Korean famous stars. Photo: KnowInsiders
Korean famous stars. Photo: KnowInsiders

While Koreans highly regard celebrities with a clean reputation, maintaining a scandal-free and reputable record is no easy feat, especially in an environment as competitive and tough as the Korean showbiz.

Recently, Korean netizens gathered to select the celebrities with the best and highest popularity in their home countries and came up with a list full of top stars.

Which are the 10 stars with the highest popularity in Korea now?

1. Yoo Jae Suk (host, MC)

2. IU (singer, actress)

3. Kim Yuna (Olympic-winning athlete)

4. Lim Young Woong (singer)

5. SNSD Yoona (singer, actress)

6. Lee Seung Gi (actor, host, singer)

7. Park Bo Gum (actor)

8. Kim Hye Soo (actress)

9. Han Ji Min (actress)

10. Song Hae (host, singer)

Top 10 stars with the highest popularity in Korea

1. Yoo Jae Suk (host, MC)

Photo: kpopnews
Photo: kpopnews

South Korea’s “national MC” is known for his quick wit and as the host of popular variety television shows, including Infinite Challenge, Running Man, Happy Together and Hangout With Yoo. He also famously appeared Psy’s Gangnam Style music video in an eye-catching yellow suit.

This year, the comedian took home the television category Daesang (grand prize) award at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards for the second time since 2013, reports Koreaboo.

The 50-year-old comedian is the highest-paid television personality in Korea and among the most sought-after stars for endorsement deals. He earns up to US$21,000 per episode and about US$4.7 million in advertisement revenue, according to Cosmopolitan.

2. IU (singer, actress)

Photo: Billboard Việt Nam
Photo: Billboard Việt Nam

Lee Ji Eun, best known by her stage name IU (which stands for “I and You” – to become one with music (you and me) is not only one of the best-selling K-Pop solo artists (in an entertainment industry dominated mostly by K-Pop groups), she is a radio and television host and the most influential celebrity in the country. She has also ventured into acting. You can see the actress not only in commercials selling smartphones but also in highly popular K-dramas. She acted in You're the Best, Pretty Man, The Producers, Lee Soon Shin, Moon Lovers, and My Mister.

Over time, IU has shown remarkable improvements in her acting abilities, and recently appeared in the critically acclaimed movie “Broker”, which just earned a major award at the 2022 Cannes International Film Festival.

3. Kim Yuna (Olympic-winning athlete)

Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr

Yuna Kim was born on 5 September, 1990 in Bucheon-si, South Korea, is a South Korean figure skater. Yuna Kim was born in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea in September 1990. She won a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games in Ladies' Singles and a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in the same event. Kim won golds at the 2009 and 2013 World Championships in Ladies' Singles and won silvers in the 2010 and 2011 World Championships in the same event.

She also won bronze medals at the 2007 and 2008 World Championships in Ladies' Singles. Yuna Kim has also won golds at the 2009 Four Continents Championships, 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2009-10 Grand Prix Final, 2006 World Junior Championships, and 2005-06 Junior Grand Prix Final. She is very well known and recognizable in South Korea and is known as Queen Yuna or the ice queen. She has held records for ladies' short program, free skater, and combined total. She was the highest paid athlete at the Olympic Winter Games in 2010 and has been among the top-earning sportswoman in the world several times. She also lit the Olympic cauldron in 2018 in Pyeongchang.

4. Lim Young Woong (singer)

Photo: allkpop
Photo: allkpop

Lim Young Woong is a super familiar name to the Korean audience and has earned the title “The King of Trot” in the country. Throughout his career, Lim Young Woong has shown his massive influence via record-breaking achievements.

Not only having respectable sales in terms of album sales, Lim Young Woong’s songs also achieved high rankings in the digital music segment. The title song If We Ever Meet Again entered the Melon, Genie, Bugs and Flo music charts. In addition, all 12 songs on the album surpassed 10,000 likes on the Melon music chart within an hour of its release. Lim Young Woong has shown his position in the Korean music market.

Trot music, also referred to its onomatopoetic term "bbong-jjak" is a genre of music in South Korea that goes way back to even during the time of Japanese colonial rule in the nation.

While the genre is usually reserved for the older generations, youngsters of South Korea still to some degree enjoy listening to it for its entertainment element. And plus, it's also quite different from your average K-Pop songs that are frequently played everywhere on the city streets.

One of the many exciting things about trot music in South Korea at the moment is how popular the show 'Mr. Trot' was, accumulating 7.73 million votes in total. Of course, of that figure, 5.4 million votes were deemed as valid due to various reasons. Numbers don't lie and Koreans are still adamantly holding on to their roots, no matter how much it seems like times are changing through the rapid-pace of the K-Pop music industry.

5. SNSD Yoona (singer, actress)

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

Yoona is the face of Innisfree and has traveled across Asia promoting the brand. Yoona also acts and appeared in a Chinese drama called God of War, Zhao Yun, and got over $2.5 million for the role. In addition, she also starred in many Korean dramas such as Love Rain and The King in Love, just to name a few. Along with Innisfree, she has modeled for Danish jewelry brand Pandora, as well as S-Oil, Crocs, LOVCAT, and Lee Jeans. She was recently spotted in her new Porche. Yoona was a singer for the very famous K-pop girl group SNSD. She has done over 20 commercials for K-Beauty brands such as Innisfree and was the first overseas endorser of Alcon Taiwan. In fact, before she was a singer, she was a model and filmed many commercials. She is the top SNSD member in regards to doing the most number of solo ad shoots.

