Kim is well known for his role as Yoon Ji-hoo in the 2009 Korean drama Boys Over Flowers, and as Baek Seung-jo in Playful Kiss, for which he received the Popularity Awards at the 45th Baeksang Arts Awards for the former and at the Seoul International Drama Awards 2009 for the latter.
With the expiration of the contract, Kim left DSP Media, who managed him as part of SS501 and joined KeyEast in 2010. He debuted as a solo artist with his Korean mini albums Break Down and Lucky in 2011. He is a member of the charity football team FC MEN as well as a style icon in Korea, having won several icon awards. He is also dubbed one of South Korea's Hallyu stars, representative of South Korea's top entertainers.
He enlisted in the army for South Korea's mandatory military service on May 12, 2015 as a border patrol. He will be officially discharged on February 11, 2017.
Early life and education
As a young kid, Kim Hyun Joong excelled in his studies. He won countless math and art competitions and often ranked 1st or 2nd in his school, that his parents did not think he would become an artist. During his school days, Kim was introduced to music and played bass guitar in a band. He dropped out of school when he decided to become a singer. After SS501's debut, nevertheless, Kim returned to school and graduated in 2006.
In 2011 Kim enrolled in Chungwoon University to study stage production management. He, then, enrolled into Kongju Communication Arts (KCAU) to study applied music in February 2012.
Initially he was to debut in a five-member group, of which Han Yeon of B2Y (now disbanded) was to be the leader and Kim the youngest member. During 2001 and 2002, while working as a waiter in a family restaurant located at Jamsil-dong, Kim was introduced to a CEO of a new set up management company. While the group underwent training together, they were asked by their company to debut in China as a Hallyu project group, but they rejected the offer and disbanded. Kim proceeded to audition for DSP Media (formerly DSP Entertainment) and became a member and the leader of SS501.
2005-08: Debut with SS501 and We Got Married
Kim Hyun Joong made his entertainment debut as the leader of SS501 on June 8, 2005, along with their debut album entitled Warning. Their second mini album, Snow Prince was released in late 2005, five months after their debut. During this time, they also established their official fan club name, "Triple S", and its color, pearl green.
The group earned popularity right away as they won many rookie awards after debut. In fact, SS501 has had their first variety show, SS501 M!Pick by MNET, documenting their pre-debut days and three months after their debut. At the same time, SS501 also appeared on the 2006 show Thank You For Waking Me Up, which proved Kim to be a heavy sleeper.
SS501 soon promoted their first studio album S.T 01 Now. In late 2007, they expanded their activities in the Japanese market to challenge themselves outside Korea with the release of their Japanese single Kokoro, along with the establishment of "Triple S Japan". After the single debuted at #5, they had 2 more successful releases in Japan entitled Distance and SS501 Within one year in Japan, they received the Newcomer Award by Japan Gold Disc Award in January 2008; this was the first time for Korean artists to receive this award.
In May 2008, Kim joined the cast of We Got Married along with Hwangbo in episode 9. Known as the 'Lettuce Couple', they won MBC's Best Couple Award. The couple made their official exit from the show in episode 38 on December 14, 2008 due to scheduling conflicts with Boys Over Flowers.
2009-10: Boys Over Flowers, leaving DSP Media, and Playful Kiss
While working in Japan in 2008, Kim was cast for his first lead-acting role as Yoon Ji-hoo in the Korean drama Boys Over Flowers, a role for which he won the 'Best Actor Award' at the Seoul International Drama Awards 2009 and the 'Popularity Award' at the 45th Baeksang Arts Awards. Because of his drama workload, Kim, along with his bandmate Park Jung-min who starred in a musical at the time, were absent for SS501's U R Man album. The three remaining SS501 members promoted by themselves at that time, with the exception of some special performances that included all five band members.
In 2009-2010, SS501 released All My Love, Solo Collection, Rebirth, and Destination consecutively before their contracts ended. In September 2009, Kim was diagnosed with H1N1 during promotional activities in Yokohama, Japan for Boys Over Flowers. He was treated in a Tokyo hospital and was discharged on September 15, 2009. While recovering from H1N1, he could not attend the Seoul International Drama Awards; so his SS501 band mates, Heo Young-saeng, Kim Kyu-jong and Kim Hyung-jun accepted the award on his behalf.
