There are many reasons why Korean actors are so popular. One reason is that Korea produces a lot of movies and T.V. shows. Another reason is the popularity of K-pop music, which is loved by many people worldwide. In this article, we’ll explore the most popular Korean actors that never fail to captivate audiences!
Who’s your favorite actor in Korean dramas? We bet that there are too many of them. Perhaps, your ten fingers and toes won’t even be enough to count them! And honestly, we cannot blame you! It’s no surprise that these talented Korean actors managed to capture your heart alongside other millions of people around the globe. They are skilled in their craft, and they just have this unique way of sweeping us off our feet with their simple expressions.
These talented actors may or may not be familiar to you, but want to hear the good news? Upon seeing this post, you may have just earned a new K-Drama to add to your watchlist. The skills of these actors would definitely move your heart. It’s no surprise that the South Korean entertainment industry has infiltrated the taste of every individual worldwide!
From Gong Yoo to Goblin and Coffee Prince to the well-known Kim Woo Bin. We bet you might start dreaming of dating Korean guys and having sweet moments, as you have seen on K-drama. So, let’s look at the most popular South Korean stars and their roles!
How To Say ‘Actor’ In Korean?
Ok, this is pretty simple, so you will catch it fast. Especially if it’s a topic that you love so much! The word for ‘actor’ in Korean is 배우 (baeu). Easy, right? Listen to the pronunciation to catch up faster:
Now you know that all these professional and famous men are ‘배우’ (baeu). Let’s start with the main topic of this article.
Who Are The Most Popular Korean Actors?
Korean people often prefer to watch Korean actors instead of international actors. They certainly enjoy the high quality of their film industry and can feel proud of what it has become.
In South Korea, the film market is excellent, always intending to surpass their own expectations. You can notice how they rather prefer to show their own film products to the local market rather than having largely Hollywood-produced television series and movies. This is pretty impressive for anyone who comes from a country where the film industry isn’t as big, and the only film you can consume at the cinema is a Hollywood movie.
In Korea, you have everything to select from! In addition, the fact that film is so important for Korea implies that bright and handsome Korean actors have several opportunities to become well-known in Korea and internationally. Even some musicians take acting roles and become even more popular!
Let’s get to know a bit more about our picks on top South Korean actors:
Lee Min Ho
You may have seen Lee Min Ho in several television dramas if you’ve been watching different series for a while now. This 36-year-old actor gained widespread fame and international recognition with his role as Gu Jun-Pyo in the popular Korean drama series “Boys Over Flowers” in 2009. Since then, he has starred in several successful TV dramas, including “City Hunter” (2011), “The Heirs” (2013), “Legend of the Blue Sea” (2016), “Personal Taste” (2010), and “The King: Eternal Monarch” (2020).
Moreover, he’s more than just a pretty face as he’s also a South Korean model, singer, businessman, and creative director. His achievements can make you ask this question: what can he not do? Nevertheless, it’s quite obvious that he really deserves a spot among the most popular Korean actors.
Lee Jong Suk
If you look up “Handsome Korean actors,” you’ll always find Lee Jong Suk‘s name on the list. His charisma stole the hearts of his fans! Fun fact, his first screen debut was as a model, and he was the youngest one during the Seoul Fashion Week. In 2010, he gained popularity after landing a role in School 2013 (2012).
Moreover, he played plenty of lead roles in Korean series like “I Can Hear Your Voice” (2013), “Pinocchio” (2014-2015), “W” (2016), and “While You Were Sleeping” (2017). Note that he gave justice to all the characters he played in, just like other great actors in South Korea!
Fun fact: He sings two of the original songs in the television show ‘While You Were Sleeping’ and occasionally sings at fan meetings. In 2017, he also performed on Psy’s ‘New Face.’
Kim Woo Bin
Kim Woo Bin is a well-known actor and model from South Korea who was born on July 16, 1989.
Woo Bin always wanted to become a model. So in 2009, at the age of 20, he made his ramp debut, opening his doors to continue participating in several fashion events, such as the Seoul Fashion Week.
If you haven’t heard of the Seoul Fashion Week, it is the biggest Bi-annual fashion event in South Korea, hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and organized by The Seoul Design Foundation. Hit the Dongdaemun design plaza during this festival, and you will most likely spot a celebrity model and some impressive attires.
So now you know how impressive it was for him to get to that event!
He made his screen debut in the 2011 television dramas “White Christmas” and “Vampire Idol” under Kim Woo Bin’s stage name, although his real name is Kim Hyun Joong.
