The Info List - Han Hyo-joo

Han Hyo-joo (born February 22, 1987) is a South Korean film and television actress. She is best known for her leading roles in television drama series: Spring Waltz (2006); Brilliant Legacy (2009); Dong Yi (2010) and W - Two Worlds (2016); as well as the film Cold Eyes (2013), for which she won Best Actress at the 34th Blue Dragon Film Awards.

Early life

Han Hyo-joo was born in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province.[1] Her mother was an elementary school teacher before becoming an inspector for public schools, and her father was an air force officer. As a child, she was good in sports, particularly track and field. In her sophomore year of high school, she moved to Seoul and attended Bulgok High School, despite the objections of her strict and conservative father. She then entered Dongguk University, where she joined the theater and film department.


2003–2006: Beginnings

Han was first discovered in a teenage beauty pageant organized by food corporation Binggrae in 2003. She began her acting career in the sitcom Nonstop 5 and the gangster comedy film My Boss, My Teacher. Han later raised her profile by starring in Spring Waltz, the fourth and final installment of TV director Yoon Seok-ho's "season drama" series.[2]

In 2006, director Lee Yoon-ki cast Han in the starring role in his low-budget independent film Ad-lib Night, which follows a young woman who rediscovers herself through an eerie overnight encounter with strangers. She won the Best New Actress awards at the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards and Singapore International Film Festival for her performance.

2007–2010: Breakthrough roles and overseas popularity

Han then starred in two highly successful TV projects and rose to fame - KBS daily drama Like Land and Sky with Park Hae-jin in 2007,[3] and SBS masked-adventurer series Iljimae with Lee Joon-gi in 2008. Both dramas drew solid viewership ratings nationwide throughout its run with high viewer ratings and launched Han into a household name. Afterwards, she was cast in another indie film, Ride Away, which debuted at the 2008 Jeonju International Film Festival.

Han then filmed the Korean-Japanese telecinema co-production Heaven's Postman, which also featured pop star Jaejoong from TVXQ (now JYJ).[4] After several postponements, it was released in theaters in late 2009, and broadcast on TV in 2010.

Han's breakthrough came in Brilliant Legacy costarring Lee Seung-gi, which became a massive hit in 2009, reaching a peak viewership rating of 47.1%.[5][6][7] It catapulted Han to stardom, and after the drama's conclusion, she experienced a sharp rise in endorsement deals and media requests for interviews, as well as increased pan-Asian popularity.[8][9] Later that year Han wrapped up her starring role in the musical drama Soul Special, which aired on KBS Joy.

In 2010, Han took on the titular character in MBC's 49th anniversary project Dong Yi,[10][11] The series became a hit during its run both domestically and across Asia.[12][13] Han won several acting awards for her portrayal of Choi Suk-bin, including the Daesang (Grand Prize) award at MBC Drama Awards and the coveted Best Actress award at Baeksang Arts Awards.[14][15]

2011–2015: Film roles

In 2011, Han played a blind telemarketer opposite So Ji-sub's ex-boxer in the melodrama film Always.[16] Helmed by director Song Il-gon, it premiered as the opening film of the 2011 Busan International Film Festival.[17][18][19] Han later contributed voice narration to the "barrier-free" version of Japanese film My Back Page, which features descriptive audio and subtitles for people with hearing or visual impairments.

Han then played the queen to Lee Byung-hun's Gwanghae in the 2012 blockbuster period film Masquerade,[20] which became one of the highest-grossing Korean films of all time. She followed that with Love 911, an unlikely romance between a doctor and a firefighter (Go Soo).[21][22]

In November 2013

In 2013, Han starred opposite Sol Kyung-gu and Jung Woo-sung in action thriller Cold Eyes, a remake of the 2007 Hong Kong film Eye in the Sky.[23][24] The film dominated the box office after its release and became one of the biggest domestic hits of 2013.[25] Han received acting recognition for her performance, winning Best Actress from the Blue Dragon Film Awards and Buil Film Awards.[26][27]

