K-actor Song Kang Enlists for Military Service in April 2024

Maybe K-actor Song Kang is thrilled to serve in the military right now haha, get away from all the K-ent crazy these days. The son of Netflix K-dramas has enlisted and shared two adorable shaved head photos (below) before hie-ing off to basic training. He really leaves behind such a shaky oeuvre, with hits of course but more consistently with disappointed or middling reviews of his performances. It’s hard enough already to take a break and watch younger, newer talent trying to gain a foothold and maybe even supplant you during the time away, but in Song Kang’s case what he has (tall, good looking, well-liked) is not that hard to imagine another young actor showing up with the same traits. I like him well enough and wish him a healthy service and return safely.


K-actor Song Kang Enlists for Military Service in April 2024 — 30 Comments

  1. Good luck to him, hope he has a safe service.

    Honestly he’s a terrible actor but oddly makes a convincing romantic lead in a way that many better actors in his age group do not. Can’t emote beyond ‘puppy face’ and makes me wish I didn’t understand any Korean because of how badly he butchers his speech but can still sell a romantic or comic scene somewhat decently as long as he’s placed opposite a stronger actor.

    And the 20s drama actor pool is so incredibly weak right now compared to 10 years ago (oddly this is not true for the women – plenty of good actresses with some star power in that age group), he might just get to pick up where he left off when he comes back.

    • I don’t agree with you. I see a lot of good 20s actors these days. Yoo In Soo, Kwak Dong Yeon, Choi Hyun Wook, Ryeoun, Lee Doo Hyun, Hong Kyung, Lee Jung Ha etc. Maybe you don’t know some of them,
      but there are a lot of good 20s actors. They’re just didn’t get their “hit drama” yet

      • @Olesya1 – I mean good actors in the 20s lead actor pool with some name recognition enough to carry a drama.

        Think back to like 9-10 years ago when Kim Soo Hyun, Song Joong Ki, Yoo Ah In, Lee Jong Seok, Kim Woobin, Lee Min Ho, Park Bogum, Park Seojoon, Kang Haneul etc were the established or rising drama A-list actors in their 20s starting to get drama leads and compare to now, there’s a real difference.

        @cuen I didn’t know how old Song Kang was but damn he’s almost 30?! He’s going to have a tough time after 2 years if Netflix replaces him as their ‘son’ and his acting skills are still like that.

      • @Royal – so true. All the actors you mentioned were completely a different league in their 20s compared to current ones. They were not only talented and can carry dramas on their shoulders, some of them even won Baeksangs in their early/mid 20’s. None of the current actors in their 20’s are even being nominated, let alone winning prestigious awards outside the ‘new’ categories.

        Song Kang hasn’t exactly left a strong mark other than being ‘good looking’. Some do coast on looks alone for decades so he may be able to do that. But at the and time, replacing him may also be very easy if a couple of the younger actors get a proper break and have the acting chops to carry a drama on their own.

      • @Caro – the talent pool for male actors in their 20s was so deep ten years ago and competition so fierce, that even otherwise talented and charismatic actors like Park Hyung Shik, Seo In Gook, Im Siwan, Ji Chang Wook, Kim Young Kwang, Sung Joon etc could end up in second lead roles – sometimes even after having a work that was a hit.

        And that’s not even all the names, I’m sure I’ve forgotten some. Male idols could try it but even the big name ones didn’t stand a chance then. If Song Kang, Cha Eun Woo, Rowoon etc had been competing in that pool, they would have been at best small supporting role players, not even second leads – and forget about lead roles (there’s Lee Jae Wook, Lee Do Hyun and Ahn Hyo Seop, sure, and even they aren’t in the same league as the guys from 10 years ago).

        I will say this, treating acting as a side job for idols does worsen the situation. Ten years ago it was female idols who took most of the roles for young female main leads in dramas even when they were consistently bad or mediocre at acting and their dramas underperformed – so actresses like Kim Ji Won, Park Eun Bin, Lee Se Young, Shin Hye Sun etc spent years in second lead roles when they had the talent and star factor to be leads and that situation is only changing a bit now they’re in their late 20s and 30s. Now we’re seeing something similar with male idols vs young male actors.

