Kang Dong-won

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Kang.
Kang Dong-won
140802 군도 부산 무대인사 강동원.jpg
Born (1981-01-18) 18 January 1981 (age 35)
Busan, South Korea
Nationality South Korean
Education Hanyang University
(Mechanical Engineering)
Sangmyung University Graduate School
(Theatre and Film)
Occupation Actor
Years active 2003-present
Agent YG Entertainment
Korean name
Revised Romanization Gang Dong-won
McCune–Reischauer Kang Tong-wǒn

Kang Dong-won (born 18 January 1981) is a South Korean actor.

Early life[edit]

Kang Dong-won was born in Busan to a privileged background. His father Kang Cheol-woo is the vice president of SPP Heavy Industries, ranked among the top ten shipping companies worldwide.[1][2][3] Kang's family moved to Changwon when he was seven years old. Academically gifted since a young age with an IQ of 137, Kang graduated from Hanyang University, a prestigious college in South Korea. He graduated with honors with a degree in Mechanical engineering.[4]


2003-2009: Debut and career breakthrough[edit]

In 2000 when Kang was a first year university student, he was spotted on the street by a modeling agent. Thus began his modeling career, and he appeared on the catwalk for prêt-à-porter collections in Paris such as DKNY, Gucci and Hugo Boss, as well as for the local Seoul Fashion Artists Association (SFAA).[5]

After being cast in the music video for Jo Sung-mo's "I Swear," the experience intrigued Kang that he decided to take some acting classes. Realizing that acting was what he had been looking for his entire life, the revelation meant a change of career.[6] He quit modeling and made his acting debut on television in 2003, playing a doctor with a regional dialect in Country Princess (also known as Funny Wild Girl), and a chaebol's son in 1% of Anything.[5][7]

In 2004 he shot his first movie, the romantic comedy Too Beautiful to Lie. However, his first real breakthrough was in Temptation of Wolves, the film adaptation of Guiyeoni's teen internet novel.[8] With his beautiful, androgynous looks, Kang's popularity rose, extending to other Asian countries, especially Japan. He then briefly returned to television as an antihero in Magic, though it was not successful ratings-wise.[5][7]

Instead of starring in more mainstream fare, Kang surprised audiences with his next roles as an inmate on death row in Maundy Thursday,[9] and the antagonist in Voice of a Murderer.[10] His two collaborations with auteur Lee Myung-se in Duelist and M further cemented Kang's status as one of the top young actors in Korean cinema,[11][12][13][14][6] earning him critical recognition for his stylish flair and diverse choice of roles.[5]

Kang said that he decided to play the mischievous titular character in the action fantasy Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard because "he wanted to be an actor loved by all generations."[15] With its strong, star-filled ensemble cast and a high effects budget, the Choi Dong-hoon film turned into a blockbuster holiday event, selling over 6 million tickets over the winter season despite opening in theaters only a week after the release of Avatar in Korea.[16][17][18][19][20][21]

In 2010 he scored an acting coup by being cast opposite acclaimed veteran actor Song Kang-ho in Jang Hoon's spy film Secret Reunion.[22][23][24] It became one of the biggest Korean box office hits of 2010, with over 5 million tickets sold. He then joined the Busan-centered omnibus Camellia, starring in Jang Joon-hwan's short film Love For Sale.[25]

2010-2012: Military service[edit]

After filming psychic thriller Haunters,[26][27] Kang enlisted for his mandatory military service on November 18, 2010 for four weeks of basic training at the Nonsan military camp in South Chungcheong Province.[28] This was followed by non-active duty as a public service worker at Seoul City Research Institute of Public Health and Environment. He was discharged on November 12, 2012.[29][30] On the day of his release, his agency uploaded a three-minute YouTube clip of him in various locations throughout the city, titled "Gang Dong-won in a Day."[31][32]

2013-current: Return to acting[edit]

Kang lay low in 2013, with the exception of appearing in The X, a 30-minute spy thriller directed by Kim Jee-woon that showcases the visual potential of ScreenX, a new 270-degree exhibition system.[33]

