If it's seemed like leading K-drama actresses have been getting younger and younger, it's because they have been! Recent survey data by Munhwa Ilbo revealed that the average age of actresses currently starring in Korean dramas has dropped by 4 years since 2015. The industry seems to have their reasons for using these younger actresses, but at what cost? 

Looking at six mini-series currently being broadcasted on KBS, MBC, and SBS, researchers found that the average age of actresses was 26.8 years.  Kim So Hyun (born 1999) of Ruler: Master of the Mask was the youngest and Lee Si Young (born 1982) of Lookout was the oldest. Nam Ji Hyun (born 1995) of Love in TroubleKim Ji Won (born 1992) of Fight My WayOh Yeon Seo (born 1987) of My Sassy Girl, and Park Min Young (born 1986) of Queen for Seven Days were added into the calculation, contributing to the young overall age. In contract, last year the average age of lead actresses was 30.7  when averaging the ages of leading ladies Sung Yuri (1981,) Kim Ah Joong (1982), Jung Yoo Mi (1984), Hwang Jung Eum (1985), Park Shin Hye (1990) and Kang So Ra (1990).  And the year before that, the average age was 31.5, when considering the ages of Kim Sun Ah (1975), Park Soo Ae(1979), Jang Na Ra (1981), Lee Yeon Hee (198), UEE (1988), and Kang Sora (1990). 

Among the reasons broadcasters have given for this decrease in age are that is is cheaper to hire younger, less experienced actresses, the public is looking for fresh new faces, and there's now a greater focus on the male lead's character.

But what are some of the concerns of hiring younger actresses? For one, many people are disturbed by the large age gap between several of the recent male and female leads, especially when the female lead is still a minor in real life. Another concern is that the quality of the drama decreases when starring roles are given to inexperienced actresses. And finally, it may send a negative message about ideal female standards of beauty being rigidly tied to youth.

Are you concerned about the decrease in age of K-drama female leads? Or do you think age is just a number and we should be more focused on talent? Comment below!