Lee Joon-gi

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For the football player, see Lee Jun-Ki (football player).
This is a Korean name; the family name is Lee.
Lee Joon-gi
Lee Jun Ki 2009 JapanFM Press Conference.jpg
Born (1982-04-17) 17 April 1982 (age 34)
Busan, South Korea
Education Seoul Institute of the Arts (Acting major)
Occupation Actor, Singer, Dancer
Years active 2001–present
Agent Mentor Entertainment (2004-2009)
JG Company (2010-2011)
IMX Korea (2011-2013)
Universal D (2012-2014)
Namoo Actors (2014-present)[1]
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[2]
Religion Roman Catholicism[2]
Korean name
Revised Romanization I Jun-gi
McCune–Reischauer Yi Chun-gi

Lee Joon-gi (born April 17, 1982 in Busan, South Korea), previously credited as Lee Jun-ki, is a South Korean actor and singer, often regarded as a kkotminam ("flower boy") icon.[3] He rose to fame as Gong-gil in The King and the Clown. In August 2009, Lee was appointed an ambassador for Korean tourism by the Korean Tourism Organization. His well-known television series include My Girl, Iljimae, Time Between Dog and Wolf, Arang and the Magistrate, Two Weeks, Joseon Gunman and Scholar Who Walks the Night.

Early life[edit]

Lee first became interested in the performing arts as a high school student after watching a performance of Hamlet.[4] He moved to Seoul with a dream to work in the entertainment industry rather than getting into college. For the next couple of years, Lee worked at various part-time jobs before he got accepted into the Seoul Institute of the Arts.[5] He debuted as a model in 2001.


2005: King and the Clown and Rising Fame[edit]

Lee Joon-gi at a King and the Clown fan meeting in the Shilla Hotel, Jeju Island.

Lee's had his first major acting role in the 2005 hit film The King and the Clown, in which he took on the role of historical figure Gong-gil, an effeminate clown in the Joseon Dynasty.[6] The film, which achieved both critical and commercial success, propelled the then known actor into Asia-wide stardom.[7] Apart from winning numerous Best Newcomer recognition at prestigious award ceremonies such as the Korean Film Awards, Grand Bell Awards and Baeksang Art Awards, Lee also won his first major award, the Best Actor Award, at the Max Movie Awards.

Producer Lee Joon-ik revealed the story of how he chose Lee for The King and the Clown by just seeing him do handstands, saying, "Just because of handstands, Lee Joon-gi became the person he is today."[8] After the film, Lee became "an icon" of the South Korean "pretty boy" trend.[9] Lee has since tried to diminish this kkonminam image, saying that his character Gong-gil in the film felt like a foot chain for him so he wanted to escape from it: "After my performance in The King and the Clown, I found myself at the forefront of this ‘pretty boy’ trend, whether or not that was my intention. Suddenly, people were interested in me, and there was all this praise and criticism all at the same time. Everything was just so overwhelming. I felt like I was floating on air."[10]

Lee was against the halving of screen quotas in South Korea that allows foreign films to be shown in theaters on certain days, while domestic films are allotted another amount of days. He believed that without the screen quotas, The King and the Clown would not have been as successful in competing against foreign films.[11][12]

For his follow-up film Fly, Daddy, Fly, directed by Choi Jong-tae and produced by Dyne Film-Guardtec, he was reportedly paid ₩100 million, relatively low given his rising popularity following King and the Clown. This is because the contract was signed in early December before the film's release when Lee was an unknown actor.[13][14]

2006-2007: Overseas popularity[edit]

At the helm of popularity, Lee was then cast in SBS's My Girl alongside Lee Da-hae and Lee Dong-wook. The romance comedy series became a hit during its run both domestically and across Asia, further catapulting Lee into Korean Wave stardom. Later, his movie Fly, Daddy, Fly garnered much attention and media coverage among Chinese viewers.[15] However, there was criticism that both of these productions had "either fallen short of expectations at the box office or cast Lee in minor roles."[10]

At the 19th Tokyo International Film Festival, where he was invited by the organizers, Lee met an overwhelming response from both local media and fans.[16] During the Shanghai International Film Festival, Lee was approached by Chinese director Chen Kaige, who proposed that the two should make a film together in China.[17]