Kim became a spokesperson for cosmetics brand Tony Moly, an established company with numerous branches all across Asia, including Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. He ended his contract with Tony Moly at the end of September 2010 and continued to be the spokesperson for another cosmetics brand, The Face Shop.
On June 19, 2010, Kim appeared at a concert in the Philippines alongside BEAST for the “K-Pop Meets P-Pop: Kim Hyun Joong and Beast Live in Manila” at the Araneta Coliseum. Nine days later, the news that Kim had officially left DSP Media and joined Bae Yong-joon's KeyEast Entertainment company was announced. He was also invited to perform "Sunshine Again" with four other singers from Chinese-speaking countries at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou as the representative of South Korea.
Kim played the leading role of Baek Seung-jo in the drama Playful Kiss, a Korean adaptation of the Japanese shōjo manga Itazura na Kiss. Baek Seung-jo is an all around perfect genius with an IQ of 200, who ends up falling in love with Oh Ha-ni, played by Jung So-min. Because of the drama's success in Korea, Playful Kiss was broadcast in China and on November 7 and Kim was interviewed by CNN's Anna Coren. On October 11, Playful Kiss opened its official YouTube Channel account for the series' Special Edition promotional video, attracting many viewers.
2011-12: Solo debut and City Conquest
In May, Kim named his official solo fanclub Henecia, a combination of "H" (as in Hyun-joong) and "benecia" (or "blessed" in Latin). He released his solo debut mini album Break Down on June 7, produced by Steven Lee. The album exceeded 70,000 pre-ordered copies in just 10 days. It peaked at number one on Gaon Weekly Album Chart for the week starting June 5, and was the best-selling album for June on Gaon Monthly Album Chart with 100,433 copies sold. It also topped the Japanese Oricon chart in the International Imported Album category for the first week of July. His single "Break Down" was the first-place winner for two consecutive weeks on M! Countdown and once on Music Bank. Break Down is certified platinum in Taiwan, due to which Warner Music Taiwan CEO Chen Ze Shan handed Kim a platinum record in a press conference held in Taiwan. As far as Kim's popularity in Taiwan is concerned, he was the first Korean to appear on Taiwanese TV show The Person.
In July 2011, Kim kicked off his nationwide concerts in Japan and continued in seven cities across Japan by November. Three months after, Kim released his second mini album Lucky on October 11. It debuted at number 5 on Billboard's World Chart and topped the Gaon Chart once again for the third week of October 2011. It was also the highest selling album on the Hanteo Album Sales Chart for the month of October. In the same month, Kim released a digital single for "The Magic of Yellow Ribbon" together with Seohyun, a theme song for The Face Shop commercial.
In November 2011, Kim won the 2011 KIA Soul People's Choice Style Icon Award for the third consecutive year. Later on, Kim signed a deal with Universal Music Japan for his Japan-based music activities. He successfully completed his Japan Tour that had started on November 9, attracting over 30,000 fans. By the end of the year, Kim won the award for Best Male Solo Artist at the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards held in Singapore. He, then, released another digital single "Marry You / Marry Me" on December 15. Music videos for both songs were released on his official YouTube channel the same day.
On January 25, 2012, Kim moved to Japan and released his first Japanese single "Kiss Kiss / Lucky Guy", which consists of Japanese versions of his singles from his two Korean mini albums and one original Japanese song. Two versions of his singles reached the highest singles recorded in a day for any overseas artist in Japan. Two weeks after its release, the single reached its Gold status in Japan for selling 121,547 copies. In the same way, his First Impact concert DVD sold 16,000 copies in its first week of release starting on May 23, taking the number one spot for the Overall DVD Chart. This was the first time a Korean artist had taken the number one spot, and a second time a foreign artist to take the number one spot on the charts. Later on, Kim held his Kim Hyun Joong Fan Meeting Tour 2012 for his album promotions, making stops in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Thailand.
The singer, who had mostly focused on promoting his albums after his second drama Playful Kiss had come to an end in 2010, was cast for the upcoming drama City Conquest, an adaptation from the original comic by author Shin Hyung Bin. Kim Hyun-joong will portray the main character of Baek Mir, a wild and strong man who experienced many hardships and difficulties throughout his life. Baek Mir will end up taking revenge against the evils of society which had destroyed his family.
