Top 5 Successful Korean Actors [Male Version]

It’s come down to listing the top 10 most successful Korean actors yet. This list will be divided into two: 5 actors and 5 actress making the top 10 successful actors.

How did I determine this?

Not a guesswork for sure. I’ve taken into account :-

  • the number of movies and/or tv shows worked on and how many were successful.
  • how much they get paid per episode
  • number of CFs, i.e., Commercial Film = advertisements
  • a few other things (cannot be disclosed as requested by my lab rats)

As expected, you may have different opinions on who should or should not be on the list and you can let me know your reason.




Before we got cracking in our research lab, I automatically thought Min Ho would be in the top 3 but after taking a lot of things into considerations, he comes out as number five in the guys list.

Believe it or not, his first gig wasn’t Boys Over Flowers which basically started his acting career. He starred in three dramas before BOF which you may or may not have heard of before (if you have, let me know) which are: Secret Campus, Mackerel Run and Get Up – all of which are school dramas (seems like someone had a kink for school uniforms). If you’re interested, Get Up has very good reviews so if you want, you can always give it try.

After winning Best New Actor amongst other awards, he’s been well-known and has been in very successful works like: The Heirs, City Hunter and most recently, Legend of the Blue Sea. He has also starred in various movies, one of them being a main role in Gangnam Blues.

Salary: 70 million won per episode

No. of awards: ~44 till date

No. of brands endorsed: ~54 till date



To be honest with you all, I did not expect him to be on this list, maybe top ten but not top five.

He made his debut as a jeans model which is no surprise at all seeing as he has a pair of sexy long legs. He became best known for his leading roles in the drama series I’m Sorry, I Love You, Cain and Abel, Ghost, Master’s Sun and Oh My Venus. Though, he got more fame after filming Master’s Sun. I really loved Ghost, it was such a good drama series. He has also starred in many movies but my fave one is Always which he acted with Han Hyo Joo.

A fun fact about Ji Sub is that he has a hip hop album more like a rap album which I found very surprising and in a pleasing way. Thank me later. Like, he actually really loves rapping. I see a Show Me the Money 6 promising contestant. He also has his own agency, 51K (51 is his favourite number).

Salary: 80 million won per episode

No. of Awards: ~33 till date



If his name wasn’t on this list, I’m pretty sure a whole department would have gotten fired. He puts the HOT in Jo In Sung and yes, it makes perfect sense. Everything from his height to his nose to his lips and to his vocal chords ooze sexiness. This is not me being biased because the others are also hot but I just thought I had to point Sungie’s own out. Not sure were that nickname came from but it made me feel good on the inside.

OK, so what isn’t he best known for? That’s my test for you guys. From What Happened in Bali to That Winter, the Wind Blows to It’s Okay, That’s Love,  everything he touched turned to gold. Also, I recently just watched The King and it was as expected. A Work of Art.

Was that too biased? Nope.

Salary: 80 million won per episode

No. of awards: ~33 till date



Known best for his main role in My Name is Kim Sam-Soon which was a massive hit at an average of 37% viewer rating and Secret Garden with another whooping rating at 30% were hit dramas that shot him to fame.

He recently starred in Hyde, Jekyll, and I which some people may see as a successful comeback after his short hiatus. I, for one did not see it as successful and found it very difficult getting through just four episodes. And for that, i think his salary should be cut off by 40 million won.

You mess up, you get cut (literally).

On another note, there seems to be an upcoming work for him in the form of sci-fi (City of Stars) which hopefully we should look forward to sometime later in the year.

*I am yet to watch Confidential Assignment which is paused on my laptop at the moment. It looks very promising as it also includes comedic actor Yu Hae Jin so I’m looking forward to it. If it’s anything like the trailer, then a positive review should be on its way soon. Maybe, he’ll be able to earn his 40 million back, eh?

Salary: 100 million won per episode

No. of awards: ~15 till date



Did no one expect this? I did. I assumed he would be in the top five so when I couldn’t spot his name in the previous four, I was sure he took the number one spot.

A top Hallyu star who has had series of amazingly daebak dramas including The Moon That Embraces the Sun, My Love From Another Star, and Producer and he’s never disappointed. Although, Producer almost lost me somewhere but I kind of got through with it. He also has successful movies which include The Thieves and Secretly, Greatly which is a personal favourite of mine although the ending caught me off guard and left me with mixed feelings.

Salary: 100 million won per episode

No. of awards: ~60 till date


“…I won…”

After research and all, we ended up with these five actors as the highest paid actors in Korea BUT this does not mean they are the top five most popular actors in Korea because some actors would be on this list. I may or may not decide to make that list.

Be on the look out for the actress version coming out soon to blog posts near you.

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think about this list.

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