Moon Geun-young

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Moon Geun-young
Moon Geun-young on December 31 2010 (3).jpg
Moon Geun-young in 2010
Born (1987-05-06) May 6, 1987 (age 31)
Gwangju, South Korea
Nationality South Korean
Occupation Actress
Years active 1997–present
Agent Namoo Actors
Korean name
Revised Romanization Mun Geun-yeong
McCune–Reischauer Mun Kŭnyŏng

Moon Geun-young (Hangul문근영; Hanja文瑾瑩; born May 6, 1987) is a South Korean actress. Affectionately called the "Nation's Little Sister," Moon began modeling at the age of 10, then made her acting debut in 1999 as a child actress. She first rose to stardom through her role as the young Eun-suh in the hugely popular television drama series Autumn in My Heart (2000), followed by a well-received turn in Kim Jee-woon's critically acclaimed horror film A Tale of Two Sisters (2003). Moon solidified her star status by headlining the box-office hits My Little Bride (2004) and Innocent Steps (2005). At age 21, she became the youngest recipient of a Grand Prize ("Daesang") which she won at SBS Drama Awards for the television series Painter of the Wind (2008).[1]


Early career[edit]

Before her acting debut on a television drama series, Moon filmed several commercials and modeled for various magazines. She started modeling at the age of 12, and first appeared onscreen on the 1999 documentary drama On the Road directed by Choi Jae-eun. Moon's rise to fame came in 2000 when she starred as the younger counterpart of Song Hye-kyo's character in the pan-asia hit drama Autumn in My Heart. She won the Best Young Actress award at the 2000 KBS Drama Awards for her role, together with her co-star Choi Woo-hyuk.[2]

Following her early success, she returned to the screen in 2001 as the young Empress Myeongseong (Lee Mi-yeon played the adult version) in the historical drama Empress Myeongseong. In 2002, Moon made her film debut in Lovers' Concerto, playing a supporting role as Cha Tae-hyun's younger sister.


Moon was launched as a major star with her role in Kim Jee-woon's critically acclaimed horror film A Tale of Two Sisters (2003). A Tale of Two Sisters ranks among the highest-grossing Korean horror films and was the first to be screened in American theaters.

In 2004, Moon headlined the romantic comedy film My Little Bride. It was the second most popular Korean film of the year, behind the blockbuster hit Taegukgi. In the film, Moon plays an ordinary high school girl who has to marry an older man (played by Kim Rae-won) due to a pact their grandfathers made during the Korean War.[3][4] Following the release of My Little Bride, the press gave Moon the title "Nation's Little Sister".[5][6]

In 2005, Moon starred in Innocent Steps where she played the role of an ethnic Korean living in China, who finds herself to be a complete fish out of water after moving to South Korea.[7] Innocent Steps was a hit, and its success along with My Little Bride established Moon as a genuine box office draw.[8] That year, Moon ranked first among actresses in the Korean film industry as the most bankable star.[9] Moon and actor Cho Seung-woo also received the 2005 Good Model award from the Korea Advertisers Association; 200 members voted for the winners based on how much they contributed to boosting the sales of products and enhancing the image of advertisers.[10]

In 2006, Moon starred in Love Me Not, a Korean big-screen remake of popular Japanese TV drama Ai nante iranee yo, natsu ("I Don't Need Love, Summer"), where she played a cold-hearted blind heiress.[11] Later that year, Moon and veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki hosted the 2006 Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF), the biggest international film festival in South Korea.[12]

Acting acclaim[edit]

In 2008, Moon returned to television in the period epic Painter of the Wind, where she played the lead role of Shin Yun-bok, a painter who disguises herself as a man and becomes mentored by the master Kim Hong-do (played by Park Shin-yang).[13] Shin was a real-life historical figure, a painter who lived during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and was known for his realistic and delicate depictions of daily life.[14] Moon received acting acclaim for her performance, including Best Actress at the 2008 Grimae Awards (presented by the Korean Broadcasting Directors Association), Best TV Actress at the 45th Baeksang Arts Awards, and the Daesang ("Grand Prize") at the 2008 SBS Drama Awards, making her the youngest recipient of a Daesang in the drama awards history of all three networks.[15]

In 2010, Moon starred in Cinderella's Sister, a modern fairy tale retelling of the contentious relationship between two stepsisters (opposite Seo Woo).[16][17] Later in the year, she starred in the romantic comedy Mary Stayed Out All Night alongside Jang Keun-suk.[18][19] 2010 also marked the year she made her theater debut, in the Korean staging of Patrick Marber's play Closer.[20] She caused a stir as the strip dancing, promiscuous Alice, opposite Um Ki-joon's Dan.[21][22]