In 2014, Han and Love 911 costar Go Soo reunited in Myohyangsangwan ("View of Mount Myohyang"), which depicts the rendezvous of a South Korean painter and a North Korean waitress in a North Korean restaurant. The short film is a collaboration by contemporary artists Moon Kyung-won and Jeon Joon-ho, and combined a theatrical plot, experimental imagery, dance and performance art.[28][29]

She then ventured into the overseas market by starring in her first Japanese film, Isshin Inudo's Miracle: Debikuro-kun no Koi to Maho ("Miracle Devil Claus' Love and Magic"). Set during the Christmas season, the film is a love story about a kind bookstore employee (played by Masaki Aiba from J-pop boyband Arashi) who meets three women.[30][31]

In 2015, Han starred in the musical biopic C'est Si Bon, which depicted the ups and downs of the folk music group Twin Folio, which was active from the 1960s to 80s. Famous for its live performances, C'est Si Bon was the name of a popular music lounge located in Mugyo-dong in the 1970s, where Twin Folio got its start; Han played the group's muse.[32] This was followed by romantic comedy film The Beauty Inside, where Han's character falls in love with a man who changes to different people every day.[33][34][35]

Later that year, Han got together with Yoo Yeon-seok and Chun Woo-hee, both of her co-stars in The Beauty Inside, again for Love, Lies, a movie which depicts the last story of gisaeng during the Japanese occupation in the 1940s.[36][37]

2016–present: Television comeback and films

In 2016, Han returns to the small screen with MBC's fantasy suspense series W alongside Lee Jong-suk.[38] Helmed by director Jung Dae-yoon who directed She Was Pretty and writer Song Jae-jung whose previous works include Nine: Nine Time Travels and Queen In-hyun's Man, expectations rises when this also marks Han's small screen comeback after 6 years.[39][40] She won the Top Excellence award at the 5th APAN Star Awards and MBC Drama Awards for her performance in W.

In 2018, Han starred in the thriller Golden Slumber alongside Kang Dong-won.[41] She was also cast as the female lead in sci-fi action thriller In-rang, based on the Japanese animated flick of the same name.[42][43]


In November 2013, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office indicted Han's ex-manager from her former agency Fantom Entertainment for attempted extortion. According to the police, the ex-manager surnamed Lee illegally transferred 16 photos of Han and her ex-boyfriend from her digital camera to his mobile phone. Lee then threatened to publish the compromising photos unless he and his two accomplices were paid ₩400 million; Han's father paid them ₩10 million. In a press release, Han's agency BH Entertainment said the actress did not engage in any activities that deserve public criticism and threatened "strong measures" to deal with blackmail.[44][45]

In September 2014, the South Korean media reported that a petition was being circulated to boycott Han's appearance in TV commercials.[46] The petition stemmed from Han's younger brother allegedly bullying a fellow airman while both were in mandatory military service that resulted in the latter's suicide. The negative publicity was exacerbated by Han herself having once been appointed as a goodwill ambassador for the Republic of Korea Air Force.[47]



Year Title Role Notes
2006 My Boss, My Teacher Yoo Mi-jung
Ad-lib Night Bo-kyung Independent film
2008 Ride Away Im Ha-jung
My Dear Enemy Woman at the bus stop/
Voice on the phone
2009 Heaven's Postman Jo Hana / Saki Tele Cinema
(also aired on SBS)
2011 Always Ha Jeong-hwa
2012 Masquerade Queen Consort
Love 911 Mi-soo
2013 Cold Eyes Ha Yoon-ju
2014 Miracle Devil Claus' Love and Magic So-yeon Japanese film
View of Mount Myohyang Oh Yeong-ran Short film
2015 C'est Si Bon Min Ja-young (20s)
The Beauty Inside Yi-soo
2016 Love, Lies Jung So-yul
2018 Golden Slumber Sun-young
In-rang Lee Yoon-hee

