Ji Sung

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Kwak.
Ji Sung
Born Kwak Tae-geun
(1977-02-27) February 27, 1977 (age 37)
Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, South Korea
Education University of Suwon - Theater and Film
Hanyang University - Theater and Film
Years active 1999–present
Agent Namoo Actors
Spouse(s) Lee Bo-young (m. 2013)
Korean name
Hangul 지성
Revised Romanization Ji Seong
McCune–Reischauer Chi Sǒng
Birth name
Hangul 곽태근
Hanja 郭太根
Revised Romanization Gwak Tae-geun
McCune–Reischauer Kwak T’aegŭn

Ji Sung (born Kwak Tae-geun on February 27, 1977) is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his roles in the television dramas All In (2003), Save the Last Dance for Me (2004), New Heart (2007), Protect the Boss (2011) and Secret Love (2013).

Early life[edit]

Kwak Tae-geun's parents were both educators, and they expected him to also enter the teaching profession. But in his sophomore year in high school, his father bought him a VCR and the first movie he rented was Rain Man. Dustin Hoffman's acting left such an impression on him that he decided to become an actor.[1] He later studied Theater and Film at Hanyang University.


Kwak 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.[1] Upon the suggestion of his then-manager, he began using the stage name Choi Ji-sung, then decided to drop the surname "Choi," and became known simply as "Ji Sung."[1] After several minor roles, he began playing bigger parts, notably in the television dramas Wonderful Days (also known as Splendid Days, 2001) and Sunshine Hunting (also known as Days in the Sun, 2002), as well as the North-South romantic comedy film Whistling Princess (also known as The Hidden Princess, 2002).

Producers of the 2003 gambling drama All In were having difficulty casting the second male lead because most actors were afraid to be compared to lead actor Lee Byung-hun. Ji Sung approached director Yoo Chul-yong, saying he wanted the role; Yoo looked hard at him, then to the production crew's surprise, said, "Okay, it's yours."[1] All In was a big hit, and Ji Sung's popularity rose, not only in Korea but in other Asian countries.[2] Wanting to challenge himself, he next appeared in his first period drama The King's Woman, which reunited him with Wonderful Days costar Park Sun-young. Ji Sung played Gwanghaegun of Joseon.

In Save the Last Dance for Me (2004), he played an amnesiac businessman who falls in love with a girl running a bed and breakfast who nurses him back to health (played by Eugene). He then made a guest appearance playing Bae Jong-ok's college boyfriend in "Outing," a two-episode arc written by Lee Kyung-hee for the omnibus drama Beating Heart (2005), followed by a supporting role in Kim Dae-seung's period thriller Blood Rain (2005).[3]

Ji Sung enlisted on June 7, 2005 for his mandatory military service. Though he initially enlisted as an ordinary soldier,[4] the Military Manpower Administration transferred him to the military promotion ("entertainers") unit in February 2006, for which he served as "public ambassador of military affairs."[5] He was discharged on June 6, 2007.[6]

He made his comeback in the medical drama New Heart (2007), playing a cardiothoracic surgery resident who came from a lesser-known rural university, whose compassion and impulsiveness clashes with his more ambitious colleague (played by Kim Min-jung).[7] During a scene where his character cries after failing to save the life of a former comfort woman, Ji Sung said he thought of his maternal grandmother who'd recently passed away, remembering that she'd told him her only pleasure was watching him in reruns of All In. Contrary to his cheeky, playful character, Ji Sung said that he's taciturn and shy in real life, but that the drama made him find a different side of himself.[8]

Action noir Fate (2008) explored the darker side of friendship, when four close friends (played by Song Seung-heon, Kwon Sang-woo, Kim In-kwon and Ji Sung) scheme to steal casino money so they can leave their gang, but it leads to betrayal. Ji Sung appeared in an extended cameo as the sophisticated right-hand man of the mob boss.[9]

Swallow the Sun (2009) was his second collaboration with All In creators, writer Choi Wan-kyu and director Yoo Chul-yong. The revenge drama was adapted from the novel by Kang Chul-hwa, and shot on location in Jeju Island, Las Vegas and South Africa. Ji Sung trained hard to play the tough, strong-willed protagonist who goes to prison for his boss and later becomes involved in the city development of Jeju.[10][11]

In February 2010, he signed with a new management agency, Namoo Actors.[12] Several months later, he played another historical character in Kim Su-ro, The Iron King (2010), as the titular founder of Geumgwan Gaya.[13][14][15]