Moon returned to TV, playing a struggling young designer in Cheongdam-dong Alice (2012).[23] She then starred in Goddess of Fire (2013), playing Yoo Jung, a character based on Baek Pa-sun, the first female potter and porcelain artist of the Joseon Dynasty.[24] This is her second historical drama (or sageuk), five years after Painter of the Wind.[25]

Moon made her long-awaited return to the big screen in Lee Joon-ik's period film The Throne, in which she played Lady Hyegyeong, the wife of Crown Prince Sado.[26][27] This is followed by the mystery thriller series The Village: Achiara's Secret.[28]

In 2016, Moon starred in her second theater play, Romeo and Juliet alongside Park Jung-min.[29] She was also cast in the mystery film Glass Garden, which will premiere in 2017.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Moon graduated from Gwangju Gukje High School in February 2006. In March 2006, she entered Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul.[31] Moon was known for being a diligent student and has a solid attendance record, a rarity among Korean celebrities in college.[31] She studied Korean Language and Literature.[32][33]

Their agencies confirmed that Moon dated her Goddess of Fire co-star Kim Bum for seven months, from October 2013 to April 2014.[34][35] Not long after agencies of both actors confirmed the news stating: "They did break up not too long ago but have decided to remain good friends and supportive colleagues".[36][37]

Moon was diagnosed with compartment syndrome, and received emergency treatments to treat her arm muscle pain.[38]


Morning Reading[edit]

Moon donated close to ₩100 million to Morning Reading, a non-profit organization that promotes reading books.[39] She gave ₩4.3 million in 2005, ₩4 million in 2006 and ₩70 million in 2007. Moon made the contributions secretly through her mother, Ryu Seon-young, but her good deeds became known when Morning Reading revealed its 2007 account information online.

Haenam Children's Center[edit]

Moon donated about ₩300 million in 2006 to a learning center for poor children in Haenam County, South Jeolla Province, near her hometown of Gwangju.[40] Bae Yo-seop opened an after-school study room for children from poor or single-parent families to study there for free in 2002. The program was facing closure in October 2006 when the landlord told Bae that the house would be sold. A new building, equipped with library, computer room, bathhouse and dining room was built on the land, and the ₩200 million expense was also covered by Moon. Moon also paid an unannounced visit to their classrooms.

Community Chest of Korea[edit]

Moon donated more than ₩850 million over the last ten years to the Community Chest of Korea, a nationwide network of 16 nonprofit fundraising organizations, becoming the biggest individual donor. Moon had wanted to remain an anonymous donor, but the organization was pressured by a media frenzy to identify her.[41] Her donations were used to build children's libraries and subsidize hospital costs for children suffering from leukemia or cancer. Apart from the Community Chest of Korea, Moon has also given several hundred millions of won to scholarship foundations.[42]

Because of her charitable activities, particularly for the Community Chest of Korea, Moon was selected among 100 people that "lit up the world" in 2008 in a survey conducted by the Korea Green Foundation.[43]

Hangeul Library in Sydney[edit]

Moon again showed her generosity by building a Korean library for young Korean expatriates in Australia. Working with the Lindfield Korean School in Sydney, the actress donated ₩100 million towards construction of a permanent Korean library (called the Hangeul Library) and also donated 10,000 books to over 40 Korean schools scattered across the city. Moon has been donating books with her own money since 2006, when she saw during a visit to her relatives in Australia how young Korean students there did not have enough books or places to learn Korean.[44]

Donated Haenam Children's Center to NGO Group[edit]

In April 2009, Moon donated the Haenam Children's Center to be used as a study room for poor students to the NGO group Good People, an international charity group of UN UCOSCO special consultative status aiming to improve self-sustainability and eradicate extreme poverty through restoration of self-esteem using the principles of human dignity and equality at a global level.[45][46]



Year Title Role
1999 On The Way (documentary)
2002 Lovers' Concerto Lee Ji-yoon
2003 A Tale of Two Sisters Bae Su-yeon
2004 My Little Bride Seo Bo-eun
2005 Innocent Steps Jang Chae-rin
2006 Love Me Not Ryu Min
2015 The Throne Lady Hyegyeong
2017 Glass Garden Jae-yoon

