Ma-re is an enthusiast writer about Korean and Japanese culture.
When it comes to entertainment, Korean Dramas are totally in. With the rising popularity of K-Dramas around the world, fans are eager to know who among their favorite drama actors and actresses are the most successful?
This list will reveal the 20 most successful Korean drama actors and actresses according to their earnings. This ranking is a combination of first top 10 actors and first top 10 actresses with the highest reported earnings. Enjoy reading!
20. Moon Chae Won
Korean drama actress Moon Chae Won is popular for her roles as Seo Eun-Gi in The Innocent Man, Lee Se-Ryung in The Princess' Man, and Cha Yoon-Seo in her popular medical drama, Good Doctor. She gained attention in 2008 in her supporting role as a gisaeng in Painter of the Wind. Later, she was cast in Brilliant Legacy, one of the top-rated Korean dramas of 2009.
According to reports, she receives 25 million won ($21,000 USD) per episode.
19. Park Shin Hye
Park Shin Hye, one of the most brilliant Korean actress of our generation, is also a model and singer. She started her acting career in the Korean drama Stairway to Heaven as young Han Jung-suh. Later, she received acclaim for her leading roles in the television dramas You're Beautiful (2009), Heartstrings (2011), Flower Boys Next Door (2013), The Heirs (2013), Pinocchio (2014–2015) and Doctors (2016).
She is reported to receive 25 million won ($21,000 USD) per episode.
18. Park Bo Young
Park Bo Young hiked up her price tag due to her recent return to television being her first in seven years. She used to be the highest paid tvN actress before Choi Ji Woo. She is best known for her roles in the hit films Scandal Makers (2008) and A Werewolf Boy (2012), and the television series Oh My Ghostess (2015).
She is said to make 30 million won ($25,000) per drama episode.
17. Shin Min Ah
Our beloved Gumiho actress, Shin Min Ah, is in the list. She is best known for starring in television dramas A Love to Kill, My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox, Arang and the Magistrate and Oh My Venus. She began her career as a model for teen magazine KiKi in 1998, then appeared in several music videos for K-pop boyband g.o.d, until her acting debut in 2001 with a supporting role in popular melodrama, Beautiful Days.
Like Park Bo Young, she also makes 30 million won ($25,000) per drama episode.
16. Gong Hyo Jin
Being the comedy queen of Korean Dramas, Gong Hyo Jin is famous for her lead roles in romantic comedy dramas such as The Greatest Love (2011), Master's Sun (2013), It's Okay, That's Love (2014). She made her acting debut in a supporting role in Memento Mori. At first, she wasn't serious about acting and couldn't wait for filming to be over, but Memento Mori's critical success encouraged her to continue acting.
Gong Hyo Jin makes an average of 40 million won ($33,400) per episode.
15. Kim Tae Hee
Beautiful Korean actress Kim Tae Hee is best known for her roles in K-dramas such as Stairway to Heaven, Love Story in Harvard, Iris, My Princess, Jang Ok-jung, Living by Love and Yong-pal. When she's 20, an advertising executive saw her riding the subway, and offered her a modeling job. She appeared in television commercials and print ads, before making her acting debut with a small role in the 2001 melodrama Last Present.
According to reports, she receives around 40 million won ($33,400) per episode for the drama Yong Pal.
14. Ji Chang Wook
Ji Chang Wook rose to fame in the leading role of Dong-hae in daily drama series Smile Again (2010-2011), followed by notable roles in Warrior Baek Dong-soo (2011), Empress Ki (2013-2014), and Healer (2014-2015). He studied at the Dankook University, but he knew that his first focus would always be acting, so he pursue his dream career and is now one of the most successful Korean actors.
He is estimated to make 50 million won ($42,000 USD) per episode.
13. Song Hye Kyo
Song Hye Kyo, who is currently popular in China and other Asian countries, gained popularity through television dramas such as Autumn in My Heart (2000), All In (2003), Full House (2004), The World That They Live In (2008), and That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013). She also took on the lead role in the massive pan-Asia hit 2016 drama, Descendants of the Sun.
She is also estimated to have 50 million won (approx. 42,000 USD) per episode.
12. Choi Ji Woo
Choi Ji Woo is most famous for starring in the television melodramas Winter Sonata, Beautiful Days, Stairway to Heaven and Temptation. Recently, she signed on to the highly anticipated drama Twenty Again for 50 million won ($41,800 USD) per episode, a record in tvN history. It was reported that one of the reasons she was able to command such a high per-episode price because it is her first cable drama appearance in 21 years.
11. Ha Ji Won
The prime time Korean drama queen and one of the most versatile actors who can pull off action, comedy, and drama, Ha Ji Won is best known among international viewers for historical drama Hwang Jini, romantic comedy Secret Garden, and historical drama Empress Ki. She starred in several films and television series, winning various awards and accolades along the way in both films and TV series.
