Jang Na-ra

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Jang Na-ra
Jang Na-ra in July 2017.jpg
Jang in July 2017
Born (1981-03-18) March 18, 1981 (age 37)
Seoul, South Korea
Other names Zhāng Nà Lā
Education Chung-Ang University
  • Musician, record producer, actress
Years active 2001–present
Agent Rawon Culture
Musical career
Genres Ballad, Pop
Instruments Vocals, flute, piano
Years active 2001–present
Website www.narajjang.com
Korean name
Hangul 나라
Revised Romanization Jang Na-ra
McCune–Reischauer Chang Nara

Jang Na-ra (Hangul장나라; born March 18, 1981) is a South Korean musician, record producer and actress active in both the South Korean and Chinese entertainment industries since 2001. She rose to prominence with her hit studio album Sweet Dream in 2002, and since then has starred in well-received television series Successful Story of a Bright Girl (2002), My Love Patzzi (2002), Wedding (2005), My Bratty Princess (2005) and Confession Couple (2017).

Early life and education[edit]

Jang spent most of her childhood in her birthplace, Yeokchon-dong, Eunpyeong District in Seoul, South Korea. She appeared with her father, Ju Heo-seong, who is also an actor, in the play Les Misérables in her primary school days, thus sparking her interest to become an actress. Jang also went on to become a model for some television advertisements in her high school days before entering into the Department of Theater, the Faculty of Fine Arts major in Acting at Chung-Ang University in March 2000. Furthermore, she participated in band, performed instruments in musicals and acted in many plays. She then graduated 10 years after on February 19, 2010. The delay is due to her continuous work since her debut after she entered the University. She also received an alumni association award for her contributions to the University during the graduation rites.[1]



Jang made her debut in the entertainment world as a singer in May 2001. She started her singing career by becoming a trainee and signing a contract with SM Entertainment.[2] However, SM Entertainment dropped her due to assumptions that she would have lesser or no popularity than the other competing artists.

Jang released her debut album First Story with the title track Burying My Face In Tears. Initially, it was not well received and only reached number 12 in Korean music charts. After starring in the popular sitcom New Nonstop, she became more well known and released the other tracks in the album such as her pop ballad style song, Confession and the April Story, ranked at the top in various music charts.[3] The album sold 300,000 copies. Jang then became a host for MBC's music show, Music Camp[3] and KBS's talk show Love Story. By the end of 2001, she received several New Female Artist awards from year-end Music Awards ceremonies and New MC awards from Entertainment Awards ceremonies.[3]

In 2014

In October 2002, Jang released her second album Jjang Nara Vol.2 Sweet Dream. The song Sweet Dream became immensely popular and reached number 1 in Korean music charts, instantly making Jang a household name. The album also became one of the top selling albums of that year in South Korea. Due to the success of Sweet Dream, Jang won several awards including two Daesang awards or the Grand Prize (equivalent to Korean Top Artist of the Year) from MBC Music Festival and KBS Music Awards.[4][5] She also received the Korean Singer of the Year from China's CCTV-MTV Awards in 2003.[6]

In December 2003, Jang released her third album aptly titled 3rd Story. The album was also popular and produced hit songs that went to number 1 but it did not surpassed nor equaled the success of her second album.[3]

Jang released a Best Hits Album in 2004 consisting of songs from her 3 previous albums. She followed it up with her 4th album titled My Story released in December 2004, consisting of hit songs such as "I Love School" and "Winter Diary".[7]

With her popularity in China, she also made a career in music overseas by releasing Chinese-language albums. Her first Chinese album was a huge success, making her the first foreign artist in China with over 1 million copies sold.[8][9] This was followed by the release of two more Chinese albums, Kungfu (2005) and Flying High (2006).[10]

She returned to the Korean music scene in 2007 with her fifth Korean album entitled She, which consists of medium tempo “Masquerade” and the dance piece “You & I”.[11] The following year, she released a multi-lingual album titled Dream of Asia, which includes 26 songs in 5 languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese and English. Jang held a mini concert in Beijing to promote the album.[12] During the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, Jang was the only singer from a non-Chinese-speaking country to appear in the 2008 Olympic song Beijing Welcomes You.[13]

In 2009, she released a duet with Jimmy Lin for the soundtrack of their film Flying With You. The track was produced by famed Singaporean musician JJ Lin.[14] In 2012, four years after releasing Dream of Asia, Jang returned to the Korean music scene with the digital single I Only Think Of You.[15] The same year, she released her fourth Chinese album Love Journey.[16]