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
1999 Burnt Rice Teacher and Seven Potatoes Han Mi-soo KBS2
2000 Autumn in My Heart young Yoon/Choi Eun-suh KBS2
Medical Center dying young singer
(guest appearance, episode 15)
2001 Empress Myeongseong Min Ja-yeong
(young Empress Myeongseong)
Life is Beautiful young Yoo Hee-jung KBS2
2003 Wife Han Min-ju KBS2
2008 Painter of the Wind Shin Yun-bok SBS
2010 Cinderella's Sister Go Eun-jo/Song Eun-jo KBS2
Marry Me, Mary! Wi Mae-ri KBS2
2012 Cheongdam-dong Alice Han Se-kyung SBS
2013 Goddess of Fire Yoo Jung MBC
2015 The Village: Achiara's Secret Han So-yoon SBS
2016 Entourage Cameo tvN


Year Title Network Notes
2000-2001 Music Camp MBC VJ
2003 Fairytale World Dreams KBS
2009 SBS Drama Awards SBS


Year Title Role
2010 Closer Alice
2016 Romeo and Juliet Juliet[47]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1999 Edubox Kones Award N/A N/A Won
2000 KBS Drama Awards Best Young Actress Autumn in My Heart Won
2003 24th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actress A Tale of Two Sisters Nominated
2004 41st Grand Bell Awards Popularity Award My Little Bride Won
Best New Actress Won [48]
12th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best New Actress Won [49]
25th Blue Dragon Film Awards Popular Star Award Won
3rd Korean Film Awards Best New Actress Nominated
6th Mnet Asian Music Awards Best OST "I Don't Know About Love Yet"
(My Little Bride)
2005 42nd Grand Bell Awards Best Actress Innocent Steps Nominated
Popularity Award Won
2006 29th Golden Cinematography Awards Best Actress Won
2007 44th Grand Bell Awards Best Actress Love Me Not Nominated
2008 21st Grimae Awards Best Actress Painter of the Wind Won
SBS Drama Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) Won [15]
Top Excellence Award, Actress Nominated
Top 10 Stars Won
Best Couple Award with Moon Chae-won Won
2009 4th Seoul International Drama Awards Best Actress Nominated
Popularity Award Won [50]
45th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Won [51]
2010 6th Golden Ticket Awards Best Actress in a Play Closer Won
Yahoo! Asia Buzz Awards Female Buzz Star Award Mary Stayed Out All Night Won
3rd Korea Drama Awards Best Actress Cinderella's Sister Nominated
KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Won [52]
Excellence Award, Actress in a Mid-length Drama Nominated
Netizens' Award, Actress Nominated
Popularity Award Won [52]
Best Couple Award with Chun Jung-myung Nominated
Best Couple Award with Jang Keun-suk Mary Stayed Out All Night Won [52]
2011 6th Seoul International Drama Awards Outstanding Korean Actress Mary Stayed Out All Night Won
47th Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actress (TV) Cinderella's Sister Won [53]
2013 SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Cheongdam-dong Alice Nominated
MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Project Drama Goddess of Fire Nominated
2014 9th Seoul International Drama Awards Outstanding Korean Actress Nominated
2015 SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries The Village: Achiara's Secret Won
Top 10 Stars Won


