Ji Sung’s Popularity Skyrockets in China Even Before Kill Me Heal Me Officially Airs There


This latest career success couldn’t have happened to a nicer actor, not to mention the accolades are all well-deserved. With Kill Me Heal Me wrapping up next week with the final two episodes, it’s nice to understand the extent of the drama’s popularity in major K-drama markets as well as who is getting all the buzz. That would be Ji Sung, and one can argue that his leading lady Hwang Jung Eum did her part as well with equal intensity, but this drama was always about leading man Cha Do Hyun and his 6 other personalities so the focus on the male lead is understandable.

Ji Sung’s agency has confirmed that offers for projects and CFs have started coming in from China for Ji Sung, made all the more amazing since KMHM isn’t even officially airing there yet whether online or on television. The drama won’t air in China until 6 months after it’s done in Korea thanks to the restrictive new guidelines put in place by SARFT for all overseas shows, but that hasn’t stopped the buzz from growing for both the drama and Ji Sung’s performance thanks to bootleg streams of live-aired episodes. The Chinese media is dubbing him “The Man of Wed-Thurs” referring to his back-to-back ratings successes in the Wed-Thurs time slot, first with Secret and now with KMHM.


I don’t actually think Ji Sung was working towards conquering the Chinese market when he was growing his career, whether early on or even now. He appears to pick dramas that look like total fails from the synopsis (Secret, KMHM, and even Protect the Boss), yet somehow making it work by his acting captivating the screen. In the past he was most well-known in China for Save the Last Dance for Me but that’s clearly been eclipsed now by his breakthrough performance in KMHM. My favorite Ji Sung drama remains New Heart and sadly KMHM doesn’t dethrone it. It would have been PtB had the drama not spectacularly crash-and-burned in the second half thanks to a very ill-advised extension to milk the ratings.

Ji Sung’s epic popularity surge in China isn’t just limited to offers from Chinese advertisers and productions, his weibo has also doubled in followers in a short two months since KMHM started airing. I don’t think he’s going to give Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Jong Seok, Lee Min Ho, or Kim Woo Bin a run for their money in terms of popularity in China, but he’s in a different career bracket and age group then the pretty flower boys so doing this well is a feat already. I’m so happy that his risk-taking to do KMHM has been widely acknowledged and lauded, though the love calls coming from China may have to wait since he’s hinted that after KMHM he’ll be back to being a family man to await the arrival of his first child with wife Lee Bo Young. Talk about have a really really good 2015 so far!


Ji Sung’s Popularity Skyrockets in China Even Before Kill Me Heal Me Officially Airs There — 61 Comments

  1. Same here!!! PtB supposed to dethrone my love for Save the last dance for me but the next half turn of Protect the boss drama literally crashes and burnt. The last two episodes is like a caramel that tasted so so bland. Sighs.

    • maybe he can’t beat them in terms of popularity , but in terms of acting skills, , Ji Sung is too far ahead those pretty boys .

      • I know Ji sung is far older and more experienced in acting. KMHM is not so good of him. In my opinion, KSH and LJS are already shown us their own acting ways. They also can act 7 personalities even better than him.

      • Daisy, why can’t Ji Sung get some acclaim and glory without it turning into a competition with other actors? Yes, in all probability, it can’t compete with the success of the younger guys, but maybe, everyone is just glad to see good work being recognized.

        Carolina, it’s a bit unfair to detract from the good work of one actor by immediately citing other actors who could have done a better job. Especially since KSH and LJS have not done a role remotely similar to Ji Sung’s in KMHM. Maybe they would have, maybe they wouldn’t have but a comparison can’t be made right now.

        Anyway, there is space enough for everyone. I certainly don’t want to see 30 something actors playing college kids (oh, the horrors I live through from watching Bollywood movies) but likewise, the 30 something actors are more convincing in roles that call for some maturity.

        We need to stop this ridiculous ageism argument in every thread.

