Who are the highest paid K-drama actors? How much is their total earnings and net worth? Find it all right here.
The Korean entertainment industry is going through one of its best years. From K-Pop to
K-drama, everything is getting unmatched attention worldwide.
One of the primary explanations for this booming industry is the streaming giants like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Apple TV as well. Everyone knows that Korean dramas are now seeping deep into the global platform, and not only that, they have become addicting for millions of regular viewers.
With almost every series becoming a hit, the actors have earned millions. But there is still a huge population believing that Korean film stars make the most money. It turns out it’s all a misconception.
Related: Highest Paid Korean Drama Actresses
Some of the highest-paid actors are actually from Korean dramas. Since the increase in the crowd for Korean dramas, some of these male artists have become the most recognizable faces of the K-drama industry.
But do you really know how much these actors earn for a whole drama series or even their per-episode earnings?
If not, then you are all in for a treat because I understood the assignment! And that’s why, in today’s edit, I have brought for you the list of the actors earning the most in the K-drama industry.
Highest Paid K-Drama Actors 2022
Kim Soo Hyun
Per Episode- 500 Million Won (around 572,000 USD)
Total Salary- 4 Billion Won (3.4 Million USD)
I don’t think it would come to anyone as a surprise if I mentioned Kim Soo Hyun, who is also positively claimed as the ‘King of the Commercials.’ This 33-year-old actor is one of the biggest names in the industry.
He was paid such a whopping amount for One Ordinary Day, which is the Korean adaptation of Criminal Justice, a BBC-lauded series. Also, in November of 2021, another series of his titles, That Night, was aired, which is a murder mystery drama.
Kim Soo Hyun made his debut in Korean dramas in 2007 with Kimchi Cheese Smile. Afterwards, he went on to acclaim critical success and gained commercials. He has done some exceptionally good TV series like My Love from the Stars, Dream High, and Moon Embracing the Sun.
Adding to this, he has also worked in quite a few films like Secretly, Greatly, and The Thieves.
So, it is because of his electrifying performances and worldwide demand that he is able to ask for 500 million Won for one episode
Which converted in US currency would sum up to around $425,000. Amazing, right?
Also, as the total number of episodes of the series One Ordinary Day is 8, Kim has earned around 4 billion Won alone from this one series, which in the US currency would be around 3.4 million dollars. That’s why he is currently the top earner in Kdramas.
Song Joong Ki
Per Episode- 200 Million Won (205,000 USD)
Total Salary- 4 Billion Won (3.4 Million USD)
Song Joong Ki is known and loved globally after his super hit series The Descendants of the Sun. This 36year old gained popularity during a Korean variety show, Running Man.
Talking of the current years and success, he has gained wide acclaim via his 2021 hit show that streamed globally on Netflix, Vincenzo.
Some of his other famous dramas are Arthdal Chronicles, A Werewolf Boy, The Battleship Island, and Sungkyunkwan Scandal.
Adding to that, he has managed to win the hearts of people from all age groups with his slick performances and clean off-screen images.
For his drama series before Vincenzo, his average rate of payment was between 150 to 180 million Won, but Since Vincenzo, it has increased to 200 million Won.
Even for Song Joong Ki‘s brand new series, the Space Sweepers, he is paid 200 million Won, which in US currency will be up to 170,000 dollars.
Adding further as the series is 20 episodes long, he will be making 4 Billion Won, which in US currency would be equivalent to 3.4 million dollars.
The Space Sweepers is a sci-fi drama based in the futuristic year 2092, where Song Joong collects space junk and sells them for making his living.
Per Episode- 113,000 (84,000 USD)
Total Salary- 1.8 Billion Won (1.5 Million USD)
Among the highest-paid Korean drama actors is Hyun Bin, who is also considered as one of the best actors in his generation. One of the biggest pieces of evidence that prove this is Crash Landing on You, which is the highest-rated drama on cable television in Korea.
Before hitting fame, Hyun had done several small roles in numerous drama series afterwards which in 2005, he landed on a shoe of his own. His first ever drama series as a protagonist was My Lovely Sam-Soon.
Apart from that, some of his critically successful series include Memories of the Alhambra and Secret Garden.
Adding to this, Hyun has also played his part in Korean films as well, like Confidential Assignment, Late Autumn, and A Millionaire’s First Love. Hyun Bin currently has made it clear that he will be acting in an action flick Harbin, a movie by Woo Min Ho.
He currently earns around 113,000 Won, which in US currency is around 84,000 dollars. So, with an average of 16 episodes, he has likely made around 1.8 billion Won, which in the US currency would be around 1.5 million dollars.
His salary has had a huge increment from 27,000 Won for The Secret Garden to 113,000 Won in Memories of the Alhambra. I’d say well-deserved!
So Ji Sub
Per Episode- 110,000 Won (90,000 USD)
Total Salary- 1.7 Billion Won (1.4 Million USD)
Debuting his career in the early 90s, So Ji Sub is one of what I call the hardest working actor in Korean dramas. The reason is simply that he has been in K-dramas for over two decades and has given us numerous super-hit series.
From Master’s Sun, Something Happened in Bali to I am Sorry, I Love You, his works in all these are admirable. Adding to that, he recently won an MBC Drama Award for his excellent work in the film My Secret Service.
Adding further, he first gained attention in 2002 for his series Glass Slippers, in which he was just a supporting character and not the protagonist. Then two years later, Something Happened in Bali gained him the fame that is increasing ever since.
Apart from series, he has also worked in some of the critically successful films such as The Battleship Island and Always.
Moving further, currently, the reports and sources state that this 43-year old actor has been charging around 110 million Won for one episode, which in US currency is about 90,000 dollars per episode.
His new drama series Dr. Lawyer is going to air from this March, which will have on an average 6 episodes, making the total earnings of So Ji Sub from the drama around 1.7 billion Won, which in US currency would sum up to 1.4 million dollars.
Lee Jung Jae
Per Episode- 300 Million Won (334,000 USD)
Total Salary- 2.7 Billion Won (3.1 Million USD)
Moving on to our Netflix super hit Squid Game’s star Lee Jung Jae, who has gained worldwide fame through the incredibly thrilling series.
Lee Jung was first noticed in Korean dramas in the mid-1990s, with two of his best series, Sandglass and Feelings, and after that, he has never seen back from there.
But he gained widespread attention after his excellent work in the City of the Rising Sun. Adding further, he has also won numerous Best Actor Awards in her career.
This 48-year old actor, who already was famous in his country, earned 300 million Won per episode from Suid Games and hence surpassed the second highest paid actor in Korea, Song Joong Ki.
The amount, when converted in US currency, would sum up to around 334,000 dollars, and as the drama series has a total of 9 episodes, he has taken a total of 2.7 billion Won home, which means around 3.1 million dollars in the US currency.
The amount that Lee Jung has earned might double, or he can also increase his salary as Suid Game’s next season is already on the way for us.
Wrapping up on the highest paid K-drama actors
Con up on the top earners and highest paid actors in the Korean dramas, all I have to say is that these men are doing an excellent job in entertaining us with their exceptional performances.
And hey! These men are handsome too. So that makes the dramas a hundred times more addicting, not to mention their top-notch performances.
I think the special thanks go to the giant streamers like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Viu for making these K-dramas accessible in new markets, adding to the earnings of these actors.
So, that’s all on the highest paid actors in Korean dramas. Keep on watching and admiring your favorite actors because they really put their heart into their performances so that we could enjoy every minute of their series.