K-tourism Bureau Polls Japanese Ladies Favorite Korean Entertainers and Dramas in 2014

Most of the attention on exporting K-dramas have shifted to Mainland China in the last two years and for good reason. It’s the largest audience market by size and K-dramas are more naturally digestable due to the similar Asian entertainment tastes than marketing to the Western audience. Japan remains a solid and steady market for Hallyu entertainment whether K-pop or K-dramas and it was one of the first consumers of Hallyu back in the first and biggest wave of the Winter Sonata/Dae Jang Geum era. It’s been years since those Hallyu stars were churning out dramas after dramas and now it’s a new batch of younger stars leaving their mark on the Japanese audience.

The Korean tourism bureau recently conducted a poll of Japanese women to ask what their favorite Korean stars and dramas are as of the end of 2014. Topping the chart is Lee Min Ho as the obasans favorite Korean male entertainer, Yoon Eun Hye retains her ironclad hold on the Japanese fans, and totally unsurprising is now ancient Hallyu classic drama Winter Sonata still the most popular K-drama in the minds of the Japanese ladies. Even though Lee Min Ho tops the men’s list, none of his dramas cracked the top 5, whereas Kim Soo Hyun landed at number three because of The Moon Embraces the Sun, but really his Dream High and You From Another Star were also extremely popular in Japan.

Most popular male Korean stars in Japan in 2014:

1. Lee Min Ho

2. Song Seung Heon

3. Kim Soo Hyun

Most popular female Korean stars in Japan in 2014:

1. Yoon Eun Hye

2. Ha Ji Won

3. Han Hyo Joo

Most popular Korean dramas in Japan in 2014:

1. Winter Sonata

2. Rooftop Prince

3. Goong

4. The Moon Embraces the Sun

5. Secret Garden

Beyond this particular poll, by J-buzz alone other currently/still popular Korean entertainers and dramas include Choi Ji Woo, Bae Yong Joon, Yoochun, Lee Min Ho’s Faith, Hyun Bin, Jang Geun Seok, You From Another Star, older K-dramas like: Dae Jang Geun, Stairway to HeavenBeautiful Days, You’re Beautiful, Coffee Prince.


K-tourism Bureau Polls Japanese Ladies Favorite Korean Entertainers and Dramas in 2014 — 48 Comments

  1. The Hand Towel is number two! But with Lee Min No as number one I think I understand how appreciative the Japanese ladies are of the beauty of their men. Not that I disagree.

  2. Yoon Eun Hye is one of those stars who is a lot more popular internationally than inside of the country. Happy that she was voted number 1!!

    Anywayzzz, here’s a video of her acceptance of the Hallyu Award from Japan in 2013. She was so adorable and you can tell how much the audience also found her adorable with her nervous mistakes but you can also that she was trying her best.


  3. I am confused because few months ago “Faith” a K-drama where LMH is the lead man won the Gayo entertainment award for 2014 in Japan( Gayo is largest streaming portal in this country).You had an article about that too.How come a drama who wins there is not even in the top 5?

    • Yeah not to mention that she didnt even have a single drama for 2014! But still most popular K Actress in Japan! HAHA! She deserve it after all!

    • Yoon Eun Hye’s beauty is like a goddess for Asian. She’s like a demigod, I guess that’s why girls and people alike there in Japan, continues to adore her and look up to her.

  4. How some of these actors maintain their popularity is beyond me. I mean, most of them (not Han Hyo Joo and Han Ji Won) live off their Chinese CFs and fanmeetings and seem to lack any interest in acting profession. Frankly, I hate to see Kim Soo Hyun heading that way. He is so bloody talanted, but I guess making CFs is a lot easier than shooting films and dramas. I am slowly starting to lose my respect for him.
    Most Hollywood A-listers never stop working and polishing their skill despite being filthy rich: look at Leo, Meryl or even Jennifer Lawrence. In comparison, some Hallyu stars are more like Kim Kardashian. Famous, alright, but what for?

      • Now compare how much time they spent shooting that one project with how much time they spent on CFs and fan service.

    • The same way Won-bin have maintained in korea despite no movie in years- handsome face and great personality.
      And if you check their filmography, these actors have many projects in last 5 years.

      • Go to netizenbuzz and read what some Korean people think about Won Bin’s lack of projects, not all as positive as you might think. And compare their filmography to filmography of real actors. It is much, much shorter.

    • Sound so tragic unnecessarily. Just because they haven’t confirmed their next project and they suddenly become another won bin?
      Unluckily, There is no hollywood wave in japan, china or asia. Otherwise, those hard working hollywood stars might be seen doing CFs, FMs, concerts the same way hallyu stars are doing. Kim kadarshian is not an actress to compare with. She earns money thanks to her family’s reality show.

      • I really don’t get what you are trying to say. Is Won Bin tragic? Are China and Japan not part of Asia? Why is that I can’t compare one person’s celebrity status (Kim Kardashian) to others?

