Ji Sung

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Kwak.
Ji Sung
(간신) 레드카펫&VIP시사회 영상 (지성).jpg
Born Kwak Tae-geun
(1977-02-27) February 27, 1977 (age 39)
Seoul, South Korea
Education Hanyang University - Theater and Film
Years active 1999–present
Agent Namoo Actors
Spouse(s) Lee Bo-young (m. 2013)
Children Kwak Ji-yoo (b. 2015)
Korean name
Revised Romanization Ji Seong
McCune–Reischauer Chi Sǒng
Birth name
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), My PS Partner (2012), Secret Love (2013) and Kill Me, Heal Me (2015).

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, despite his father's objections.[1][2] He later studied Theater and Film at Hanyang University.


1999–2002: Beginnings[edit]

Ji Sung 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 Chae Ji-sung, then decided to drop the surname "Chae," and became known simply as "Ji Sung"[1] After several minor roles, he began playing bigger parts, notably in the television dramas Wonderful Days (2001) and Sunshine Hunting 2002), as well as the North-South romantic comedy film Whistling Princess (2002).

2003–2004: Breakthrough[edit]

Ji was then cast in the 2003 gambling drama All In. Producers 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.[1] All In was a big hit, and Ji Sung's popularity rose and became known as a Hallyu star.[3] Wanting to challenge himself, he next appeared in his first period drama The King's Woman, playing Gwanghaegun of Joseon.

In Save the Last Dance for Me (2004), he played a rich 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).[4]

2005–2007: Enlistment[edit]

Ji Sung enlisted on June 7, 2005 for his mandatory military service. Though he initially enlisted as an ordinary soldier,[5] 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".[6] He was discharged on June 6, 2007.[7]

2008–2014: Comeback and Lead roles[edit]

He made his comeback in the medical drama New Heart (2007-08), playing a cardiothoracic surgery resident.[8] 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 died, 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.[9]

He then made an extended cameo as the sophisticated right-hand man of the mob boss in action noir Fate (2008).[10]

In 2009, Ji Sung collaborated again with writer Choi Wan-kyu and director Yoo Chul-yong of All In in the revenge drama Swallow the Sun, 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.[11][12]

In February 2010, he signed with a new management agency, Namoo Actors.[13] Several months later, he played another historical character in Kim Su-ro, The Iron King, as the titular founder of Geumgwan Gaya.[14][15][16]

In 2011, Ji Sung starred alongside Yum Jung-ah in Royal Family, about the power plays within a chaebol family.[17] Later that year, he was cast in the workplace romantic comedy Protect the Boss.[18] 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).[19][20][21]

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.[22]

In late 2012, he starred in adult romantic comedy My PS Partner, 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.[23] 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.[24]

In 2013, Ji Sung starred in melodrama Secret Love. He said he chose the drama because he found the script "fresh, honest, and sophisticated."[25] He played a chaebol "bad boy" whose girlfriend is killed, then falls for the woman who went to prison for the crime.[26] 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.[2][27]

2015–Present: Career resurgence[edit]

In 2015, he reunited with Secret Love costar Hwang Jung-eum in Kill Me, Heal Me, in which he played a chaebol millionaire with dissociative identity disorder who has seven different identities.[28][29][30][31] The series was a hit and developed a cult following, winning Ji Sung the "Daesang (Grand Prize)" at the MBC Drama Awards.

In 2016, Ji Sung starred in Entertainer, where he played a cunning and self-centered manager of an entertainment company. He next starred in legal thriller Defendant, as an amnesic prosecutor who finds himself on a death row. Defendant was a hit, and topped viewership ratings.[32]

Personal life[edit]

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.[33][34][35][36] On August 2, 2013, the couple announced their engagement by uploading handwritten letters on their respective official fan sites.[37][38][39][40][41] They married at Aston House, W Seoul Walkerhill Hotel on September 27, 2013.[42][43][44] Their first child, daughter Kwak Ji Yoo was born on June 12, 2015.[45]


Television drama[edit]

Year Title Role Network Notes
1999 KAIST Kang Dae-wook SBS
March SBS Guest
2000 Popcorn SBS
I Want to Keep Seeing You Lee Ji-soo SBS
2001 Delicious Proposal Oh Joon-soo MBC
Open Drama Man & Woman Lee Soo-hyun SBS episode: "A Couple of Hours
Before Breaking Up with Her"
The Rules of Marriage Hwang Won-soo MBC
Wonderful Days Jang Seok-jin SBS
2002 Let's Go SBS Guest, episode: "Monkey"
Sunshine Hunting Lee Seung-joon KBS2
2003 All In Choi Jung-won SBS
The King's Woman Prince Gwanghae SBS
2004 Terms of Endearment Noh Yoon-taek KBS1
Save the Last Dance for Me Kang Hyun-woo SBS
2005 Beating Heart Kim Woo-jin/Kim Seok-jin MBC Guest, episodes 9-10: "Outing"
2007 New Heart Lee Eun-sung MBC
2009 Swallow the Sun Kim Jung-woo SBS
2010 Kim Su-ro, The Iron King Kim Su-ro MBC
2011 Royal Family Han Ji-hoon MBC
Protect the Boss Cha Ji-heon SBS
2012 The Great Seer Mok Ji-sang SBS
2013 Secret Love Jo Min-hyuk KBS2
2015 Kill Me, Heal Me Cha Do-hyun /
Shin Se-gi / Perry Park /
Ahn Yo-na / Ahn Yo-seob /
Nana / Mr. X
2016 Entertainer Shin Suk-Ho SBS
2017 Defendant Park Jung-woo SBS