Sadly, in 2017, Kim Woo-Bin was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Therefore his acting career was put on hold while he was receiving treatment. Gladly he has been recovering, and now his fans can enjoy his acting in the T.V. series ‘Our Blues.’
Kim Soo Hyun
Soo-Hyun Kim is among East Asia’s brightest stars. In the adolescent series ‘Dream High,’ he played a rural bumpkin who turned out to be quite a musical prodigy. After that role, he became a national figure in South Korea.
In 2012, his fame skyrocketed after he played the youthful king Lee Hwon in ‘Moon Embracing the Sun,’ which received a peak recorded viewing rate of 42.2 percent and was designated as a ‘national drama.’
Soo-Hyun Kim rose to fame across East Asia in 2014 after starring as Do Min Joon in the drama ‘You Who Came from Star,’ which received a 24.02 percent average viewing rating in South Korea.
Ji Chang Wook
Ji Chang Wook is a well-known Korean actor and singer. He started his career in musical theatre and made his movie acting debut in the 2006 movie ‘Days’ on July 5, 1987. Since then, he has been in several well-known films and dramas, namely ‘Warrior Baek Dong Soo,’ ‘Smile, Dong Hae,’ ‘Empress Ki,’ ‘The K2’, ‘Healer,’ and ‘Suspicious Partner,’ and even the Chinese drama ‘Whirlwind Girl 2’.
Ji Chang Wook has participated in several music videos, namely Younha’s ‘We Broke Up Today.’ and K.Will’s ‘I Need You.’ He has also featured in the songs ‘Cry Cry’ and ‘Lovey Dovey’ by T-ara, a prominent Korean girl group.
He has appeared in Nal Nokyeojuo, Healer, and Fabricated City films. He started his career as a performer in musical theatre. He sang a song from Les Mis for the musical portion of the auditions for Dankook University’s department of cinema and theatre. He began acting in the 2006 movie ‘Days’ and was featured in the 2008 drama ‘You Stole My Heart’ in a small segment. In the action film ‘The K2,’ he performed his stunts.
The actor executed all of his maneuvers alone, with no help from a body double. In a question and answer session with Sports Chosun, he remarked that it was the most difficult project he’d ever worked on and that he’d be taking a vacation from action sequences for the future.
Park Seo Joon
Park Seo Joon would never miss a spot when it comes to the most talented actors in South Korean dramas. The eldest of three siblings, Park Seo Joon, was born in Seoul on December 16, 1988. After graduating from An-Nam high school, he joined the Seoul Institute of the Arts and enrolled for required military duty in 2008.
He made his acting debut in 2011 with a minor role in the drama “Dream High 2.” However, he rose to prominence with his lead roles in several successful television dramas like Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth (2016-2017), “Fight for My Way” (2017), and “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim” (2018).
The South Korean actor has received numerous awards and accolades for acting, including the Baeksang Arts Award, Korea Drama Award, and SBS Drama Award. Apparently, he is also known for his dedication to his roles, meticulous preparation, and ability to bring depth and authenticity to his characters.
Lee Joon Gi
Lee Joon-Gi took birth in Busan, South Korea, on April 17th, 1982. His parents and one younger sister make up his family members. Lee Joon-Gi made his modeling start in 2001 for So Basic, with actress Hee-Seon Kim. Joon-Gi received his first significant acting part in M.B.C. and T.V. drama ‘Star’s Echo.’
That same year, Joon-Gi made his debut appearance on the big screen. Joon-Gi won a role in the Japanese film ‘The Hotel Venus’ after competing against 2000 other performers, expanding his reputation and earning him one of Asia’s most prominent actors.
Additionally, he’s not just a great actor, he hauled several talents like dancing, singing, and modeling. He sounds like a guy built to perfection, don’t you think?
Park Bo Gum
Park Bo Gum is a versatile actor, singer, and musician from South Korea. He was first renowned for his role in Reply 1988 (2015), wherein he played the character of Choi Taek, a genius baduk player. This eventually led to more projects, and his acting skills extended beyond historical dramas. You may even see him in different genres, like the historical romantic comedy “Love in the Moonlight.” His charisma fits Lee Yeong’s character well! With these amazing skills of his, he won awards like Baeksang Arts Award for Most Popular Male Actor.
Park Bo-gum is a Korean actor who has been in several films. He is known for his varied variety of performances in cinema and television, for which he has garnered several honors and nominations. In 2016, he was elected Gallup Korea’s Actor of the Year for the first time, and in 2017, he was awarded Actor of the Year for the second time. Aside from acting, he’s also known for his warm personality and genuine interactions with fans. He has hosted several variety shows and even held fan meetings to express his gratitude for the love and support he receives.
