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The Top 10 Highest Paid K-Drama Actors in 2020

The Top 10 Highest Paid K-Drama Actors in 2020
IMAGE Netflix
These Hallyu heartthrobs receive a jawdopping paycheck per episode of your fave K-dramas.

The Hallyu wave is real. With the K-drama culture experiencing explosive popularity not only in Asia but around the world, it’s only fair that their actors and actresses—who have unimaginable fan bases both locally and internationally—are paid a jawdropping sum for every project, including but not limited to TV shows, movies, product endorsements, and even fan meetings everywhere in the globe. It’s an enormous industry that rakes in billions of dollars, and frankly, you might not believe how much these Hallyu actors earn per episode of their beloved K-dramas.

Based on the data collected by The Toplists, here's a list of the highest-paid Korean actors of 2020:

10. Ji Chang Wook

Estimated $42,000 per episode

ji chang wook highest paid korean actor
PHOTO BY SBS/Backstreet Rookie

The Backstreet Rookie star rose to fame in 2010 after starring in the top-rating drama Smile Again. Since then, Ji Chang Wook's steadily climbed up the Hallyu ladder with popular K-dramas in his resume, such as Empress Ki (2013), Healer (2014), The K2 (2016), and Suspicious Partner (2017).


9. Song Joong Ki

Estimated $50,300 per episode

song joong ki highest paid korean actor
PHOTO BY KBS2/Descendants of the Sun

Song Joong Ki credits the beginning of his career to period drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal and variety show Running Man, where he was an original cast member. He also played lead roles in The Innocent Man (2012) and Arthdal Chronicles (2019), as well as in blockbuster films A Werewolf Boy (2012) and The Battleship Island (2017). That said, his most notable role is undoubtedly when he played Captain Yoo Shi-Jin in Descendants of the Sun, a massively popular 2016 drama that was broadcasted across Asia and has even contributed to a rise in tourism in Korea.

8. Lee Jong Suk

Estimated $50,300 per episode

lee jong suk highest paid korean actor
PHOTO BY netflix/romance is a bonus book
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The model-turned-actor made his acting debut in 2010 and had his breakout role two years later for the coming-of-age drama School 2013. Since then, Lee Jong Suk has become one of the most sought-after leading men in Korea, starring in hit K-dramas like I Can Hear Your Voice (2013), Doctor Stranger (2014), Pinocchio (2014), W: Two Worlds Apart (2016), While You Were Sleeping (2017), and most recently, Romance Is a Bonus Book (2019).

7. Yoo Ah In

Estimated $58,700 per episode

yoo ah in highest paid korean actor
PHOTO BY tvn/chicago typewriter

Originally trained to be a K-pop idol, Yoo Ah In  is best known for starring in the coming-of-age film Punch (2011), melodrama Secret Love Affair (2014), action blockbuster Veteran (2015), and period dramas such as The Throne (2015) and Six Flying Dragons (2016), the latter of which landed him a Best Actor win at the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards.

6. Lee Seung Gi

Estimated $59,000 per episode

lee seung gi highest paid korean actor
PHOTO BY netflix/a korean odyssey

Known as a “Triple Threat” entertainer for being a singer, host, and actor, the multi-hyphenate Lee Seung Gi rose to international fame because of his lead roles in hit K-dramas such as Brilliant Legacy (2009), My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho (2010), The King 2 Hearts (2012), Gu Family Book (2013), You're All Surrounded (2014), A Korean Odyssey (2017), and most recently, Netflix’s Vagabond (2019).

5. Lee Min Ho

Estimated $59,000 per episode

lee min ho highest paid korean actor
PHOTO BY netflix/the king eternal monarch

Who doesn’t know Lee Min Ho? Even in the Philippines, his iconic character as Gu Jun-pyo in Boys Over Flowers has earned him millions of fans. The top Hallyu actor, who recently made a comeback in The King: Eternal Monarch after his military discharge, also starred in Personal Taste (2010), City Hunter (2011), The Heirs (2013), and Legend of the Blue Sea (2016).

4. So Ji Sub

Estimated $67,000 per episode

so ji sub highest paid korean actor
PHOTO BY netflix/my secret terrius

Originally a model, So Ji Sub rose to fame for his acting through his breakout role in the 2004 drama What Happened in Bali, which was a massive success. His acclaimed melodrama I'm Sorry, I Love You in that same year established him as a top star in Korea, and since then, he’s headlines popular titles like The Master’s Sun (2013), Oh My Venus (2015), and My Secret Terrius (2018).

3. Jo In Sung

Estimated $68,000 per episode

jo in sung highest paid korean actor
PHOTO BY netflix/its okay thats love

Another Hallyu heartthrob who gained popularity from the 2004 drama What Happened in Bali, Jo In Sung is also best known for That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013) and It's Okay, That's Love (2014), as well as for blockbuster films such as The Classic (2003) and The Great Battle (2018).

2. Hyun Bin

Estimated $84,000 per episode

hyun bin highest paid korean actor
PHOTO BY netflix/crash landing on you

Filipinos’ earliest memory of Hyun Bin was from the 2005 romantic comedy My Name Is Kim Sam Soon. He’s also starred in fantasy dramas such as Secret Garden (2010) and Memories of the Alhambra (2018), but there is no doubt that his most recent project, Crash Landing on You—the third-highest-rated South Korean TV drama in cable television history—is Hyun Bin’s most successful K-drama to date, giving him an incredible boost in popularity outside Asia.

1. Kim Soo Hyun

Estimated $85,000 per episode

kim soo hyun highest paid korean actor
PHOTO BY Netflix/Its Okay to Not Be OKay

Kim Soo Hyun, the highest paid Korean actor in 2020, first rose to fame for his role in Dream High (2011). It was then followed by the success of Moon Embracing the Sun (2012) and My Love from the Star (2013), which enjoyed global popularity and catapulted him into playing a key role in the Hallyu wave. For his first starring role since his military discharge, he plays Moon Gang-tae in It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, for which he reportedly earns a whopping 200 million won (P8.2 million) per episode.

Watch this video to know more about South Korea’s highest-paid actors in 2020.

Curious who made it to the list of highest paid Korean actresses? Check this list and find out.

(Source: The Toplists)

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