Television series

Year Title Role Network
2005 Nonstop 5 Han Hyo-joo MBC
2006 Spring Waltz Seo/Park Eun-young KBS2
2007 Like Land and Sky Suk Ji-soo KBS1
2008 Iljimae Eun-chae SBS
2009 Brilliant Legacy Go Eun-sung
Soul Special Jin Mi-ah KBS Joy
2010 Dong Yi Choi Dong-yi (later Choi Suk-bin) MBC
2016 W - Two Worlds Oh Yeon-joo


Year Song title Artist Album
2005 "It's the First Time" Han Hyo-joo Nonstop 5 OST
2008 "Ride Away" Han Hyo-joo Ride Away OST
2009 "Sudden Burst of Tears" Gan-D feat. Han Hyo-joo Soul Special OST
"바람이 불어... 널 이별해 (Prologue)" Narration by Han Hyo-joo Love Tonic
2010 "Oh Seoul" My-Q feat. Han Hyo-joo For This, I Was Born
"Don't You Know" No Reply feat. Han Hyo-joo Grand Mint Festival 2010
2011 "You" Browneyed Soul feat. Han Hyo-joo Brown Eyed Soul
"8 A.M." My-Q feat. Han Hyo-joo Ready For The World
"Alone in Love" Lee Seung-gi feat. Ra.D
(narration by Han Hyo-joo)
2012 "I Love You" Han Hyo-joo feat. Sweet Sorrow LG Su:m37 5th Anniversary CF song
"Hide and Seek"[48] Han Hyo-joo feat. Broccoli, You Too?
2015 "Let us forget" Han Hyo-joo C'est Si Bon OST
"I'll Give It All To You" Han Hyo-joo feat. Jung Woo
2016 "Love, Lies" Han Hyo-joo Love, Lies OST
"Spring lady" Han Hyo-joo feat. Chun Woo-hee

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2003 9th Miss Binggrae Smile Pageant Grand Prize N/A Won
2006 26th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best New Actress Ad-lib Night Won
KBS Drama Awards Spring Waltz Nominated
2007 20th Singapore International Film Festival Best Actress Ad-lib Night Won [49]
24th Korea Best Dressed Swan Awards Best Dressed N/A Won
KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Daily Drama Like Land and Sky Nominated
Best New Actress Nominated
Best Couple Award with Park Hae-jin Won
Popularity Award Won [50]
2008 1st Korea Jewelry Awards Pearl Award N/A Won
SBS Drama Awards New Star Award Iljimae Won
2009 4th Andre Kim Best Star Awards Female Star Award N/A Won
3rd Mnet 20's Choice Awards Hot Female Drama Star Brilliant Legacy Won [51]
SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Planning Drama Won [52]
Best Couple Award with Lee Seung-gi Won
Top 10 Stars Won
2010 46th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Nominated
5th Seoul International Drama Awards Outstanding Korean Actress Won [53]
3rd Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Dong Yi Won [54]
MBC Drama Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) Won [14]
Top Excellence Award, Actress Nominated
Popularity Award Won
2011 1st Hong Kong Cable TV Awards Best Actress Won [55]
47th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Won [15]
45th Taxpayers' Day
(given by Ministry of Strategy and Finance)
Presidential Commendation as Honest Taxpayer N/A Won [56]
2012 CETV Asia's Top 10 Popular Star Awards Hallyu Star Prize N/A Won [57]
2013 49th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (Film) Love 911 Nominated
22nd Buil Film Awards Best Actress Cold Eyes Won [27]
33rd Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Nominated
34th Blue Dragon Film Awards Won [26]
2014 8th Asian Film Awards Best Actress Nominated
2015 52nd Grand Bell Awards Best Actress The Beauty Inside Nominated
36th Blue Dragon Film Awards Nominated
4th Korean Film Actor's Association Awards Top Star Award Won [58]
2016 11th Max Movie Awards Best Actress Nominated
52nd Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (Film) Nominated
25th Buil Film Awards Best Actress Nominated
5th APAN Star Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) W - Two Worlds Nominated [59]
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Won
Best Couple Award with Lee Jong-suk Nominated
4th BIFF with Marie Claire Asia Star Awards Asia Star Award Love, Lies Won
1st Asia Artist Awards Best Artist Award, Actress W - Two Worlds Nominated
MBC Drama Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) Nominated [60]
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Won
Best Couple Award with Lee Jong-suk Won


