Jang Dong-gun

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Jang Dong-gun
File:Jangdonggun 01.jpg
Jang in an LG ad in 2011
Born (1972-03-07) March 7, 1972 (age 47)
Yongsan District, Seoul, South Korea
Occupation Actor
Years active 1992–present
Agent S.M. Culture & Contents[1]
Spouse(s) Ko So-young (m. 2010)
Children 2
Website jangdonggun.co.kr
Korean name
Hangul 장동건
Hanja 張東健
Revised Romanization Jang Dong-geon
McCune–Reischauer Chang Tonggŏn

Jang Dong-gun (born March 7, 1972) is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his leading roles in the films Friend (2001) and Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War (2004).

Jang is one of the highest paid actors and celebrity endorsers in Korea,[2] consistently topping surveys by industry insiders of most bankable stars.[3]

Early life

Jang Dong-gun spent his childhood in Yongsan District, Seoul, and later went on to study at the Korea National University of Arts School of Drama, though he dropped out before obtaining a degree.[4]


File:Jang Dong-gun on April 16, 2009.jpg
Jang Dong-gun on April 16, 2009

Jang first entered the entertainment world in a talent contest in 1992. He began by acting in TV dramas such as The Last Match,[5] co-starring Shim Eun-ha, and he eventually made his film debut in Repechage (1997) together with Kim Hee-sun.[6]

By the late 1990s he had become quite popular in Korea, but he also became one of the very first Korean stars to garner a fan following in other parts of Asia, after several of his TV dramas were screened there in the late nineties. In 1999, after acting in the critically acclaimed Nowhere to Hide as Park Joong-hoon's younger partner, Jang moved on to star in a feature that was filmed on location in Shanghai. Titled Anarchists, this tale of five young terrorists from 1930s China helped to elevate his status even further.[6]

Jang's breakout came in early 2001 in Friend, which smashed the box office record set by Shiri to become (at the time) the biggest Korean film of all time. After playing the nice guy in almost all his previous roles, this portrayal of a tough-talking gangster from Busan led him to local stardom. The following year he also starred in the popular action blockbuster 2009 Lost Memories set in a futuristic Great Japan.[6]

After appearing in the low-budget film The Coast Guard by controversial director Kim Ki-duk, Jang then took the lead role in Kang Je-gyu's Taegukgi, an epic film about two brothers set during the Korean War. Sure enough, this film would beat Friend's record with an astounding 11 million tickets sold. By this time, Jang's name had become known widely throughout Asia.[6]

Jang followed this up with The Promise, a $30 million pan-Asian production by Chinese director Chen Kaige in which he played opposite Hong Kong star Cecilia Cheung. Meanwhile, he was cast in Typhoon as a modern-day pirate who has been betrayed by both North and South Korea. Directed by Friend's Kwak Kyung-taek, Typhoon set a new record in 2005 for the highest production budget in Korean film history at $15 million.[6]

For the next four years, Jang kept a low profile in the Korean entertainment sphere as he worked on his Hollywood debut The Warrior's Way, also starring Kate Bosworth and Geoffrey Rush. The film encountered problems with post-production and distribution, and was only released in 2010.[7][8][9]

He returned to the silver screen in 2009 as the nation's youngest (and most eligible) head of state in Jang Jin's comedy Good Morning, President.[10][11][12][13][14]

He reunited with director Kang Je-gyu in My Way, a film set during World War II based on the true story of a Korean soldier who is drafted by the Japanese army and eventually is present at the Battle of Normandy.[15][16][17] A large-scale, ambitious pan-Asian collaboration co-starring Japanese actor Joe Odagiri and Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, My Way was the most expensive Korean movie to date (with an estimated budget of ₩28 billion),[18] But despite being simultaneously released in Korea and Japan in December 2011,[19] the film flopped at the box office.

Jang made his highly anticipated return to television dramas in A Gentleman's Dignity, saying he was drawn to the romantic comedy tale of 40-something-year-old men struggling to grow up and mend and forge lasting relationships.[20][21][22][23] After the series ended, Jang and co-star Kim Min-jong visited refugees in the Republic of the Congo on a mission trip sponsored by UNICEF and UNHCR's World Food Programme. It was televised on SBS documentary program Hope TV.[24][25]

His 2012 film Dangerous Liaisons was a Chinese adaptation of the French literature classic set in 1930s Shanghai, directed by Hur Jin-ho and co-starring Zhang Ziyi and Cecilia Cheung.[26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]

Jang next starred in Crying Man (also known as No Tears for the Dead), an action thriller directed by Lee Jeong-beom. He played a Korean-born American hitman who feels conflicted about killing his last target (played by Kim Min-hee).[35][36][37][38][39]

Personal life

Jang is a practicing Buddhist, having first explored Buddhist writings while hospitalized in high school, after undergoing chest surgery.[40]