In 2014, Kang returned to the big screen in Yoon Jong-bin's period action film Kundo: Age of the Rampant, playing an illegitimate nobleman's son who attempts to destroy a group of Robin Hood-like outlaws in 19th century Joseon Dynasty.[34][35]

He next starred in My Brilliant Life, E J-yong's film adaptation of Kim Aeran's bestselling novel My Palpitating Life about a couple who must watch their son suffering from progeria grow prematurely old.[36][37][38][39] This is his second time to collaborate with actress Song Hye-kyo, after Love For Sale; at the time they both belonged to United Artist Agency, which Kang had joined in 2013. (He signed with a new agency, YG Entertainment, in 2016.)[40]

In 2015, Kang reunited with Jeon Woo-chi co-star Kim Yoon-seok in mystery thriller The Priests.[41] He has also been cast in the upcoming films A Violent Prosecutor, Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned and Master, slated for 2016.[42][43]



Year Title Role Notes
2004 Too Beautiful to Lie Choi Hee-cheol
Temptation of Wolves Jung Tae-sung
2005 Duelist Sad Eyes
2006 Maundy Thursday Jung Yun-soo
2007 Voice of a Murderer Kidnapper (voice)
M Min-woo
2009 Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard Jeon Woo-chi
2010 Secret Reunion Song Ji-won
Haunters Cho-in
2011 Camellia Man segment: "Love For Sale"
2013 The X X short film
2014 Kundo: Age of the Rampant Jo Yoon
My Brilliant Life Dae-soo
2015 The Priests Deacon Choi
2016 A Violent Prosecutor Han Chi-won
Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned adult Sung-min
Master Kim Jae-myung

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
2003 Country Princess Min Ji-hoon MBC
1% of Anything Lee Jae-jin MBC
2004 Magic Cha Kang-jae SBS

Music video[edit]

Year Song title Artist
2000 "I Swear" (Hangul다짐; RRDajim) Jo Sung-mo
2001 "Light" (Hangul; RRBit) J
2004 "It Rains" (Hangul비가와; RRBigawa) Jung Chul
2010 "Let's Break Up" (Hangul헤어지자고) Joo Hyung-jin

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2003 MBC Drama Awards Best New Actor 1% of Anything Won
2004 40th Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (Film) Too Beautiful to Lie Won
41st Grand Bell Awards Best New Actor Nominated
25th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actor Temptation of Wolves Nominated
Popular Star Award Won
24th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best New Actor Won
3rd Korean Film Awards Best New Actor Won
Too Beautiful to Lie Nominated
7th Director's Cut Awards Best New Actor Won
2005 3rd CGV Audience Choice of the Year Awards Best New Actor Temptation of Wolves Won
41st Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (Film) Duelist Won
28th Golden Cinematography Awards Best New Actor Temptation of Wolves Won
26th Blue Dragon Film Awards Popular Star Award Duelist Won
2007 43rd Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Maundy Thursday Nominated
2010 46th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Secret Reunion Nominated
30th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Actor Won
47th Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
31st Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
2014 51st Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Kundo: Age of the Rampant Nominated