In 2013, she recorded a TV campaign song named “Nanoom Song” as the new face of the Community Chest of Korea.[17]


Jang also has a successful acting career. She first appeared in the popular MBC TV sitcom New Nonstop, and received attention for her cute image.[18]

In 2014

In 2002, Jang landed her first leading role in a drama in SBS's romantic comedy Successful Story of a Bright Girl. The drama is well received and recorded high audience ratings.[19] She won the Best New TV Actress Award at the 2003 Baeksang Arts Awards. The success of the drama and her hit song "Sweet Dream" launched her to stardom in South Korea that year. The same year, she starred in another romantic comedy series My Love Patzzi which also attained high ratings.[20]

In 2003, she made her feature film debut in the film Oh! Happy Day.[21]

In 2004, she came back to the small screen and starred in MBC's weekend drama Love Is All Around,[22] followed by KBS' romance drama Wedding.[23] Wedding established Jang as an actress, and she received viewer acclaim for her portrayal of awoman’s growth and identity in marriage.[24]

In 2014

In 2005, with her increasing popularity in China, she made a bold move by moving to China to start her singing and acting career. Her first mainstream Chinese drama is My Bratty Princess.[25] The success of My Bratty Princess catapulted her as a hallyu or Korean Wave star in China.[26] She made several other drama series in China which includes Good Morning Shanghai in 2007, Iron Masked Singer in 2010, and Unruly Qiao in 2011.[27][28]

In 2009, she returned to the big screen with Sky and Ocean, playing a gifted violinist with a mental age of 6 years old, diagnosed with Savant syndrome.[29] The movie was a commercial failure, and was criticized for Jang's unfair nomination at the Grand Bell Awards even before the movie was released.[30] However, despite the controversy, Jang won the Best Actress for a Foreign Film Award at the 19th China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Awards.[31] The film also became the first Asian film to be invited to the 8th Tirana International Film Festival in Albania, where it won the Media Award.[32]

In May 2011, Jang starred in KBS romantic-comedy Baby Faced Beauty. This marks her return to Korean screens after six years.[33][34] The series averaged 10% ratings throughout its run and won favorable reviews.[35] She later won the Excellence Award for an Actress in a mini-series at the 2011 KBS Drama Awards.[36]

The following year, she filmed her first Chinese movie Flying With You, starring opposite Taiwanese singer and actor Jimmy Lin.[37][38] She also made a cameo appearance in another Chinese film starring Jaycee Chan titled Whoever.[39] The same year, she appeared together with her father in a Chinese drama entitled Race Course.[40]

In December 2012, Jang reunited with her Baby Faced Beauty co-star Choi Daniel for KBS's teen drama School 2013.[41] She received her second consecutive Excellence Award for an Actress in a mini-series at the 2012 KBS Drama Awards.[42]

After filming for School 2013 concluded, Jang immediately returned to China to film a drama titled Red Palaquin.[43]

In 2014

The year 2014 proved to be a busy year for Jang with three TV projects under MBC network. In July 2014, Jang played the lead role in Fated to Love You, the Korean adaptation of the 2008 Taiwanese hit drama of the same title.[44] This TV series reunited her with Jang Hyuk 12 years after both starred in the highly rated drama Successful Story of a Bright Girl.[45] Fated to Love You was a hit in China and gained 200 million views.[46] Shortly after, Jang starred in a one-episode drama special entitled Old Farewell for MBC's Drama Festival, pairing her once again with Jang Hyuk.[47] She then took on the lead role opposite Shin Ha-kyun in the fantasy-romantic-comedy drama Mr. Back.[48] She later won the Top Excellence Award at the 2014 MBC Drama Awards for both television series she starred in that year.[49]

In 2015, Jang played a police detective in the mystery thriller Hello Monster.[50] In 2016, Jang starred in the romantic comedy One More Happy Ending, portraying a former pop idol.[51]

In 2017, Jang was cast in the drama Housewife Detective where she will play the role of a single mother.[52] However, due to production issues, filming of Housewife Detective was indefinitely suspended.[53] Later in the year, she was cast in the romantic fantasy drama Confession Couple.[54][55] The series was a success, and won acclaim from viewers.[56]

Charity and other activities[edit]

Jang does many charity work such as sending free powdered milk to the hungry North Korean children. She also works with the FHI Charity organization.

