We have a new fresh-faced K-drama actor on our radar! Kang Hoon is an up-and-coming star who has surprisingly been acting for more than a decade, having landed roles in a series of short films since 2009 before transitioning to dramas in 2018. The 31-year-old actor's popularity soared when he appeared in The Red Sleeve, the highest-rated historical drama of 2021. Currently, he is starring in the family drama Little Women. Here are eight of Kang Hoon’s must-watch K-dramas:
1. Let Me Introduce Her (2018)
Who else is in it: Nam Sang Mi, Kim Jae Won, Jo Hyun Jae
Ji Eun Han (Nam Sang Mi) has been missing for two months. On the run from the hired people who want her dead, Eun Han gets desperate and undergoes plastic surgery to hide her identity with the help of plastic surgeon Han Kang Woo (Kim Jae Won). She wakes up from the surgery with no recollection of her past until a phone call from a hiring company informs her that she signed up (pre-surgery) for the housekeeper's position at the home of famous news anchor Kang Chan Ki (Jo Hyun Jae) and his mother, a cosmetics company CEO named Min Ja Young (Lee Mi Sook). Convinced this is the key to her past, Eun Han, now going by Shin Hyun Seo, accepts the job. Meanwhile, worried about his sister, Ji Soo Han (Kang Hoon) convinces his mother to report Eun Han's disappearance to the police.
2. Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (2018)
Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung tells the story of a free-spirited noblewoman named Goo Hae Ryung (Shin Se Kyung) who is recruited to be one of the first female historians of the royal court. She crosses paths with the equally free-spirited prince Lee Rim (Cha Eun Woo) who spends most of his free time secretly writing romance novels using the pen name Maehwa. Hae Ryung, along with the prince, gets embroiled in palace politics, sexism, and the secret surrounding the banned book Story Of Hodam. Kang Hoon stars as Hyun Kyung Mook, one of the second historians of the Office of Royal Decrees.
3. Meow, The Secret Boy (2020)
Who else is in it: Kim Myung Soo (INFINITE's L), Shin Ye Eun
This adorable fantasy rom-com revolves around the unlikely love story between Kim Sol Ah (Shin Ye Eun) who has a love-hate relationship with cats and an *actual* cat-turned-human named Hong Jo (Kim Myung Soo). The drama, which is based on the webtoon Welcome, also has a super cute second lead couple! Sol Ah's puppy-like friend and co-worker Go Doo Shik (Kang Hoon) falls for his complete opposite, his introverted cat-like sunbae Yoon Ye Joo (Eun Ji Eun).
4. You Are My Spring (2021)
Who else is in it: Seo Hyun Jin, Kim Dong Wook, Yoon Park
You Are My Spring is a ~healing~ romance thriller drama centered around characters whose childhood traumas have a way of creeping into their current lives. Hotel concierge manager Kang Da Jeong (Seo Hyun Jin) has a problem: she tends to fall for *broken* guys thinking she can change them. Looking for a fresh start, she moves to a new apartment and forms a deep bond with her neighbor, psychiatrist Ju Young Do (Kim Dong Wook), With the help of Young Do and her ever reliable younger brother Kang Tae Jeong (Kang Hoon), Da Jeong slowly learns to heal her past scars.
5. The Red Sleeve (2021)
As the crown prince, Yi San (2PM’s Lee Junho) has his life path laid out for him. What he did not expect was to fall head over heels for a strong-willed court lady named Seong Deok Im (Lee Se Young). She wants to be in control of her life, something she won't easily be able to do as queen. This historical drama is a creative retelling of the real-life love story of King Jeongjo and his beloved royal consort Ui of the Seong clan, known to be the court lady who rejected the king (twice) before they eventually got together.
Kang Hoon stars as Hong Deok Ro, Yi San's tutor and later a trusted official once he assumes the throne. Known for his charming good looks, Deok Ro is a favorite among the court ladies but behind his bright smile is a power-hungry and calculative person. Deok Ro's lust for power pushes him to do whatever it takes to make his sister the king's concubine. For his impressive performance in the drama, Kang Hoon bagged the Best New Actor award at the 2021 MBC Drama Awards.
6. Little Women (2022)
Loosely based on Louisa May Alcott's 1868 novel of the same name, this currently airing family drama tells the story of three sisters who are struggling with poverty. Oh In Joo (Kim Go Eun), the eldest sister and an accountant, gets involved in a corporate embezzlement case and the disappearance of a 70 billion won slush fund. Meanwhile, news reporter In Kyung (Nam Ji Hyun), revisits an old corruption case after the suspectedly involved Park Jae Sang (Uhm Ki Joon) emerges as a potential mayoral candidate. In Kyung carries out her investigation with the help of her childhood friend, Ha Jong Ho (Kang Hoon).
In an interview with Allure Korea, Kang Hoon talked about the charms of his character, saying, "To like one person and to protect that person, I think that's Jong Ho's charm because the direction of the love that he wants to pursue is cool. In this drama, I thought that I should just run towards that one thing. Jong Ho keeps expressing himself to In Kyung and doesn't try to hide his feelings."
7. Flower Scholars' Love Story (2023)
Who else is in it: Shin Ye Eun, Ryeo Woon, Jung Gun Joo
Kang Hoon is slated to star in this youth sageuk drama scheduled to air in the first half of 2023. He is playing the role of Kim Si Yeol, one of the three flower scholars who take up residence in Yoon Dan Oh (Shin Ye Eun)'s boarding house Yihwawon. Si Yeol might have a friendly and fun personality but he also has a strong sense of justice. While preparing for the national examinations at Yihwawon, he grows closer with Dan Oh, the cold-but-kind Kang San (Ryeo Woon), and the innocent Jung Yoo Ha (Jung Gun Joo).
8. A Time Called You (TBA)
A remake of the 2019 Taiwanese drama Some Day or One Day, A Time Called You is a time-travel romance drama about Han Joon Hee (Jeon Yeo Bin), who ends up traveling back in time to the year 1998 and wakes up in the body of Kwon Min Joo. There she encounters Nam Si Heon (Ahn Hyo Seop) who bears a striking resemblance to her dead boyfriend Goo Yeon Joon. To make matters even more complicated, Si Heon’s best friend, Jung In Gyu (Kang Hoon) has one-sided feelings for the real Min Joo.
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