He enjoys playing baseball and is a member of the celebrity amateur baseball team "Playboys" with Lee Jong-hyuk, Hyun Bin, Kim Seung-woo, Hwang Jung-min, Ji Jin-hee, and other actors.[2][41]

The famously private actor surprised the country in November 2009 when he went public with his two-year romance with Ko So-young.[42][43] Since co-starring together in the 1999 film Love Wind Love Song, rumors about Jang and Ko had spread several times in the past, but both had consistently denied them. The announcement immediately sparked speculation of an impending marriage although it wasn't until March 2010 that Jang officially told his fans at a fan meeting that he would be marrying Ko in May.[44][45] After months of media frenzy leading up to their nuptials,[46][47][48][49] the two tied the knot on May 2, 2010 in an extravagant wedding ceremony at Seoul's Shilla Hotel which was attended by their A-list celebrity friends, swarms of reporters and fans from around the world.[50][51]

Their son Jang Min-joon was born on October 4, 2010.[52][53][54][55] Their second child, a daughter, was born on February 25, 2014.[56][57][58]



File:Jangdonggun 02.jpg
Jang Dong-gun in an LG ad in 2011
Year Title Role
1997 Repechage Min-gyu
Holiday In Seoul taxi driver
1998 First Kiss cameo
1999 Love Wind Love Song Tae-hee
Nowhere to Hide Detective Kim
2000 Anarchists Sergei
2001 Friend Lee Han Dong-su
2002 2009 Lost Memories Masayuki Sakamoto
The Coast Guard Private Kang
2004 Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War Lee Jin-tae
2005 Typhoon Sin
The Promise Kunlun, the slave
2009 Good Morning, President Cha Ji-wook
2010 The Warrior's Way Yang
2011 My Way Kim Jun-sik
2012 Dangerous Liaisons Xie Yifan
2014 No Tears for the Dead Gon
2015 Fighters 7 Jakeman Lee

Television dramas

Year Title Role Network
1992 Our Heaven MBC
1993 Il Ji Mae Iljimae MBC
1994 The Last Match Yoon Chul-jun MBC
1996 Icing Yoon Chan MBC
1997 Medical Brothers Kim Su-hyung MBC
Model Lee Jung SBS
Myth of a Hero Kim Tae-woo MBC
1998 Ready Go! Shin Ji-soo MBC
Love Jung In-ha MBC
1999 Springtime Kang Hyun-woo MBC
Ghost Jang Dae-hyup SBS
2000 All About Eve Yoon Hyung-chul MBC
2012 A Gentleman's Dignity Kim Do-jin SBS


Album information Track listing
너에게로 가는 길
  • Track from Our Heaven OST
  • Released: March 1, 1993
  • Label: 킹
With Justice And Peace For All
  • Album
  • Artist: Jang Dong-gun
  • Released: June 1993
  • Label: 킹
  • Album
  • Artists: Jang Dong-gun and Jeon Cheol
  • Released: June 1994
  • Label: Asia (Shinchon Music)
飛翔 (Flying)
  • Album
  • Artist: Jang Dong-gun
  • Released: October 1995
  • Label: Seoul Records
Bon Seung & Dong Gun
  • Album
  • Artists: Goo Bon-seung and Jang Dong-gun
  • Released: February 12, 1998
  • Label: Doremi
정말 그러길 바랄께
  • Track from Dong Gam: Sympathy 1970~2001. June
  • Released: June 22, 2001
  • Label: One Entertainment (Sony Music Korea)
과거는 흘러갔다 (From Film)
We Online: Actor's Choice[59]
  • Single
  • Released: March 5, 2010
  • Label: A&G Modes
나보다 더 (More Than Me)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1993 MBC Drama Awards Best New Actor Il Ji Mae Nominated
1994 30th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor (TV) The Last Match Won
1997 33rd Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (TV) Medical Brothers Won
18th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actor Repechage Won
MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Medical Brothers Won
1999 20th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Nowhere to Hide Won
2000 37th Grand Bell Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
21st Blue Dragon Film Awards Popular Star Award Anarchists Won
MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor All About Eve Nominated
2001 46th Asia-Pacific Film Festival Best Supporting Actor Friend Won
22nd Blue Dragon Film Awards Popular Star Award Won
Best Actor Nominated
2002 23rd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor The Coast Guard Nominated
2003 40th Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
2nd Korean Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
2004 40th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War Nominated
41st Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
25th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Won
2005 2nd Max Movie Awards Best Actor Won
2006 43rd Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Typhoon Nominated
2007 15th Chunsa Film Art Awards Hallyu Arts Award N/A Won
Korea TV Advertising Festival Best Couple Award Won
2009 46th Savings Day President's Commendation N/A Won
30th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Good Morning, President Nominated
2012 5th Style Icon Awards[60][61][62] Top 10 Style Icons N/A Won
Style Icon of the Year N/A Won
SBS Drama Awards Top 10 Stars A Gentleman's Dignity Won
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Weekend/Serial Drama Won


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External links