Everyone is aware that Korean dramas, or K-dramas as they are colloquially known, have become some of the most popular forms of entertainment in recent years, and have become a part of the lives of millions of viewers. The actors have amassed vast fortunes as a result of their numerous hits. However, who are the highest-paid actors in Korean dramas, and how much do they earn per episode? That is the question on everyone’s lips.
Because of the phenomenal success of the Korean drama genre, some of the biggest names in entertainment have emerged. The actors are not limited to television; they also leave their mark in critically acclaimed films.
Kim Soo-Hyun, 33, is one of the biggest names in Korean drama, having won two Grand Bell Awards, South Korea’s equivalent of the Academy Awards. In 2021, he will appear in One Ordinary Day, a Korean remake of the acclaimed BBC series Criminal Justice. According to reports, he will earn approximately US$ 440,000 per episode from the series.
Kim began his career in 2007 with the Korean drama Kimchi Cheese Smile, and he went on to have commercial and critical success with serials such as Dream High (2011-12), Moon Embracing the Sun (2012), My Love from the Star (2013-14), and films such as The Thieves (2012) and Secretly, Greatly (2013).
In a little more than a decade, the South Korean actor has become the toast of K-drama fans all over the world. He is best known for his role as a South Korean special forces soldier in the critically acclaimed Descendants of the Sun (2016).
He recently achieved critical and commercial success with Netflix’s Vincenzo (2021). He wowed critics the same year with the epic sci-fi Netflix film Space Sweepers.
Because of his performances, good looks, and clean image in real life, the 35-year-old was reportedly paid around US$ 170,000 per episode for Vincenzo, making him one of Korea’s highest-paid actors.
Hyun Bin, one of Korea’s highest-paid actors, is regarded as one of the best performers of his generation. It’s no surprise that Crash Landing on You (2019-20), in which he starred, is one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in South Korean cable television history.
Hyun rose to prominence after appearing in a few minor roles in his early career with the 2005 romantic comedy drama My Lovely Sam-Soon (also known as My Name Is Kim Sam-soon). Secret Garden (2010-11) and Memories of the Alhambra are two of his other critically acclaimed K-dramas (2018-19).
A Millionaire’s First Love (2006), Late Autumn (2010), and Confidential Assignment are among his notable films (2017).
Ji-acting sub’s career began in the 1990s. He rose to prominence in the K-drama Glass Slippers (2002), in which he played a supporting role. He shot to fame in 2004 with What Happened in Bali (2004) and I’m Sorry, I Love You (2004). (2004). His most recent successes include the Korean dramas The Master’s Sun (2013) and Oh My Venus (2014). (2015-16).
He has also appeared in critically acclaimed Korean films such as Always (2011) and The Battleship Island in the interim (2017).
So Ji-sub, 43, was reportedly paid around US$ 67,000 per episode last year, making him one of the highest-paid Korean drama actors. His most recent per-episode fee estimate is reportedly US$ 90,000.
Since his acting debut in 1999 with the drama Jump, Jo In-sung has been equally impressive in both television and films. He has proven his versatility with diverse roles in well-received dramas and films. Reports suggest that he is paid around US$ 90,000 per episode. Till last year, he reportedly made US$ 67,000 per episode.
Counted among the best actors of the time, some of his best acting credits before his mandatory military service include The Classic (2003), What Happened in Bali (2004), Spring Days (2005) and A Dirty Carnival (2006). Since resuming his career in the world of entertainment, he has been delivering top-notch performances with That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013), It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014), The King (2017) and The Great Battle (2018).
His most recent work was Escape from Mogadishu (2021), which is currently the highest-grossing film (Korean or international) this year at the Korean box office.
The 39-year-old, also known as Gianna Jun, is one of the biggest stars in Korean entertainment and the highest-paid female Korean actor.
She was most recently seen in international audiences as the gritty Ashin in Kingdom: Ashin of the North (2020-21), the sidequel to the critically acclaimed Netflix horror-thriller Kingdom (2019-present).
Jun is widely credited with putting Korean entertainment on the international map with the classic romantic film My Sassy Girl (2001), for which she won her first Grand Bell Award for Best Actress. Jun rose to prominence with the films Il Mare (2000), The Thieves (2012), The Berlin File (2013), and Assassination (2015). She won her second Grand Bell Award for Best Actress for Daisy (2006).
Lee Min-ho rose to fame as the lead actor in the Korean drama Boys Over Flowers (2009), playing Gu Jun-pyo, a young cheobol heir.
The South Korean actor is one of the most notable contributors to the globalisation of the Hallyu wave, or Korean cultural wave. Lee is the most followed Korean actor on Instagram, with 25.9 million followers (as of September 19, 2021). Because of his popularity, he became the first Korean actor to have a wax statue in a Madame Tussauds museum in Asia.
City Hunter (2011), Faith (2012), The Heir (2013), Legend of the Blue Sea (2016), and The King: Eternal Monarch are among his most well-known Korean dramas (2020).
Lee Seung-gi is one of the few entertainers who is praised as an actor, singer, and show host, earning him the moniker “triple threat.”
Lee is a celebrity among Korean drama fans. He’s been on the scene for years, with roles in My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho (2010), Gu Family Book (2013), A Korean Odyssey (2017-18), Vagabond (2019), and Mouse (2021). According to reports, he earns around $60,000 per episode.
Lee is regarded as a small-screen Korean actor due to his enduring popularity on television in dramas and variety shows. Despite this, he has only directed two films: Love Forecast (2015) and The Princess and the Matchmaker (2016). (2018).
The handsome Ji Chang-wook is among the most popular actors in K-dramas and among the highest-paid Korean drama actors. He reportedly charges approximately US$ 50,000 per episode.
His repertoire includes hits such as The Empress Ki (2013), Healer (2014–15), The K2 (2016), Suspicious Partner (2017) and Backstreet Rookie (2020). He has also appeared in Chinese drama Whirlwind Girl 2 (2016).
Ji hasn’t done many films. His best-known works for the big screen are Fabricated City (2017) and Hard Hit (2021).
Song, like Jun Ji-hyun, is a celebrated female Korean actor of her generation and one of the highest-paid Korean drama actors.
The 39-year-old is best known for her role as the lead opposite Song Joong-ki in Descendants of the Sun (2016).
She is currently starring in Now, We Are Breaking Up (2021), and has won awards for her television performances since the 1990s. Autumn in My Heart (2000), Full House (2004), That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013), and Encounter are a few of her notable appearances (2018-19).
She is also well-known in China, where she has appeared in critically acclaimed films such as Wong Kar-The wai’s Grandmaster (2013) and John Woo’s two-part epic film The Crossing (2014 and 2015).