12 K-Drama Actors Who Made An Impression In 2019

The year is slowly coming to an end, which means it’s a great time to reflect on all the K-drama boys that made us swoon or impressed us with their performance or charm. There’s a lot of them. But here’s a list of just 12 of the many actors who really stuck out! (In no particular order.)

1. Ong Seong Wu

Ever since Ong Seong Wu was a contestant on “Produce 101,” people were commenting on how he had the visuals fit for an actor. It was really only a matter of time before we were able to see him in a K-drama and it was so worth the wait. Not only was Ong Seong Wu in a K-drama, but he was in a starring role, which is impressive.

He stars as Choi Jun Woo in “Moments of 18,” a K-drama based on the story of a high school student and the obstacles he faces as a teenager. His character is aloof and has some baggage, but is so darn adorable. It was definitely the start of a successful acting career. We need more of Ong Seong Wu on the small screen!

Catch the first episode of “Moments of 18”:

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2. Kim Jae Wook

Kim Jae Wook is a given on this list. Although he’s been around in K-dramaland for quite a while now, the world could not have prepared their hearts and souls for the likes of Ryan Gold.

In “Her Private Life,” Kim Jae Wook plays the perfect boyfriend. He literally has set the bar in terms of what women should expect when it comes to love in a partner. Although he had a rough past and upbringing, it did not get in the way of him becoming a gentleman. He is patient, romantic, caring, and so considerate of Sung Duk Mi (Park Min Young), his girlfriend. His character is so perfect and Kim Jae Wook definitely did him justice!

Catch the first episode of “Her Private Life”:

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3. Lee Jae Wook

Jae Wook number two on this list goes to none other than Lee Jae Wook. What an impression Lee Jae Wook has made in the industry this past year. Lee Jae Wook has had a role in three successful K-dramas as well as one movie.

He made his first appearance as the unforgettable Marco Han in “Memories of the Alhambra” and then went on to the role of Seol Ji Hwan as the love interest of Lee Da Hee. Then he knocked it out of the park with his role as the bad-boy Baek Kyung in the series “Extraordinary You.” His good looks have earned him a spot in this industry, but it’s his amazing acting abilities that have really made viewers swoon!

Catch the first episode of “Extraordinary You”:

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4. Jang Ki Yong

This past year was a big year for Jang Ki Yong. This young model-turned-actor has been in starring K-drama roles a lot lately, but it was his role as the adorable Park Mo Gun in “Search: WWW” that really stole people’s hearts.

Jang Ki Yong did an effortless job portraying the love-stricken Park Mo Gun. The relentless love and passion in which he pursues his love interest, Bae Ta Mi (Im Soo Jung) completely gave us butterflies. Every snippet and scene that Jang Ki Yong was in made the series a success. If you’ve seen his other K-dramas, you probably already know that he’s pretty impressionable.

Catch the first episode of “Search: WWW”:

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5. Lee Do Hyun

Many people were disappointed and sad to hear that Choi Tae Joon had opted out of the series, so there was a lot riding on the actor who would be replacing him. Despite the expectations being set pretty high, Lee Do Hyun did a great job considering the fact that he wasn’t initially offered the role.

Lee Do Hyun as Go Chung Myung looked so natural and the love he had for Jang Man Wol (IU) seemed so real. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Go Chung Myung. He hasn’t had that much experience playing in K-dramas as he is still considered a rookie actor, but he definitely made an impression in this particular role. You could really feel all the emotions he portrayed through his character.

Catch the first episode of “Hotel Del Luna”:

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6. Kang Ha Neul

When people heard that Kang Ha Neul was going to be returning on the small screen after he was discharged from the military, it caused quite the excitement. And then when it was revealed that his return would feature him being in a lead role, it was even more exciting. Kang Ha Neul as Hwang Yong Sik in the series, “When the Camellia Blooms,” was utter perfection.

Kang Ha Neul’s ability to play a character who loved shamelessly and loudly, without any excuses, was exactly a character the world needed. It was uncanny to see Kang Ha Neul play Yong Sik so effortlessly and it almost felt a bit too natural; almost as if Kang Ha Neul barely had to act to play this role. He just seems that sweet in real life!