In 2007, Lee filmed a joint Korea-Japan movie entitled Virgin Snow with Japanese actress Aoi Miyazaki, in which he plays a Korean exchange student.[18] Virgin Snow was successful; it placed 9th at the box office chart and set a new ticket admissions record for a Korean film released in Japan.[19] Lee later received the Rising Star Award at the 27th Hawaii International Film Festival. The same year, he participated in the film May 18, which is based on the events surrounding the Gwangju Massacre of 1980. May 18 achieved excellent box office results, and was later named the Gold Orchid Best Feature Film for the year of 2007.[20]

Lee also took on his first drama leading role in MBC action drama, Time Between Dog and Wolf, in which he played a violent NIS agent. This drama helped Lee break out of his “pretty face” dilemma established by his break-out role in The King and the Clown, and he won the Excellence Award at the 2007 MBC Drama Awards for his efforts. From September 4 to October 5, at the 14th Seoul Drama Festival, Yahoo! Korea and Yahoo! Japan conducted a survey together which amassed a total of 27 million online votes. Eventually, Time Between Dog and Wolf was named the most popular drama with a total of 59.9% of votes. The best actor and actress award went to Lee and Nam Sang-mi.[21]

2008-2009: Tourism Ambassador and contractual dispute[edit]

Lee Joon-gi in Shanghai in May 2009

From April to July 2008, Lee played the titular role in SBS's TV series Iljimae, a period-action drama based on Chinese folklore from the Ming dynasty about a masked Robin Hood-esque character during the Joseon era. The final episode achieved a rating of 31.4% viewership, establishing Lee's "Top Actor" status. Lee later received the Top Excellence Award at the 2008 SBS Drama Awards. The drama was also aired in Japan on the channel TV Tokyo.[10]

On July 29, 2008, Lee was chosen as the Ambassador for the 2008 Seoul Hallyu Festival. He was also appointed the first Honorary Legal System Officer since the constitution of the Government Legislation Agency to commemorate their 60th anniversary.[22]

In September 2008, Lee had a contractual dispute with his agency Mentor Entertainment, whom he was signed to since March 2004 in an exclusive contract for five years. Lee was being sued for ₩500 million for breach of contract and for supposedly hiding ₩1 billion in an attempt to "established his own agency in association with his manager". Lee countered that he "underwent significant financial damage as the company was poor in dealing with tax affairs and profit distribution" and he is said to have notified them of contract cancellation in February.[23]

On August 5, 2009, Lee was appointed promotional ambassador of the Korea Tourism Organization.[24][25]

In November 2009, Lee starred as the male lead in the comedic-action drama, Hero, which aired on MBC.[26]

2010-2012: Military service[edit]

In February 2010, upon the expiration of Lee's contract with Mentor Entertainment, he signed with a newly established independent agency, JG Company. It follows Hollywood's one-man management system and is solely responsible for Lee's career.[27]

On 3 May 2010, Lee enlisted in the Republic of Korea Army to serve his mandatory military service. He first underwent five weeks of basic training at Nonsan military training camp and was later drafted into active duty.[28][29] He had initially applied for a postponement because he was in the midst of shooting film Grand Prix with actress Kim Tae-hee, and was cast to star in television drama Faith. He was also chosen to represent Korea as a goodwill ambassador at the 2010 Shanghai Expo. However Military Manpower Administration declined and send a final notice for enlistment, leading him to pull out of both projects.[30] He served within the public relations department of the Ministry of National Defense.[31][32]

In August, Lee co-starred with fellow actor Ju Ji-hoon in military musical, Voyage of Life. To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, the musical was co-produced by the Ministry of National Defense and Korea Musical Theatre Association. It was shown from 21 to 29 August in the National Theater of Korea.[33][34] After serving 21 months of active duty, Lee was discharged on 16 February 2012 from the Defense Media Agency at Yongsan-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.[35][36] On the day when he was discharged, Lee held a fan meeting, "Reunion JG" at Sangmyung Art Center, Seoul. This was followed by fan event tour of Japan, titled Coming Back in Nayoga, Yokohama and Osaka from 16 to 19 March.[37]

2012 - Present[edit]

In May 2012, Lee co-starred with Shin Min-a in Arang and the Magistrate, which premiered on MBC on 15 August.[38][39][40] This was his first project after military service[41] as well as Shin's first historical drama. Due to Lee's overseas popularity, the drama rights was sold to Japan for a record-breaking ₩200 million per episode, the highest per episode for MBC, surpassing the previous record set by Moon Embracing the Sun.[42] Lee was later recognized at the Seoul International Drama Awards, winning Outstanding Korean Drama Actor award.

