The beginning of Korean Drama

Korean Dramas are televised dramas made in South Korea. They are usually made in a miniseries format (8-24 episodes) and the subject can be contemporary (comedy, romance, action, science fiction, medical) or historical (most of them depicting Joseon Dynasty and its kings, military leaders and battles). The historical dramas are named Sageuk and have been made in this new format since 2000.

Korean Dramas have been broadcasted since 1960’s and since 1995 have changed their format to the one we watch today. The Korean Dramas became famous worldwide because they are very well promoted, and they offer multiple language subtitles. They are broadcasted on the national televisions: KBS – Korean Broadcasting System (the first Korean television channel), SBS – Seoul Broadcasting System and MBC – Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation and some other private channels. The broadcasting time is usually 10.00 p.m. to 11.00 p.m, two days in a row.

The first Korean television film has been The Gate of Heaven (천국의 문, Cheongugui mun). Backstreet of Seoul (서울의 뒷골목, Seoul ui dwisgolmog) was the first television series aired by KBS in 1962. In the 1970’s most of the dramas were historical. The first historical TV series aired has been The great land (국토만리, Gukto manri).

All televisions have begun to be more interested in investing in drama making since 1990. The first real commercial success among Korean television series was Eyes of Dawn (여명의 눈동자, Yeomyeongui nundongja), aired in 1991 by MBC. Sandglass (모래시계, Moraesigye), made in 1995, changed the way Korean dramas are made, by introducing a new format.

In 2002, Winter Sonata (겨울연가, Gyeoul Yeonga) was aired by KBS2 and was a revelation in Japan. This drama became the beginning of Korean dramas export and the Korean Wave – Hallyu. From 2011 Korean Dramas have spread all over the world.

You can find more information here:


Book: K-Drama: A New TV Genre with Global Appeal, De Korean Culture and Information Service Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

The featured image is a screenshot from “Empress Ki”, directed by Han Lee & Lee Sung Joon


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