Song Joong Ki
Song Joong Ki is a well-known actor and Rapper from South Korea. He was born on September 19, 1985, and throughout school, he was indeed a talented short-track speed skater who competed in the National Games 3 times before retiring due to injury.
Song Joong Ki began acting in the 2008 movie ‘A Frozen Flower’ and then appeared in ‘A Werewolf Boy,’ the largest box office blockbuster in Korean movie history for a melodrama. In addition to ‘Descendants of the Sun,’ ‘The Innocent Man,’ ‘A Tree With Deep Roots,’ and ‘Sungkyunkwan Scandal,’ Song Joong Ki has been in several notable K-dramas.
Through T.V. series like ‘My Precious You,’ he became more recognized by the general population. Simultaneously, he demonstrated versatility by appearing in movies like ‘Five Senses Of Eros.’
Between 2009 to 2010, he led the music event ‘Music Bank.’ From 2010 to 2011, he was a major character in the famous television show ‘Running Man.’ In addition to acting, this fantastic actor also wrote the book Beautiful Skin Project, a beauty and health guidebook for guys.
Due to obligatory compulsory military service, Gong Yoo enrolled in the Korean Armed Services in 2008. Gong Yoo’s film career took off after he was discharged from the military, starring genre features including Silenced and the action-thriller The Suspect, a movie based on an actual child abuse case and sexual abuse at a Korean special school, was indeed a project Gong began after reading the story in the armed services.
His transition into a buffed-up North Korean secret agent in ‘The Suspect’ established him as a more flexible actor after the movie prompted public outrage and led to a huge demand for legislative change to impose stricter sentences for sexual offences against minors.
Kim Hyun Joong
Kim Hyun-Joong is indeed a South Korean musician and actor who has appeared in the films ‘Playful Kiss’ and ‘Boys Over Flowers’ Kim started his career as a member of the popular boy band SS501 and has lately released solo records with the “Gemini Band” as his backup musicians.
In the 2021 psychological drama ‘Indian Pink,’ Kim, a gifted singer, model, and actor, stunned fans and reviewers equally with his representation of the evil that may lurk within man.
In the KBS series ‘Bodyguard,’ Hyun-Bin began acting. His debut appearance was as a small character in a film. He played a stalker of Han Shin-Ae. Hyun-Bin was also featured in the M.B.C. drama ‘Nonstop 4’ that year, and that was a big hit. Hyun-comic Bin’s timing improved due to his performance in ‘Nonstop 4.’
Hyun-Bin was opposite Kim Sun-A in the M.B.C. series ‘My Name Is Kim Sam-soon.’ Hyun-Bin trained himself for his character by attending piano lessons and developing a chilly, cynical tone of voice before working on the series.
Cha Eun Woo
Did you know that his name isn’t really ‘Cha Eun Woo‘? You’ve read that right! It’s only his screen name, but his real name is Lee Dong Min. You may have first seen him in the famous boy group ASTRO. He gained recognition not only for his musical talents but also for his visual and acting abilities.
He made his acting debut in 2014 and has since appeared in various television dramas, including “My ID is Gangnam Beauty” (2018), “Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung” (2019), and “True Beauty” (2020-2021). His performances have earned him praise for his on-screen presence and ability to portray diverse characters.
He is now among the most prominent profiles throughout the Korean entertainment business. In 2018, Cha Eun Woo was even voted as Korea’s ‘Man of the Year.’ He has also served as a worldwide ambassador for businesses like LizK, Burberry, TikTok, and others.
Lee Chang Sun is a South Korean idol vocalist, actor-dancer, and model known by his stage name Lee Joon. He was a part of the Korean boy group of K-pop ‘MBLAQ’ until his agreement with ‘J. Tune Camp’ expired in November 2014.
On December 16, 2014, he announced his retirement from the group, stating that he would focus on shooting his then-current Television series, M.B.C.’s ‘Mr. Back,’ for the time being. Lee’s screen debut in ‘Rough Play,’ a South Korean film that was highly provocative for a pop idol owing to the multiple naked love scenes he had to do.
Lee Byung Hun
Lee Byung-hun was born in 1970 in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in a wealthy household due to his father’s success in business. He had never considered acting before his mother’s friend recommended it.
In 1991, he applied for and was selected by the KBS TV network. His debut endeavor was ‘Asphalt My Hometown,’ a small T.V. sitcom. In 1992, Lee’s next KBS production, ‘Tomorrow Love,’ cemented his popularity, particularly among women.