      • Did I just see someone say KSH and LJS can act 7 personalities better than Ji Sung?!

      • What popularity wise JS can definitely top LJS because Jong suk is not that popular. He has only 2 chinese endorsement deals and 1 of them being small and the other is semir and his not even the star in semir stores his basically the supporting role guy. cause they have LMH AND KSH in semir who gets to be on all of there brands.

        Koala and LJS fans have been trying to force LJS down our throats and to be honest his not popular at all.

      • As A JS fan I know definitely what he can and what he can’t but ljs and kwb are reachable

      • @Carolina&Daisy.
        That comment was really ridiculous I thought you guys were being sarcastic. Oh, were you not?
        Nothing against KSH, LJS, KWB, or LMH. They have potential and talent, but seriously? ‘They also can act 7 personalities even better than him’? How do you know? That was so degrading when pretty boys you mention haven’t even got a role as challenging as that.
        ‘KSH and LJS are already shown us their own acting ways’. Sure, ‘their own acting ways’, that’s exactly what JS has done. No need to compare here. They have their own acting ways.

      • Dal, i’m sorry but I just don’t like people coming to a post related to an actor in order to praise others. I don’t get it. Saying JS is not good in KMHM, this or that one could have done it better. What’s the point? This is not a post about KSH or whoever. Don’t like it when they have to bring up other actors that have nothing to do with this post just to praise your favourites. They should have some respect for JS fans

      • @Lea Why Delusional ?? she is actually right, LJS & KSH are very promising actors especially Jong Suk despite his young age he is showing great acting skills & keep getting better and better. Good acting has nothing to do with age. I am actually keeping an eye on that young man and expecting a lot from him.

        OT question anybody knows where is Kim Sun-a these days?? i really miss her on screen

    • I don’t think he needs to beat them in the popularity stakes.

      Just because Ji Sung is no longer a young pretty boy doesn’t mean he won’t be appreciated for his acting skills.

      • I so agree,
        Any actor could probably pull of a 7 persona character role but but the one playing this role is Ji sung and he is killing it… FTW……..

      • Koala and the LJS fans are truely delusional fanbase no surprise at all here. we will see them trying to jump LJS to a stage he hasen’t reached yet.

        Both LJS and KWB have not reached that stage people are setting them up to be especially from people like Koala who is LJS fan.

        JS can definitely reached and smash LJS popularity who is not so popular in weibo. LJS is heavily being promoted on the back of other guys who have done it and seen it all. LJS fans should seriously humble themselves and battle up ways.

        There guy is basically non-existing right now to be labelled successful

      • @Mrs are the same sick person linda blinda who hates LJS and try to bash him in every conv. in this blog ?? seriously get a life 😀 why are you so insecure?? is your oppa or perhaps ship threaten by him or something so u trying to bring him down in every conv? hahah.. & please stop bring the weibo thingy every time… he opened his weibo acc less than 1 & a half year ago and he rarely active there despite that he will soon reach 4 millions followers .. while other names you mentioned has their weibos more than 9, 10 & 11 years ago..

        hhahahah seriously i show your message to my Chinese friends and laugh hard at you..especially at your sentence “JS can definitely reached and smash LJS popularity who is not so popular in weibo. LJS is heavily being promoted on the back of other guys who have done it and seen it all. ”

        are freakin kiddin me??? hahahahahaahah please allow me to say you are so ignorant.. just sit there and watch him becoming more and more popular and burn with you jealousy 😀

        wohahaha evil laugh 😀

        Now Back to our topic..

        I am happy that Ji sung is getting the recognition he deserves.. he is a very talented actor and deserves all the best

  2. “couldn’t have happened to a nicer actor” I agree completely Ms. Koala! From what I’ve seen in interviews, variety shows and the KMHM bts, he seems like a genuine hardworking man who loves his family. It’s really great to see such a good actor (and person!) getting the recognition he deserves

  3. Ji sung I hope nothing but the best for him. I want him to be a star and more. He is an amazing actor and he deserves all the good things coming to him. Fighting Ji sung!