She is also reported to make 50 million won ($42,000 USD) per drama episode.
10. Song Joong Ki
Song Joong Ki is one of the most popular and hottest Korean actor today after playing the lead role in the 2016 hit drama, Descendants of the Sun. He rose to fame in the historical drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010) and the variety show Running Man as one of the original cast members when it premiered in 2010. He had his first TV leading role in the melodrama The Innocent Man (2012).
He is reported to make 60 million won ($50,300 USD) per episode.
9. Lee Jong Suk
At a young age of 27, Lee Joong Suk has become successful in his acting career. He is best known for his leading roles in School 2013 (2012), I Can Hear Your Voice (2013), Doctor Stranger (2014) and Pinocchio (2014), which garnered him a nomination for Most Popular Actor at the 51th Baeksang Arts Awards. He is also the youngest actor in history to be awarded the Grimae Award for "Best Male Actor" for his performance in Pinocchio.
According to reports, he makes 60 million won ($50,300 USD) for a single episode.
8. Yoo Ah In
Yoo Ah In became popular in the TV series Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010), and became best known for his leading roles in coming-of-age film Punch (2011), melodrama Secret Love Affair (2014), action blockbuster Veteran (2015), period drama film The Throne (2015), and historical drama series Six Flying Dragons (2015-2016). He currently has three films, Punch, Veteran and The Throne, in the List of highest-grossing films in South Korea.
He has a reported paycheck of 70 million won ($58,700 USD) per episode.
7. Lee Min Ho
Our all-time favorite Korean actor, Lee Min Ho, who hasn't starred in a drama since 2013's The Heirs, is now in high demand with everyone anticipating to see what he will choose for his future dramas! He is popular for his role as as Gu Jun-pyo in 2009 drama Boys Over Flowers.
Right now, he is reported to have 70 million won ($58,700 USD) per episode, regardless of the drama!
6. So Ji Sub
After making his career debut as a jeans model, So Ji Sub became best known for his leading roles in the television series I'm Sorry, I Love You, Cain and Abel, Phantom, Master's Sun and Oh My Venus, as well as the film Rough Cut. So has also released several hip-hop EPs.
He is reported to gain 80 million won ($67,100 USD) in every single episode.
5. Jo In Sung
Jo In Sung was praised by audiences for his amazing performance in his recent dramas. He is best known for his leading roles in the TV series What Happened in Bali (2004), That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013), and It's Okay, That's Love (2014), as well as the films A Dirty Carnival (2006) and A Frozen Flower (2008).
He is also reported to earn 80 million won ($67,100 USD) per episode.
4. Lee Young Ae
Lee Young Ae, who is best known for her popular hit drama Jewel in the Palace, is set to make 100 million won ($83,500 USD) per episode for her highly anticipated dramas. Her fans have been waiting for her comeback on TV, since her marriage to Jeong Ho-young, a Korean-American businessman 20 years her senior, in the United States. In 2011, she also gave birth to twins, one boy and one girl, at the Jeil Hospital in Jung-gu, Seoul.
3. Hyun Bin
One of the hottest actors today in Korea is Hyun Bin. He is best known for his leading roles in the television dramas My Name Is Kim Sam-soon (2005), The World That They Live In (also known as Worlds Within) (2008) and Secret Garden (2010-2011).
The success of his comeback drama Hyde, Jekyll, and I provided him 100 million won ($83,900 USD) per episode.
2. Jun Ji Hyun
After her hit drama My Love From the Star in 2014, Jun Ji Hyun has become one of the highest paid actors in Korea. She is best known for her role as "The Girl" in the romantic comedy My Sassy Girl (2001), one of the highest-grossing Korean comedies of all time. Other notable films include Il Mare (2000), Windstruck (2004), The Thieves (2012), The Berlin File (2013), and Assassination (2015).
She is reported to earn 100 million won ($83,900 USD) per episode.
1. Kim Soo Hyun
On top of the list is Kim Soo Hyun, who had a series of amazingly successful dramas including the 2014 hit My Love From Another Star, The Moon That Embraces the Sun, and Producer. His popularity today wouldn't make you think that he was a timid and introverted child during his middle school days and no one expected him to enter the entertainment industry. It's all thanks to his mother's encouragement to take acting classes before high school to change his introverted personality.
He is being payed 100 million won ($83,900 USD) per episode.
Did you enjoy the list? If yes, comment your insights below and support your favorite actor by participating at the poll.
© 2016 Mare-sensei
wookie fan on August 11, 2020:
ji chang-wook is the best!
