In September 2016
|Born||October 23, 1987|
Ulsan, South Korea
|Revised Romanization||Seo In-guk|
Seo In-guk (Korean: 서인국; born October 23, 1987) is a South Korean singer-songwriter and actor. He launched his singing career after winning the talent reality show Superstar K in 2009, and made his acting breakthrough in Reply 1997 (2012). Since then, he has starred in television series High School King of Savvy (2014), Hello Monster (2015), Squad 38 (2016), Shopping King Louie (2016) and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (2018).
Early life and education
Seo was born on October 23, 1987, in Ulsan. He grew up in relative poverty; his mother worked as a recyclables collector and his father as a welder. He has a younger sister. Seo trained as a ssireum wrestler, learnt boxing and mixed martial arts in school and is a Hapkido 2nd dan. He decided to become a singer at the age of ten, after being inspired by the Korean rock musician Kim Jung-min. He performed at family gatherings and school events, and went on to study Applied Music at Daebul University, also auditioning at entertainment agencies. After repeatedly being rejected and told to lose weight, he struggled with bulimia for a time.
2009–2012: Superstar K and Reply 1997
In 2009, Seo competed in the Mnet singing contest Superstar K, winning the show's first season. The subsequent spotlight came with a hectic schedule of recording, photoshoots, interviews and television appearances as well as chart-topping singles and albums. Seo also faced negative consequences of media attention, including rumors of plastic surgery and "cold shoulder" treatment from the three major Korean networks, as he was a cable television star.
In 2012, Seo was part of the cast of the jukebox musical Gwanghwamun Love Song and made his onscreen acting debut with a supporting role in KBS's Love Rain. He also signed with Japanese agency Irving Entertainment. He landed his first leading role later that year, in cable channel tvN's '90s nostalgic hit drama Reply 1997. Seo's portrayal of a teenage boy in unrequited love with his childhood best friend won praise from both audiences and critics. He also recorded two singles for the soundtrack (both duets with co-star Jung Eun-ji), and one of them, "All For You", became one of the best-selling singles of the year on the Gaon Single Chart. Shortly after, he appeared in MBC's weekend drama The Sons (also known as Rascal Sons).
2013–2015: Japanese debut, variety shows and return to acting
Seo joined the newly launched reality/variety show I Live Alone from January to June 2013. He returned to the music scene in April 2013 with the single With Laughter or with Tears, the first soulful ballad from his discography. Several weeks later, the song was followed by his Japanese debut with the release of the single Fly Away.
In June 2013, he was cast in Master's Sun, a drama series written by the Hong sisters, playing a former soldier who served in the Zaytun Division who becomes the head of security for a shopping mall company. In October 2013, he starred in his first big-screen leading role in No Breathing, a coming-of-age film about two swimming rivals, alongside Lee Jong-suk and Kwon Yuri. He then played a dual role in Another Parting, a five-episode miniseries about a man and a woman who meet in the final moment of their lives and spend one special day together. Produced by LOEN Entertainment, the drama premiered on February 17, 2014 on Taekwang Group-owned cable channel Dramacube (also airing on BTV and YouTube).
In 2014, Seo released his first Japanese album titled Everlasting, which comprises his previously released singles “Fly Away” and “We Can Dance Tonight”. The album also features a new track titled “Everlasting Love” with a total of 12 tracks. The album debuted at number nine on the Oricon Daily Chart. Seo later won the Best 3 New Artists (Asia) award at the Japan Gold Disc Awards.
The same year, Seo headlined another cable romantic comedy series High School King of Savvy, in which he played a high school student and star hockey player who leads a double life when he's forced to take on his older brother's job as an executive at an IT company. Later that year, Seo starred in his first period drama The King's Face, playing illegitimate crown prince Gwanghae, who becomes his father King Seonjo's rival in politics and love.
In 2015, Seo joined the cast of SBS variety show Law of the Jungle from March to May, for the Indochina season. He was then cast as a genius profiler in the police procedural/romance series Hello Monster which premiered in June 2015 on KBS2. Later that year, he participated alongside other artists on Jellyfish Entertainment's collaborative track “Love In The Air” (Korean: 사랑난로) for the album Jelly Christmas 2015 – 4랑.
In 2016 Seo joined Law of the Jungle for the second time for the show's Mongolia season. He also starred in OCN's workplace drama Squad 38, playing a professional swindler. The drama became the highest rated drama for OCN, and Seo won a special award or his role at the 11th Asian TV Drama Conference. He then took on the leading role in MBC's romantic comedy Shopaholic Louis.
On August 4, 2017, it was confirmed that Seo's contract with Jellyfish Entertainment had expired and that he would not be renewing his contract. On August 7, it was announced Seo had signed with BS Company.
