The proliferation of Hallyu waves across the world can’t be ignored anymore. Whether it’s K-pop music, swoon-worthy drama, indulging in their local delicacies or fangirling over their Oppa, our life pretty much revolves around being a Kpop addict. Needless to say, some people are so into it that they willing to splurge on a few bucks to get their hands on the latest merchandise or even launches. Particularly for K-dramas, they have become a channel for us to vent out our repressed stresses. Just think about Squid Game, Nevertheless, Penthouse or Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, these dramas have been making headlines this year. With hits after hits, the Korean entertainment industry has never failed to surprise us with its compelling plot and out of this world creativity. So, it is normal for us viewers to feel curious about how much the Korean actor and actress make, right? If this question has lingered on your mind for quite a while, fret not as Glitz has gathered a whole bunch of lists on the highest paid Korean actors in 2021. Scroll down to see if your favourite celebrities are shortlisted.
The Highest Paid Korean Actors And Actresses in 2021
On top of the list is Kim Soo-Hyun, a household name in the entertainment industry that does not need any introduction. Although he’s only 33 years old, this superstar is known for his impeccable acting skills. With numerous awards and over 14 years of experience under his belt, it is not a surprise that he has cemented his name as the highest paid actor in Korea. In fact, he even made a record breaking fee this year when he was cast for the One Ordinary Day with US$423,000 per episode.
Unknown to many, Kim Soo-Hyun actually participated in acting classes to overcome his introverted personality. Later on, he managed to make his debut as a supporting actor on Kimchi Cheese Smile in 2007. Subsequently, his career took off and he moved on to appear in highly-rated series including Dream High, Moon Embracing The Sun, My Love From The Star, The Thieves and It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. Additionally, Kim Soo-Hyun was also listed as the among stars for the Forbes Korea Power Celebrity 40.
This list of the highest paid Korean actors in 2021 would not be complete without this heartthrob, Song Joong-Ki. With the commercial success that he has with Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Descendants of the Sun, Arthdal Chronicles, The Battleship Island, and Space Sweepers, Song Joong-Ki has been reportedly making US$ 170,000 per episode for Vincenzo.
He has also won several awards from the prestigious Baeksang Arts Awards, Blue Dragon Film Awards, Chunsa Film Art Awards and Style Icon Asia. Dubbed as the perfect embodiment of Umchina or ‘son of mother’s friend’, Song Joong-Ki is not only known for his acting skills but also for his physical features.
Hyun Bin whose real name is Kim Tae-Pyung is regarded as one of the best actors in Korea thanks to his role in the 2005 romantic comedy drama, My Lovely Sam-Soon. He was further cast on hit series including Secret Garden, Memories of the Alhambra, A Millionaire’s First Love and The Snow Queen. However, Crash Landing on You which aired in 2019 garnered commercial success with record breaking views. His current rate per episode is far higher than the initial appearance fee, which is only US$ 27,000 per episode. It is believed that the rate is above US$ 113,000 per episode.
As a seasoned actor, So Ji-sub has been in the Korean entertainment industry since the early 90s. He started out as a model for STORM and eventually he was cast for small roles through the years. The Glass Slippers which was a critically acclaimed drama boosted his stardom and helped him to land a role in What Happened in Bali, I’m Sorry, I Love You, The Master’s Sun and Oh My Venus. The 43 years old actor has also appeared in films such as Always and The Battleship Island. Recently, his fee per episode has increased from US$ 67,000 in 2020 to US$ 90,000 per episode.
Jo In-Sung is the classic representation of the highest paid Korean actors who have won several prestigious awards and cast in top rated hits. He made his acting debut in Jump, which was an MBC sitcom aired in 1999. However, he started to gain commercial success in 2003 and managed to land roles in The Classic, What Happened in Bali, Spring Days, and A Dirty Carnival. Jo In-Sung further proved his skills as Oh Soo in That Winter, the Wind Blows alongside Song Hye-Kyo. His latest appearance is in the film drama, Escape from Mogadishu. It is claimed that he makes around US$ 90,000 per episode.
Commonly known as Gianna Jun, Jun Ji-Hyun is a top star with a list of blockbuster dramas and films under her belt. Initially, she was successful as a model particularly for her ads in Samsung My Jet Printer. Thanks to her impeccable acting skills in My Sassy Girl, she won the highly prestigious Grand Bell Award for Best Actress. Following suits, Jun Ji-Hyun was cast for roles in high grossing hits including The Thieves, Windstruck, My Love from The Star and Legend of the Blue Sea. Currently, she stars in a thriller drama, Jirisan which aired on tvN. Reports suggested that she makes around US$ 85,000 per episode.
Mention Lee Min-Ho, the first thing that pops into people’s minds is Boys Over Flowers. It is not an overstatement to say that this Korean drama solidified his status as Oppa next door. If you’re feeling sceptical, just head this his Instagram account and you’ll see that he accumulated immense followers of 27.1 million. As the first Korean actor to have his own wax statue in Madame Tussauds, Lee Min-Ho is among the highest paid Korean actors in 2021. With tons of endorsement deals and critically acclaimed hits, he makes around US$ 80,000 per episode.
Dubbed as the triple threat, Lee Seung-Gi is an all-rounder artist who is famously known as a singer, actor and host. Although he officially made his debut as a singer with “Because You’re My Girl”, he proved his acting skills when he first landed a role in The Infamous Chil Sisters. Since then, Lee Seung-Gi has been cast in hits like My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, Gu Family Book, A Korean Odyssey, Vagabond and Mouse. It is estimated that he commands about US$ 60,000 per episode for his appearance.
As a rising star in the Hallyu wave, Ji Chang-Wook has cemented his skills with different types of genres like action, romance and comedy. He made his breakthrough in Smile Again series, in which he was awarded the “Best Actor in a Daily Drama” during the KBS Drama Awards. The list of blockbuster dramas he appeared in included The Empress Ki, Healer, The K2, Suspicious Partner and Backstreet Rookie. In early this year Ji Chang-Wook was announced to appear in the Netflix series, The Sound of Magic which was set to release next year. It was reported that he makes about US$ 50,000 per episode.
Well, can you imagine this list of the highest paid Korean actors without Song Hye-Kyo? As the top actress, she has been making waves across the world with her blockbuster dramas and films. She started out as a teen model when she won a modelling contest. Thanks to her appearance in Autumn in My Heart, she has successfully garnered global recognition. Since then, Song Hye-Kyo appeared in several hits like Full House, That Winter, the Wind Blows, Encounter and Descendants of the Sun. It is believed that she makes about US$ 40,000 per episode.