Sageuks have always been my thing and incidentally the first Kdrama I ever saw was a sageuk/historical drama.
Since then I’ve never stopped looking out for great historical/period dramas with a little bit of fusion if available.
They may not be the best ratings magnet but many can deliver a meaty offering to satisfy most tastes.
The main factor is how visually appealing historical Korean dramas can be. And how sometimes it’s up to the lead male actor to carry the drama series through and keep you glued till the end.
Now to introduce you to some of the best male leads in Kdrama sageuks you simply have to check out if you want any sageuk-lover cred.
#1. Lee Joon-Gi
Sageuk cred – Arang and the Magistrate, Joseon Gunman, Iljimae
Sageuk cred – Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Rooftop Prince
#3. Ji Chang Wook
Sageuk cred – Empress Ki, Warrior Baek Dong soo
#4. Jo Hyun-Jae
Sageuk cred – Soo Baek Hyang aka King’s Daughter
#5. Uhm Tae-Wong
Sageuk cred – Sword and Flower
The name Lee Jun-ki and the word heroic seem to go hand in hand when it comes to sageuk. You need a sensitive yet capable alpha-male who can effortlessly save the day and win your swooning heart for keeps? Then he’s your man.
You’ll find him in 2014’s Joseon’s Gunman playing the disguised avenger who can rock both some snazzy coat-tails and some swashbuckling ninja-type costumes to boot. Sageuk hero rating? He’s a definite 10.
Although he plays a scholar for the most part (Sungkyunkwan Scandal) or as a time-traveling king determined to find the truth (Rooftop Prince) he certainly has his macho side. Sageuk hero rating – 8/10
Ji Chang Wook
In Warrior Baek dong-soo he validated himself in many ways. He showed that sensitive side we all love in a true hero and he also came correct when it was time to save his damsel and his friends.
As an Emperor in Empress Ki he showed courage when it mattered the most and always knew just what to say or do to win over the situation to the good of all. Sageuk hero rating 9/10
In Subaek Hyang aka King’s Daughter our male lead was a study in masculinity and emotion. And hot diggety he knew his way around a kiss scene like no other. He then rocked a few battle scenes like a boss and he still made our hearts melt when he tried to win the affections of his beloved. 10/10
Uhm Tae Woong
As one of my all-time fave Sageuk dramas, Sword and Flower showed how a male lead can display lasting devotion to a lost love. Or a love he thought was lost.
In all, I was mesmerized by his screen presence in this role and none of the other factors affecting the drama even mattered. Wielding a sword or a bow ‘n’ arrow he pulled off some serious stuntin’. And he was darned good at sweeping his ladylove off her feet, literally and figuratively. Sageuk rating: 9/10
How-to’s of being a sageuk male lead
– Know how to rock the long weaves
– Look authentic in historical costumes be it as a royal, noble or warrior dude
– Use that voice. Yep there’s a certain sageuk voice you need to cultivate especially if you want to sound like you’re from way, waaay back.
– Can’t fight martial arts? Then know how to wield a sword. Or at the very least, a bow and arrow. Because you know, you need an outlet for all that macho-ness.