  4. On a completely unrelated note, I love the new web layout koala. This is very mobile-friendly and it’s no longer acting weird anymore because of it. Good job.

    • Thanks! Took me foreeeeeever to do all the changes. Now only the first post will be full-sized and everything else will be easy to read excerpts~

  5. I’m so happy for Ji sung, he deserves it…… Always known he was good actor but he killed it in KMHM, what a phenomenal actor…wish him success…

  6. I’m happy for him, and wish for his continued success in future.

    He will always have a place in my heart because of Kill Me Heal Me. ❤

  7. What more can I say? He deserves all this success and more. Thank god he did KMHM and made this my favorite drama of all times!!

  8. Not only JiSung is a fantastic, talented and versatile actor but he’s also a magnificent person. His wife is very lucky! i reckon there was an interview where LeeBoYoung shared how sweet and nice her husband is and said that he has a caring and pretty heart awwwww i absolutely love him on KMHM, i’m fascinated by his hard work! definitely my favorite actor and i’m very happy for him with all of my heart.

  9. I first watched Ji Sung in Save The Last Dance For Me and started following his drama. Really interesting that in Save The Last Dance Lee Bo Young played a one sided love towards him.

    Good luck to him and his lovely wife for the coming birth of their child and more projects for him.

  10. yay! Couldn’t have happened to a better actor, especially since KMHM wasn’t even targeted primarily at China like so many flop dramas are.

    • No Korean drama is targeted at the Chinese market particularly. It’s just people trying to make it sound better when the drama flops. “Oh, it’s because it’s made for the Chinese market.” Riiiiggghhtt *rolls eyes*

      • You’re right, actually. You never see this heavy emphasis on Chinese success for dramas that actually have good ratings and good reviews domestically, maybe because the fans don’t feel the need to make excuses.

    • It is a joint production of Pan Entertainment and Chinese company Zhejiang Huace Film & TV in which 15 billion KRW has been invested.

      So I would not say the Chinese market was not targeted.

  11. I’m so happy for Ji Sung! I watched his old dramas after I thought he did pretty good in PtB and I had Save the Last Dance on my watch list. He became one of my favorites (although I won’t vouch for quality in that drama, I still like that drama a lot.. he looked so young in that one). I think my favorite Ji Sung drama will end up being KMHM which I will end up re watching in the future..

    I don’t get the comparison with the other actors… the article is not implying he topped everyone.. smh. It just says his popularity increased.

  12. Ji Sung couldn’t be any more perfect for me! his a great guy all around. he deserves all the praises sent to him. I wish him all the best especially with his family life! I will be a fan of him and Lee Bo Young forever! I will always watch out for his project even if it takes awhile because his first child will be born this year 🙂

    thanks for the space Captain!!!

  13. I am so happy that a veteran of more than a decade is getting the acclaim he has earned.
    He is not typical in his choices, and not predictable in any of his roles. That’s what makes him stand out – this is a business where handsome blandness seems to please the most people. He has taken risks and done well – I love that he had this role of a lifetime by default.
    And, may I say, his Shin Se-gi is so perfectly perfect in all his insanity. Only JS could have made that part work. Throw in a perfect Yo-na as a bonus. I will treasure this show for a long time. It isn’t high brow entertainment, but boy does it have heart.

    • I totally agree with you. Ji Sung is a pro in acting. For me, he is the best in Kdramaland. He is just underrated and I guess he has more international funs; sad to say it won’t contribute in the ratings.

    • Oh my, i love your comment honey.
      the dangerous and sexy shin se gi is just perfect and so the others. i always smile every time perry park come in, want to hug yo seob, and don’t forget the cutey, noisy, bitchy Yo Na (love her pajama)

  14. So happy for Jisung. I was all fired up to watch Hyunbin in HJM, but ended up venting my frustration over that drama by watching its competition, and in the process getting smitten with this awesome, awesome actor. Drama-love really moves in mysterious ways.