6. Lee Seung Gi (actor, host, singer)

Photo: Gemtracks
Photo: Gemtracks

Lee Seung Gi is a very popular actor and singer. His popular South Korean dramas include Brilliant Legacy, My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho, The King 2 Hearts, Gu Family Book, You’re All Surrounded, and A Korean Odyssey. His latest drama in 2021 is Mouse.

Lee Seung Gi is indeed the perfect package as an artist because of his multifaceted talents as an actor, singer, and variety show host. As of 2021, he is one of the highest-paid actors in South Korea, earning about $117,000 each episode. Lee Seung Gi’s military service was also well celebrated as he performed very well there. His rank was that of a Byeongjang.

7. Park Bo Gum (actor)

Photo: Topsao
Photo: Topsao

Park Bo Gum is another young talented actor in South Korea. As we write this article, he is serving his mandatory time in the South Korean military. His latest television appearance was in Record of Youth in 2020. Park Bo Gum’s worldwide popularity comes from Forbes naming him as the first Korean actor as a Korea Power Celebrity.

He was also the youngest artist who was named Actor of the Year by Gallup Korea. His other famous roles in Korean television were in the dramas Hello Monster, Reply 1988, and Love In The Moonlight. Some of Bo Gum’s most famous movie appearances were in A Hard Day and The Admiral: Roaring Currents. The latter was the highest-grossing Korean Movie of its time. Park Bo Gum has also released several songs and one studio album called ‘Blue Bird.’

8. Kim Hye Soo (actress)

Photo: KDramaStars |
Photo: KDramaStars |

Viewers might see Kim Hye Soo as an accomplished actress who earned tons of recognition throughout her career; unfortunately, her wealth once suffered because of her mother.

She recently stunned fans with her stellar performance as the ruthless juvenile judge Kim Eun Seok in Netflix's "Juvenile Justice."

She is known as the courtroom's "mad max" for her unforgiving verdict, making young offenders tremble in fear.

The 51-year-old actress earned praise from fans and critics, lauding how she perfectly portrays the character.

With her almost 35 years in the industry, Kim Hye Soo managed to gain the reputation of being among South Korea's versatile actresses, acing various roles in different kinds of genres.

Unfortunately, behind her success lies a painful past involving her mother.

According to whatsthenetworth.com, Kim Hye Soo's net worth as of 2022 is around 2 million USD. The majority of her earnings are from her career as an actor, endorsements, magazine appearances and more.

The "Hyena" star is the face of cosmetics brand A.H.C along with Lee Bo Young and Jang Na Ra.

Based on her Instagram, Kim Hye Soo's new endorsement deal seems to be a sportswear brand but didn't give further details regarding the company.

9. Han Ji Min (actress)

Photo: KDramaStars |
Photo: KDramaStars |

Han Ji Min is undoubtedly one of the most treasured gems in the South Korean industry today. From starring in minor roles to leading K-Dramas on her own, the actress surely has come a long way.

In 2018, the actress starred in the film "Miss Baek" in the titular role, where she received nods as the Best Actress at the Blue Dragon Film Awards and Baeksang Arts Awards.

After receiving her much-deserved recognition, Han Ji Min appeared in popular dramas "Familiar Wife," "Dazzling" and "One Sprint Night."

In 2021, she led the star-studded film "A Year-End Medley" with Girls' Generation Yoona, Lee Kwang Soo, Won Jin Ah, Seo Kang Joon, Kang Ha Neul and more.

With her impressive acting skills and charisma, Han Ji Min without a doubt deserves the amount of zeros in her bank account.

Apart from her talents and skills, she's also blessed with a big heart. Instead of splurging on personal items, Han Ji Min cemented her name as an active participant in volunteer work.

She gives a piece of herself through fund drives, relief organizations and even spreads awareness through stories and drawings.

10. Song Hae (host, singer)

Photo: The Korea Times
Photo: The Korea Times

In fact, Song Hae previously announced his impending retirement as a TV host just in May of this year, and he was in the process of discussing his exact retirement date with KBS1's 'National Singing Contest', which he has hosted for 34 years, when the news of his sudden passing was delivered on this day.

Song Hae, who made his TV debut in 1955, was also listed as the 'World's oldest TV music talent show host' in the 'Guinness Book of World Records' earlier this year as the host of KBS1's 'National Singing Contest'.

During his career as a TV host, Song Hae has been awarded the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' at the 'KBS Entertainment Awards', the 'Korean Culture and Arts Awards', and at the 'Baeksang Arts Awards'. He has also received the 'The Order of Cultural Merit', awarded by the President of South Korea.

Song Hae, the oldest TV host in South Korea who hosted several programs like National Singing Contest, has died. He was 95.

Multiple news outlets, including The Korea Herald, confirmed Song Hae’s death. He reportedly passed away on Wednesday and was found by one of his daughters, who lives nearby him.

Local reports added that he collapsed in his home before his body was discovered. An ambulance arrived on the scene and rushed him to the hospital while reviving him.

Unfortunately, he was later pronounced dead.

Song Hae is survived by his two daughters. According to Korea JoongAng Daily, his wife passed away in 2018, while his son died in a car crash in 1994.

The family is yet to release an official statement regarding his passing. But it was noted that he went through several health issues in the past months.

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