Valerie’s Top 10 Korean Actors

After being a k-drama fan for a while now, I’ve watched many things, which means I’ve seen many actors and actresses, most of them more than once. So, I’ve developed a bias list after seeing all these actors and actresses and decided to share it because they’re great and also to promote some of the more underrated ones.

Today, I shall only be sharing my top 10 actors, with a top 10 actress list coming sometime in the future. I shall begin by giving some facts about the actor for those of you who don’t know them. Then, I shall talk a bit about why I like them/how I discovered them, and I’ll finish off with saying my favorite role of theirs

Disclaimer – Except for the top 3, all other ranks and actors are subject to change at any moment. Curse my easily swaying bias list when it comes to actors.

Lee Joon

Lee Joon made his acting debut in 2008 in a cameo for the sitcom That Person Is Coming. In 2009, he debuted in the K-pop boy group MBLAQ, and the same year, he made his Hollywood debut in the film Ninja Assassin as the Teenage version of Rain’s character. Speaking of Rain, we’ve been seeing a lot of him since our review of Full House on the pod (which you should totally go check out…) Now, where was I…ah yes. BAM. Lee Joon is such a legend that he debuted in Hollywood the same year he debuted in Korea. After leaving MBLAQ in 2014, he became a full-time actor.

His acting career hasn’t been as successful as when he was an idol. However, he began gaining recognition after starring in the KBS2 weekend drama My Father is Strange! People started getting their poop in a pile and appreciating his fabulousness and it would’ve led to more success, had he not gone to the military right after the drama ended. *Shakes fist*. He was there for two years and since he came back, he hasn’t acted in anything. However, he shall be appearing in the upcoming Netflix original series The Sea of Silence along with Gong Yoo and Bae Doona.

Lee Joon is the most underrated person I’ve ever seen. Shame on you. Shame on you all for not appreciating this wonderful person and his talent! I personally only knew him from when he guested on Running Man and loved whenever he appeared.

The first drama I saw him in was My Father is Strange. He was so cute and his acting was so good, I knew I had to stan him. After watching his variety show appearances, I realized he’s even cuter and silly in real life and my weakness is cute and hilarious. Lee Joon is the only person that even comes close to being on EXO‘s level on my bias list. And thus, he became the first and only actor I stan.

My Favorite Role

Obviously Ahn Joong-he in My Father is Strange. As I said, his acting was amazing and I loved his character. I’ve lost track of how many times I went through the drama watching the scenes where Lee Joon appears…and it’s a 52 episode drama. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it. It’s definitely worth it.

Yoon Shi-yoon

Yoon Shi-yoon debuted in the 2009 sitcom, High Kick Through the Roof, where he gained popularity for his role as the fabulous Jung Joon-hyuk, a semi-rebellious teenager.

The following year, he starred in the slice of life series King of Baking, Kim Tak-gu, which was one of the most-watched series in South Korea in 2010, with the final episode reaching a viewership rating of 50.8%. That is insane man. What a legend getting 50% ratings! Anyways, the drama made Yoon Shi-yoon a household name in Korea and won him an acting Daesang (Grand Prize)!

Yoon Shi-yoon is actually a relatively new addition to the list. That’s because I didn’t really know about him until a few years ago, and I’ve only watched five of his dramas, which is unacceptable! I’m currently watching his debut work, High Kick Through the Roof, and he’s been an amazing actor since his debut.

So yes, he rose to 2nd place because of his great acting and his cuteness. I’ve put many more of his dramas on my list, and I’m excited about his future projects as well!

My Favorite Role

*Sighs* I was gonna say Grand Prince, but then I remembered Psychopath Diary…He was so charismatic in one of them, but hilarious in the other, and he pulled both of them off perfectly…I’ll just leave it at a tie I guess.

Lee Jong-suk

Lee Jong Suk began his career as a model and later made his official acting debut in the 2010 drama, Prosecutor Princess. He gained recognition through his role in Secret Garden and the sitcom High Kick Season 3 (Ayyee another one). His breakout role was in the hit drama School 2013. Since then, he’s starred in many other great hits and even won the Daesang for the 2016 fantasy thriller W.

*Tears* Lee Jong-Suk is currently serving his mandatory military service and is expected to be discharged on January 2, 2021.