Year Title Role
2002 Whistling Princess Joon-ho
2004 Phantom Master: Dark Hero from the Ruined Empire (animated) Ending narration
2005 Blood Rain Du-ho
2008 Fate Park Yeong-hwan
2012 My PS Partner Lee Hyun-seung
2014 Confession Im Hyun-tae
2015 The Vampire Lives Next Door (short film)

Variety show[edit]

Year Title Network Notes
2002-2002 Live Music Camp MBC Host
2003 Hey Hey Hey SBS Guest
2004 Music Bank KBS2 Host
2005 Ya Shim Man Man: Ten Thousand People Have Been Asked SBS Guest, episode 107
Shin Dong-yup and Kim Yong-man's Favorites SBS Guest, episode 51
2008 STAR N the CITY: Ji Sung in Dubai XTM
2011 Running Man SBS Guest, episode 54
Taxi tvN Guest, episode 223
Healing Camp, Aren't You Happy SBS Guest, episode 3
2011 SBS Drama Awards SBS Host
2012 Running Man SBS Guest, episodes 116-117
Strong Heart SBS Guest, episodes 151-152
Happy Together KBS2 Guest, episode 276
2013 Happy Together KBS2 Guest, episode 317
2014 Taxi tvN Guest, episode 336
Running Man SBS Guest, episodes 202-203
2015 Three Meals a Day - Season 2 tvN Guest, episodes 4-5

Music video[edit]

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


Year Title Notes
2004 "Confession" Track from Terms of Endearment OST
2012 "Sexy Jingle Bells" Tracks from My PS Partner OST
"Show Me Your Panty"
2013 "Wuthering Heights"[46] Track from Secret Love OST
2015 "Violet" Track from Kill Me, Heal Me OST