On 27 September 2012, Lee Joon Gi's JG Style was shown on Mnet Japan, documenting Lee's comeback to the entertainment industry. The series was later awarded the Grand Prize in the Korean wave category at the Skapa Award 2012 in Japan, in which he was unable to attend due to the filming of Arang and the Magistrate and filmed a video thank you message.[43][44]

In 2013, Lee starred in the thriller drama series Two Weeks. He later received acting recognition for his performance, winning Top Excellence Award in the male category at the 2nd APAN Star Awards. In March 2014, Lee signed with a new management agency, Namoo Actors.[45] He then starred in period drama Gunman in Joseon, followed by vampire romance Scholar Who Walks the Night.[46][47] Lee was named Outstanding Korean Drama Actor for a second time at the Seoul International Drama Awards courtesy to his performance in Gunman in Joseon. He was also touted as the Best Actor of the Year at the SBS Drama Awards for his role in Scholar Who Walks the Night

In 2015, Lee was cast in his first Chinese movie, Never Said Goodbye. He will be making his Hollywood debut in the sixth and final installment of the Resident Evil series titled, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, which is scheduled to be released on January 27, 2017 [48][49][50][51][52] [53] [54][55] [56] [57][58]

In January 2016, Lee was cast in the lead role of Wang So in Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, a Korean remake of the Chinese television series, Scarlet Heart. The 20-episode drama is scheduled to be broadcast on August 29, 2016, simultaneously in Korea and China.



Year Title Role Notes
2004 The Hotel Venus Boy Japanese production
Flying Boys Dong-wan
2005 The King and the Clown Gong-gil
2006 Fly, Daddy, Fly Go Seung-suk
2007 May 18 Kang Jin-woo
Virgin Snow Kim Min Korean and Japanese co-production
2016 Never Said Goodbye (谎言西西里) Jun Hao Chinese movie
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Commander Lee Hollywood production

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network Notes
2003 Nonstop 4 Himself MBC Guest
2004 Drama City: What Should I Do? Seong-ho KBS2 Ep. 234
Star's Echo Chan-gyu MBC

Fuji TV

Supporting Character
2005 My Girl Seo Jung-woo SBS Main Character
2006 The 101st Proposal Himself SBS Cameo
2007 Time Between Dog and Wolf Lee Soo-hyun / Kay MBC Main Character
2008 Iljimae Yong / Lee Geom SBS Main Character
2009 Hero Jin Do-hyuk MBC Main Character
2012 Arang and the Magistrate Kim Eun-oh MBC Main Character
2013 Two Weeks Jang Tae-san MBC Main Character
2014 Gunman in Joseon Park Yoon-kang KBS2 Main Character
2015 Scholar Who Walks the Night Kim Sung-yeol MBC Main Character
2015 She Was Pretty Himself MBC Ep. 9 - Cameo
2016 Scarlet Heart: Ryeo Wang So (Gwangjong) SBS Main Character


Year Title Role Network
2009 World Special "LOVE" - Indonesia with Lee Joon-gi and Kim Ha-neul himself, 21st and 28th March tvN

Reality show[edit]

Year Title Role Network
2012 Lee Joon-Gi's JG Style himself Mnet Japan
2013 Lee Joon-Gi's JG World himself Mnet Japan

Variety shows[edit]

Year Title Role Network
2009 Golden Fishery Guest, ep136 MBC
Family Outing Guest, ep 48-49 SBS
2013 Healing Camp Guest, ep 79 SBS
Happy Camp Guest, ep 86 Hunan TV



