Drama

25 Most Popular Korean Actors on MDL

This is a followup article of Top 25 MDLer’s Favorite Korean Actresses and Their Highly Regarded Performances written by Rawa more than a year ago. I have thought for a while to write about the Korean actor version. Thank you to justanotherrey for the permission, since initially it was her project with another writer who is no longer on MDL.

Following the original intention of the first author, in this article I only mentioned the highly regarded performances of these actors in the dramas and movies which they received awards for, and their highest education achieved. I also added their upcoming dramas to look forward to, and their personal websites and SNS accounts you to follow.

Disclaimer: This is NOT my personal list. I am merely a heart counter of all the hearts/likes/loves fellow MDLers gave to each actor on their respective pages. The information gathered is from the English and Korean versions of Wikipedia, and namu.wiki. The rank, likes/hearts, and drama information are from data taken on 27 February 2022. Any discrepancy happened due to changes after the article was submitted for editing.

Let’s start the countdown!


25 – Park Hae Jin 박해진

♡ 5,352+
Park Hae Jin was born on 1 May, 1983 in Busan. He graduated from Seoul General Arts Practical School in Acting Arts.

He officially began his career in acting in 2006 with drama Famous Princesses, which landed him with Best New Actor awards. In 2016, he also starred as the Male Lead in Chinese drama Qian Duo Duo Marry Remember, that makes him very popular in China and he becomes the first Korean actor to be issued with a stamp in China, both in regular and limited editions.
Besides awards for his acting in his first drama, Park Hae Jin also received awards for his works in East of Eden (2008), High As Sky Wide As Earth (2007), Qian Duo Duo Marry Remember  (2011), Bad Guys (2014), Cheese in the Trap (2016), Far Away Love  (2016), Man to Man (2017), Forest (2020), and Kkondae  Intern (2020).

Upcoming drama: Showtime Begins!

Official website: club-jins     |     SNS: parkhaejin_official (Instagram), 朴海镇 (Weibo), nicehj (Daum Fancafe)

24 – Jung Hae In 정해인

♡ 5,527+
Jung Hae In was born on 1 April, 1988, in Seoul. He got a Bachelor Degree in Broadcasting Entertainment from Pyeongtaek University.

The actor’s first acting experience was through a musical in college, however, his determination to become an actor was established when he was in the military service. He first appeared in the girl group AOA Black’s music video for “Moya” in 2013 and officially debuted through the TV series Bride of the Century the next year. 

Jung Hae In has won awards for his acting in
 Yeah, That’s How It Is (2016), While You Were Sleeping (2017), Prison Playbook (2017), Something in the Rain (2018), Tune in for Love (2019), and One Spring Night (2019).

Upcoming dramas: ConnectD.P. Season 2, and Trees Die on Their Feet

Official website: FNC Entertainment         SNS: holyhaein (Instagram), actorhaein (Twitter), officialjunghaein (Daum Fancafe)

23 – Do Kyung Soo 도경수

♡ 5,699+
Do Kyung Soo, better known by his stage name D.O., is the main vocalist of the South Korean-Chinese boy band EXO. He graduated from Kyunghee Cyber University with a Bachelor Degree in Cultural Arts Management. 
D.O. began singing in primary school and was an avid participant in local singing competitions throughout high school. In 2010, he became a trainee for SM Entertainment, before being formally introduced as the eighth member of EXO in 2012. In 2014, D.O. made his acting debut with a supporting role in the movie Cart.
EXO has received many awards in music industry. As a solo singer, D.O. received awards from Hanteo Music Awards and Korea Sales Music Awards in 2021. In acting, he received awards for It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014), Unforgettable (2016), My Annoying Brother (2016), 100 Days My Prince (2018), Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days (2018), and Swing Kids (2018).

Upcoming projects: True Sword Battle (drama);  The MoonSecret, and Along with the Gods 3 (movies)

Official websites: SM Entertainment/EXO and SM Entertainment/D.O. (no personal website or SNS)

22 – Cha Eun Woo 차은우

♡ 5,805+
Cha Eun Woo was born under real name Lee Dong Min on 30 March, 1997 in Gunpo, Gyeonggi Province. He is currently attending the Department of Acting Arts at Sungkyunkwan University. He is the sub-vocalist for Astro, a boy band formed by entertainment group Fantagio.