7. SF9’s Rowoon

It’s almost unfair that a K-pop idol with such good looks is also a great actor, but Rowoon fits the bill. Rowoon has been climbing his way up to K-drama stardom very quickly these past couple years and his first starring role in the recent drama “Extraordinary You” definitely showcased his potential as an actor.

Rowoon as the comic book character Lee Ha Ru gave us all the butterflies. His dedication to his female counterpart Eun Dan Oh (Kim Hye Yoon) and his relentless passion to be with her really showcased his acting skills and put him on the map as the main lead. I’m definitely looking forward to his next lead role!

8. Yeo Jin Goo

Yeo Jin Goo has starred in not only one but two K-dramas this past year. Every role Yeo Jin Goo takes on is bound to be memorable. Earlier this year, he played the romantic heartthrob robot in “Absolute Boyfriend.” And more recently, he played Goo Chan Sung in the eerie romantic series “Hotel Del Luna.”

Although both roles were equally impressive, Yeo Jin Goo’s take on Goo Chan Sung in “Hotel Del Luna” was perfection. Seeing him slowly fall in love with Jang Man Wol (IU) and dealing with all those ghosts was so entertaining to watch. There was also something about seeing him in a suit for almost the entire series that made it even more impressionable.

9. Jang Dong Yoon

It seems as though Jang Dong Yoon is everywhere these days! People have flocked to his charm and pretty looks as he’s taken on his first starring role this past year as Jeon Nok Du in “The Tale of Nokdu.” The chemistry he shows with Kim So Hyun shows that his acting abilities have developed so much in such a short period of time. He’s only been acting since 2016 and did not have much background in it prior to, which makes it that much more impressive.

Also, how unfair is it that he can look both equally handsome and pretty when wearing traditional hanboks for both men and women?

Crazy, isn’t it?

Catch the first episode of “The Tale Of Nokdu”:

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10. Kim Jae Young

Kim Jae Young has been pretty underrated as an actor this past year. Considering he’s starring in two K-dramas, he deserves some recognition! He starred as Yoon Sun Woo in the SBS series “Secret Boutique” and he is currently starring in “Beautiful Love Wonderful Life” as Gu Joon Hwi.

It’s really hard to choose between the two roles as they’re both distinct and unique in their own ways. In “Beautiful Love Wonderful Life,” he plays an older brother who is mourning the loss of his younger brother who died by suicide. His ability to portray the heartache and distress is pretty memorable. On the other hand in “Secret Boutique,” his love and loyalty towards Jenny Jang (Kim Sun Ah) were so swoon-worthy and impressionable. He definitely sticks out in both roles!

Catch the first episode of “Secret Boutique”:

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11. Lee Seung Gi

Lee Seung Gi’s latest K-drama role is the action-packed series “Vagabond.” There was a lot of buzz surrounding this particular drama as it was not only Lee Seung Gi’s comeback role, but it was his second time co-starring with Suzy.

In this particular role, Lee Seung Gi played a rough and tumble cop named Cha Dal Geon with a sorrowful past, which was a side that people often have not seen. Not only did he pull it off, but the storyline made for an exciting series. It was so impressive seeing him in all those action and fight scenes! Lee Seung Gi truly never fails to entertain and meet expectations.

12. Yoon Kye Sang

Yoon Kye Sang is one of those actors who may not always be in the spotlight but totally deserves to be! Yoon Kye Sang hasn’t starred in a K-drama for a few years, so when it was announced that he would be starring alongside Ha Ji Won in a romantic tale called “Chocolate,” there was a lot of anticipation.

Although it is still early, Yoon Kye Sang’s character as the selfless, hard-working surgeon Lee Kang in “Chocolate” is winning everyone over – me included. His romantic charm and innocent visuals are warming hearts, which is perfect for this upcoming holiday season. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how his character develops and how much more sweeter Lee Kang will become!

Hey Soompiers, which of these actors were you seriously impressed with this past year? Let me know in the comments below!

binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She is also the author of “K-POP A To Z: The Definitive K-Pop Encyclopedia.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!

Currently watching: “Chocolate”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life,” “Star In My Heart
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen

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