  1. ^ 김문수 지사 세종시 특혜에 '발끈'. Korea Economic Magazine (in Korean). 14 January 2010. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  2. ^ "Kang Dong-won, a huge corporation vice president's son". Hancinema. 29 July 2008. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  3. ^ "Who has the looks to background?". Hancinema. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  4. ^ 김연아 최고의신부 김태희 제치고 1위, 최고의 사윗감은 강동원 [Kim Yuna and Kang Dong-won chosen as the #1 wife and husband material]. Newsen (in Korean). 28 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  5. ^ a b c d Kang, Myoung-seok (9 April 2010). "10LINE: Actor Gang Dong-won". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  6. ^ a b Yang, Sung-hee (7 November 2007). "More than just a pretty face". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  7. ^ a b "All That Star: The Handsome and Talented Actor with Superior Genes, Kang Dong-won, who gradually rose to stardom!". Arirang News. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  8. ^ "Kang Dong-won Selected As Top Dream Date". KBS Global. 24 March 2005. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  9. ^ "Happy Hours and Two Complex Stars". The Chosun Ilbo. 6 September 2009. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  10. ^ Lee, Min-a (8 January 2007). "Time for boy's killer to repent". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  11. ^ Min, Dong-yong (2 June 2005). ""I Have Chi Coming Out of My Fingertips Now"". The Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  12. ^ "K-FILM REVIEWS: 형사 Duelist (Part 1)". Twitch Film. 17 February 2006. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  13. ^ "K-FILM REVIEWS: 형사 Duelist (Part 2)". Twitch Film. 17 February 2006. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  14. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (7 October 2007). "M Sets Busan Film Festival on Fire". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  15. ^ Yan, Seto Kit (24 March 2010). "Unlikely hero". The Star Online. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  16. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (18 November 2009). "Woochi set to work its magic - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  17. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (18 November 2009). "Woochi set to work its magic - Part 2". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  18. ^ Kang, Myoung-seok (17 December 2009). "Gang Dong-won says he may write Woochi sequel". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  19. ^ Wee, Geun-woo; Yoon, Hee-seong (28 December 2009). "INTERVIEW: Gang Dong-won - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  20. ^ Wee, Geun-woo; Yoon, Hee-seong (28 December 2009). "INTERVIEW: Gang Dong-won - Part 2". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  21. ^ Wee, Geun-woo; Yoon, Hee-seong (28 December 2009). "INTERVIEW: Gang Dong-won - Part 3". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  22. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (6 January 2010). "Gang Dong-won says envies Song Kang-ho's animal instincts". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  23. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (21 January 2010). "Gang and Song say bonded like brothers in Secret Reunion". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  24. ^ Park, Sun-young (21 January 2010). "Bonds of brotherhood, on and off screen". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  25. ^ Kim, Lynn (20 January 2010). "Gang Dong-won, Song Hye-kyo start filming Love". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  26. ^ Hong, Lucia (18 October 2010). "Gang Dong-won says "wants the power to teleport"". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  27. ^ Sung, So-young; Lee, Jung-hee. "Pretty-boy actor takes his turn as a villain". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 29 October 2010. 
  28. ^ Lee, Eun-ji (18 November 2010). "Gang Dong-won to enter military today". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  29. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (5 December 2012). "Kang Dong Won Excels in Dishwashing after Two Years of Public Service". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  30. ^ Lee, Tae-ho (12 November 2012). "Actors Gang Dong-won, Ko Joo-won Discharged from Military Today". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-04-09. 
  31. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (14 November 2012). "Military releases Kang Dong-won". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  32. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (12 November 2012). "Kang Dong Won Returns from Army with a Special Video for Fans". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  33. ^ Lee, Maggie (28 October 2013). "Film Review: The X". Variety. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  34. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (13 June 2014). "Chemistry for Ha, Kang in Kundo". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  35. ^ Lee, Seung-mi (21 July 2014). "Kang back in bitter bad boy role". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  36. ^ "Kang, Song Hye-kyo to star in new film". The Korea Times. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  37. ^ Song, Soon-jin (5 December 2013). "GANG Dong-won and SONG Hye-kyo to Collaborate on Human Drama". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  38. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (8 August 2014). "A-listers bring to life sad story of a fast-aging boy". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  39. ^ Ha, Soo-jung (30 August 2014). "Interview: Kang Dong Won Worked Hard to Maintain His Weight for 12 Years". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  40. ^ Son, Ji-hyoung (18 January 2016). "YG clinches contract with Kang Dong-won". K-pop Herald. Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  41. ^ Kim, June (9 December 2014). "Rendezvous for KIM Yun-seok and GANG Dong-won". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-12-09. 
  42. ^ Conran, Pierce (12 May 2015). "GANG Dong-won and HWANG Jung-min Confirmed for A VIOLENT PROSECUTOR". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  43. ^ "Kang Dong-won to appear on big screen". The Korea Times. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 

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