Jaimee on August 08, 2020:
KIM SOO HYUN ❤️
no doubt should be the highest paid
Nayab on August 06, 2020:
Thats so bad and wrong ranking with Lee Young Ae's name. How that could be 0% in the graph? Means, seriously
Izaya on July 24, 2020:
I would really love to see Lee Ji-Eun but she probably gets paid more for her singing than acting lol
Chowdhury Mita on June 13, 2020:
I really love Lee Jung Suk and his acting, he is my eye candy
Nyc on June 13, 2020:
Moon Chae Won, classic and magnetic beauty. She has the most beautiful smile. Truly the Queen of melodrama.
Isata on June 09, 2020:
HUYN BIN IS MY ULTIMATE SUPER STAR
ani natung on June 02, 2020:
kim soo hyun is the best
Just Me on May 26, 2020:
Kim Soo Hyun and Jun Ji Hyun
kate on May 24, 2020:
More k-drama for kim soo hyun and
jun ji hyun plz.
Dhikiru on May 24, 2020:
Where is lee joon ki
Thushari on May 22, 2020:
I really love Kim soo hyun❤
drama addict on May 22, 2020:
Where is Lee Seung Gi? His so bloody talented and sexy. Every character he plays gets to me.
sheisnoelle on April 12, 2020:
Kim Soo Hyun❤️
Rohansi on April 10, 2020:
I really love Lea Jung Suk he is the best No 1 in south korea❤️
Farnesol on April 10, 2020:
Hi Chang Wook is the best
What about son ye Jun? on April 08, 2020:
Is son ye Jun not included in koreas most famus
Jonah on April 07, 2020:
why Kim you jung arent belong in the list....I like Kim you jung ji Chang wook ang ha ji woon
Gerrycam1 on March 24, 2020:
What about jang hyuk???
reigne on March 21, 2020:
i love ha ji won. To me, she is QUEEN
on February 29, 2020:
I love Park Bo Young!!! One of my favourite actresses
Susan Ng Yu on February 15, 2020:
I'm surprised Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook aren't on the list. These two and Song Joong Ki are my favorites. :-)
Jannatul Xinia on February 08, 2020:
What about Lee Joon Gi??
Question on February 04, 2020:
the top four makes approximately the same amount of money per episode but why did the journalist decided to give Kim Soo Hyun the top placement?
HOSTAGEDEVIL on January 10, 2020:
KIM WOO BIN...
queen on December 29, 2019:
Kim soon hyun is the best Korean actor
Jown on December 24, 2019:
Park min young
Mehjabin diya on December 13, 2019:
kim soo hyun is the best of all
Blessing on November 18, 2019:
park shin hye is the best
Elizabeth Schweng on November 11, 2019:
Has lee min ho visited the United state?
Egen Digal on November 09, 2019:
I love Ji Chang-wook ♥️♥️♥️
Sae Lee on October 27, 2019:
Wow what a gender gap...
Wong on October 18, 2019:
Park Bo Gum is the best!
kikim touthang on September 05, 2019:
leeminho is my favourite actor and he is the best
Amir on August 08, 2019:
I very very like jun ji hyun she is the best korean actres
mok on July 21, 2019:
where is lee seung gi?
Dwaipayan on July 16, 2019:
Lee Jong suk should be no
Mina on July 12, 2019:
I love Kim Soo Hyun cute actor
Fiza on July 04, 2019:
I love all of them
Mariah on July 03, 2019:
Where is Lee joon gi?
I on July 02, 2019:
I love u hyun bin
harman on July 02, 2019:
i love korean dramas because of only lee min hoo
Pooja Gehlot on June 29, 2019:
I love both ji Chang wook and Lee min Ho
Sanchae on June 24, 2019:
Lee Joon Gi is not on the list?
Xyz on June 23, 2019:
Park Bo young is the best!!
Amariya khanna on June 23, 2019:
Lee Jong Suk
Crystal❤️ on June 15, 2019:
Lee Jong Suk is my love
Debbie on June 12, 2019:
I really love this
cesar latagan on June 05, 2019:
ilove korean actor and actresses
Elizabeth on May 25, 2019:
I can’t believe that Song Seung Heon is not on the list smh
Bester on May 14, 2019:
I really like Ji Chang wook.
Che on May 12, 2019:
Cant believe Jang Nara is not on this list.
Rita AG on May 11, 2019:
None from the list is my bias. Kim Nam Gil you will be there someday. Head up boy.
Akash yadav on May 11, 2019:
Hey buddy well tough choice if only one because each has there own style and that's why I have asked to give at least three top to choose.ok but still I would like to express it both Kim Soo hyun and song joong ki for no. 1 & their actresses of descendents of sun and my love from another
Simran on April 27, 2019:
Ji chang wook
lily on April 27, 2019:
strangely, Ha Jeong Woo and Gong Yoo are not in the list.
