Before Kim Min Jae became an actor, he was a CJ E&M idol trainee who specialized in rapping. If you’re a fan of the rap survival show Show Me The Money, you might remember him flexing his rapping skills on season four. Min Jae started starring in K-dramas in 2014 with roles ranging from idol trainee to pianist, but one thing’s for sure: No matter what role he takes, he always melts our hearts. Seven years later, he’s a regular leading man, and we’re so happy to see him rule the small screen! Read on for eight Kim Min Jae K-dramas to put on your to-watch list.
1. Second 20s (2015)
After getting pregnant at 19, Ha No Ra (Ji Woo) had to quit her studies and forget her dream of becoming a dancer. Now a middle-aged housewife going through divorce, she gets diagnosed with a terminal illness, and decides to finally put herself first and go to college. Min Jae plays No Ra’s cute son, Min Soo. Incidentally, he’s a freshman at the same college she applied to. His dad wants him to focus on his studies, so he’s not allowed to date, but he finds himself falling for Oh Hye Mi (Na Eun) and starting a relationship with her.
2. Because It’s The First Time (2015)
Who else is in it: SHINee's Choi Minho, Park So Dam, Jung Yoo Jin, Lee Yi Kyung, Cho Hye Jung
Min Jae is a perfect fit for coming-of-age dramas, and we guarantee you’ll love seeing him in this one! Because It’s The First Time is a heartwarming tale about young adults just trying to survive. Min Jae plays kind and sweet Ji An. He’s smart and hardworking, the perfect gentleman, but he’s poor and he doesn’t feel like he’s good enough for our heroine, Song Yi (So Dam). Ji An is close friends with protagonist Tae Oh (Minho), the only rich guy in their barkada and his love rival for Song Yi. This series got remade by Netflix in 2019 as My First First Love.
3. Hit The Top (2017)
Who else is in it: Yoon Shi Yoon, Lee Se Young, Cha Tae Hyun
Min Jae got to use his idol trainee skills in this fun drama about a ‘90s K-pop idol time traveling to 2017. Yoon Shi Yoon plays protagonist Yoo Hyun Jae, one-half of ‘90s duo J2, our happy-go-lucky idol who finds himself in the future. He decides to stay with his former manager, Kwang Jae (Tae Hyun), who is now the CEO of his own small entertainment company. There, he meets Min Jae’s character, Ji Hoon (Min Jae), who happens to be Kwang Jae’s foster child. Kwang Jae thinks Ji Hoon is studying for the civil service exam, but he’s actually a secret trainee at an entertainment agency.
4. Tempted (2018)
This twisted melo-romance takes inspiration from the novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (incidentally also the inspiration for the popular movie Cruel Intentions). It tells the story of three troubled rich teenagers. Su Ji (Ga Young), Si Hyun (Do Hwan), and Se Ju are super close friends with a history. When Su Ji’s boyfriend ditches her and her mom gets engaged to Si Hyun’s dad, she tells Si Hyun to seduce Tae Hee (Joy), her ex-BF’s first love, to prove his dedication to her. Min Jae plays Se Ju, who hides his love for Su Ji behind his playboy ways. He knows Su Ji likes Si Hyun, so he contents himself with being Su Ji’s friend.
5. Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency (2019)
After playing the second lead for years, Min Jae finally got his chance to be in the spotlight in this rom-com saegeuk. His character, Ma Hoon, is the founder and leader of the successful Flower Crew marriage agency. He arranges the marriage of blacksmith Lee Soo (Ji Hoon) to his first love, Gae Ddong (Seung Yeon), but when Lee Soo suddenly gets whisked away on his wedding day, the Flower Crew gets their first failed matchmaking attempt. Gae Ddong ends up joining their agency to pay off her marriage debts while the crew figures out what happened to Lee Soo.
6. Dr. Romantic 2 (2020)
Dr. Romantic revolves around top surgeon Boo Yong Joo (Suk Kyu) who disappears from the field after an accident. He changes his name to Kim Sa Bu and becomes a doctor at a small hospital in Gangwon. Min Jae was actually in the first season of this hit medical drama. He even won a New Star Award for his acting. He reprises his role as nurse Park Eun Tak in the show’s second season, forming a super adorable love line with Dr. Yoon Ah Reum (Ju Yeon). The two of them alternate between being the shy and the confident one in their relationship, and it’s cute watching them try to hide their budding romance in the workplace. There ~might~ be a third season of Dr. Romantic, and we’re hoping to see our fave doctor and nurse there again too.
7. Do You Like Brahms? (2020)
Who else is in it: Park Eun Bin, Kim Sung Cheol, Park Ji Hyun, Lee Yoo Jin, Bae Da Bin
This poignant drama about the lives of classical music students is the most charming in its quiet moments (ironic, we know). Our leads, struggling violinist Chae Song Ah (Eun Bin) and pianist star Park Joon Young (Min Jae), are both introverts suffering through life. When they find solace in each other and emotions start to bloom between them, it’s hard not to fall in love with them too. Min Jae got his first Excellence Award for his role in this drama. He also won a Best Couple Award with Eun Bin, showing that they have beautiful chemistry together.
8. Dali And Cocky Prince (2021)
Min Jae is back on the small screen with this new rom-com that starts streaming on Viu this September. He plays Jin Moo Hak, director of Dondon F&B, a brand that started with just one resto before growing into a strong franchise. He’s an awesome salesman and a money-savvy mogul, but he lacks refinement. Enter Kim Dal Ri (Gyu Young), an art museum researcher. She’s an educated woman from an elite background, but she lacks practical skills. What happens when the two of them meet?
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