In 2011, Ji Sung and Yeom Jeong-ah starred in Royal Family, about the power plays within a chaebol family.[16] Later that year, he was cast in the workplace romantic comedy Protect the Boss.[17] In a departure from his usual serious roles, Ji Sung played a dorky man-child with a panic disorder, who matures and learns to run his father's business after meeting a feisty secretary (played by Choi Kang-hee).[18][19][20]

From 2012 to 2013, Ji Sung played a gifted seer/geomancer in The Great Seer. His fictional character becomes a "kingmaker" to Yi Seong-gye (played by Ji Jin-hee), the general who leads the overthrow of Goryeo and establishes the Joseon Dynasty, becoming its first king Taejo.[21]

In late 2012, he starred in adult romantic comedy My PS Partner (also known as Whatcha Wearin'?), playing an aspiring singer-songwriter trying to get over a breakup, who becomes the wrong recipient of a phone sex call from a woman (played by Kim Ah-joong) trying to seduce her boyfriend into proposing.[22] Ji Sung said he found the script intriguing, despite the discomfort of appearing in bed scenes. And after he saw Love & Other Drugs, he wanted to be in a movie that portrayed a romantic relationship in a realistic manner.[23]

Ji Sung said he chose to star in 2013 melodrama Secret Love (also known as Secret) because he found the script "fresh, honest, and sophisticated."[24] He played a rich "bad boy" whose girlfriend is killed, then falls for the woman who went to prison for the crime (played by Hwang Jung-eum).[25]

Ji Sung next appeared in Confession, a 2014 neo-noir film that brutally explores the aftermath of three men's friendship after the death of one's mother.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Ji Sung previously dated All In co-star Park Sol-mi from 2003 to 2006.[4][27][28]

He met actress Lee Bo-young on the set of 2004 TV series Save Last Dance for Me, and they confirmed their relationship in 2007.[29][30][31][32] On August 2, 2013, the couple announced their engagement by uploading handwritten letters on their respective official fan sites.[33][34][35][36][37] They married at Aston House, W Seoul Walkerhill Hotel on September 27, 2013.[38][39][40]


Television drama[edit]


Music video[edit]

  • Wheesung - "Trickling" (2009)
  • Kim Bum-soo - "The Practical Usage of Sadness" (2008)
  • KCM - "Black and White Photos" (2004)
  • Lee Ki-chan - "Cold" (2002)
  • Lee Kang-shin - "Leave Me Alone" (2000)



Year Award Category Nominated work Ref.
2001 MBC Drama Awards Best New Actor The Rules of Marriage
SBS Drama Awards New Star Award Wonderful Days
2003 SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special All In
2004 SBS Drama Awards Top 10 Stars Save the Last Dance for Me
2008 Han Il Culture Awards 민간외교부분 수상
MBC Drama Awards Golden Acting Award, Actor in a Miniseries New Heart
2010 5th Asia Model Festival Awards BBF Popular Star Award [42]
26th Korea Best Dresser Swan Awards Best Dressed, Actor category
2011 4th Style Icon Awards Style Icon Actor (Bonsang) [43]
SBS Drama Awards Best Couple Award with Choi Kang-hee Protect the Boss [44]
Top 10 Stars
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special
2013 KBS Drama Awards Best Couple Award with Hwang Jung-eum Secret Love [45]
Popularity Award
Top Excellence Award, Actor