  1. ^ a b 한효주. Nate (in Korean). Archived from the original on November 12, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Han reserves seat as next Jiwoohime". Hancinema. The Korea Herald. January 30, 2006. 
  3. ^ "I want to try out for more extreme roles". The Dong-a Ilbo. April 5, 2007. 
  4. ^ "TVXQ Hero hopes Postman will be assurance to fans". 10Asia. November 10, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Light-hearted romance joins weekend lineup". The Korea Herald. April 24, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Brilliant drama leaving its own legacy". Korea JoongAng Daily. July 16, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Han Hyo-joo: 'Good People Deserve to be Happy'". KBS Global. June 5, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Lee, Han Picked as Rising Ad Models". The Korea Times. September 24, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Korean Wave: The New Generation". 10Asia. April 23, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Will Dong-yi Become Next Jewel in the Palace?". The Korea Times. March 21, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Han Hyo-joo Changes Tack in Costume Drama". The Chosun Ilbo. April 13, 2010. 
  12. ^ ""Dong Yi" dominates Mon and Tues night primetime lineup". 10Asia. June 16, 2010. 
  13. ^ ""Dong Yi" wins award as most popular drama in Hong Kong". 10Asia. October 1, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Kim Nam-joo, Han Hyo-joo win grand prize at MBC Acting Awards". 10Asia. January 3, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Hyun Bin, Lee Byung-hun win top prizes at Paeksang". 10Asia. May 27, 2011. 
  16. ^ So Ji-sub, Han Hyo-joo start filming new pic. 10Asia. April 4, 2011.
  17. ^ Song Il-gon hopes Always will be a reminder of true value of love. 10Asia. October 6, 2011.
  18. ^ Han Hyo Joo: 'My Best Decision Ever Is Becoming Actress'. KBS Global. October 10, 2011.
  19. ^ Han Hyo-joo Seeking More Challenging Roles in Movies. The Chosun Ilbo. October 15, 2011.
  20. ^ Han Hyo-joo to join Lee Byung-hun in historical film. 10Asia. January 4, 2012.
  21. ^ "Finecut dials up Love 911". Korean Film Council. March 14, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Ko Soo, Han Hyo-joo Ask to Dial Love 911". 10Asia. November 22, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Police Are Hot in Pursuit of a Kingpin in COLD EYES". Korean Film Council. February 8, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Cold Eyes is a story of firsts for the cast". Korea JoongAng Daily. June 6, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Cold Eyes Hits 5-Million Mark in Cinema Attendance". The Chosun Ilbo. July 29, 2013. 
  26. ^ a b Jackson, Julie (November 24, 2013). "Wish snags three wins at Blue Dragon Film Awards". The Korea Herald. 
  27. ^ a b Im, Soon-hye (October 7, 2013). "부일영화상 작품상 '설국열차', 여우주연상 한효주 수상" [Snowpiercer wins Best Film, Han Hyo-joo wins Best Actress at Buil Film Awards]. OhmyNews (in Korean). 
  28. ^ "Mergers with pop culture good for art business". Korea JoongAng Daily. January 16, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Myohyangsangwan". News From Nowhere. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  30. ^ "HAN Hyo-joo to Take Lead Role in Japanese Film". Korean Film Council. December 27, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Will Han Hyo-joo win Japanese fans?". The Korea Times. December 2, 2015. 