Year Name Track listing
2006 My Jun, My Style
  1. "One Word"
  2. "Don't Know Love"
  3. "Foolish Love" (Babo Sarang)
Nam Hyun-joon - One & Only
  1. "Fly High" feat. Seo In-young
2009 J Style
  1. "J Style"
  2. "Soliloquy"
  3. "I'm Ready"
  4. "Selfless Dedicated Tree"
  5. "Fiery Eyes" (Japanese album)
2012 Deucer[59]


  • 16 March (limited edition)
  • 25 April (regular edition)
  1. "Together"
  2. "The Rain"
  3. "Born Again"
  4. "Sweet Memory"
2013 CBC / Case by Case

Released: 29 January

  1. "The Answer (Intro)"
  2. "Tonight"
  3. "Case By Case"
  4. "Closer"
  5. "Lost Frame"
My Dear

Released: 10 December

  1. "Fever"
  2. "My Dear"
  3. "Fiery Eyes (New ver.)"
  4. "Foolish Love (New ver.)"
  5. "Selfless Dedicated Tree (New ver.)"
2014 Exhale

Released: 21 November

  1. "Ma Lady"
  2. "U"
  3. "For A While"
  4. "Bring Da Beat" (Feat. Yoo Seung-chan)
  5. "Ma Lady (Inst.)"
  6. "For A While (Inst.)"
  1. "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"


  • Voyage of life (2010)[60]