    • He will be in his 30s when he returns as will LDH. True 20s doesn’t have much competition but 30s is full of talented actors and actresses. If he still hopes to play romantic male leads and high school or college roles after his return he won’t have many offers. His Netflix son status might not be enough to sustain him.

      • Yeah in 2026 when he comes back he’ll be almost 32 and his competition won’t be rising stars but Hallyu stars like Lee Min Ho, Lee Jong Suk, Kim Soo Hyun and popular actors like Kim Woo Bin, Lee Junho, Choi Wooshik, Kang Haneul and Park Bogum. Just writing these names down makes me realize the huge gap between Song Kang and his peers in the 30s. It’ll be a tough road post military service.

      • He is famous more for his looks than his acting. He should be forever be thankful to Netflix cause he wouldn’t have been famous if kdramas were not in Netflix. There are some actors in their 20s like Ryeoun and Lee Chae Min who are quite goodlooking so, if they managed to have a popular Netflix drama then I can see them being big.

    • This is what I mean when I say the Korean directors, writers, editors and cinematographers etc don’t get enough credit, recognition and $$$. They can make a mediocre actor look good if he has the looks and a little screen presence.
      China is weak in that department.

    • I think it’s because of the influx of idol actors in Kdramas. A lot of roles that should have been going to young actors were given to mostly talentless idol actors whilst trained and talented young actors were relegated to small or supporting roles, struggled to get a big break and graduate to leading roles.

  2. I don’t agree with you. I see a lot of good 20s actors these days. Yoo In-Soo, Kwak Dong Yeon, Choi Hyun Wook, Ryeoun, Lee Doo Hyun, Hong Kyung, Lee Jung Ha etc. Maybe you don’t know some of them, but there are a lot of good young actors. They’re just still didn’t get their “hit drama”

    • I do know a lot of those names but like I indicated when mentioning the women, it’s talent+star power or at least ability to carry a drama that’s essential. Or at least one role that people remember the character’s name for.

      Lee Do Hyun and Lee Jae Wook are among the few who have it and even there LDH is currently in the military so can’t take advantage of the success of Exhuma.

      • Hmm, maybe you’re right.
        Which of the 20s actresses has it, in your opinion?

      • @Olesya – think like Kim Yoo Jung, Kim So Hyun (the two most famous in that age group), Go Yoon Jung, Kim Hye Yoon, Moon Ga Young, Kim Da Mi, Nam Ji Hyun etc.
        There are other actresses who are promising of course (I would put recently-debuted Jang Da Ah from Pyramid Game in that category) but these are the 20s-aged ones for whom the general Korean public could at least connect a name with a face and it wouldn’t be unexpected or new to see them as leads of a drama series.

        before the recent mess I would have said Han So Hee, she was unquestionably the It girl of her age group and had the audience and project offers to prove it but now…but yeah there’s no male actor equivalent of her either.

      • @RoyalWe GYJ, KHY, MGY are 28 though they still play high school roles and feel much younger and KDM and NJH are 29 which is basically 30. Suzy is also 30 this year. The 20s also have a shortage of actresses with guaranteed star power. The 1999-2004 line still have to prove themselves in many ways. Mostly it seems like actresses in the early to mid 20s struggle to make a name for themselves and by the time they establish themselves they are already 30 or almost 30. It’s not like in the past when PSH, IU, PBY, Yoona and Suzy basically ruled the 20s actress line. Even SSK and GA were very prominent. But even before that JJH, SHK, SYJ and KTH delivered many hit projects in both dramas and movies in their 20s. Which is why they slowed down in their 30s. These days every ‘It’ girl and boy rises and falls so fast it’s hard to remember their names and faces.

      • @curious – I was considering actresses in the same age group as Song Kang, since we’re comparing the actor vs actress situation there.

        yeah some of the names I mentioned are in their late 20s but they mostly get consistent work and high profile projects/have more name recognition than their male counterparts of the same age or even same age group.