  15. I love Ji Sung and his acting is fantastic.

    Also I am getting tired of all the pretty boy fans posting all over. Korean drama is made of more than them. Stop obsessing over them. Or obsess over them on posts that concerns them for crying out loud. All the repetitive postings about how they are so good in a area, b area etc etc is so tiring to plough through when I want to read some other viewer’s comments. Some people here have something new or insightful to contribute. There is NOTHING new in their postins- just the same OLD thing. Shesh.

    The pretty boy postings? It’s just like spam- I try to ignore and fast forward but man… it’s tedious.

    Yoona is going to be one of my favourite characters ever. He or she is just lovely. And Ri On calling himself ” oppa ” in front of Yoona- just kills me every time I remember it.

    Great job acting the parts. Intense acting and wonderful chemistry with his leading lady even though I can’t stand her screeching.

  16. Why people overreact of how much their oppas cf are. Even some fans who technically haven’t heard that LMH is not endorser of Semir anymore cited that LMH still endorser of Semir, this is about good acting and recognition. Gosh

  17. Ji Sung rocks and I’m glad he’s doing well in China. Yes, his popularity may be not be as big as those flower boys but Ji Sung is much more versatile in acting. I hope the flower boys can be versatile too and grow into even better actors in the future.

  18. I saw him in 1st in New Heart
    and I keep thinking, when this man will get popular
    and now he is geting a recognition he deserve

    and for the younger actor,well people have their own way and just let ji sung shine cause there’s always a place in sky for stars
    and just acknowledging it would’t hurt

  19. So happy for this man! He has been deserving something like this and I bet he appreciates it. My first exposure to him was PTB which I never finished but he completely won me over in Secret! He’s of course hitting it out the ball park with KMHM. It was definitely written for the male lead to carry the show and I’m glad he was the one to step up when everyone else jumped ship.

    I’m planning to watch Royal Family after KMHM finishes airing. I’ve heard that’s he’s really good in it and that it’s quite well written.

  20. JS certainly deserves the accolades and recognition. He is a talented actor and so earnest and hardworking. I wish him all things good in his career and family life.

  21. this has been a well deserved success for the man…i have been following him since save the last dance…have watched and endured some of his dramas…and i don’t know why but i have been always drawn to him and his acting…however it may seem to be weird the role he is acting…but, i really love this guy and he is a ton of talents too…and he clearly shown ’em all in his latest drama…i really hope that he gets tons and tons of offers in movies and dramas, and tons and tons of acting awards so that he can be an A-list actor in k entertainment…seems that LBY and the baby are good luck charms in his life…wish him lots of success in the future!!!

  22. Isn’t Ji Sung considered A List in Korea already? Always thought he was.

    Anyhow, I may already be delulu about Ji Sung since he is my first kdrama crush. Ji Sung Oppa foreva! There!! He’s still flower boy-like now as he was back then.

    KMHM isn’t my favorite drama of his but I still really like it. New Heart was really great!! And underrated internationally. Best of luck with the family!!! 🙂 Very happy!

  23. ji sung may not reach those 4. but i will take his acting over those 4.
    dont think those 4 will be able to pull off what JI jung is doing right now.

  24. I guess I may be the odd one out, I did not enjoy ‘New Heart’ much and dropped it like a hot potato. I don’t really paid much attention to him until ‘Secret’ came out and I think they have the best kind of chemistry as leads. As for China drama fans, they pretty much have access to online streaming or download so nothing really can stop the ‘Kill Me Heal Me’ craze. And I think they owe it to the ‘Segi’ character, everyone I know seems to be enchanted by his charisma. I hope Jisung oppa gets better soon and pay attention to his lovely family after the birth of his child. <3

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