  32. ^ "KIM Yun-seok, HAN Hyo-joo Board Music Biopic". Korean Film Council. March 11, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Actresses lead Korean film industry this summer". Yonhap. July 29, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Actress Han stars opposite 21 men". Korea JoongAng Daily. August 14, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Herald Interview: Han Hyo-joo: Beauty Inside is chance of a lifetime". The Korea Herald. August 23, 2015. 
  36. ^ "'Love, Lies' portrays gisaeng's life in 1940s". The Korea Times. April 5, 2016. 
  37. ^ "Actress Han Hyo-joo says baddie totally new experience". Yonhap. April 4, 2016. 
  38. ^ "Lee Jong-suk and Han Hyo-joo in new drama 'W'". Kpop Herald. Retrieved April 7, 2016. 
  39. ^ "Han Hyo-joo to return to TV after 6 years". The Korea Times. Retrieved April 7, 2016. 
  40. ^ "Han Hyo Joo Confirms Her Comeback to the Small Screens in July". BNT News. Retrieved April 7, 2016. 
  41. ^ "GANG Dong-won & HAN Hyo-joo Headline Thriller GOLDEN SLUMBER". Korean Film Biz Zone. December 27, 2016. 
  42. ^ Jean Noh (July 17, 2017). "'The Good, The Bad, The Weird' director Kim Jee-woon sets cast, shoot date for new sci-fi". Screen Daily. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  43. ^ "KIM Jee-woon's Sci-fi Action INRANG Starts Shooting in August". Korean Film Biz Zone. July 28, 2017. 
  44. ^ "Ex-Manager Charged with Blackmailing Han Hyo-joo". The Chosun Ilbo. November 26, 2013. 
  45. ^ "Han Hyo-joo subject of blackmail plot". Korea JoongAng Daily. November 26, 2013. 
  46. ^ 한효주 광고 중지해주세요, 요청 쇄도..이병헌 사건에 남동생 문제까지 불똥 [Stop using Han Hyo-joo in commercials. Requests Flooded]. Seoul En (in Korean). September 20, 2014. 
  47. ^ '홍보대사'의 두 얼굴, '모범 납세자 송혜교·법무부 박봄·병무청 상추...' [Honorary Ambassadors with Two Faces]. Ilgan Sports (in Korean). August 19, 2014. 
  48. ^ "Korean Starlets Fall in Love with Indie Musicians". 10Asia. November 21, 2012. 
  49. ^ "Actress Han Hyo-ju Honored at Singapore Film Festival". KBS Global. HanCinema. May 2, 2007. 
  50. ^ "2007 Year-end Korean drama awards round-up". Hancinema. Star Money. January 7, 2007. 
  51. ^ "Mnet 20's Choice". 10Asia. September 2, 2009. 
  52. ^ "Jang Seo-hee wins grand prize at SBS Drama Awards". 10Asia. January 4, 2011. 
  53. ^ ""Slave Hunters" top 'Hallyu' content at Seoul Drama Awards". 10Asia. September 13, 2010. 
  54. ^ "장혁-한효주, 코리아드라마어워즈 남녀주연상 수상". 10Asia (in Korean). September 16, 2010. 
  55. ^ 한효주-배수빈, 홍콩 '베스트 드라마 시상식' 인기상 수상. Chosun News (in Korean). January 10, 2011.
  56. ^ "Han Hyo-joo Given Honest Taxpayer Award". The Chosun Ilbo. March 3, 2011. 
  57. ^ "Yoon Si Yoon receives Popular Star Prize in China". Star News. December 9, 2012. 
  58. ^ "LEE Byung-hun, YOO Ah-in and HAN Hyo-joo Take Top Star Awards". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  59. ^ "[2016 APAN] 송중기, 생애 첫 대상 해냈다…조진웅 최우수상 (종합)". My Daily (in Korean). 2 October 2016. 
  60. ^ Park Pan-seok (December 30, 2016). "[2016 MBC 연기대상] 이종석, 시청자 뽑은 대상..올해의 드라마 'W'[종합]". OSEN (in Korean). The Chosun Ilbo. 

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