Only a few days before filming for City Conquest began in Japan, Kim released his second Japanese single Heat on July 4, with lead tracks "Heat" and "Let's Party". The single took over Japan Oricon's Daily and Weekly Charts, with 140,000 copies sold in its first day and totaling up to 183,000 copies by the end of the week. The album moved to the third spot on Oricon Singles Monthly Chart for the month of July by selling 196,850 copies, which earned him his second consecutive Gold certificate.
Two months after he won the Best Asian Artist Award at the 2012 Asia Song Festival, Kim announced during his promotional event for City Conquest and his Japanese fanclub Henecia Japan's first anniversary celebration his upcoming first full-length album release in Japan. Universal Music Japan also released its further information via Kim Hyun-joong's Japanese website the day after. Unlimited was finally released on December 12, which consists of 14 tracks including the Japanese versions of "Break Down" and "Lucky Guy". It topped the Oricon Daily and Weekly Charts, as well as the Tower Records' Weekly Album Charts for Shibuya branch.
Kim Hyun Joong participated in being a model for Madame Tussauds' display in November 2012. The museum created an accurate life-size wax model of him to be displayed at Madame Tussauds' studio in Busan on December 21. The figure was said to have cost 200 million KRW (approximately US$186,000) and was built after 500 measurements were taken.
2013: Japan Tour and Korean comeback
In January, Kim Hyun-joong kicked off his Japan Tour 2013 "Unlimited" on the 6th at Kobe World Memorial Hall, performing his hit songs with a live band. Along with other K-Pop artists, he also performed in Brazil for the 2K13 FEEL KOREA event, marking his first time to perform in South America. They also visited a children center in São Paulo the next day to get closer to the people and spend time with them. The next day, he headed to Peru for a fan meeting. Meanwhile, his Unlimited album released in 2012 had been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) after selling more than 100,000 units to retailers.
In February, it was rumored that City Conquest had been rejected by KBS for the reason that it 'lacked in quality'. The producers of the drama argued that KBS decided not to air it without any words of apology or explanation to the producers and fans even after following KBS's requirements and requests. Instead, the team accused KBS of having political reasons for pulling out the drama, which KBS denied. After some time, it was announced that Kim Hyun-joong will be withdrawing from the drama and is planning to start in another drama later this year instead.
On March 2, Kim Hyun Joong performed at the U-Express Live 2013 at the Makuhari Messe in Japan together with the other artists such as Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Far East Movement, Naoto Inti Raymi and Kara. The concert is one in which only the most popular singers that represent the six labels under Universal Music can perform. In the same month, Kim received the Creator's Factory Best Actor Award for the music video "Lucky Guy" at the 5th Okinawa Music Festival on March 26 at the Okinawa Convention Center Theater 2.
Kim Hyun-joong made his comeback in a Korean variety show after a long while. He was cast on SBS variety show Barefooted Friends with Kang Ho Dong, which first aired on April 21. Despite having a show, Kim released his third Japanese single "Tonight" on June 5. Once again, his single topped the Oricon Daily charts with 101,818 copies sold, and taking the number two spot by the end of the week. The album received Gold certificate for selling more than one million copies on June.
During his birthday on June 6, Kim released "What It Means To Be Alive" digital single as a present to his fans. Two days later, Kim held his 2013 KHJ Show - Party People fanmeeting in Seoul on June 8 to meet the 5,000 attendees after one year in Japan. Other than singing his newly released single live for the first time, Kim also celebrated his birthday and his debut with SS501 eight years ago. On the other hand, the other members of SS501 celebrated their eight anniversary together with a video greeting message posted on their YouTube accounts individually at the same day. Although Kim could not join them in the video due to his shooting on Barefooted Friends, Kim Hyun Joong stated during his concert:
|“||...It's my birthday party...and my eight anniversary as well...For me, as I always say, I feel happiest when I'm on stage where my fans can see me. I'll never forget this day I enjoyed with you. I'll return as a more mature person, so you can look forward to it...For the ending of the show, I think this song best fit. I will sing "Let Me Be The One"||”|
Two days after the event, KeyEast stated that he will be releasing his third mini album "Round 3" on July 22. Jay Park and Dok2 participated in the lyric-making and performing in tracks "Unbreakable" and "Your Story" respectively. In addition, while Lyle Beniga and Keone Madrid choreographed the former and the latter tracks respectively, Steven Lee participated in the album once again.
