Bae Yong-joon

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Bae.
Bae Yong-joon
Bae Yong Joon.jpg
Born (1972-08-29) August 29, 1972 (age 44)
Mapo District, Seoul, South Korea
Occupation Actor, Businessman
Years active 1994–present
Agent KeyEast
Religion Roman Catholic[1]
Spouse(s) Park Soo-jin (m. 2015)
Korean name
Hangul 배용준
Revised Romanization Bae Yong-jun
McCune–Reischauer Pae Yongjun

Bae Yong-joon (born August 29, 1972) is a South Korean actor and businessman. He starred in numerous television dramas, notably Winter Sonata which became one of the major proponents of the Korean Wave. Bae retired from acting after 2007, but remains active as the chairman of management agency KeyEast.

Early life[edit]

Bae Yong-joon was born in Mapo District, Seoul. He entered Sungkyunkwan University in 2000 as a Film Studies major, but later dropped out.[1]


Bae made his acting debut in 1994 in the Korean drama Salut D'Amour (lit. "Love Greeting").[2] The rookie actor quickly gained popularity, and a year later he won Best New Actor at the 1995 KBS Drama Awards for Our Sunny Days of Youth. Throughout the 1990s, Bae continued playing leading roles on television, in Papa (1996), First Love (1996) which reached a peak viewership rating of 65.8%, The Barefooted Youth (1998), and the Noh Hee-kyung-penned Did We Really Love? (1999). In Hotelier (2001), he played a mergers and acquisitions specialist about to takeover a hotel, but has a change of heart after falling in love with one of its employees (Bae would later reprise his role in a cameo in the 2007 Japanese remake of Hotelier).[3]

But it was Yoon Seok-ho's Winter Sonata in 2002 that would transform Bae's career, and consequently the face of Korean dramas abroad. A melodrama about first love, lost memory and unknown family ties, Winter Sonata became an unprecedented success in Asia and more than 20 countries, particularly in Japan. Bae gained a tremendous fan base among Japanese middle-aged women, who dubbed him with the honorific nickname Yon-sama (ヨン様; cf. "Emperor Yon") and brought in US$2.3 billion in tourism and Winter Sonata merchandise sales.[4][5][6][7][8]

In 2003, Bae was cast in his first major big-screen role in Untold Scandal (he had previously appeared in bit parts in two films in the 1990s).[2] In contrast to his gentle, intellectual image, Bae played a conniving, sexually predatory nobleman in E J-yong's adaptation of Les Liaisons dangereuses set in 18th century Joseon.[9] His performance received Best New Actor accolades from the Blue Dragon Film Awards and the Baeksang Arts Awards. He next published a photo book The Image: Volume 1 in 2004, which sold 100,00 copies.

Afterwards he worked with director Hur Jin-ho in April Snow (2005), about a stage lighting director who discovers his wife's infidelity when she becomes comatose after a near-fatal car accident with her lover.[10][11] The film had a weak domestic run but due to Bae's star power, it set a new box office record for a Korean film in Japan with ¥2.72 billion.[12][13][14][15]

Bae then entered the restaurant business, by establishing restaurants and cafes that capitalize on the well-being trend. He owns health food restaurant Gorilla in the Kitchen and high-end traditional Korean restaurant Gosire.[16][17][18][19] As the most famous Korean actor in Japan, he became a proponent for Korean cuisine, and his Gosire lunchboxes (or bento) are sold in Japanese convenience stores and supermarkets.[20] In 2006, Bae became one of Korea's wealthiest celebrities as the majority shareholder (34.6%) of management agency KeyEast (his stocks are valued at US$128 million as of May 2015).[21][22][23][24] Most of the KeyEast executives, including president Bae Sung-woong, are Bae's former managers and have worked with him for more than ten years.[16]

