Kim Hyun-joong (Korean: 김현중; Hanja: 金賢重; born June 6, 1986) is a South Korean actor, singer and songwriter. He is a member of the boy band SS501 and played roles in the Korean dramas Boys Over Flowers and Playful Kiss.
After debuting with SS501 in 2005, Kim released his first Korean solo album, Break Down, in 2011, and his first Japanese solo album, Unlimited, in 2012. Due to his commercial success, Kim is considered one of South Korea’s biggest Hallyu stars of the early 2010s.
Early life and education
Kim was born on June 6, 1986 in Seoul. He described himself as a studious child, but he dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music. He later passed his high school exams and enrolled in Kyonggi University. After dropping out of university to focus on work, Kim enrolled in Chungwoon University in 2011 to study stage production management.
2005–2008: Career beginnings
Kim made his debut as a member of SS501 on June 23, 2005, with the group’s first EP, Warning, released by DSP Media. Their second EP, Snow Prince was released in late 2005, five months after their debut. The group quickly gained popularity, winning multiple new artist awards in 2005 and 2006. The following year, in 2007, SS501 debuted in Japan with the single “Kokoro,” which reached number five on the Oricon charts. In January 2008, the group received a Newcomer Award at the Japan Gold Disc Award ceremony, making them one of only a few South Korean artists to win this award.
In 2008, Kim joined the cast of the reality variety show We Got Married, where he was paired with singer Hwangbo. Dubbed the “Lettuce Couple,” the pair was popular among viewers and won the Best Couple Award at the 2008 MBC Entertainment Awards. They left the show at the end of 2008 to focus on other projects.
2008–2010: Career breakthrough and success
In 2008, Kim was cast in his first lead-acting role in the Korean drama Boys Over Flowers. The show was extremely popular in South Korea and other Asian countries, and Kim won the Most Popular Actor Award at the 2009 Seoul International Drama Awards and the Most Popular Actor for Television Award at the 2009 Baeksang Arts Awards.
Kim and his Boys Over Flowers costars also sparked a trend among South Korean men who copied their “flower boy” style. Tony Moly, a cosmetics brand for which Kim had been a spokesmodel since 2006, saw a 30 percent sales increase in 2009, which the company attributed to the popularity of the show. Kim’s contract with Tony Moly ended in 2010, and he became the spokesmodel for another cosmetics brand, The Face Shop, later that year.
Following the success of Boys Over Flowers, Kim played his second lead role in a drama, in 2010’s Playful Kiss, a Korean adaptation of the Japanese shōjo manga, Itazura na Kiss. The show flopped on South Korean television, but was an international hit on foreign television and on online streaming platforms, helping solidify Kim’s popularity as a Hallyu star.
At the end of 2010, Kim was chosen to represent South Korea at the opening of the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, where he performed the anthem “Sunshine Again” with singers from Chinese-speaking countries.
2011: Solo debut, chart success and first Japanese tour
Kim Hyun-joong at the promotion event of The Face Shop in 2011
Kim released his solo debut, the EP Break Down, on June 7, 2011. More than 70,000 pre-ordered copies of the album were sold in just 10 days. The EP was the ninth best-selling album of 2011 on South Korea’s Gaon Album Chart, and was certified platinum in Taiwan. Later that year, Kim released his second album Lucky. The EP debuted at number five on Billboard’s World Chart, and was the 10th best-selling album of the year in South Korea with over 100,000 copies sold.
Following up on the success of a concert he performed in Japan in June, Kim signed a deal with Universal Music Japan in November. Shortly after that, he went on a tour of Japan, performing in seven cities.
At the end of the year, Kim won the award for Best Male Artist at the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards held in Singapore. On December 15, Kim released a digital single titled “Marry Me”.
2012: Japanese debut and overseas promotions
On January 25, 2012, Kim released his first Japanese single album, “Kiss Kiss / Lucky Guy,” which was certified gold in Japan. In May, his First Impact concert DVD sold 16,000 copies in its first week of release, taking the number one spot on the Oricon DVD Chart. This was the first time a South Korean artist had taken the number one spot, and a second time a foreign artist had taken the number one spot on the chart. Kim later held his Kim Hyun-joong Fan Meeting Tour 2012 for his album promotions, making stops in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Thailand.
In March 2012, Kim was appointed the honorary ambassador for United Nation’s Korean Campaign on Contributions to Social Welfare.
Kim released his second Japanese single album “Heat” on July 4. The album was Japan’s third best-selling album in July, selling 196,850 copies, which earned Kim his second consecutive gold certification. The following month, in August, Kim won Best Asian Artist at the 2012 Asia Song Festival.
On December 12, Kim released Unlimited, his first full-length Japanese album, which included Japanese versions of “Break Down” and “Lucky Guy”. It topped the Oricon Daily Chart and reached number 3 on the Weekly Chart.