On October 20 and 21, Kim held his Kim Hyun Joong Premium Live - Tonight exclusive concerts at the Makuhari International Exhibition Hall, Japan with 20,000 fans and with a special appearance by Bae Yong Jun. By the end of the month, Kim exited Barefooted Friends due to his new KBS drama Inspiring Generation, which started filming in November in China. The action drama, depicting the story of love and friendship of fighters from Korea, Japan and China, received much attention from the Asia market (including the Ray & Mo production company, America, and Thailand) prior to its airing.
2014: Inspiring Generation
Inspiring Generation premiered on January 15 with a 7.8% viewer rating. Throughout the dramas successful run Kim received acclaim for his improved acting skills in a more mature role. According to "Star Today" interview to Kim, he is planning to enlist in the army next year (2015).
Kim is a practicing Roman Catholic.
In February 2015, Kim's girlfriend was reported to be pregnant with his child. Kim stated that he would take full responsibility if his girlfriend was found pregnant. His agency later reported that his girlfriend could not be contacted even before the issue came out, thus, they could not confirm if the pregnancy was true. On May 3, it was reported that Kim's girlfriend had filed a mass Psychological injury lawsuit against more than 100 netizens for posting malicious comments about them during their scandal. On the same day, it was reported that Kim was being sued by his former girlfriend as well, for a sum of $1.48 million for the mental damages from her relations with Kim. On the following day, it was reported that he was going to be enlisted on May 12. Kim's lawyer said the case will not influence his attendance in the military as the civil suit can go on without the concerned party, with a substitute. When the DNA testing confirms him as the father, he would take responsibility. His lawyer also stated that they would not settle with Kim's ex-girlfriend this time. On June 3, 2015, at pre-trial proceedings, Kim's ex-girlfriend did not provide any medical evidence to prove her pregnancy. Kim Hyun Joong and his ex-girlfriend Ms Choi were still debating on the fatherhood of the new born baby and had yet to reveal any details about the DNA test as of 30 October 2015.
On August 21, 2014 reports surfaced that a young woman claiming to be Kim's girlfriend had filed domestic violence charges against him claiming he assaulted her, causing a fractured rib. He was then investigated by the police, but the investigation eventually stopped after his girlfriend dropped her charges against him without any financial settlement out of love. Kim Hyun Joong's lawyer later in 2015 revealed that Kim's ex-girlfriend demanded a settlement of 600 Million Korean Won from Kim in order for her to drop the charges, which Kim paid. He was later fined 5 million won by the Seoul Prosecutor's office after Kim claimed that they had a mutual physical fight once, but three of the four charges were dropped as they were unable to be directly linked to Kim. Kim Hyun Joong's lawyer later re-opened the assault case and requested evidence from hospitals; it was revealed that the injury Kim's ex-girlfriend (Choi) claimed and showed medical certificates for was actually caused by working out in gym. However, the ex-girlfriend claimed that she said this to not reveal information about the actor. On a TV celebrity news show in 2015, Kim’s father, Kim Hong-seong, said, “We hope a court will decide whether my son or his ex-girlfriend will provide a better environment for the child.”
In 2015, a lawyer for Kim’s ex-girlfriend, identified by her surname Choi, said that it was confirmed at Seoul National University College of Medicine that Kim was the father of the child with 99.9 percent accuracy. Kim has officially counter-sued Choi for defamation. Kim enlisted for the mandatory military service after the incident.Kim hyun Jong was found not guilty of the charges filed by his girl friend by court and ordered his girl friend to pay 100million won as compensation for causing him mental stress and false claims that she was pregnant
In 2011, Kim donated US$50,000 to the 'Korean Red Cross Association' before his Japanese tour in November. He added $50,000 more to an association that heats homes later on, and another $50,000 for the third time to feed the children in Fukushima following the aftermath of the earthquake, totaling up to $150,000 secret donation.