Joanna D on April 25, 2019:
Ji Chang Wook is the best actor
Shufa on April 23, 2019:
Where is the girl from Queen seun deuk!!!???
Fasahat fatima on April 16, 2019:
Just lee min hoo, love his acting and his smile...love from pakistan
saista on April 05, 2019:
i love lee min ho . He is my favourite actor of the world
Patience blessed on March 07, 2019:
Lee min Ho is my favorite actor .so he should keep it up .I wish I meet you one day. am from Ghana.
Sim on March 05, 2019:
LOVE YOU LEE MIN HO is the best i would love to see a part 2 of boys over flowers. The legend of the blue Sea just breath taking . He is so passionate and caring in his movies. Every aspect of his acting is great. He is also very , extremely handsome . He is like the Korean version of Brad Pitt. U Rock!!!!!!
cristina on March 05, 2019:
Yoon Shi Yoon??? I expected him to be on the list.
Shabee! on February 23, 2019:
Well...i wasn't knwing anything abt korean dramass aftr watching The Epic Drama ..."Descendants Of The Sun" i wss lyk woah tis is awesome...nd started to watch korean dramasss
PietChan on February 15, 2019:
But why isn't yoon si yoon listed in ? :'(
Zinu on January 30, 2019:
Hyun Bin is the best
Lina mancilla on January 26, 2019:
Moon Chae won is the best for me.
stacey on January 22, 2019:
my favourite actor is song joong ki, i love his drama- She was pretty.
jsd on January 21, 2019:
i love moon chae-won
Eun sangle on January 18, 2019:
Lee min hoo and park shin hye is my favourite actor and actress in korean drama
Smith ezekiel on January 16, 2019:
Lee min ho 4ever can't love him less
KAMUGASHA INNOCENT on January 08, 2019:
I like jumong " song 11 good really
Roshaan mehar on December 29, 2018:
Ha just won is most beautiful and talented actress
I also like other actors and actresses
anna nhkum on December 11, 2018:
Song Hye Kyo is the best of Korean actress for me.. she is such beautiful and amazing talented.. I love so much her..
diana taborada on November 26, 2018:
i think lee min ho is my favorate K-drama actor in korean
Lily on October 31, 2018:
I just worked out that most of the actors and actresses would have earned over a 1 million dollars just for one drama. That is crazy!!!!!!
Jenny_F. on October 22, 2018:
Park Shin Hye and Lee Min Ho (MinShin)
mistyy on October 07, 2018:
It is the most difficult choice for me
Lee min ho and Kim so hyun on October 05, 2018:
I love both u ..... salangea oppas love you
Eni Tan on September 26, 2018:
what of kim hyung joong♥?
that plays the role baek sung jo in playfull kiss
rosy on September 24, 2018:
Park shin hye is so pretty
Kae on September 19, 2018:
Where is Seung gi???
Erioluwa on September 13, 2018:
Don know, 'just luv Lee min- ho. I sometimes wish eat he should come to Ibadan. My house at barika
Scarlet on September 09, 2018:
Joo Won - the most versatille, the most handsome, the best smile!
Nam Chong Kie on September 08, 2018:
how about Gong Yoo?
Ramox nadal on September 07, 2018:
Lee min hoo is the best in history
Aegis on September 04, 2018:
Lee joon gi is my favourite korean actor.I dont know why he is not in this list.
Nnamaka precious on August 16, 2018:
yea kim soo huyn is so cute and deserves his award
Mary on August 01, 2018:
Why isn’t in your list my prince jang geun suk?
moshen ser on July 21, 2018:
I live Jung hyuk the most
clara on July 15, 2018:
Lee min ho is the best Korean actor I have ever seen his cute and he is a genus
shenya on June 06, 2018:
I ❤ Jang keun suk
Jennypie16 on June 03, 2018:
Hey, how about joo won? For me he is the most talented among the rest of the boys mentioned above, coz aside from acting,he can sing very well. He can act bad boy, good boy, naive innocent, and every thing. He is a brilliant actor! No one can portray a bridal mask other than him and a GOOD DOCTOR TOO! right?
tracy alex on May 30, 2018:
i like lee hyun woo wheres he
Abdullah CH on May 23, 2018:
Jun ji hyun and Kim ao hyun .
Love from Pakistan
Faiha on May 22, 2018:
Lee min ho oppa... u are the best... i can feel it the sad, happy n funny... saranghae oppa
Maricel Suan on May 18, 2018:
Yoon Eun Hye is my most favorite actress in south korea
tina on May 16, 2018:
My favorite actor kim soo hyun and actress jun jie hyun
Oh ha ni on May 11, 2018:
Hyun Bin Hot
Francis on May 01, 2018:
What about Park Hae Jin?