      • Nope, tragic about ksh, not wonbin who I am not a fan to care for. Tragic because you sounded like 5 years had passed since ksh’s last project. You just need to wait a little bit more to see what he is gonna do next, and replace “respect” with “interest” in your opinion to make it sound less dramatic.
        Japan, china in particular, and asia in general.
        KSH’s popularity vs KK’s: no solid background for a comparison, imo.

    • I’m confused by your attack on only KSH, what if the no 1 on the list? Did LMH have any drama/ movie the whole of last year?

      • Err, it wasn’t an attack, it was a concern for someone that has real talent but chooses not to use it. Lee Min Ho is a lost cause in my books,he is practically a CF model with occasional shitty drama.

      • Omg don’t start fan wars plz. How can lmh be a practical cf actor? Then I think ksh is more practical cause he has more cfs than lmh and he gained them within 2 or 3 years after becoming famous from ywcfs. But lmh had them within about 5 years gradually increasing while he became popular in no. of tv series. And all the shitty drams you’ve said was loved and admired by people from all over the world without finding a shit in them. Stupid hater.

  5. looks like japan’s people are starting to recognize kim soo hyun. i remembered last time around feb 2014, there is a poll is conducted in japan, ksh is nowhere in top ten korean actor list in japan. now at the end of year 2014 he is slaying at number 3 which before belong to jang geun suk.. keep slaying soo hyun ah.. you will get recognisation that you deserve for..

  6. When the so-called Hallyu wave started, it was funded by the Korean government with the explicit aim of conquering the Japanese marked. I wonder to what degree it is becoming less important in step with the growing importance of the Chinese marked. For example, with the rampant pirating of music in China the Japanese marked must still be much more important for k-music.

    It would be very interesting to see some actual numbers. We all know, Chinese investors have started pouring money into kdrama productions. But are the licensing fees paid by Chinese tv and net platforms really bigger than those paid by Japanese?

    • I haven’t seen any articles stating how much the Japanese distributors are paying for licensing fees. But there’s been a lot of press about how Chinese distributors are now willing to spend a lot more money for distribution rights. After the staggering popularity of YFAS in China (which cost the distributors $35,000/ep), licensing fees have skyrocketed– She’s So Lovable was sold for $200,000/ep (lol), and Pinocchio for $280,000/ep. That’s a lot of moolah for streaming rights, and I doubt the fees in Japan are anywhere near that (but neither is the size of the market).

      • Well Love Rain was sold for 450 million won/episode = $405,000 US dollar/episode in Japan – a total of 10 million US dollars, it is the most expensive korean drama pre-sold to Japan year 2012. And as of May 2013 it has recorded a total overseas sales a whooping 115 billion korean won = 103.5 million US dollars.

  7. Wow winter sonata is still the most popular drama in japan amazing.i think Yoon eun hye is really popular overseas compare to her homeland hope she get another project that will be a huge hit like goong and coffee prince i think its been a long time since she had a hit drama in korea.

  8. Winter Sonata is really a legend of korean drama. It will stay forever like Oshin for Japanese drama. Too bad Bae Yong Jung doesn’t has any interest to continue acting.

    From all korean actress, I think Ha Ji Won is the luckiest one. Almost every dramas or movie she stars in, has pretty high ratings. Personally, she’s not extremely beautiful like Lee Young Ae or Song Hye Kyo but she seems really sweet, nice and warm person. And I never heard about her scandal or even dating rumour until now LOL.

    • I think Ha Ji Won is not just lucky, She is by far the most hardworking actress. she worked very hard to get to where she is at right now. and she is beautiful, may not be as pretty as others but she has this charisma and appeal everytime i watch her.

  9. Out of all the actors and actress listed, only Yoon Eun Hye does not come from a big and influential agency that help her with promo, which is why her getting so much love makes it much more special.

    • your statement too naive dear. Learn more, roughly 80% Korean actresses are sponsored, small or big company are not an issue. Furthermore, those who are coming from small company always looking at sponsors compared to a big one. The big one only manipulates the markets.

      • it depends what you mean by sponsors. In korea sponsors can mean 3 things. Sponsors as in actresses sleeping around to achieve success or getting sponsors for CF,endorsement etc.

        If uou are hinting at the first one, then YEH is not part of that 80+%. She owns het agency and her father co-manages, he does not pimp his daughter out just to get noticed.

    • I agree that YEH have no sponsor by a big agency(cos she is in her own agency), helping to attract medias and promote her image as public requested.
      All that we seen is only her performance as actress and her image as real YEH.

      This poll made me feel happy with her. She got this by only her abilities, no image building from agencies.

      • YES, Totally agree with you, all these things happened because of her OWN abilities.

  10. True! Yeh is her own boss, not belongs to any big agencies. Kudos to her Hallyu status still going strong in Japan. This year YEH needs to choose her dramas please!

  11. Japanese women of course have a good taste. I’m really glad that they voted for actresses with real talent and the ones who have the genuine acting ability unlike some so called popular actresses who can’t really act.

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