Lee Jong-suk!! I feel kinda bad because he was 1st but got shoved down after Lee Joon and Yoon Shi-yoon came along. I first saw Lee Jong-suk in Pinocchio but at the time, I liked another actor more. It wasn’t until I started watching more of his dramas and rewatched Pinocchio that He rose to number one…until he fell…but he’s still great! I like most of his dramas and his acting is always amazing.

My Favorite Role

Curses. He has so many great roles!! I think I’m gonna have to go with Choi Dal-Po in Pinocchio though. That drama was my favorite back when I chose favorites and his character was great.

Lee Seung-gi

Lee Seung-gi is known as an actor, singer, and host, earning him the title of “Triple Threat” entertainer. He first debuted in 2004 as a singer with the song “Because You’re My Woman”, which was a big success and is the reason why there is a “liking older women” syndrome in South Korea (who woulda thunk). All his albums and songs have been successful, although he hasn’t released much music in recent years. He’s to be more of an actor/entertainer these days.

2006 he made his acting debut in the weekend drama The Infamous Chil Sisters. In 2009, he starred in the SBS drama Brilliant Legacy. The drama was a huge success, maintaining high viewer ratings throughout it’s run, with its final episode reaching ratings of 47.1%. He gained popularity as an actor after this and went on to appear in many more successful dramas.

Lee Seung-gi is another actor I’ve seen outside of dramas. I saw him in the second season of the Netflix variety show Busted! He was also higher on the list, but, like Lee Jong-suk, fell a few places. I first saw him in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and since then, I’ve watched many of his dramas. Like everyone else on here, I like him because of his dramas and acting, plus he was great in Busted! as well.

My Favorite Role

Son Oh-gong in Hwayugi. Lee Seung-gi has had many great roles, but Son Oh-gong is definitely my favorite. He was great. Kang-chi from Gu Family Book is a close second, but still, he can’t beat the great Son Oh-gong. I even have the little Son Oh-gong plushie thats how much I loved him.

Lee Sang-yeob

Lee Sang-yeob made his debut in the 2007 television drama A Happy Woman. Since then, he has appeared in many popular films and dramas. His first leading role was the weekend drama Give Love Away in 2013…I would like to apologize for the small amount of info on Lee Sang-yeob. I could not find anything about him, which was upsetting since he’s been on the rise on my list!

Anyways, Lee Sang-yeob is the only other actor on this list who I’ve seen outside of dramas. I first saw him in While You Were Sleeping and he was annoying because he was the villain (although he was a fabulous evil person), but that went away when he started making countless appearing on Running Man, where he was hilarious.

He solidified his spot on the list after I watched him in House of Bluebird. He did great and I’m looking forward to watching more of his dramas. I’m especially looking forward to the drama he most recently starred in — another KBS2 weekend drama, Once Again — which I’ve seen clips of and it looks great!

My Favorite Role

I’m embarrassed to say I have only watched two things Lee Sang-yeob’s been in. That being said, House of Bluebird is my favorite role of his (so far). His acting, of course, was great and I loved his character and how he developed throughout the drama.

Kim Soo-hyun

Kim Soo-hyun made his debut in the 2007 family sitcom Kimchi Cheese Smile. After that, he acted in a few other roles before starring in the 2011 drama Dream High, which was a great success both domestically and internationally, and made him a household name in Korea. His popularity skyrocketed after starring in Moon Embracing the Sun which recorded a peak viewership rating of 42.2%, earning the title of “national drama”. He got lots of love and endorsements from this and from 2013-2014, he appeared in another hit drama. This was none other than the fabulous My Love from the Star. In 2015, he starred in The Producers. He won Daesangs for both dramas. In 2017 he began his mandatory military service, which ended in 2019. Kim Soo Hyun made his first appearance in a drama in five years through the tvN‘s It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.

Kim Soo-Hyun moved up a few places. He’s always been great, but his acting in It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (or Psycho but It’s Okay) has brought him up! The reason he hasn’t been higher on the list is because I haven’t really seen much of the stuff he’s been in, but I shall be watching more of his stuff from now on!

My Favorite Role

Though it’s been years since I watched My Love from the Star, I’m sure his performance in that was great; since I can’t really remember it though, I’ll have to say Moon Kang-tae from It’s Okay to Not Be Okay for now! IONTBO and the actors were fabulous! Kim Soo-Hyun was great as Moon Kang-tae and his chemistry with Seo Ye-ji was amazing!