Cha Eun Woo debuted in acting as a supporting role in the movie My Palpitating Life (2014). Together with Astro, he debuted in music by releasing the Extended Play “Spring Up” in 2016. Besides music awards he received with Astro, Cha Eun Woo also received awards for his acting in Master in the House (2017),  My ID Is Gangnam Beauty (2018), Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (2019), and True Beauty (2020).

Upcoming projects: Island Season 1 and Sweet and Sour Chicken (dramas), Decibel (movie)
Official website: Fantagio     |     SNS: eunwo.o_c (Instagram)

21 – Kim Ji Soo 김지수

♡ 6,059+
Kim Ji Soo, professionally known as Ji Soo, was born on 30 March 1993 in Busan. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Digital Seoul University of Culture and Arts Department of Theater and Film. He is enlisted in the military since October 2021, and is expected to be discharged in 2023.
Ji Soo made his acting debut on stage in 2009 and consequently starred in several short films, before acting in Angry Mom (2015). He won an award for an independent film, Our Joyful Summer Days (2020).
In March 2021, there were school violence and sexual assault rumors surrounding the actor. He was removed from the cast of River Where the Moon Rises (2021), and his contract with his agency was terminated. In May 2021, the legal representative of Ji Soo, law company Shin & Kim, stated the actor has taken legal action against the people who made false accusations and spread false rumors. On 6 July 2021, his legal representative revealed a new statement about the open-ended legal procedures of before-reported school bullying and assault allegations (read more in Wikipedia).

Upcoming project: N/A

SNS: actor_jisoo (Instagram), luvindex (Daum Fancafe)

20 – So Ji Sub 소지섭

♡ 6,150+
So Ji Sub was born on 4 November, 1977 in Incheon. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Korea Sports University Gyeonggi Guidance Department. He trained to become a professional swimmer and bagged the bronze medal at the Korean National Games. In 2020, the actor married former TV reporter Jo Eun Jung.

So Ji Sub was chosen as a model for jeans brand Storm in 1995. He made his acting debut in the sitcom Three Guys and Three Girls in 1996. He has won awards for his acting in Great Great (2000), Cheers for the Women (2000), Thousand Years of Love (2003), What Happened in Bali (2004), I’m Sorry, I Love You (2004), Rough Cut (2008), Cain and Abel (2009), Always (2011), Ghost (2012), The Master’s Sun (2013), Oh My Venus (2015), and Terius Behind Me (2018).

Upcoming project: Doctor Lawyer (drama), Alien + People and Confession (movies)

Official website: 51k

19 – Ji Sung 지성

♡ 6,289+
Ji Sung was born as Kwak Tae Geun on 27 February 1977 in Seoul. Ji Sung is his stage name. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Theater and Film from Hanyang University. He is married to actress Lee Bo Young since 2013, and they have a daughter and a son.
Ji Sung first auditioned for the 1999 campus drama Kaist, where he met screenwriter Song Ji Na. Song took an interest in the young upstart and wrote a new character for him, leading to his acting debut. Since then Ji Sung has won awards for Law of Marriage (2001), Splendid Days (2001), All In (2003), Save the Last Dance for Me (2004), New Heart (2007), Protect the Boss (2011), Secret (2013), Kill Me, Heal Me (2015), and Defendant (2017).
Upcoming drama: Adamas
SNS: justin_jisung (Instagram), Official Ji Sung (Facebook), FANJisung (Daum Fancafe)

18 – Seo Kang Joon 서강준

♡ 6,392+
Seo Kang Joon was born on 12 October, 1993 in Gunpo, Gyeonggi Province. His real name is Lee Seung Hwan. Seo Kang Joon is his stage name. He earned a Professional Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts from Dong Seoul College. Currently, he is enlisted for his mandatory military service as an active duty soldier, with projected discharge in 2023.
After passing the audition for Actor’s League, a talent program for new actors organized by entertainment company Fantagio, Seo Kang Joon underwent training before debuting in the actor group 5urprise. He made his official debut as the main role in After School: Lucky or Not (2013). Since then he has won awards for his acting in Cunning Single Lady (2014), Splendid Politics (2015), Cheese in the Trap (2016), and Are You Human Too? (2018)

