The role of the Hanbok in K-dramas
When it comes to historical dramas, Korea has a lot to offer, and here is a little selection of the one offering a sight of the most beautiful traditional Korean clothes: the Hanbok.
The moon embracing the sun
The Moon Embracing The Sun is a historical drama that tells the love story between the King Lee Hwon and a female shaman named Wol. It takes place during the Joseon period and is adapted from the novel of the same name written by Jung Eun-Gwol.
This drama is a classic as it melts into a love story, conspiracy, and interest conflicts.
Lead actor Kim Soo Hyun (Lee Hwon) wears a costume that was completely handmade, having delicate embroideries that took a month to finish. The typical robe worn by King and Crown Prince is called gonryongpo and for that drama, it cost over 1,500$ to make.
The Moon Embracing The Sun’s hanboks are exceptional, as they are very close to what the Joseon royalties would have worn at that time. It’s a really must-see drama that includes an intriguing story and fascinating costumes.
The scholar who walks the night
The scholar who walks the night takes place in an alternate Joseon Dynasty era. Jo Yang-Sun has to disguise herself as a man to sell books to help her family in disgrace and help her sister. She suddenly meets a mysterious scholar, Kim Sung-Yeol, who happens to be a guardian vampire trying to protect the kingdom from Gwi, the vampire that manipulates the King to take the power over humans and prevent the crown prince to access to the throne.
The scholar who walks the night is the adaptation of a manhwa that got really famous online and we do recommend it mostly for the male traditional hanbok that are displayed. The main character is dressed as a middle-class man, she and the scholar who is obviously from a different class have different costumes and the contrast between them is very interesting to see.
Hwarang, The Poet Warrior
Hwarang, The Poet Warrior tells us the story of Jiso, current Regent of Silla kingdom after the death of King Beopheung, who is waiting for her son, Prince Sammaekjong to take the crown. But they will have to face usurpation from nobles and officials trying to take the throne from Jiso.
In order to protect her son and break the power of nobles, Jiso creates a new elite: Hwarang, composed of a young male who is unaware that amongst them is their future King, Sammaekjong.
Hwarang, The Poet Warrior has been very anticipated because of it’s casting, and the period approached by this drama is not very common nowadays. We found it very refreshing for the difference in the story that is been told, and the hanbok showed in this drama, that is still highly influenced by other Asian countries such as China or Mongolia.
Mr. Sunshine is a very popular drama that is produced by Netflix and takes place in Hanseong (previous name of Seoul) in the early 20th century. We are following Choi Yoo-Jin, born a slave who escapes to the United States and returns during the Joseon period as a Captain of US Marine corps and Consul of the United States.
Choi Yoo-Jin meets later the daughter of an aristocrat and falls in love with her despite their complicated relationship.
Mr. Sunshine is a must-see for many things, the first one is the complicated period where this drama occurs, Korea’s independence fight, the first confrontation with colonization. The contrast with the modern hanbok worn by the end of Joseon’s society and the dandy suits worn by Americanized population and the whole intrigue gives an amazing result that no one could deny.
Love in the Moonlight
Love in the Moonlight is another Joseon-dynasty drama based on the novel of the same name first published on Naver (the Korean type of Google) and published as a five-part book in 2015.
Hong Ra-On is a young woman who disguises herself as a man to counsel men on dating. She meets Crown Prince Hyomyeong while she is unaware that he is the Crown Prince and Hyomyeong is unaware that she is, in fact, a woman.
Their relationship will evolve, at the age where puppy loves, happens and Hong Ra-On will get close to the Crown Prince until she is asked to become one of his eunuchs.
Love in the Moonlight offers some really beautiful Korean traditional clothes, with a variety of fabrics and colors, that are at the same time very much similar to modern hanbok of Leesle by their colors and shapes.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo is a drama that takes place during the Goryeo Dynasty.
Go Ha-Jin is transported in the time from the 21st century during a solar eclipse and wakes up in year 941 as a new person: Hae Soo. She then meets the royal princes of the Wang family.
And here comes the troubles and the love stories. Rivalry among the princes for the throne and our Hae Soo is caught between all of this.
Scarlet Heart Ryeo presents us the traditional Hanbok from the Goryeo Dynasty, which changes our view from classic Joseon era dramas. From the shapes and fabrics, we can feel the evolution to the modern hanbok we know today.