Curious to know who are the favorite actors of overseas fans? The 2023 annual survey report on the Korean Wave was released on March 10th and it gives us all the details on Hallyu and Hallyu stars in 2022.
The Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE, an institution designated by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) works on this report every year for the past years. In 2023, they broadened their spectrum by including more countries in their data. They interviewed 25,000 people between 15 and 59 years old from 26 countries from November 11th to December 7th 2022. Here are the countries included: the US, Brazil, Argentina, the United Kingdom (UK), France, Turkey, Russia, China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Australia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mexico, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Kazakhstan.
In one part of the survey, the 25,000 respondents were asked to answer: “who is currently your favorite Korean actor?”. They chose their favorite Korean actor by writing it down (not selecting it). Let’s find out their answers below.
Top 5 Favorite Korean actors of overseas fans
1. Lee Minho – 9.1%
Lee MinHo thrones the ranking. There is no surprise here as the Top Hallyu Star as been ranking 1st in this survey since 2018. He also has 9.1% of the overall answers, which is an impressive number (and a gap with number 2)! It proves -one more time- that he is the most loved Korean actor overseas.
With his filmography full of old and new hit dramas (such as “Boys Over Flowers”, “City Hunter”, “The Heirs”, “The Legend of the Blue Sea”, “The King: Eternal Monarch”), he continues to be constantly at the top. In 2022, he acted in the drama “Pachinko” and gained a lot of positive comments from the foreign press.
The actor is good at communicating with MINOZ (fandom) across the globe with his various social media accounts. His Instagram is one of the most followed, reaching 32.2m followers (data of March 13th, 2023), and his Facebook has 28m followers (data of the same day). These numbers are on a constant rise. His popularity is not to be proven anymore, and this for years now.
2. Gong Yoo – 2.7%
Gong Yoo is a top star for years as well. All the K-Dramas fans must have watched “Coffee Prince” or/and “Goblin”. He also made a cameo in the popular Netflix drama “Squid Game” and was the lead actor in the 2021 Netflix original space drama “The Silent Sea”. Even with few dramas, he stays one of the favorite Korean actors overseas. This is the power of a Hallyu star!
3. Hyun Bin – 2.4%
No surprise to see Hyun Bin here as the Korean actor also stole the heart of old and new K-Drama fans with the hit dramas: “Secret Garden”, “Memories of the Alhambra”, and “Crash Landing On You”. He is also popular with movies such as “The Fatal Encounter”, “The Negotiation”, “Rampant”, and more. Hyun Bin is one of the actors deep down in fans’ hearts.
4. Song HyeKyo – 2.0%
The only actress on this top 5 list, and there is no wonder why. Song HyeKyo has been a famous Hallyu star for years, acting in the hit dramas: “Autumn in My Heart”, “Full House”, “Descendants of the Sun”, “Encounter” and more! The survey was done before the release of her new hit drama “The Glory” so we can expect her to be even more popular in next year’s survey!
5. Lee JongSuk – 1.5%
Lee JongSuk is for sure one of the favorite actors of K-Dramas watchers. Like the other four on this list, he has a lot of hit dramas in his filmography, including: “School 2013”, “I Can Hear Your Voice”, “Doctor Stranger”, “Pinocchio”, “W”, “While You Were Sleeping”, “Romance is a Bonus Book”, and more. After his discharge, he made his long-awaited big return with movies and the K-Drama “Big Mouth” in 2022, showing his unchanged good acting.
Top 5 Favorite Korean actors by countries
If you want to access the original data, you can do so from page 94 of this pdf.
Note: In blue, you can find the mentions of Lee MinHo. In green, you can see more recently popular actors (aside from “Squid Game” actors): Kim SeonHo, Han SoHee, Song Kang, and ASTRO’s Cha EunWoo.
Lee MinHo is number 1 in 22 countries (out of 26). In some countries, he received impressive love, with more than 20% of the answers in Indonesia and India and more than 10% in South Africa, Malaysia, Vietnam, Turkey, UAE, and Egypt. No wonder he is number 1 on the general top 5.
Actors that were not in the top 5 but mentioned were: Suzy (12), Ji ChangWook (6), IU (5), Jun JiHyun (3), Song Kang (3), Song JoongKi (3), Son Ye Jin (3), Park ShinHye (2), Park SeoJun (2), Kim SooHyun (2), Ma DongSeok (2), Rain (2), Park Min Young (1), Park Bo Gum (1), Jang Keun Suk (1), Lee DongWook (1), Lee ByungHun (1), Kim HeeSun (1), Song JiHyo (1), Kim SeonHo (1), Han SoHee (1), and ASTRO’s Cha EunWoo (1).
“Squid Game” actors Jung HoYeon (4), Lee JungJae (11), and Gong Yoo (as a cameo) were also across the survey. Bae Yong Joon (1) was mentioned only in Japan; the “Yon-Sama” syndrome is still strong. Choi Ji Woo (1) was also mentioned in the Japanese top reuniting the “Winter Sonata” couple.
While the survey answers are mostly well-known Hallyu stars that have been known for years or “Squid Game” actors, some new names appear! Rising actors and strong contestants to be the top number 1 Hallyu actors: Song Kang, ASTRO’s Cha EunWoo, Kim SeonHo, and Han SoHee. Their mention shows that they are receiving growing interest. We can only look forward to their next steps and future popularity.
It is interesting to see the trends and the actors that keep receiving love for years from overseas fans. Is your favorite actor mentioned here? You can also share your opinions by commenting on your country and favorite actor.
If you want to read more about the data released on that survey, such as the favorite dramas, idols, and movies. Check the articles below:
*Publication coming soon, please look forward to it.