2013–2014: Barefooted Friends, Japanese concerts and Inspiring Generation
On January 6, 2013, Kim kicked off a Japanese tour called Unlimited at the World Memorial Hall in Kobe, where he performed with a live band. Later that month, he performed alongside other K-pop artists in Brazil for the 2013 FEEL KOREA event, marking his first performance in South America.
On March 2, Kim performed at the U-Express Live 2013 at the Makuhari Messe in Japan with artists including Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Far East Movement, Naoto Inti Raymi and Kara. That same month, Kim received the Creator’s Factory Best Actor Award for the music video, “Lucky Guy,” at the 5th Okinawa Music Festival.
On April 21, he began appearing on the South Korean variety show Barefooted Friends. Despite the show, Kim released his third Japanese single “Tonight” on June 5. Once again, his single topped the Oricon Daily Chart, and took the number two spot by the end of the week. The album received gold certification for selling more than one million copies. He released his third Korean EP, Round 3, on July 22.
On October 20 and 21, Kim held two concerts at the Makuhari International Exhibition Hall in Japan, attended by 20,000 fans. At the end of the month, Kim left Barefooted Friends to film a new drama. After playing pretty boys in his first two dramas, Kim played a tougher role in the drama Inspiring Generation, which began airing in January 2014.
That July, he released his fourth Japanese single, “Hot Sun”, which topped the Oricon weekly charts, making him the first foreign male solo artist to top the chart twice. At the end of June, he began a world tour that included stops in Taiwan, China, Japan, Thailand, Mexico, and Peru. The following month, in July, Kim released his fourth Korean EP, Timing.
2015–2016: Japanese activities and military enlistment
Kim released his second Japanese studio album, Imademo, on February 11, 2015. The album entered the Oricon daily charts at number two and remained at that spot for 10 days.
Kim enlisted in the army for South Korea’s mandatory military service in May 2015. After completing five weeks of basic training at Gyeonggi-do 30th Recruit Training Squadron he was stationed as a border patrol in the Korean Demilitarized Zone. While he was in the military, The Best of Kim Hyun Joong, a Japanese greatest hits album celebrating his 10 years in music industry, was released. It entered the Oricon daily charts at number one. Kim was discharged from military service in February 2017 after serving for 21 months.
2017–present: Tours and Korean-Japanese album
In July 2017, Kim released his first album since leaving the military, the Japanese single album, re:wind. The album reached the number one spot on the Oricon album chart. Following its release, Kim went on Innercore 16-city Japanese tour. In November, he released the EP Haze, his first Korean album in three years.
Kim Hyun Joong’s 2018 World Tour ‘HAZE’ commenced on December 2, 2017.
He performed in Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, South America, Japan, Thailand and Macau and the tour concluded in 2018. On June 6, he released Take My Hand, the first Album released from his own record Label Henecia Music. On September 26, he then released an album entitled Wait For Me. From September 27 to November 5, Kim held his Take My Hand Japan Tour. Later in the year, it was confirmed he would be making his small-screen comeback in the fantasy drama When Time Stopped. The drama ran from October 24 to November 29, 2018. He released a single, “Just for My Love”, as the sixth part of the original Soundtrack for the drama.
On February 4, 2019 he released a new album entitled New Way with the lead single “Why”. On August 21, he released a Korean EP entitled SALT and on September 11, he released a Japanese EP entitled “THIS IS LOVE” which debuted at number one on the Oricon Weekly Rock Singles Chart and number two on Oricon year-end Indie Chart. On August 21, he embarked on a World Tour titled BIO-RHYTHM which ended on January 25, 2020. The tour took place in Japan, South Korea, Macau, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru and the Philippines.
On February 5, 2020, he released a full-length Japanese album titled The Moon, The Sun and Your Song which debuted at number three on the Oricon Daily Albums Chart and Number 4 on the Oricon Weekly Albums Chart. He also embarked on a two-month (February and March) Japan tour of the same name. On February 21, he appeared in the cover of the Korean Wave Japanese Magazine Hanryu Pia for the fourth time.
On April 14, 2020, it was announced that Kim Hyun-Joong has decided not to renew his contract with KeyEast. A representative from KeyEast Stated “Recently, Kim Hyun Joong’s exclusive contract expired. Rather than renew, we mutually decided to support each other’s futures.” They continued, “Kim Hyun Joong’s album activities will continue through his personal label, which he established last year.”
On October 17, 2020, Kim Hyun-Joong held his first online concert, “A Bell of Blessing” and on October 19th, 2020, he released his second full Korean album, a limited edition album titled “A Bell Of Blessing” which debuted at 14 on the Gaon Weekly Albums Chart. The title track of the Album and it’s music video features vocals and appearances from Kim Hyun-Joong’s fans all over the world.
|Korean 2011: Break Down 2011: Lucky 2013: Round 3 2014: Timing 2017: Haze 2019: New Way 2019: SALT 2020: A Bell of Blessing||Japanese 2012: Unlimited 2015: Imademo 2017: Re:wind 2018: Take My Hand 2018: Wait for Me 2019: THIS IS LOVE 2020: Moon, Sun and Your Song|