  1. ^ Kang Myoung-seok (April 30, 2010). "10LINE: Actress Moon Geun-young". 10Asia. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  2. ^ Jon Herskovitz (December 26, 2006). "South Korea's little sister just wants to grow up". Reuters. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ Joon Soh (April 1, 2004). "Marriage Is Child's Play in Bride". The Korea Times via Hancinema. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  4. ^ Yang Sung-jin (November 16, 2004). "Young-teen actresses strut innocent looks on screen". The Korea Herald via Hancinema. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Moon Geun-young's Bid to Grow Up Hits World Headlines". The Chosun Ilbo. January 17, 2007. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  6. ^ Yang Sung-hee (November 15, 2008). "Younger sister of the people". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  7. ^ Kim Tae-jong (February 18, 2005). "Actress Moon Shines as Dancer". The Korea Times via Hancinema. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Mun Geun-young -- Thoughtful Beyond Her Years". The Chosun Ilbo. April 28, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Jang Dong-gun Voted Korea's Most Bankable Star". The Chosun Ilbo. October 20, 2005. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Moon Geun-young, Cho Seung-woo Advertisers' Favorite". The Chosun Ilbo. September 21, 2005. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Need Love? No". The Dong-a Ilbo. October 26, 2006. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Pusan Film Festival opener sells out in 3 minutes". The Hankyoreh. September 21, 2006. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  13. ^ Kwon Mee-yoo (January 11, 2008). "Moon Returns to TV Screen". The Korea Times. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  14. ^ Han Sang-hee. "Korea's Sweetheart Moon Becomes Mysterious Artist". The Korea Times. Retrieved September 23, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b "2008 SBS 연기대상에 문근영". Yonhap News (in Korean). 1 January 2009. 
  16. ^ "Moon to Play Villain in TV Drama". The Korea Times. December 16, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  17. ^ Han Sang-hee (February 8, 2010). "Top Actresses Heading Toward Small Screen". The Korea Times. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  18. ^ Jessica Kim (September 13, 2010). "Moon Geun-young joins Jang Keun-suk for new drama". 10Asia. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  19. ^ Jean Oh (November 4, 2010). "Actress Moon juggles two men on screen". The Korea Herald. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Moon Geun-young to Star in Theater Debut". The Chosun Ilbo. July 10, 2010. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  21. ^ Chung Ah-young (July 13, 2013). "Um, Moon to perform in Closer". The Korea Times. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  22. ^ Jang Kyung-jin (July 21, 2010). "Moon Geun-young says "trying to be less friendly"". 10Asia. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  23. ^ Carla Sunwoo (August 24, 2012). "Moon Geun-young lands role in drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on June 20, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  24. ^ Lee Sun-min (April 16, 2013). "Moon Geun-young to star in drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  25. ^ Son Bo-kyung (June 28, 2013). "Moon Geun Young Compares Goddess of Fire Jeongi to Painter of the Wind". enewsWorld. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  26. ^ Pierce Conran (May 13, 2014). "YOO Ah-in and MOON Geun-young Confirmed for SADO". Korean Film Council. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  27. ^ Jin Eun-soo (September 11, 2015). "Movie tells timeless tale of father-son dispute". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved September 12, 2015. 
  28. ^ Jin Min-ji (August 25, 2015). "Moon Geun-young returning to TV". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved August 26, 2015. 
  29. ^ "A classic love story, told by two sets of lovers : Performers who met only days ago prepare for Korea National Opera's production of a Shakespeare classic". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  30. ^ "Moon Geun-young lands lead movie role". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  31. ^ a b "Teen Actress Prioritizes Study Over Stardom". The Chosun Ilbo. April 14, 2006. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Korea's Little Sister to Major in Literature". The Chosun Ilbo. February 7, 2007. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  33. ^ Carla Sunwoo (March 1, 2012). "Moon Geun-young goes back to school". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  34. ^ Cory Lee (November 1, 2013). "Kim Beom, Moon Geun-young Admit to Dating". 10Asia. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Moon Geun-young, Kim Bum Dating". The Korea Times. November 3, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  36. ^ Kim Hee-eun (May 16, 2014). "Moon Geun-young, Kim Beom split". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Kim Bum, Moon Geun-young Split Up After Seven Months". The Chosun Ilbo. May 16, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Actress Moon Geun-young receives emergency operation, cancels play". The Korea Herald. 
  39. ^ Lee Hyo-won (March 27, 2008). "Actress Donates Money to Promote Book Reading". The Korea Times. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  40. ^ Son Eun-soo (August 16, 2009). 문근영 기증, '해남 땅끝 그룹홈' 기공식. Dailian (in Korean). Retrieved May 12, 2013. 
  41. ^ "True Spirit of Sharing: Young Actress Revealed as No.1 Individual Donor". The Korea Times. November 14, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  42. ^ "Moon Geun-young's Quiet Charity Revealed". The Chosun Ilbo. November 15, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  43. ^ Bae Ji-sook (December 29, 2008). "People Lighting Up World in 2008". The Korea Times. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  44. ^ "Moon Geun-young Sponsors Korean Library in Oz". The Chosun Ilbo. September 4, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  45. ^ Bae Ji-sook (April 23, 2009). "Actress Moon Donates Study Facility to Charity". The Korea Times. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Moon saves study center from closure with charitable funding". Korea JoongAng Daily. April 24, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  47. ^ "문근영, 6년 만에 연극무대 컴백…"무색무취한 배우 되고 싶어요"". Naver (in Korean). 
  48. ^ "Grand Bell Awards 2004". Korean Film Biz Zone. 11 June 2014. 
  49. ^ "When I Turned Nine unexpected winner of Chunsa Film Art Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. 25 November 2004. 
  50. ^ "Kim and Moon voted world's top TV drama actors". 10Asia. September 4, 2009. 
  51. ^ "[백상예술대상] 환호와 갈채, 탄식의 2시간". JTBC (in Korean). 
  52. ^ a b c Cho, Bum-ja (January 3, 2011). "Jang Hyuk scores top prize at KBS Drama Awards". 10Asia. 
  53. ^ "47th Annual Baeksang Arts Awards Ceremony". KBS World. May 27, 2011. 

External links[edit]