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2001 MBC Drama Awards Best New Actor The Rules of Marriage Won
SBS Drama Awards New Star Award Wonderful Days Won
2003 SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special All In Won
2004 SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Save the Last Dance for Me Nominated
Top 10 Stars Won
2008 Han Il Culture Awards 민간외교부분 수상 N/A Won
MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor New Heart Nominated
Golden Acting Award, Actor in a Miniseries Won
2009 SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special Swallow the Sun Nominated
2010 5th Asia Model Festival Awards[47] BBF Popular Star Award N/A Won
26th Korea Best Dresser Swan Awards Best Dressed, Movie Actor category N/A Won
2011 4th Style Icon Awards[48] Style Icon Actor (Bonsang) N/A Won
MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Royal Family Nominated
SBS Drama Awards[49] Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special Protect the Boss Won
Top 10 Stars Won
Best Couple Award with Choi Kang-hee Won
2012 SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special The Great Seer Nominated
2013 KBS Drama Awards[50] Top Excellence Award, Actor Secret Love Won
Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Nominated
Popularity Award, Actor Won
Best Couple Award with Hwang Jung-eum Won
2014 3rd APAN Star Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Nominated
2015 51st Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (TV) Kill Me, Heal Me Nominated
10th Seoul International Drama Awards Best Actor Nominated
8th Korea Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Nominated
4th APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Nominated
MBC Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Won
Top Excellence Actor, Actor in a Miniseries Won
Best Couple with Park Seo-joon Won
Best Couple with Hwang Jung-eum Nominated
Top 10 Stars Won
2016 28th Korea PD Awards Best Performer, TV Actor category Won
4th Annual DramaFever Awards[51] Best Actor Won
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Romantic Comedy Drama Entertainer Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d Healing Camp: Episode 3 (Guest: Ji Sung). Healing Camp, Aren't You Happy. Seoul Broadcasting System. 1 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Ha, Soo-jung (12 July 2014). "Interview: Ji Sung Says Jogging 15 Kilometers Every Morning Has Changed His Life". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-07-26. 
  3. ^ Kim, Heidi (12 May 2011). "Ji Sung holds fan meeting in Japan". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  4. ^ "K-FILM REVIEWS: 혈의 누 (Blood Rain)". Twitch Film. 12 September 2005. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  5. ^ "Ji Sung Joins Army". KBS Global. 8 June 2005. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  6. ^ "Actor Ji Sung Becomes Military's Ambassador". The Korea Times. 1 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-10. 
  7. ^ "What Next as Stars Emerge Blinking from the Military?". The Chosun Ilbo. 30 January 2007. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  8. ^ Kwon, Mee-yoo; Han, Sang-hee (5 December 2007). "New Medical Drama New Heart to Hit TV". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  9. ^ "How Ji Sung Discovered a New Side to Himself". The Chosun Ilbo. 4 January 2008. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  10. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (18 March 2008). "Actors Kwon, Song Get Rough in Fate". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  11. ^ Han, Sang-hee (7 July 2009). "Swallow the Sun to Capture Love, Revenge". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  12. ^ Kim, Jessica (8 October 2009). "Ji-sung "in daze" after last drama". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  13. ^ Kang, Seung-hun (9 February 2010). "Ji Sung signs with Moon Geun-young's management agency". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  14. ^ Kim, Lynn (5 March 2010). "Ji Sung to star in new TV series Kim Su-ro". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  15. ^ Wee, Geun-woo (27 July 2010). "INTERVIEW: Actor Ji Sung - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  16. ^ Wee, Geun-woo (27 July 2010). "INTERVIEW: Actor Ji Sung - Part 2". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  17. ^ Lee, Seung-han (16 March 2011). "Ji-sung says Royal Family is just beginning". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  18. ^ Kwon, Mee-yoo (2 August 2011). "Hot-blooded secretary meets clumsy boss in new SBS drama". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  19. ^ Kim, Ji-yeon (14 October 2011). "Interview: Ji Sung Aims for the Far Future". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  20. ^ Lee, Ga-on (18 October 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actor Ji Sung - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  21. ^ Lee, Ga-on (18 October 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actor Ji Sung - Part 2". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  22. ^ Lee, Tae-ho (26 September 2012). "Ji Sung Says "I Felt like Falling in Love with Ji Jin-hee"". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  23. ^ Suk, Monica (18 June 2012). "Ji Sung, Kim A-joong's behind-scene photos of new romantic comedy revealed". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  24. ^ Park, Eun-jee (7 December 2012). "Love at first phone sex: Erotic rom-com hits cinemas". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  25. ^ Lee, Sun-min (12 September 2013). "Ji Sung holds off wedding plans for drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  26. ^ Lee, Eun-ah (6 August 2013). "Ji Sung, Hwang Jung-eum Cast in New Drama". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  27. ^ Jin, Eun-soo (20 June 2014). "Masculinity, brutality themes of Confession". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  28. ^ Sung, So-young (6 December 2014). "Hwang and Ji together again". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-12-11. 
  29. ^ "Ji Sung Talks About Adopting Multiple Identities". The Chosun Ilbo. 21 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-24. 
  30. ^ Hwang, Hye-jin (22 March 2015). "Interview: Ji Sung was Shocked to Learn His Lip Tint from Kill Me Heal Me Sold Out". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
  31. ^ Ko, Hong-ju (22 March 2015). "Interview: Ji Sung Reflects on Acting Out Multiple Personalities in Kill Me Heal Me". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
  32. ^ https://sg.style.yahoo.com/sbs-drama-defendant-starts-bang-085210934.html
  33. ^ Cho, Bum-ja (24 February 2011). "Ji-sung says still steady with actress Lee Bo-young". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  34. ^ Hong, Lucia (31 May 2012). "Ji Sung, Lee Bo-young deny June wedding rumor". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  35. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (1 June 2012). "Lee Bo-young, Ji Sung agencies dismiss rumors of wedding plans". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  36. ^ "Celebrity Couple Attend Psy's Concert". The Chosun Ilbo. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  37. ^ An, So-hyoun (2 August 2013). "Lee Bo Young and Ji Sung to Get Married in September". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  38. ^ Lee, Sun-min (3 August 2013). "A hand-written engagement". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  39. ^ 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. 
  40. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (24 September 2013). "Lee Bo Young and Ji Sung Invites Wedding Guests to Their Star". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  41. ^ Jeon, Su-mi (27 September 2013). "Lee Bo Young and Ji Sung to Tie the Knot Today (9/27)". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  42. ^ "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. 
  43. ^ Lee, Hye-ji (27 September 2013). "Actors Ji Sung, Lee Bo-young Tie the Knot (2)". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  44. ^ Kim, Byung-kwan (27 September 2013). "Ji Sung and Lee Bo Young Tie the Knot". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  45. ^ "Ji Sung and Lee Bo Young Welcome Their First Baby Into the World". Soompi. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  46. ^ "Actor Ji Sung Sings OST of Drama Secret". KBS Global. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  47. ^ Kim, Jessica (18 January 2010). "Ji-sung receives prize at Asian model awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  48. ^ Lee, Nancy (4 November 2011). "Who Took Home a Prize at the Style Icon Awards?". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  49. ^ Kim, Jessica (2 January 2012). "Han Suk-kyu reclaims glory at SBS Drama Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  50. ^ 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. 
  51. ^ Yonhapnews, Yonhapnews (28 June 2016). "Ji Sung, Park Bo-young chosen best Korean TV actors". Yonhapnews. Retrieved 2016-06-29. 

External links[edit]