Upcoming project: N/A

SNS: seokj1012 (Instagram), seokangjun_official (Tiktok), Seo Kang Jun (Daum Fancafe), Seo Kang Jun (Vlive)

17 – Hyun Bin 현빈

♡ 6,605+
Hyun Bin was born as Kim Tae Pyung on 25 September, 1982 in Seoul. He holds a Bachelor degree in Theater Studies from Chung-Ang University, and a Master’s degree from the same university. He is to be married to actress Son Ye Jin in March 2022.
Hyun Bin debuted in drama Bodyguard (2003) as a stalker supporting character following a first class model. Since then, he has won awards for his acting in Nonstop 4 (2003), Ireland (2004), My Lovely Sam Soon (2005), The Snow Queen (2006), A Millionaire’s First Love (2006), Secret Garden (2010), Confidential Assignment (2017), The Swindlers (2017), and Crash Landing on You (2019).
Upcoming movies: The Point MenConfidential Assignment 2: International, and Harbin 
Official website: VAST

16 – Lee Seung Gi 이승기

♡ 6,705+
Lee Seung Gi was born on 13 January 1987 in Seoul. He graduated from Dongguk University, with a degree in International Trade and Commerce, and obtained two master’s degrees in International Trade and Commerce, and in Imaging and Cultural Contents, both from Dongguk Graduate School. 
At 15, Lee Seung Gi was scouted by singer-songwriter Lee Sun Hee, and was trained for two years before debuting as a singer in 2004. In the same year, he also started his acting career in the sitcom Nonstop 5

The singer-actor has won numerous awards in music, including his first single “Because You’re My Girl” (2004). He has won awards for his acting in 2 Days & 1 Night Season 1 (2007), Shining Inheritance  (2009), Strong Heart (2009), My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho (2010), Gu Family Book (2013), Love Forecast (2015), Master in the House (2017), Vagabond (2019), Little Forest (2019), Mouse (2021), Busted 3 (2021), Sing Again 2 (2021), Loud (2021), and Team Up 072 (2021).

Upcoming dramas: Love According to Law and Super Note: The Heyday of the Villains
Official website: leeseungi     |     SNS: leeseungi.official (Instagram),  lsgtiktok (Tiktok)Airen (Daum Fancafe)

15 – Yoo Seung Ho 유승호

♡ 6,800+
Yoo Seung Ho was born on 17 August, 1993 in Incheon. He graduated from Baekshin High School in 2012 and decided not to pursue a college degree in order to concentrate on his acting career. 

The actor made his entertainment debut at 6 years old in a cellphone commercial in 1999, after his mother sent in a photo of her son to an ad agency. In 2000 he began his career as a child actor, first appearing in the television drama Daddy Fish as the main role.
Yoo Seung Ho has won awards for his acting in The Way Home (2002), Immortal Admiral Yi Sun Shin (2004), Precious Family  (2004), Hearty Paws (2006), The King and I (2007), Queen Seon Duk (2009), Master of Study (2010), Remember: War of the Son (2015), and The Emperor: Owner of the Mask (2017).

Upcoming project: N/A

SNS: None     |    Official fancafe: Yoo Seung Ho (Daum Fancafe)

14 – Seo In Guk 서인국

♡ 8,202+
Seo In Guk was born on 23 October, 1987 in Ulsan. He holds a Bachelor Degree from Kyunghee Cyber University Department of Information and Communication, and two Master of Arts Degrees in Performing Arts from Dongguk University and Practical Music (Composition) from Baekseok University. 
Seo In Guk launched his singing career after winning the talent reality show Superstar K1  in 2009, and his official acting debut in Love Rain. He received music awards for Calling You” (2009), OST “All For You“, “Loved You“, and his Japanese album Everlasting, He also won awards for his acting in Love Rain (2012), Reply 1997 (2012), The Master’s Sun (2013), The King’s Face (2014), 38 Task Force (2016), and Shopping King Louie (2016).
Upcoming projects: Minamdang: Case Note and Smoking Gun (dramas), The Wolf Hunting (movie)
Official websites: Story J Company     |     SNS: seo_cccc (Instagram), Whatsup_Inguk (Twitter), Seo In Guk (Vlive), sigstyle1023 (Facebook), Seo In-guk Vlog (Youtube), Heart Rider (Naver Fancafe), KUK’Y (Daum Fancafe)