        You are right that 1999-2004 liners mostly still have to prove themselves but even there it’s easier for me to name actresses with names I recognise (even if you remove KYJ/KSH from the equation), than actors. Like I said above, who knows, maybe the next two years will bring some breakout 20s stars who have the talent to back it up. I certainly hope it does, because on the guys’ side it looks really depressing right now.

      • @Royal We
        Thanks for your opinion) I still think what the actors I named have potential to be hallyu actors, because they can play and mostly choose good projects. Go Youn Jung became star power a year and a half ago, the same goes for Park Eun Bin, although she has been a good actress for many years.
        So 1-2 years, and I hope what we we’ll see more actors in their shining era

      • @curious
        IU and Suzy were criticized in their 20s for acting, as was SHK and KTH (I don’t even want to talk about PSH). But later most of them proved their skills.
        It’s somehow interesting that 10 years ago actresses were criticized for their acting, and now the situation has become quite the opposite

      • @Olesya – there’s an earlier reply I made still stuck in moderation but basically, all I’m saying is you mention those boys you named as having potential to become big stars but they’re not there yet and certainly nowhere near the same league as the actors who were that same age 10 years ago. To take just one example, think Lee Jong Seok in 2014 vs anyone now.

        Meanwhile in the present, it’s the actresses in the 20s who are currently more recognised than 20s actors (and in almost any given project with male and female lead both in their 20s right now it’s usually the FL actress who’s more famous). Of course there could be more breakout hits and actors getting a boost off them, I hope we do get some good actors out of it because god knows the standards for actors have dropped so steeply from 10 years ago.

        Back then it’s true was the actresses who were often criticised but like I said above, the young male actor pool in the 2010s was so competitive that bad or mediocre young actors simply couldn’t stay in lead roles the way the ones now do. Also criticism of female leads was mostly focused on idols because that was the decade when they were seen as failing upwards and taking roles they didn’t have the skills for. And from what I saw, PSH, SHK etc did get praised by Korean fans (even SHK for her melo acting in TWTWB and she scored a daesang for DOTS), it was mainly ifans who seemed to dislike them and get mad that the actresses weren’t being hated as much as their idol faves.

      • Okay, you’re right 😄 I agree with you about all of this, except one little thing. I watched Heirs when I didn’t know much about idols and k-pop, and was unpleasantly surprised by the weak plot and terrible acting of the female lead.
        After that drama I started to like Kim Woo Bin and Kim Ji Won, and couldn’t watch other dramas with main leads for a while.
        What about SHK, I watched DOTS and she was just..okay

      • @Olesya – I’m talking about kfans’ opinions from then, not my own!

        Kim Eun Sook dramas are never the best showcase of their leads’ acting abilities, whether it’s Heirs or Descendants of the Sun or Goblin all of the main leads did better than that in previous work and the second leads (Kim Woobin/Kim Jiwon in Heirs, Jin Gu/Kim Jiwon in DOTS, Yoo Inna/Lee Dong Wook in Goblin) inevitably turn out more interesting and with better chemistry imo.

        I mean, yes Kim Jiwon is a much better actress than Park Shin Hye simply because she’s so versatile, but PSH delivered better performances before that and Heirs just made her a bigger star. Not a bad deal if you move on and show better performances but keep the hallyu fame. SHK was really good in The Glory, it might sound blasphemous to say this but I think she does better when she’s not confined to romance dramas, revenge melo was perfect for her.

      • LJS and LMH in their 20s plus KSH were the trifecta of superstardom. True something like that will possibly never happen again. CEW may have 30 million followers on Instagram and SK has over 20 million but neither has impact. They aren’t iconic in any way. Even HB in his 20s was strongly criticized for his acting especially during his Millionaire First Love days he was truly awful. Bad acting can always be overcome after years of hard work and in the hands of capable writers and directors but aura and screen presence can’t be learnt. This is what is truly lacking in every single actor and actress in the current generation even in the so called popular ones. LDH is the only actor who has presence but apart from him even critically acclaimed actresses like KDM don’t have the aura and presence of someone like JJH. Don’t get me wrong I find her an extremely good actress but she and mostly everyone else lacks that special something. Is it because our consumption patterns have changed? The star factor had slowly been disappearing from celebrities.