In 2012, Kim donated 50 million KRW (about US$46,000) on December 3 to The Red Cross once again. He also donated 20 million KRW (about $17,300) to be used for the 'Kim Hyun Joong Scholarship' and another 30 million KRW (about $25,950) to the 'Summer Campaign for Senior Citizens Living Alone', totaling up to 50 million KRW (about $43,250), as he was touched when his fans donated 10 million KRW (about $8,860) to the said campaign.
He was part of the 'Save The Earth reform class' environmental campaign by the Hang Ten (brand) on June 13, 2012. In 2013, Kim donated 100 million KRW (about US$86,500) to 'One Foundation' for the victims of the earthquake in Ya'an, China.
|2006||Shark Bait / Pi's Story||파이 스토리||Voice (Korea Version)|
|2005||Nonstop 5||논스톱 5||Guest Ep.208||MBC||Sitcom|
|Can Love Be Refilled?||사랑도 리필이 되나요||William||KBS2||Sitcom|
|2007||Hotelier||ホテリアー||Cameo Ep.7 (with SS501)||TV Asahi||Drama|
|2008||Spotlight||스포트라이트||Cameo (with SS501)||MBC||Drama|
|2009||Boys Over Flowers||꽃보다 남자||Yoon Ji-hoo||KBS2||Drama|
|2010||Playful Kiss||장난스런 키스||Baek Seung-jo||MBC||Drama|
|2011||Dream High||드림하이||Cameo Ep.1||KBS2||Drama|
|2013||City Conquest 1||도시정벌||Baek Miru||KBS||Drama|
|2014||Inspiring Generation||감격시대||Shin Jung-tae||KBS2||Drama|
1The series was cancelled, but a special episode was aired nevertheless.
|2005-7||X-Man / New X-Man||X맨 / New X맨||SBS|
|2006/2011||Golden Fishery||황금어장||Ep. dated 2006-12-06 / 2011-06-08||MBC|
|2008||We Got Married||우리 결혼했어요||Ep.9-38 of season 1 (with Hwangbo)||MBC|
|2009||Haptic Mission||7 Eps. (with F4 and Son Dam Bi)||Samsung Anycall promotion|
|Family Outing||패밀리가 떴다||Ep.64-65||SBS|
|2009-11||Happy Together 3||해피투게더||KBS|
|Strong Heart||강심장||Ep 10-11, Ep.81-83, Ep 101-102.||SBS|
|Night After Night||밤이면 밤마다||Ep 31||SBS|
|2012||Happy Camp||快乐大本营||November 17 guesting||HBS|
|K-Pop Star conquering the World||documentary||MBC|
|2013||Barefooted Friends||맨발의 친구들||Permanent Cast ep 1-29||SBS|
|Happy Together 3||해피투게더||Guest (Handsome Guy Special)||KBS|
|Cool Kiz On The Block||우리동네 예능과 체육의 능력자||Ep.21-22||KBS2|
The following is an incomplete list of Kim Hyun-joong's past and present endorsements:
- Samsung Anycall Blue
- Mighty Mac
- Elite Uniform
- Lotte Milkshake
- Samsung Anycall Haptic Pop
- T.I For Men
- Le Coq Sportif
- Samsung Anycall Jet
- Dinamic Kin (Coca Cola)
- Hotsun Chicken
- Samsung Card
- Basic House
- I'm David
- Tony Moly
- The Face Shop
- Hang Ten
- Coupang Spring Campaign
- Lotte Duty Free
- Aeon Heatfact (Japan)
- Aeon Coolish Fact (Japan)
- Seoul Ambassador to Tourism
- Slim Beauty House (Japan)
- March 2012 Honorary Ambassador of the United Nations Millennium Development
Kim's role as Yoon Ji-hoo in the 2009 Korean drama Boys Over Flowers paved way for his popularity; thus he received several popularity awards and being one of the style icons in Korea. Kim also received several awards for his album releases including a Daesang award from the Tower Records' K-Pop Lovers! Awards, multiple and consecutive awards from Yahoo! Buzz and Best Male Solo Artist during the 13th Mnet Asia Music Awards.