13 – Kim Woo Bin 김우빈

♡ 8,351+

Kim Woo Bin was born as Kim Hyun Joong on 16 July, 1989, in Seoul. Kim Woo Bin is his stage name. He holds a vocational degree from Daekyung University Modeling Department and Bachelor Degree in Performance Entertainment from Jeonju National University.

The actor started his career in the entertainment industry as a model. He officially debuted as a runway model in 2008 at Seoul Fashion Week’s ’09 S/S Designer Kim Seo-ryong’s Kim Seo-ryong Homme Show. He began his official acting debut in the Drama Special Series Season 1: White Christmas (2011). Since then, the actor has received awards for his acting in School 2013 (2012), Friend 2 (2013), The Heirs (2013), and Twenty (2015).

Upcoming projects: Our Blues and Black Knight (dramas), Alien + People (movie)
Official website: AM Entertainment    |    SNS:  ____kimwoobin (Instagram)

12 – Park Bo Gum 박보검

♡ 9,387+

Park Bo Gum was born on 16 June, 1993 in Seoul. He received Bachelor Degree from Myongji University School of Film and Music Musical Performance, and his Master Degree from Sangmyung University Graduate School of New Media Music.
During his sophomore year of high school, Park Bo Gum sent a video of himself singing and playing the piano to prominent talent management agencies, which led to several offers. In 2011, Park Bo Gum officially debuted as an actor playing a supporting role in the thriller film Blind. Park Bo Gum has won awards for his acting in Hello Monster (2015), Reply 988 (2015), Music Bank (2015), Coin Locker Girl (2016), Love in the Moonlight (2016), and Seobok (2021).

Upcoming movie: Wonderland

Official website: Blossom Entertainment         SNS: BOGUMMY (Twitter), BOGUMMY (Youtube)

11 – Park Hyung Sik 박형식

♡ 9,571+
Park Hyung Sik was born on 16 November 16, 1991 in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Global Business Administration from Digital Seoul University of Arts and Culture.

In 2009, Park Hyung Sik started his career in the entertainment industry by appearing in Jewelry S “Date“. In 2010, he debuted his singing career with his fellow band members ZE:A or Children of Empire. He has won the Montblanc Homme Award for Contemporary Song Category (2015), and awards for his acting in Real Men: Season 1 (2013), What Happens to My Family? (2014), High Society (2015), Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (2017), Suits (2018), and Juror 8 (2019).

Upcoming dramas: 
Soundtrack #1 and Youth, Climb the Barrier
SNS: phs1116 (Instagram), Sikcret (Daum Fancafe)

10 – Gong Yoo 공유

♡ 9,815+
Gong Yoo was born on 10 July, 1979  in Busan. He holds Bachelor Degree from Kyunghee University International Campus Department of Theater and Film, and Master Degree from Kyunghee University Graduate School Department of Performing Arts.
In 2000, Gong Yoo started his entertainment career as a video jockey on Mnet and officially debuted as an actor in the TV series School 4 in 2001. Since then, he has won awards for his acting in Screen (2003), One Fine Day (2006), Coffee Prince  (2007), Silenced  (2011), The Suspect (2013), A Man and A Woman (2016), and Goblin  (2016).

Upcoming movie: Wonderland 

Official website: Management SOOP     |     SNS: gongyoo_official (Instagram), Gong Yoo (Daum Fancafe)

9 – Nam Joo Hyuk 남주혁

♡ 9,966+
Nam Joo Hyuk was born on 22 February, 1994 in Busan. At the age of 20, he won the contest Top Model sponsored by K-Plus. After that, he entered Seoul Hoseo Arts and Practical College, in which he got a Professional Bachelor degree in Modeling and Acting Arts.  
Nam Joo Hyuk started acting by appearing in Akdong Musician (AKMU) MVs “200%” and “Give Love“. His official acting debut is as supporting character Big in Surplus Princess (2014). The actor has won awards for his acting in Who Are You: School 2015 (2015), Cheese in the Trap (2016), Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016), and The Great Battle (2018).