In 2004, Jang was named public relations envoy for China by the Embassy in Korea of the People's Republic of China.[57]

In 2007, Jang held a fund-raising concert for child patients of leukemia in China. The Jang Foundation was established from the money raised during Jang's fan club meeting at her June 9 concert in Beijing, which was held to mark the 15th year of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea. Twelve hundred seats at the concert venue sold out early. After the concert on stage, a Chinese charity organization appointed Jang as a goodwill ambassador, making her the first foreigner to receive such an honor.[58] The same year, she was appointed as one of the goodwill ambassadors for the China-ROK Exchange Year.[59]

In the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, Jang donated 150,000 dollars to a charity organization in China and 8 billion won of clothing for the victims.[60]

In June 2010, Jang was appointed as an associate professor at the Beijing Huajia University.[61]

In 2011, Jang was appointed as Seoul’s Gangnam-gu's ambassador to promote tourism in the area.[62]

In 2015, Jang was recognized for her charity activities by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.[63]


Korean studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
First Story
Track listing
  1. 고백 (Confession)
  2. 눈물에 얼굴을 묻는다 (Burying My Face In Tears)
  3. 연 (Yun)
  4. Make it Right
  5. 물고기자리 (Pisces)
  6. 4월이야기 (April Story)
  7. 눈물에 얼굴을 묻는다 (Burying My Face In Tears) (String version)
  8. Gloomy Sunday
  9. Blue
  10. 약속 (Promise) with Wheesung
  11. My Pain
  12. 지독한 사랑 (Vicious Love)
Sweet Dream
  • Released: October 1, 2002
  • Label: S.M. Entertainment
  • Formats: CD, cassette
Track listing
  1. Sweet Dream
  2. 아마도사랑이겠죠 (Perhaps Love)
  3. 혼자서도 잘해요 (I Can Do It Well By Myself)
  4. Pinekiss
  5. 철부지 (A Mere Child)
  6. Ending
  7. I'll Be There For You
  8. 뙈지아가 (Pig Baby)
  9. 물망초 (A Forget-Me-Not)
  10. 사막한가운데서 (In The Middle of the Desert)
  11. Snowman
  12. 다시 받아주겠니? (Can You Accept Me Again?)
  13. 바람아 멈추어다오 (Please Stop the Wind)
  14. 아마도 사랑이겠죠 (Perhaps Love) (Radio edit)
3rd Story
  • Released: December 2, 2003
  • Label: S.M. Entertainment
  • Formats: CD, cassette
Track listing
  1. We
  2. 별이 빛나는 밤에 (Version 2)
  3. 기도 (Last Pray)
  4. 10년이 지난 후 나는
  5. 그게 정말이니?
  6. 나도 여자랍니다
  7. 키키
  8. My Boy
  9. 약속
  10. 늘 그래왔듯이
  11. Say Good-Bye
  12. 눈물로 남을텐데
  13. 그게 정말이니 (Band version)
  14. 별이 빛나는 밤에
My Story (나의 이야기)
  • Released: December 20, 2004
  • Label: Warner Music Korea
  • Formats: CD, cassette
Track listing
  1. Intro
  2. 달팽이 (Snail)
  3. 겨울일기 (Winter diary)
  4. I Love School
  5. Always
  6. 이젠 괜찮아요 (Now no problem at all)
  7. 혹시라도 (Perhaps)
  8. 모시는 글
  9. 연인 (feat. Shin Hye-sung)
  10. 사랑하기 좋은 날 (Good Day to Love)
  11. 겨울일기 (Bossanova ver.) (Winter diary)
  12. 나 (I)
  13. Make it right
  14. 飛不起來
  • Released: February 21, 2007
  • Label: Warner Music Korea
  • Formats: CD, cassette
Track listing
  1. 사랑 부르기 (Calling out love)
  2. 마음을 잃다 (Losing one's mind)
  3. You & I
  4. 손톱 (Fingernails)
  5. 가면무도회 (A Masquerade) (feat. Haha)
  6. 사랑을 향합니다 (Towards love)
  7. Everything for you
  8. Tonight
  9. 이젠 말해볼까 (Shall we talk about it now?)
  10. 당신의 모든 것을 사랑합니다 (I love everything about you)
  11. 사랑 부르기 (Acoustic Ver.)
Dream of Asia
Track listing