Bae made his much-anticipated return to television in 2007 in The Legend (also known as Taewangsasingi, lit. "The Four Guardian Gods of the King"). The big-budget period-fantasy epic was written by Song Ji-na and directed by Kim Jong-hak, and Bae played dual roles: Gwanggaeto, 19th ruler of the Goguryeo kingdom; and Hwanung, believed to be the son of God and founder of Gojoseon.[25][26][3] He was paid ₩250 million (US$217,000) per episode, making him the highest paid Korean television actor of all time.[27]

In 2009, Bae and Winter Sonata co-star Choi Ji-woo reunited as voice actors for the animated series Winter Sonata Anime, which aired in Japan.[28][29][30] He also wrote a book of photo-essays A Journey in Search of Korea's Beauty, which promoted Korean traditional culture such as ceramics, liquor, hanbok, pansori, hanok, Hangul, kimchi-making, temple stays, museums and historical sites.[31][32] It became a bestseller, and has been translated to Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese and English.[33][34][35][36] A Journey in Search of Korea's Beauty was later turned into an eight-episode TV documentary that aired on MBC Life in 2011.[37][38]

Bae and KeyEast entered into a joint partnership with Park Jin-young and JYP Entertainment in 2009, which eventually produced Dream High (2011), a teen musical series that revolved around the lives of students attending a high school for the performing arts.[39][40][41] As creative producer, Bae supervised the screenplay and production; he also appeared in a four-episode guest arc.[42][43][44] The collaboration between KeyEast and JYPE, named Holyim, lasted until 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Bae previously dated commercial/music video director Lee Sa-kang in 2004, and chaebol heiress Koo So-hee from September 2013 to February 2015 (Koo is the daughter of LS Industrial Systems vice chairman Koo Ja-kyun).[45][46]

He and actress Park Soo-jin announced their engagement in May 2015 and married on July 27, 2015 at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel. The couple only invited friends and relatives to the wedding and forbade attendance of the press media.[47][48][49][50] [51][52][53][54][55][56]


Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
1994 Salut D'Amour Kim Young-min KBS2
1995 Our Sunny Days of Youth Ha Seok-joo KBS2
Drama Game
"Six Steps to Separation"
Kyung-min KBS2
Sea Breeze Jang Moon-young PSB
1996 Papa Choi Hyun-joon KBS2
Colors "Blue" KBS2
First Love Sung Chan-woo KBS2
1997 The Angel Within Man in cafe (cameo) KBS2
1998 The Barefooted Youth Han Yo-seok/Jang Yo-seok KBS2
1999 Did We Really Love? Kang Jae-ho MBC
2001 Hotelier Shin Dong-hyuk/Frank Shin MBC
2002 Winter Sonata Kang Joon-sang/Lee Min-hyeong KBS2
2007 Hotelier Shin Dong-hyuk (cameo, episode 1) TV Asahi
The Legend Damdeok/Hwan-woong MBC
2009 Winter Sonata Anime Kang Joon-sang/Lee Min-hyeong (voice) SKY PerfecTV!
2011 Dream High Jung Ha-myung (guest, episodes 1-4) KBS2


Year Title Role Director
1994 The Young Man (bit part) Bae Chang-ho
1997 PpilKu Shock member (bit part) You Jin-sun
2003 Untold Scandal Jo-won E J-yong
2005 April Snow In-su Hur Jin-ho

Music videos[edit]

Year Song Title Artist
2001 "Goodbye, My Love" Jo Sung-mo
2002 "Ditto and Sympathy 2"


Year Title Notes
2004 The Image: Volume 1
2005 100 Days of Bae Yong-joon
2007 BYJ Family Book
2009 Journey in Search of Korea's Beauty
2012 Visit to Kyoto