Years Awards


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  2. ^ a b 이준기 영화배우. Naver Profiles (in Korean). Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  3. ^ Maliangkay, Roald (2010). "The effeminacy of male beauty in Korea" (PDF). The Newsletter (55). Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  4. ^ "Lee Joon Ki". DramaFever. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  5. ^ 이준기, "이효리 주선으로 보아와 소개팅" [Lee Hyo Lee arranged a blind date with Lee Joon-gi and Boa]. Chosun (in Korean). 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  6. ^ "E-Annals Bring Chosun History to Everyman". Chosun Ilbo. 27 January 2006. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  7. ^ http://twitchfilm.com/2006/09/king-and-the-clown-special-3-the-king-and-the-clown-part-1-of-3.html
  8. ^ "이준기 "물구나무서기 잘해 '왕의남자' 캐스팅됐다" (Lee Joon-gi was cast in 'The King and the Clown' for doing handstands very well)" (in Korean). Newsen. 2008-12-13. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  9. ^ Jung, Sun (April 2009). "The Shared Imagination of Bishōnen, Pan-East Asian Soft Masculinity". Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific. Australian National University (20). Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  10. ^ a b c Hyung-eun, Kim (2009-07-10). "Pretty boy Lee shows off his introspective side". Joongang Daily via Hancinema. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  11. ^ Sung-jin, Kim (2006-01-26). "Korea to halve screen quota". Korea Times via Hancinema. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  12. ^ "이준기 '스크린쿼터 축소반대' 1인 시위에 1000여명 몰려 (Lee Joon-gi 'against screen quota' one-man protest in the 1,000 crowd)". Dongailbo (in Korean). 2006-02-12. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  13. ^ "King and Clown Star Works Hard for Little Pay". Chosun Ilbo. 27 July 2006. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "S. Korea faces tough decision to pick its choice for foreign film Oscar". Yonhap News. 2006-09-19. Archived from the original on October 29, 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  15. ^ "Chinese Netizens: KBS among Top 10 Firms". KBS Global. 2006-09-26. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  16. ^ "Lee Jun-ki: Proof that the K-Wave Rolls On". Chosun Ilbo. 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  17. ^ "Lee Jun-ki Approached to Star in Chinese Movie". Chosun Ilbo. 2007-06-20. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
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  19. ^ "Lee Jun-ki's Film Places 9th at the Japanese Box Office". KBS Global. 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  20. ^ a b Lee, Hyo-won (2007-09-04). "Hawaii Film Fest to Spotlight Lee Jun-ki". Korea Times. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  21. ^ "Lee Joon-gi has the honor of being the best actor/actress among the South Korean and Japanese Netizens" (in Korean). 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  22. ^ a b c 이준기 "'일지매' 통해 욕심이 많이 생겼다". Newsen (in Korean). 11 August 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2009. 
  23. ^ Park, Si-Soo (2008-09-28). "Actor Lee Jun-ki Faces Lawsuit". Korea Times. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  24. ^ a b Kim, Rahn (5 August 2008). "Lee Becomes Tourism Ambassador". Korea Times. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  25. ^ "Lee Jun-ki Picked to Promote Korean Tourism". Chosun Ilbo. 6 August 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  26. ^ Han, Sang-hee (27 October 2009). "Lee Joon-gi to Take a Lighter Role as Reporter". Korea Times. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  27. ^ Park, So-hyun (19 February 2010). "Korean actor Lee Jun-ki signs with new agency". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  28. ^ "Lee Jun-ki to Start Military Service". The Chosun Ilbo. 2010-04-30. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  29. ^ Park, So-yoen (3 May 2010). "Lee Jun-ki enters Korean military with apologies". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  30. ^ Cho, Bum-ja (30 April 2010). "Lee Jun-ki says is looking forward to life as average man". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  31. ^ Jeong, Hae-uk (15 December 2010). 김태희,'군인' 이준기에게 전화해서 무슨 말?. The Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  32. ^ Park, Kun-ouc (11 June 2010). "Lee Jun-ki to serve as celebrity military officer". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  33. ^ Jang, Kyung-Jin (3 August 2010). "Lee Jun-ki says "depressed about Joo Ji-hoon turning first private today" (2)". 10 Asia. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  34. ^ Lee, Jin-hyuk (3 August 2010). "Lee Jun-ki attends musical "Voyage of Life" press conf". 10 Asia. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  35. ^ "Actor Lee Jun-ki Ready for Comeback After Military Service" The Chosun Ilbo. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-21
  36. ^ "Lee Joon-gi free from the Army". Joongang Daily. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  37. ^ Hong, Lucia (11 January 2012). "Tickets for Lee Joon-gi's fan meeting sold out". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  38. ^ 신민아, 2년 만에 `아랑사또전`으로 드라마 복귀 [Shin Min-ah to return with Arang and the Magistrate]. Nate News (in Korean). 24 February 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  39. ^ Lee, In-kyung (22 April 2012). "Lee Joon Gi Makes Shin Min Ah Uncomfortable?". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  40. ^ Suk, Monica (20 June 2012). "Shin Mina talks Lee Joon-gi's 1st impression". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  41. ^ Ho, Stewart (18 June 2012). "Lee Joon Gi's Character Still Cut for Arang and the Magistrate Revealed". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  42. ^ http://koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2958539
  43. ^ Lee, Gyeong-Ho (29 September 2012). "Lee Joon Gi receives the grand prize from Japanese Spika Award". Star News. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  44. ^ "Actor had hard time letting go of role". Korea JoongAng Daily. 2013-10-21. Retrieved 2014-05-11. 
  45. ^ "Lee Jun Ki signs a contract with Namoo Actors!". Allkpop. March 2, 2014. 
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  47. ^ Yoon, Sarah (26 May 2015). "Lee Joon-gi features in Elle, talks about Scholar Who Walks the Night". K-pop Herald. Retrieved 2015-06-10. 
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  52. ^ http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/culture/entertainment/713259.html
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  55. ^ http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20151019000844
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  58. ^ http://variety.com/2015/film/asia/koreas-lee-joon-gi-joins-resident-evil-the-final-chapter-1201621054/
  59. ^ Ho, Stewart (18 April 2012). "Lee Joon Gi′s Masculine Album Cover Gets Fans Excited". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  60. ^ Kim, Lynn (24 June 2010). "Lee Jun-ki to star in military musical". 10 Asia. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  61. ^ Ho, Stewart (19 September 2012). "Lee Joon Gi to Sing for 'Arang and the Magistrate' OST". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  62. ^ a b "The 27th Blue Dragon Awards". Korea Society. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  63. ^ "2006 M.net Korean Music Festival Winners list". MAMA. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
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  65. ^ Park, So-yoen (31 December 2009). "Ko Hyun-joung wins grand prize at MBC Acting Awards". 10 Asia. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 

External links[edit]