All through the 1990s, he continued working on T.V. programs, and he also made his name in feature pictures. Until 2000, when he starred in ‘J.S.A. Joint Security Area,’ many of his early films were flops. It was his first huge box-office success. He has been the only actor ever to sell out the Tokyo Dome with 45,000 cheering fans, solidifying his place as one of Asia’s top talents.
So Ji Sub
So Ji-sub is a South Korean actor born on November 4, 1977. He gained note for his main parts in the television shows ‘Cain and Abel,’ ‘I’m Sorry, I Love You,’ ‘What Happened in Bali,’ ‘Oh My Venus,’ ‘Master’s Sun,’ and ‘Phantom,’ and also the movie ‘Rough Cut,’ after making his industry debut as a denim model. He also So Ji-sub has indeed released several hip-hop albums.
Song Seung Heon
Song Seung Hun is a South Korean model, singer, and actor born on October 5, 1976, in Seoul. In 1995, Song Seung-hun began his modeling career with the STORM jeans brand, and then in 1996, he started appearing in comedies and television dramas. Song has acted in Korean dramas such as ‘East of Autumn in My Heart,’ ‘Eden,’ and ‘Summer Scent.’
Song Seung Hun appeared in two movies in 2004, but neither was a box office hit. ‘When Ice Rain,’ which was filmed in the Canadian Rockies, struggled to captivate audiences. While ‘He Was Still Cool,’ based on an internet book, couldn’t rival Harry Potter and other summer 2004 releases.
In 2004, he was about to begin filming another T.V. drama. It was discovered that the actor had evaded mandatory military duty by using a substance that caused him to fail the military’s medical exam. In the middle of the media attention and turmoil, Song consented to fulfill his 2-year military service quickly.
Kim Taehyung, widely known as B.T.S.’s V or just “V,” is a South Korean actor and singer, probably most famous for just being a part of the K-pop boy band B.T.S. (Bangtan Boys).
V was born in the year 1995 on December 30, in Daegu, South Korea. He started with B.T.S. in 2013, and indeed, the team went on to achieve worldwide success. Kim Taehyung’s screen debut was in the “Hwarang” drama series from 2016 to 2017.
Nam Joo Hyuk
Nam Joo Hyuk is indeed a model and actor from South Korea. His first ambition was to pursue pro basketball, but an injury/emergency and subsequent surgery stopped that ambition. In 2013, he landed a role, and in 2014, he made his debut appearance in Surplus Princess, a tv drama.
He got many awards, like the 2018 Blue Dragon Film Awards for Best New Talent. In 2016, he was named Best New Star at the MBC Drama Awards. At the 2015 APAN Star Awards, he was named Best New Actor. In the 2015 KBS Drama Awards Favorite Actor Award.
Lee Dong Wook
If you’ve seen Goblin, then you’ll know that Lee Dong Wook played a great role in this series. Just like Gong Yoo, this duo seemed to like age backward as they just keep on getting more charismatic as time goes by! He appeared in numerous other popular dramas, including “My Girl” (2005), “Hotel King” (2014), “Scent of a Woman” (2011), “Touch Your Heart” (2019), and “Tale of the Nine-Tailed” (2020).
Just like other best K-drama actors, you’ll find his name nominated for different awards in South Korea. What’s even more fascinating is that he has also won plenty of them! Aside from acting, he’s also a model, host, and entertainer!
Yoo Seung Ho
Did you know that at 29, Yoo Seung Ho received plenty of nominations and awards? He first started as a child star who played a role in “The Way Home” in 2002. While you’ll also find him in different South Korean movies like Happy Ero Christmas (2003), Don’t Tell Papa (2004), Hearty Paws (2006), and many more.
Apart from these movies, he also starred in the following series during his teenage years and adulthood, “Warrior Baek Dong-soo” (2011), “I Miss You” (2012), “Remember: War of the Son” (2015), and “My Strange Hero” (2018). Given his exposure to the industry, it’s no surprise that he’d gained nominations and awards in the MBC Drama Awards like Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries, and Best New Actor award.
Do You Like Their Acting?
Comment down below and let us know who is your favorite Korean actor! Perhaps watching him and his dramas have helped you learn some Korean vocabulary.
There are countless K-drama series in different genres, such as historical dramas featuring the most talented Korean actors, which you learned about in this blog. Learning Korean becomes extremely easy when learning from the Ling app. The Ling app provides various means to learn different languages, including various blogs that you should most definitely check out to get a sea of information. The best news about using a language learning app is that it’s available on the Play Store or the App Store to download now! Don’t wait for the next day. Make that language-learning habit now!