    • @curious – yeah the current lot of 20s male actors have 0 actors who come even close to any of the actors of 10 years ago, like think how far the standards have to fall for Song Kang to be considered ‘one of the top’ in that age group! And even the now 30s-40s actors who started off as not so good actors, actually put in WORK to improve. I mean, think of Won Bin, Hyun Bin, Jo In Sung, Kang Dong Won, So Ji Sub etc, or KSH/LMH/LJS etc in the early 2010s. They had the pretty faces of course but every single one of them could be legitimately considered a good or at least reliably decent actor capable of carrying a drama when they were quite a bit younger than SK/CEW etc are now.

      Ironically, among the women there’s only one in the current 20s/soon-to-be-30 age group who has that kind of aura and presence+ can be a draw on the strength of her own name and it’s Han Sohee, who’s going to see some serious career setbacks thanks to her recent behaviour. The fact that her breakout came from playing a second lead and a mistress at that, speaks volumes – not everyone could do that. So it’s not that it can’t happen, I just think the projects that shoot these actors to the top are in short supply.

      • @Royal We, did you get to watch ALL K dramas of K actors currently in 20s? Your opinion is your opinion and I think it’s biased. Sorry to say that. No offense. I do find some actors currently in 20s have on screen charisma, no less than their seniors 10 years ago. It’s just that Kdrama are already transformed to have a greater variety of genres appealing to different demographics than 10 years ago. Rom com and melo were the main genres that brought hallyu 10+ years ago. Not anymore. It’s easier to manufacture idol-like hallyu stars with rom com and melo that have more focus on romance and relationship to woo idol worshipers, mostly female fans. But now, Kdramas have more focus on other filming qualities with a larger spectrum of audience to appeal to. Nowadays, Kdrama is increasingly globalized, more like western films in many aspects and therefore is losing idol-ish appeals to many viewers, mostly girls and women. That’s why you don’t see LMH, KSH, or LJS the like in the current 20s gen cos these hallyu stars were all had breakout hits in the genres of rom com or melo. But there are quite a few talented (true) actors out there among the current 20s, perhaps way more than last gen. These young rising actors are real actors, albeit not hallyu stars in terms of the definition 10 years ago. But IMO, these young actors have more depth in their interpretations of characters and therefore better actors than their last generation in general. For example, LMH has never been a great actor IMO although he could be regarded as the biggest star in Hallyu wave.

      • @Somebody Moving away from romcom and melo is actually hurting Korean dramas as the reason people moved to Kdrama in the first place was because western dramas were full of violence and gore. Romcom disappeared from western dramas and movies which is why CLOY became so popular during the pandemic. Squid Game didn’t get huge because of the violence but the interesting games. Too many actors being out of work and so many dramas not getting released, drama ratings falling and tv channels cutting down on the number of dramas they produce every year is all related to the fact that they can’t make profits. Even a successful and popular actor like JKH had a drama that fell through ultimately and now he has no upcoming work. Back in the day they were fewer idol actors than they are now. It’s true Hallyu actors have more idol like quality but every actor needs one big romcom to truly make it. The saddest part is so many movie actors are moving to dramas because movies are failing badly even internationally Korean movies don’t have much appeal and Parasite is truly an exception. It’s great to finally see Exhuma break the 10 million mark but it’s only one of 100s of films which have failed. It’s not a sign that the market will bounce back.

      • @RoyalWe The 2010s were a great decade and even new drama watchers are obsessed with dramas from the 2015-17 era. WFKBJ is still being talked about and DOTS and Goblin are still iconic. Look at all the fantasy dramas these days they all copy paste the Goblin or MLFAS formula with only the actors changing to younger 20s. Which makes it worse for them because people compare them to the originals and the younger ones just don’t have the aura. Actors in their 30s and 40s are still the most in demand because they stick to the old formula when it comes to tv dramas and experimental genres are only for OTT where it’s hard to fail. SHK was exceptionally good in The Glory but it’s nice to see her go back to her roots with the new NHK drama. Melo is still her forte and she knows it. Younger actors and actresses just cannot do that kind of melo anymore. Except for LDH who truly is an exception. He is extremely versatile and very deserving of praise even if his Instagram followers never cross 20 million. I’m still waiting to see what the 1999-2004 line delivers in the end but superstardom will never hit the same peaks as before unfortunately. Additionally every time someone breaks out they are hit with some massive controversy so it makes everyone even less interested in the younger stars.