CD 1

  1. 신기루 (Mirage)
  2. Jump!!Jump!!
  3. 흉터 (Scar)
  4. 미련한 미련이란 것이 (Stupidity What Is Stupidity)
  5. Thinkin’ Of You
  6. 거짓말쟁이 (Liar)
  7. Long Good-Bye
  8. 달맞이 꽃 (Evening Primrose)
  9. 눈의 아이 (Snow Child)
  10. 결혼할래요
  11. Shining Day
  12. Fairytale [English Version]
  13. 신기루 [Japanese Version]
  14. Jump!!Jump!! [Japanese Version]
  15. We [Japanese Version]

CD 2

  1. 우리들의 꿈
  2. 독신주의
  3. 신기루
  4. Jump!!Jump!!
  5. 남은 건 추억뿐
  6. 나를 따라 해 봐
  7. 못된 성질
  8. 멈춘 사랑
  9. 조금만
  10. 달빛은 내 마음을 대신해 [Cantonese Version]
  11. 달빛은 내 마음을 대신해 [Mandarin Version]
"—" denotes album did not chart.
* Sales data only available through June 2008.

Chinese studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
One Sheet of Paper (一张)
  • Released: January 20, 2005
Track listing
  1. 风儿啊!请你停下来
  2. 全世界下雨
  3. 娜拉In China
  4. 飞不起来
  5. Sweet Dream
  6. 恋爱宣言
  7. 我也是女人
  8. 甜蜜蜜
  9. 可能是爱情
  10. Ends
Gong Fu (功夫)
  • Released: December 7, 2005
Track listing
  1. 对不起我不爱你
  2. 功夫
  3. 爱上你全部
  4. 我要你崇拜
  5. 梦飞翔
  6. Everyday
  7. 危险恋人
  8. 天边
  9. 出乎预料
  10. 烦着呢
Journey of Love (爱的旅途)
  • Released: August 2, 2012
Track listing
  1. 愛的出口 Export of Love
  2. 想說給你聽 Want To Say To You
  3. 耍花招 Flashy
  4. 我知道 I Know
  5. 背靠背 Back To Back
  6. 謝謝你給我的幸福 Thank You To My Happiness
  7. 只想起你﹙中﹚I Only Think Of you (Chinese version)
  8. 只想起你﹙韓﹚I Only Think Of You (Korean version)
  9. 救人哪 Rescue Which
  10. 讓心去流浪 Heart To Stray

Collaborative and compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
Jang Nara and Friends
  • Released: April 17, 2003
Track listing
  1. 오 해피데이
  2. 피노키오
  3. 그날이후
  4. Friend (Solo Version)
  5. And (performed by Kim Hyun-jung)
  6. Lately (performed by Lee Ki-chan)
  7. Will Be Mine (performed by Lee Soo-young)
  8. Luv N U (performed by Haha, feat. Lil Wow)
  9. Today (performed by Kim Yeong-seok)
  10. Friend (with Lee Ki-chan)
  11. 부디 (performed by The Position)
  12. 그래요 (performed by Johan Kim)
  13. 아무것도 아닌 이야기 (performed by Sung Si-kyung)
  14. 다시 (performed by Natural+)
History My Love
  • Released: May 4, 2002


Title Year Peak chart
Sales (DL) Album
As lead artist
"Ladylike" 2007 No data No data Non-album singles
"Cotton Clouds" (뭉게구름)
"If You Ask Me To" 2008
"Tinker Bell" (팅커벨) 2009
"I Only Think of You" (너만 생각나) 2012 36 N/A
"Love" (사랑) 2013
Soundtrack appearances
"It's Alright" 2008 No data No data Opposites Attract OST
"Distant Horizon" (천애지아) 2010 N/A Dong Yi OST Part 1
"Snowman in May" (오월의 눈사람타이틀) 2011 Baby Faced Beauty OST Part 1
"All Day" (하루 종일) 2014 Mr. Back OST Part 4
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.
Data not available prior to 2010.


Television series[edit]