  1. ^ a b c d "Healing Camp: Episode 3 (Guest: Ji Sung)". Electric Ground. 9 August 2011. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  2. ^ Kim, Heidi (12 May 2011). "Ji Sung holds fan meeting in Japan". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  3. ^ "K-FILM REVIEWS: 혈의 누 (Blood Rain)". Twitch Film. 12 September 2005. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  4. ^ a b "Ji Sung Joins Army". KBS Global. 8 June 2005. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  5. ^ "Actor Ji Sung Becomes Military's Ambassador". The Korea Times. 1 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-10. 
  6. ^ "What Next as Stars Emerge Blinking from the Military?". The Chosun Ilbo. 30 January 2007. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  7. ^ Kwon, Mee-yoo; Han, Sang-hee (5 December 2007). "New Medical Drama New Heart to Hit TV". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  8. ^ "How Ji Sung Discovered a New Side to Himself". The Chosun Ilbo. 4 January 2008. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  9. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (18 March 2008). "Actors Kwon, Song Get Rough in Fate". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  10. ^ Han, Sang-hee (7 July 2009). "Swallow the Sun to Capture Love, Revenge". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  11. ^ Kim, Jessica (8 October 2009). "Ji-sung "in daze" after last drama". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  12. ^ Kang, Seung-hun (9 February 2010). "Ji Sung signs with Moon Geun-young's management agency". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  13. ^ Kim, Lynn (5 March 2010). "Ji Sung to star in new TV series Kim Su-ro". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  14. ^ Wee, Geun-woo (27 July 2010). "INTERVIEW: Actor Ji Sung - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  15. ^ Wee, Geun-woo (27 July 2010). "INTERVIEW: Actor Ji Sung - Part 2". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  16. ^ Lee, Seung-han (16 March 2011). "Ji-sung says Royal Family is just beginning". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  17. ^ Kwon, Mee-yoo (2 August 2011). "Hot-blooded secretary meets clumsy boss in new SBS drama". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  18. ^ Kim, Ji-yeon (14 October 2011). "Interview: Ji Sung Aims for the Far Future". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  19. ^ Lee, Ga-on (18 October 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actor Ji Sung - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  20. ^ Lee, Ga-on (18 October 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actor Ji Sung - Part 2". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  21. ^ Lee, Tae-ho (26 September 2012). "Ji Sung Says "I Felt like Falling in Love with Ji Jin-hee"". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  22. ^ Suk, Monica (18 June 2012). "Ji Sung, Kim A-joong's behind-scene photos of new romantic comedy revealed". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  23. ^ Park, Eun-jee (7 December 2012). "Love at first phone sex: Erotic rom-com hits cinemas". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  24. ^ Lee, Sun-min (12 September 2013). "Ji Sung holds off wedding plans for drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  25. ^ Lee, Eun-ah (6 August 2013). "Ji Sung, Hwang Jung-eum Cast in New Drama". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  26. ^ Jin, Eun-soo (20 June 2014). "Masculinity, brutality themes of Confession". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  27. ^ "3년 열애 지성-박솔미 결별". JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean). 13 January 2006. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  28. ^ "지성·박솔미 팬, "고무신 거꾸로" vs "생일날 뭐했나"". eto.co.kr (in Korean). 14 January 2006. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  29. ^ Cho, Bum-ja (24 February 2011). "Ji-sung says still steady with actress Lee Bo-young". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  30. ^ Hong, Lucia (31 May 2012). "Ji Sung, Lee Bo-young deny June wedding rumor". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  31. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (1 June 2012). "Lee Bo-young, Ji Sung agencies dismiss rumors of wedding plans". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  32. ^ "Celebrity Couple Attend Psy's Concert". The Chosun Ilbo. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  33. ^ An, So-hyoun (2 August 2013). "Lee Bo Young and Ji Sung to Get Married in September". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  34. ^ Lee, Sun-min (3 August 2013). "A hand-written engagement". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  35. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (21 September 2013). "Lee Bo Young and Ji Sung Are Happy and in Love in Wedding Shoot". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  36. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (24 September 2013). "Lee Bo Young and Ji Sung Invites Wedding Guests to Their Star". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  37. ^ Jeon, Su-mi (27 September 2013). "Lee Bo Young and Ji Sung to Tie the Knot Today (9/27)". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  38. ^ "Star couple Lee Bo-young and Ji Sung pose at their wedding at a hotel in Seoul on Friday.". The Chosun Ilbo. 28 September 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  39. ^ Lee, Hye-ji (27 September 2013). "Actors Ji Sung, Lee Bo-young Tie the Knot (2)". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  40. ^ Kim, Byung-kwan (27 September 2013). "Ji Sung and Lee Bo Young Tie the Knot". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  41. ^ "Actor Ji Sung Sings OST of Drama Secret". KBS Global. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  42. ^ Kim, Jessica (18 January 2010). "Ji-sung receives prize at Asian model awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  43. ^ Lee, Nancy (4 November 2011). "Who Took Home a Prize at the Style Icon Awards?". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  44. ^ Kim, Jessica (2 January 2012). "Han Suk-kyu reclaims glory at SBS Drama Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  45. ^ Lee, Cory (2 January 2014). "Kim Hye-soo Reclaims Glory, Good Doctor, Secret Love Win Big at the 2013 KBS Drama Awards". TenAsia. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 

External links[edit]