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1995 KBS Drama Awards Best New Actor Our Sunny Days of Youth Won
Photogenic Award Won
1996 KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor First Love Won
Popularity Award Won
Photogenic Award Won
Korean Model Center Best Dressed Awards Recipient N/A Won
1997 33rd Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (TV) First Love Won
Kyunghyang Shinmun Readers' Choice
Special Advertisement Awards
Readers' Favorite Advertisement Model N/A Won
2002 38th Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (TV) Winter Sonata Won
10th Korean Most Popular Entertainment Awards Best Actor (TV) Won
KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Won
Popularity Award Won
2003 24th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actor Untold Scandal Won
Popular Star Award Won
2004 40th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor (Film) Won
41st Grand Bell Awards Best New Actor Nominated
33rd Japan Men's Fashion Association Best Dressed of the Year, International category N/A Won
4th Proud Korean Awards
(Journalists Federation of Korea)
Recipient, Public Art category N/A Won
2007 MBC Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) The Legend Won
Top Excellence Award, Actor Nominated
Popularity Award Won
Best Couple Award with Lee Ji-ah Won
2008 44th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (TV) Nominated
2nd Korea Drama Awards Hallyu Achievement Award Won
Order of Cultural Merit[57]
(Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)
Recipient, Hwagam Medal N/A Won
2009 1st Korea Brand Image Awards Recipient, Broadcasting category N/A Won
2010 1st Stars of Korean Tourism Awards
(Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)
Achievement Award N/A Won
2013 10th Anniversary of Korean
Entertainment in Japan Awards[58][59][60]
Grand Prize (Daesang) Winter Sonata Won
Best Actor Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Bae Yong-joon (배용준) Profile". Korea Tourism Organization. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Actors and Actresses of Korean Cinema: Bae Yong-joon". Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Brasor, Philip (27 January 2008). "Bae Yong Joon, superstar, how many hits have you had so far?". The Japan Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "Celebrity: A Hunk O' Love". Newsweek. 2 May 2004. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Norimitsu, Onishi (23 November 2004). "What's Korean for 'Real Man?' Ask a Japanese Woman". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Sohn, Jie-ae (16 March 2005). "S. Korean star sparks tourist boom". CNN. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "Bae Yong-joon Laments the Price of Fame". The Chosun Ilbo. 24 May 2006. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Salmon, Andrew (30 May 2012). "Yonsama: Korean love god captures Japanese hearts". The Korea Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  9. ^ Kim, Soo-kyung (16 March 2003). "Bae Yong-joon's Screen Debut - Notorious Playboy from Chosun Dynasty". The Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "April Snow no Walk in The Park for Bae Yong-joon". The Chosun Ilbo. 26 August 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  11. ^ Lee, Seung-jae (25 August 2005). "I, Myself Am in Forbidden Love". The Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Yonsama Fever Rages On Amid Korea-Japan Chill". The Chosun Ilbo. 17 March 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  13. ^ Lee, Min-a (24 August 2005). "Romantic tale appeals, particularly to Japanese". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Yonsama Proves Japan's Biggest Crowd-Puller". The Chosun Ilbo. 2 September 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  15. ^ "Yon-sama Fever Revived by Release of April Snow". The Chosun Ilbo. 21 September 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  16. ^ a b "Bae Yong-joon, Businessman Extraordinaire". The Chosun Ilbo. 24 July 2006. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  17. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (25 November 2009). "Bae's Food Chain in Japan". The Korea Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  18. ^ Eun, Elizabeth (21 April 2011). "Seoul's celebrity-owned restaurants". CNN. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  19. ^ Genegabus, Jason (24 January 2012). "Bae Yong Joon to open Waikiki cafe". Honolulu Pulse. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  20. ^ "Yonsama Lunchbox on Sale in Japan". The Korea Times. 16 June 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "Yonsama Effect Sends Firm's Share Price Soaring". The Chosun Ilbo. 4 April 2006. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  22. ^ "Top 10 stock billionaire celebrities". The Korea Herald. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  23. ^ "YG Entertainment head tops list of stock-rich celebrities". The Korea Times. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  24. ^ "Bae Yong-joon becomes the stock-richest celebrity". The Dong-a Ilbo. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  25. ^ Sa, Eun-young (11 September 2007). "Yonsamas Drama Hits TV Screens". The Korea Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  26. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (4 December 2007). "TV Drama Taewangsasingi Goes to Japan". The Korea Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  27. ^ Park, Si-soo (26 June 2013). "Who is the highest paid actor?". The Korea Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  28. ^ "A reunion in 7 years: Yonsama and Jiwoohime". 10Asia. 29 September 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  29. ^ "Stars reprise Winter Sonata roles for anime". The Japan Times. 30 September 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  30. ^ "Bae Yong-joon, Choi Ji-woo reunite for Winter Sonata anime". 10Asia. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  31. ^ "Bae Yong-joon promotes book on Korean culture". 10Asia. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  32. ^ "Bae Yong-joon Dreams of Simple Farming Life". The Chosun Ilbo. 23 September 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  33. ^ Park, So-young; Seo, Ji-eun (1 October 2009). "Bae Yong-joon wows them in Japan". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  34. ^ "Bae Yong-joon Garners More Laurels with Book About Korea". The Chosun Ilbo. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  35. ^ "Bae Yong-joon's Book About Korea Published in English". The Chosun Ilbo. 4 December 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  36. ^ "Bae Yong-joon's Photo Essay Nominated for Book of the Year in China". The Chosun Ilbo. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  37. ^ "Bae Yong-joon's Book to Be Filmed for Asia-Wide Distribution". The Chosun Ilbo. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  38. ^ Park, Uliana (7 January 2011). "Baes documentary on Korea eyes bigger audience". The Korea Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  39. ^ "Bae Yong-joon & Park Jin-Young in Lucrative World Project". The Chosun Ilbo. 2 January 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  40. ^ Song, Woong-ki (8 January 2009). "JYP, Bae looking further ahead". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  41. ^ Oh, Jean (28 December 2010). "Dream High: Just a JYPE vehicle, or something more?". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  42. ^ Han, Sang-hee (23 February 2009). "Actor Bae May Appear in His Own Drama". The Korea Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  43. ^ Hong, Lucia (8 December 2010). "Bae Yong-joon takes part in shoot for Dream High". 10Asia. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  44. ^ Seo, Ji-eun (6 September 2011). "Bae Yong-joon fuels Dream in Japan". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  45. ^ "Bae Yong-joon's Girlfriend Is LS Group Scion". The Chosun Ilbo. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  46. ^ Yoon, Sarah (17 February 2015). "Bae Yong-joon splits with chaebol girlfriend, 14 years his junior". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  47. ^ Lim, Jeong-yeo (27 July 2015). "Bae Yong-joon is no longer a bachelor". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  48. ^ "Actor Bae Yong-joon to marry Park Soo-jin". Yonhap. 27 July 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  49. ^ "Hallyu star Bae Yong-joon marries Park Soo-jin". The Korea Times. 27 July 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  50. ^ "Bae Yong-joon Weds Actress in Private Ceremony". The Chosun Ilbo. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  51. ^ Kim, Jae-won (14 May 2015). "Bae Yong-joon to tie knot actress Park". The Korea Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  52. ^ "Bae Yong-joon to Tie the Knot at Last". The Chosun Ilbo. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  53. ^ "Actor Bae Yong-joon to marry actress, 13 years his junior". The Korea Herald. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  54. ^ "Bae Yong-joon's Engagement Dominates Headlines". The Chosun Ilbo. 18 May 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  55. ^ "Bae Yong-joon, Park Soo-jin to wed July 27". The Korea Times. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  56. ^ "Bae Yong-joon, Park Soo-jin to Wed on July 27". The Chosun Ilbo. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  57. ^ Han, Sang-hee (19 October 2008). "Bae Receives National Order of Culture Merit". The Korea Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  58. ^ Bae, Ji-sook (20 October 2013). "Bae Yong-joon wins grand prize at Japan's hallyu awards". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  59. ^ "Bae Yong-joon Still Adored by Japanese for Winter Sonata". The Chosun Ilbo. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  60. ^ Kim, Peter (21 October 2013). "Actor Bae wins top prize at Japan hallyu awards". The Korea Observer. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 

External links[edit]