Year English Title Original Title Role Network Country
2001 New Nonstop 뉴논스톱 Jang Na-ra MBC South Korea
2002 Successful Story of a Bright Girl 명랑소녀 성공기 Cha Yang-soon SBS
My Love Patzzi 내 사랑 팥쥐 Yang Song-yee MBC
2003 Hello! Balbari 헬로 발바리 (cameo) KBS2
2004 Love Is All Around 사랑을 할꺼야 Jin Bo-ra MBC
Silver Love 银色年华 China
2005 Banjun Drama
"I Got Married to a Weird Woman"
"My Love Mite"
"And There Was Nothing"
"Strange Village"
"The Golden Age of Gas Man"
대결! 반전 드라마 SBS South Korea
My Bratty Princess 刁蠻公主 Situ Jing/Xiao Long Xia CCTV China
Wedding 웨딩 Lee Se-na KBS2 South Korea
2007 Good Morning Shanghai 纯白之恋 You Hao Yun China
2010 Iron Masked Singer 铁面歌女 Hu Die/Hu Yin Yin JLTV
2011 Unruly Qiao 刁蛮俏御医 He Tian Xin SZTV
Baby Faced Beauty 동안미녀 Lee So-young KBS2 South Korea
2012 Race Course 跑馬場 CCTV China
School 2013 학교 2013 Jung In-jae KBS2 South Korea
2013 Red Palaquin 红轿子 Huzhou TV China
2014 Fated to Love You 운명처럼 널 사랑해 Kim Mi-young MBC South Korea
Drama Festival "Old Farewell" 오래된 안녕 Han Chae-hee
Mr. Back 미스터 백 Eun Ha-soo
2015 One-Winged Eagle 单翼雄鹰 (cameo) CCTV China
Hello Monster 너를 기억해 Cha Ji-an KBS2 South Korea
2016 One More Happy Ending 한번 더 해피엔딩 Han Mi-mo MBC
2017 Confession Couple 고백부부 Ma Jin-joo KBS2


Year English Title Original Title Role Country
2003 Oh! Happy Day 오! 해피데이 Kong Hee-ji South Korea
2007 Girl's Revolution 麻雀要革命 China
2009 Sky and Ocean 하늘과 바다 Ha-neul South Korea
2012 Flying With You 一起飞 He Qianqian / Baby China
Whoever 愛誰誰 Yawen (cameo)
2015 Polaroid 폴라로이드 cameo[73] South Korea

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2001 Golden Disk Awards Best New Artist First Story Won
SBS Music Awards Won
MBC Music Awards Won
KBS Music Awards Won
2002 Mnet Asian Music Awards Best Female Artist Sweet Dream Won
Special Jury Prize Nominated
Mobile Popularity Award Won
KBS Music Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Won
MBC Music Awards Most Popular Artist Won
KMTV Korean Music Awards KMTV Award Won
SBS Music Awards Most Popular Artist Won
Golden Disk Awards Main Prize (Bonsang) Won
Seoul Music Awards Won
KBS Entertainment Awards Best Newcomer in a Variety Show Won
SBS Drama Awards Top 10 Stars Successful Story of a Bright Girl Won
2003 Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress (TV) Won
CCTV-MTV Music Awards Korean Singer of the Year Won [6]
2004 Commendation from the Secretary of Defense N/A Won
Honorary Master's Degree from the Beijing Film Academy N/A Won
Mnet Asian Music Awards Best Female Artist Is That True? Nominated
2005 China Golden Disk Awards Most Popular Singer Won [7]
Asia-Pacific Music Chart Awards Asia's Best Female Singer Won [74]
Award for Outstanding Contribution
to Korean-Chinese Cultural Exchange
N/A Won
Top 10 Golden Song Won
Inter-Parliamentary Union Award for Social Service Recipient N/A Won
2007 Chunsa Film Art Awards Hallyu Cultural Award N/A Won
2008 Asia Model Festival Awards Asia Star Award N/A Won
Culture Day Today's Young Artist Awards N/A Won [75]
Seoul Tour Awards Best Korean Star Promoting Seoul Tourism N/A Won [76]
2009 CSR Korea Awards Special Award (Individual) N/A Won
Grand Bell Awards Best Actress Sky and Ocean Nominated
2010 China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Awards Best Actress in a Foreign Film Won [31]
2011 KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Baby Faced Beauty Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Won [36]
2012 Top Excellence Award, Actress School 2013 Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Won [42]
2014 APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Fated to Love You Nominated
MBC Drama Awards Fated to Love You, Mr. Back Won [77]
Popularity Award, Actress Won
Best Couple Award with Jang Hyuk Fated to Love You Won
2015 Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Hello Monster Nominated
2017 KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Confession Couple Nominated [78]
Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Won
Best Couple with Son Ho-jun Won
Netizen Award - Female Nominated
2018 23rd Chunsa Film Art Awards Special Achievement Award N/A Won [79]


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  16. ^ "Jang Nara teaser images released ahead of Chinese album". 19 July 2012. 
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  21. ^ "An elderly stalker". The DongA Ilbo. 9 April 2014. 
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  23. ^ "'Wedding': a bittersweet romantic comedy to explore what's important in marriage". Hancinema. 25 August 2015. 
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