      • @curious, I’ve never found K movies interesting. I tried to watch some a few years ago but they were mostly subpar. At least K movie were able to produce parasite years later. So, I’m not sure if that’s an indication that K movies are degrading as you implied?

        I believe there are reasons why kdrama are not focusing on rom com and melo anymore, mostly having to do with market share and increasing foreign investment in Kdrama production. If the domestic revenues out of kdrama are falling as you claimed in your comment, then it’s a concern to the SK showbiz sponsors. However, I’ve observed that Kdrama has an increasing foothold and greater impact on global filming industry, just to the opposite of your concern of Kdrama falling from grace. Kdrama, like her K-ent sibling Kpop, has increasing exposure on global media. At the same time, K drama has been exporting Korean culture to a larger extent than ever. I’m seeing positive growth of Kdrama from these perspectives. For many veteran Kdrama fans visiting this site for years, perhaps they’re disheartened to see the new trend in K drama production away from their beloved genres rom com and melo. But Kdrama is indeed gaining market share from other demographics.

        One reason for me to quit watching K drama years ago was exactly the opposite reason for some old fans moving away from Kdrama. Kdrama was getting comfortably boring at some point, recycling same old tropes and concepts of romance without any thought provoking or inspiration. I even found similar situation in the currently hit drama Queens of Tear. It’s hard to come up with something new and innovative. That’s what it is about how limited rom com and melo are getting.

        Years later when I picked up Kdrama again, I found it’s so fresh to have all these interesting Netflix or Disney+ produced K series. I don’t like gore or overly graphic tropes. Zombies are in my No No list. But K movies already had had this genre long ago before Kdrama started to produce Kingdom and Sweet Home the like. Aside from violence, there are way more choices in Kdrama productions nowadays than before. I love to see this development. My opinion may be not a popular opinion on this blogging site. But I believe my observation seeing from global media coverage of Kdrama and how there’s increasing global investment in Kdrama is legit. Kdrama isn’t declining bcos moving away from rom com and melo focuses, but is actually getting more popular internationally with other genres.

      • @Somebody It’s not a claim that the Kdrama industry is in a crises it’s an actual reality that journalists have been reporting on for months now. Many production houses are at the risk of going bankrupt because they can’t sell their dramas to a single OTT or network. It is a fact that many dramas still can’t be released because there are no buyers. Netflix and Disney+ are hurting Kdrama because they buy out the IP rights and not just broadcasting rights which means the original production houses can’t make any money for a project they developed. Once they sell the drama they don’t make any more gain from it. All the profits go to the OTT and this hurts the industry. The cost of actors is also going up and dramas that used to cost just average 7-8 billion won now cost on average 20 billion won to make. The reason drama episodes are also getting shorter is because it’s more expensive to make dramas. The worst thing is Netflix is now controlling casting decisions which is why we see the same 10-12 actors working on Netflix originals over and over again. The focus is on making money and not on making quality content which is why many 20s actors these days are very mediocre in terms of both talent and lack any screen presence. Flashy, dark and violent dramas doesn’t automatically equal good acting or quality writing. Even Squid Game was not a high quality drama in terms of writing when dramas like My Ahjusshi or Signal exist and this is before the Netflix boom. Older Kdramas were not all romcom and melo in fact the balance was just right. The romcoms were sweet and lovable like they are supposed to be, the melo were deep and thoughtful while the thrillers were twisty and intriguing instead of just violent.

  3. Wow hairs make so much difference. Some actors did not do that great before enlistment but had breakthrough after coming back from military services. I do think military training makes men look more mature and sexy. LOL. Wish him the best!

  4. Never fancy his acting or finished any of his works. I wouldnt say hes terrible either. Theres a lot of more talented actors in his age group that hasnt had the chance to headline a drama.

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