Upcoming projects: Here (drama), Remember (movie)

Official website: Management SOOP     |     SNS: skawngur (Twitter), Nam Joo Hyuk (Daum fancafe)

8 – Lee Dong Wook 이동욱

♡ 9,997+
Lee Dong Wook was born on 6 November 1981 in Seoul. He attended Sejong University and Jungbu University but never graduated because of acting activities.

With the support of his parents, after highschool he went to MTM Acting Academy. In 1999, after attending the school for about 7 months, Lee Dong Wook entered the entertainment industry by winning the grand prize in a contest that his teacher secretly applied for.
The actor made his official acting debut in School 2 (1999). Since then, he has won awards for his acting in Loving You (2002), Land of Wine (2003), Strong Heart (2009), Scent of a Woman (2011), Wild Romance (2012), Goblin (2016), and Strangers from Hell (2019).
Upcoming projects: Tale of the Nine-Tailed Season 2 and Tale of the Nine-Tailed Season 3 (dramas), Single in Seoul (movie)
Official website: leedongwookStarship Ent    |   SNS: leedongwook_official (Instagram), leedongwook (Facebook), Lee Dong Wook (Vlive), Hachunwook (Daum Fancafe)

7 – Lee Joon Gi 이준기

♡ 10,590+
Lee Joon Gi was born on April 17, 1982 in Busan. After finishing high school, he went against his parents’ wishes for him to enter university and moved to Seoul to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. He was accepted into the Seoul Arts College on a scholarship and graduated in 2007. Although he worked as a model, dancer, and singer, after graduation he focused solely on acting.

Lee Joon Gi had his first major acting role in the 2005 film 
The King and the Clown as the clown Gong Gil, which won him awards. Besides the film, he has won others awards for his acting in MV “Grace” (2006), Fly, Daddy, Fly (2006), Time Between Dog and Wolf (2007), Iljimae (2008), Hero (2009), Arang and the Magistrate (2012), Two Weeks (2013), Gunman In Joseon (2014), The Scholar Who Walks the Night (2015), Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016), Criminal Minds (2017), Lawless Lawyer (2018), and Flower of Evil (2020).

Upcoming drama: Again My Life 
Official websites: leejoongiNamoo Actors    |    SNS: actor_jg (Instagram), leejoongi (Facebook), JGshock (Twitter), Lee Joon Gi (Vlive)

6 – Kim Soo Hyun 김수현

♡ 11,921+
Kim Soo Hyun was born on 16 February, 1988 in Seoul. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Theather and Film from Chung An University.

Kim Soo Hyun took acting classes during his school years on his mother’s recommendation to overcome his introvert personality. After several stage plays, he made his official television debut in 2007 with the family sitcom Kimchi Cheese Smile.

The actor has won awards for his acting in Giant (2010), Dream High (2011), Moon Embracing the Sun (2012), The Thieves (2012), My Love from the Star (2013), Secretly Greatly (2013), The Producers (2015), and It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020).

Upcoming project: N/A

Official website: Gold Medalist    |    SNS: soohyun_k216 (Instagram)

5 – Song Joong Ki 송중기

♡ 12, 243+

Song Joong Ki was born on 19 September, 1985 in Daejeon, South Korea. While in Seoul preparing for the university entrance test, he was scouted on the subway by an agent. He continued to study part-time after deciding to enter the entertainment industry full-time during his third year at Sungkyunkwan University , eventually graduating with a degree in Business Administration (minor in broadcasting) in 2012. 
Song Joong Ki made his official acting debut in the 2008 saeguk movie A Frozen Flower as the King’s guard. He has won awards for his acting in Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010), Running Man (2010), Tree With Deep Roots (2011),  The Innocent Man (2012), A Werewolf Boy (2012), Descendants of the Sun (2016), Space Sweepers (2021), and Vincenzo (2021).

