that addresses the emotional trauma of losing a parent, combined with a love for someone who is out of reach. The series has many tense moments due to the political aspect, but it is simply charming to watch in its entirety. If The Red Sleeve is sometimes a little slower, it remains one of the best historical series to feature a beautiful love story that does not lack spice.