Namgoong Min

Namgoong Min debuted in the film Bungee Jumping of Their Own in 2001. In 2002, he attracted attention for his performance in Daebak Family, as well as other single-act dramas he appeared in. He gained more recognition when he starred in the KBS daily drama My Lovely Family in 2004, which garnered over 30% in ratings. He gained recognition for many of his roles after this, but his breakout role (apparently) wasn’t until the hit comedy drama Good Manager in 2017. I seriously thought his breakout role was way before this!

But anyways…Namgoong Min!! He is so fancy and such an amazing actor I always love watching the things he’s in. He can play both serious, scary characters and comedic characters and it’s always great! His facial expressions when he plays comedic characters are especially fun to watch hehe.

My Favorite Role

Although I just started watching it, his role in Doctor Prisoner is quickly turning into my favorite. His character, Na Yi-jae, is so smart and his plan is so well thought out it’s fabulous, and Namgoong Min’s acting just makes the character even better!

Park Bo-gum

Park Bo-gum debuted in the 2011 film Blind, and had a few more minor roles until he finally landed his first major role in the 2013 weekend drama Wonderful Mama. He gained popularity for his next roles, as well as for his time hosting Music Bank.

In 2015, his scene-stealing role in the crime drama Hello Monster won him more recognition. The same year, he starred in the hit drama Reply 1988, which reached peak audience ratings of 18.8%, making it the highest-rated dramas in cable television history at the time, and earning him the nickname “Nation’s Little Brother”. The role made him known as a rising Hallyu star.

In 2016, he starred in the historical drama Love in the Moonlight, which was a hit overseas and domestically, achieving a peak audience rating of 23.3%. Since then, he’s appeared in more popular dramas and has even released singles and albums.

Park Bo-gum is currently serving his mandatory military service after enlisting on August 31st, 2020. 🙁

Ayyyeee Park Bo-gum!! I’ve only watched two of the things he’s been in, but I’ve had some of his dramas on my list for a while…I just haven’t gotten to them. He did great in the things I’ve watched so far, so I’m looking forward to watching more of his dramas! Sadly, he’s only been in a few.

My Favorite Role

Lee Yeong in Love in the Moonlight. Park Bo-gum suits historical dramas quite well. He should be in more. He was so good as Lee Yeong that Love in the Moonlight became one of my favorite historical dramas. (Did I mention he has a great voice?)

Yoo Seung-ho

Yoo Seung-ho debuted as a child actor in a cellphone commercial in 1999. He rose to stardom in his first film, The Way Home in 2002, and after that he had many roles, further raising his popularity. As a teenager, he continued to act, and received love for his roles during this time as well. His first role as a male lead was the 2012 drama Operation Proposal. After his discharge from his mandatory military service in 2014, he has been the lead in multiple dramas and films as his popularity continues to rise.

Yoo Seung-ho is a pretty new addition to the list. When I first saw him in Master of Study, I didn’t really know or care who he was. The next time I saw him was when I watched My Strange Hero in 2019 and I loved him. I loved him so much I watched I’m Not a Robot shortly after that and have since added many of his dramas to my watch list.

My Favorite Role

I haven’t watched many of the things he’s been in, but from what I have watched, I would say it’s a tie between Kim Min-gyu from I’m Not a Robot and Kang Bok-soo from My Strange Hero. Both were great so I can’t choose just one! His eye smile was still the cutest in both dramas though.

Ji Chang-wook

Ji Chang-wook made his onscreen debut with the 2006 film Days… and had a minor role in the 2008 drama You Stole My Heart. In 2010, he starred in the hit drama Smile Again, which was his first lead role. He had several more successful roles after this, and his breakthrough came when he starred in the popular historical drama Empress Ki. The drama drew solid viewership ratings nationwide, with an average rating of 35.12%. He has starred in more popular series and films since then.

Ah yes, Ji Chang-wook. He was actually first place for a long time, but I started discovering other actors so he kept falling…but at least he’s still here! And he’s still great! The first drama I saw him in was Healer, which was my favorite drama for a while as well.

My Favorite Role

Seo Jeong-hoo in Healer. His character in that drama was great, so of the things I’ve seen him in so far, Seo Jung-hoo is my favorite. Kim Je-ha was pretty great too…I just like spy-type dramas and Ji Chang-wook is fabulous in those types of roles, so they’re always my favorite out of his roles.

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