15 Korean celebrities who changed their names for fame
It's no secret that celebrities all over the world change their names for fame, opting for more recognizable or memorable names over their given names. Korean actors and actresses are no different. While some stars change their names slightly, others choose to go for something completely different in hopes that a new name will help them to become more famous!
Below are 15 popular Korean celebrities who have changed their names. Comment down below on whether you think these stars made the right choice!
Choi Jin Hyuk was born Kim Tae Ho and used his given name during the beginning of his career. In 2010, the actor switched to his stage name Choi Jin Hyuk and soon became a household name after several successful supporting and leading roles in dramas such as Heirs, Gu Family Book, and Fated to Love You. Choi Jin Hyuk is currently on a hiatus from acting as he enlisted for his mandatory military service on March 31, 2015.
2. Jang Hyuk
Jang Hyuk's given name is actually Jung Yong Joon. The actor's stage name is taken from his manager's real name! According to Jang Hyuk, "I was cast in a drama at the age of 20 and thought I was all that. I practiced signing 'Jung Yong Joon' everyday. However, one day, I heard people call out to my manager saying, 'Jang Hyuk'. I thought it sounded pretty good, so I decided to use Jang Hyuk as my stage name." Good choice!
3. Ha Ji Won
Born Jeon Hye Rim, Ha Ji Won chose her stage name as a favor for her previous manager. Ha Ji Won was the name of her manager's first love. “When I was about to debut, the first love of my manager’s name was Ha Ji Won. I think he wanted to at least use the name of his love that was not fulfilled. The first time I heard the name Ha Ji Won, I thought it was pretty and also bold.” Ha Ji Won is currently starring in The Time I Loved You, 7000 Days the remake of the 2011 Taiwanese hit In Time With You.
4. Gong Yoo
Gong Yoo was born Gong Ji Chul and chose the name Gong Yoo because it was a combination of the surnames of both his parents. Early in his career, Gong Yoo also announced that he would become an actor that doesn’t become a burden on his parents’ names.
5. Kim Woo Bin
Before skyrocketing to fame, Kim Woo Bin was born Kim Hyun Joong. Kim Woo Bin reportedly changed his name in 2011 to avoid confusion between him and Boys Over Flowers star Kim Hyun Joong. I, for one, think he made the right choice! He has been able to make a name for himself!
6. Jeon Ji Hyun
Instead of choosing a whole new name, Jun Ji Hyun chose only to change her surname. The star was actually born Wang Ji Hyun. Jeon Ji Hyun has also gone by another stage name, Gianna Jun. The famous actress and style icon just finished promoting her new movie Assassination and has recently announced that she is pregnant! Congratulations!
7. Yeon Woo Jin
Yeon Woo Jin began his career as a fashion model under his given name Kim Bong He but debuted as an actor in the 2009 film Just Friends? under his new stage name. Yeon Woo Jin has most recently stared in the SBS drama Divorce Lawyer in Love.
8. Won Bin
Won Bin was born Kim Do Jin. Won Bin's most recent role was in the 2010 film The Man From Nowhere. He and his new wife Lee Na Young will also be welcoming their first child later this year!
9. Choi Ji Woo
Choi Ji Woo was born Choi Mi Hyang. After being discovered by MBC in 1994, Choi made her acting debut in the drama series War and Love in 1995. Afterwards, she adopted the stage name Choi Ji Woo.
10. Shin Min Ah
Shin Min Ah was actually born Yang Min Ah but changed her name because everyone kept confusing her with "Burger Girl" Yang Mi Ra. The actress has said previously that while she would have preferred to not change her name, she feels alright about adopting Shin as her stage surname. I guess new couple Shin Min Ah and Kim Woo Bin have more in common than we thought!
11. Hyun Bin
This iconic actor was actually born Kim Tae Pyung. According to Hyun Bin, he chose his stage name because it meant "shining brightly" and represented his ambition of becoming the star of all stars in Korea.
12. Han Ga In
Han Ga In's given name is Kim Hyun Joo. While the actress has not spoken much about why she changed her name, it was probably a good thing since now she won't be confused with the popular actress Kim Hyun Joo from Boys Over Flowers.
13. Min Hyo Rin
The talented actress, who is also confirmed to be dating Big Bang's Taeyang, was actually born Jung Eun Ran. She first adopted the stage name Min Hyo Rin when she began modeling for the clothing brand Flapper in 2006.
14. Ji Sung
The Kill Me, Heal Me star was born Kwak Tae Geun. Early in his career, his then-manager suggested he begin using the stage name Chae Ji Sung. The actor later dropped the surname "Chae" and became known simply as Ji Sung.
15. Han Ye Seul
Han Ye Seul was actually born as Leslie Kim (or Kim Ye Seul Yi in Korean) in Los Angeles, California. Under the stage name Han Ye-seul, she made her acting debut in 2003 and after rising to fame, renounced her U.S. citizenship and became a naturalized South Korean citizen to continue establishing herself in Korean entertainment. Han Ye Seul made a successful K-drama comeback with Birth of a Beauty in 2014.
Watch the adorable romantic comedy The Time I Loved You, 7000 Days on DramaFever:
Did you know these famous celebrities changed their names for fame? Would you change your name? Comment down below!
KD Bonbon loves dogs and enjoys listening to K-pop and watching Korean dramas in her spare time. Whenever she’s not working her 9-5 corporate job, she’s writing for DramaFever News.