Upcoming projects: The Youngest Son of a Conglomerate and Arthdal Chronicles: Season 2 (dramas), Bogotá: City of the Lost (movie)
Official website: History D&C    |    SNS: hi_songjoongki (Instagram), ki aile (Daum Fancafe)

 4 – Lee Min Ho 이민호

♡ 12,391+
Lee Min Ho was born on born on 22 June, 1987 in Seoul. He holds Bachelor Degree in Film Arts from Konkuk University, and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Film & Art at Kookmin University. 
The actor turned into acting in his second year of high school. After landing several minor roles, he started his official debut in Secret Campus (2006).
Lee Min Ho has won awards for his acting in Boys Over Flowers (2009), Personal Taste (2010), City Hunter (2011), Faith (2012), The Heirs (2013), Gangnam 1970 (2015), Bounty Hunters (2016), The Legend of the Blue Sea (2016), and The King: Eternal Monarch (2020).

Upcoming drama: Pachinko (American show)

Official website: leeminho       SNS: actorleeminho (Instagram), myment official (Youtube), actorleeminho (Twitter), Lee Minho (Facebook), leeminho (Vlive)

 3 – Park Seo Joon 박서준

♡ 12,569+
Park Seo Joon was born on December 16, 1988, in Seoul. He graduated from Seoul Institute of the Arts Department of Acting. 
After being discharged from the military service in 2010, Park Seo Joon began his career in acting by appearing in rapper Bang Yong Guk‘s  music video “I Remember“.
Park Seo Joon has won awards for his acting in I Summon You, Gold! (2013), One Warm Word (2013), The Chronicles of Evil (2015), She Was Pretty (2015), Kill Me, Heal Me (2015), Fight For My Way (2017), Midnight Runners (2017), and What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim (2018).

Upcoming projects: K Project (drama), Dream and Concrete Utopia (movies)
Official website: Awesome ENT    |    SNS: bn_sj2013 (Instagram), Record PARK’s (Youtube), parksoffice (Daum Fancafe)

 2 – Ji Chang Wook 지창욱

♡ 14,249+
Ji Chang Wook was born on 5 July 1987 in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province. He holds a Bachelor degree from Dankook University School  of Performing Arts. 
In 2006, Ji Chang Wook began his career in musical theatre, and officially debuted in 2008 through the indie film Sleeping Beauty as supporting character Jin Seo, the grandson in the third story. 
Ji Chang Wook has won awards for his acting in Smile, Dong Hae (2010), Warrior Baek Dong Soo (2011), Empress Ki (2013), musical The DaysHealer (2014), and The K2 (2016).
Upcoming dramas: The Sound of Magic and Tell Me Your Wish
Official website: Glorious Entertainment    |    SNS: jichangwook (Instagram), Ji Chang-wook (Youtube), jichangwook (Daum Fancafe)

And finally, MDL’ers top favorite actor is none other than…

 1 – Lee Jong Suk 이종석

♡ 17,935+

Lee Jong Suk was born on 14 September, 1989 in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Motion Pictures and Art from Konkuk University since 2016. 
He began his career in modelling at the Seoul Collection walkway in 2005, making him the youngest male model to debut in the event. In 2010, he made his official acting debut in the SBS TV series Prosecutor Princess (2010) as an investigator supporting character. 
Lee Jong Suk has won awards for his acting in School 2013 (2012), I Hear Your Voice (2013), Doctor Stranger (2014), Pinocchio (2014), W (2016), and While You Were Sleeping (2017).

Upcoming projects: Big Mouse (drama); Decibel  and The Witch: Part 2. The Other One (movies)

Official website: Lee Jong Suk    |    SNS: jongsuk0206 (Instagram)

Who are your favorite Korean actors from the list? 

Which of their works do highly regard?

Who are your favorite Korean actors who didn’t make the list?

Anything or anyone from this list that surprises you?


AcknowledgementsThank you to the editors who edited this article.  Credits: Feature image: tistoryAll colored images are in converted into grayscale.. Actors’ images (order by actor’s ranking number):  12345678910111213141516171819202122232425. All images are in grey scale.
Edited by: devitto (1st editor)

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