Military duty exemption
In February 2017, it was announced that Seo received his official military enlistment date, set to take place on March 28. He'd previously pushed back his enlistment twice, starting in March 2015 and he gave his condition as a reason. Neither the media nor his management company states he did or didn't receive treatment though. But he'd passed a physical to enlist. It was reported he would enter his two-year military service quietly, without media coverage. Seo opted, instead, to release a music video for his self-composed song, "Better Together", written to his fans. The video was released on YouTube on March 26, 2017. However, due to a fractured ankle, Seo was excused from mandatory military service just four days after entering the military and was scheduled for a medical re-examination to determine if he was fit to return to the military. His agency released the results of his medical re-examination, revealing Seo was diagnosed with Osteochondritis dissecans, a bone and cartilage condition. He was subsequently declared at a Grade 5 health rating and became exempt from military duty as a result.
|2013||No Breathing||Jo Won-il|||
|2016||I Love That Crazy Little Thing||Cameo|||
|2012||Love Rain||Kim Chang-mo (1970s) / Kim Jeon-seol (2012)||KBS2|||
|Reply 1997||Yoon Yoon-jae||tvN|||
|The Sons||Yoo Seung-gi||MBC|||
|2013||Master's Sun||Kang Woo||SBS|||
|Reply 1994||Yoon Yoon-je||tvN||cameo, episodes 16-17, 21|||
|2014||High School King of Savvy||Lee Min-seok/Lee Hyung-seok|||
|The King's Face||Prince Gwanghae||KBS2|||
|2015||Hello Monster||Lee Hyun/David Lee|||
|Oh My Ghost||Edward||tvN||cameo, episode 16|||
|She Was Pretty||Himself||MBC||cameo, episode 9|||
|2016||Squad 38||Yang Jeong-do||OCN|||
|Shopaholic Louis||Louis/Kang Ji-sung||MBC|||
|2018||The Smile Has Left Your Eyes||Kim Moo-young||tvN|||
|2019||Abyss||Alien "Grim Reaper"||tvN||Cameo, episode 1, 16|||
|2014||Another Parting||Ahn Young-mo||Dramacube, YouTube|||
|2013||I Live Alone||MBC||Cast member||Episodes 1–14, 16, 26|||
|2015||Law of the Jungle in Indochina||SBS||Episodes 154–158|||
|Mari and Me||JTBC|||
|2016||Law of the Jungle in Mongolia||SBS||Episodes 229–233|||
Music video appearances
|2013||"Would You?"||Swings||Brand New Music|
|"Pick Up the Phone"||Phone||1theK (원더케이)|
|2014||"Another Parting"||Melody Day||1theK (원더케이)|
|2012||Gwanghwamun Love Song||Hyun-woo|||
Awards and nominations
|2009||Cyworld Digital Music Awards||Male Newcomer of the Year||"Calling"||Won|||
|2010||Mnet Asian Music Awards||Best New Male Artist||"I Love U"||Nominated|||
|2012||5th Korea Drama Awards||Best New Actor||Love Rain||Won|||
|Best Couple Award with Jung Eun-ji||Reply 1997||Won|||
|5th Style Icon Awards||Top 10 Style Icons||N/A||Won|||
|1st K-Drama Star Awards||Rising Star Award||Reply 1997||Won|||
|Best Couple Award with Jung Eun-ji||Won|
|Best OST||"All for You" with Jung Eun-ji||Won|
|14th Mnet Asian Music Awards||Best OST||Won|||
|4th Melon Music Awards||Best OST||Won|||
|MBC Drama Awards||Best New Actor||The Sons||Nominated|
|KBS Drama Awards||Best New Actor||Love Rain||Nominated|
|2013||2nd Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards||Song of the Year (September)||"All for You" with Jung Eun-ji||Won|||
|49th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best New Actor (TV)||Reply 1997||Nominated|
|SBS Drama Awards||New Star Award||Master's Sun||Won|||
|2014||3rd Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards||Song of the Year (December)||"Loved You" with Zia||Won|||
|16th Mnet Asian Music Awards||Best Collaboration||Nominated|
|Japan Gold Disc Awards||Best 3 New Artists (Asia)||Everlasting||Won|||
|7th Korea Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actor||High School King of Savvy||Nominated|
|7th Style Icon Awards||Top 10 Style Icons||N/A||Nominated|
|KBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actor in a Mid-length Drama||The King's Face||Nominated|
|Best New Actor||Won|||
|Netizen Award, Actor||Nominated|
|Best Couple Award with Jo Yoon-hee||Nominated|
|2015||8th Korea Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actor||Hello Monster||Nominated|
|KBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries||Nominated|
|Netizen Award, Actor||Nominated|
|Best Couple Award with Jang Na-ra||Nominated|
|2016||tvN10 Awards||Made in tvN Actor (Drama)||Reply 1997||Won|||
|Best Kiss with Jung Eun-ji||Won|
|11th Asian TV Drama Conference||Special Award, Actor||Squad 38||Won|||
|MBC Drama Awards||Grand Prize (Daesang)||Shopping King Louie||Nominated|||
|Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries||Won|||
|Best Couple Award with Nam Ji-hyun||Nominated|||
|2019||14th Soompi Awards||Actor of the Year||The Smile Has Left Your Eyes||Nominated|
|Best Couple Award with Jung So-min||Nominated|
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- "'Reply 1997' Releases Second Duet Between Jung Eun Ji and Seo In Guk". enewsWorld. September 4, 2012.
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- "Seo In-guk, Gugudan and VIXX sing Christmas carols". Kpop Herald. December 6, 2016.
- "Seo In-guk will return for 'Law of the Jungle'". Korea JoongAng Daily. July 28, 2016.
- "Seo In-guk and Choi Soo-young swindle tax-evaders on 'Squad 38'". The Korea Herald. June 5, 2016.
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