top 10 kdrama actors 2009Not in any particular order, but I tried to stick mostly to actors who have been active recently - i.e. Lee Min Ho is not here because he has been mystifyingly quiet ever since his Boys Over Flowers role (though finally there have been recent rumors of an upcoming project). Continue Reading to learn more about these ten up-and-coming leading men of the Kdrama scene.

lee seung gi top10 2009

1. Lee Seung Gi

Previously best known as a pop singer, Lee Seung Gi had only two extremely minor drama roles to his name before taking on the role of spoiled rich boy Sun Woo Hwan in Shining Inheritance (aka Brilliant Legacy). His compelling, nuanced performance in that hit drama shot him to instant adoration and won him Hot Male Drama Star at the 2009 MNET awards, firmly ensconcing him as one of the more talented singers-turned-actors. It remains to be seen whether his next role will capitalize on that success and further validate him as an actor, but for now, he is certainly possessed of great popularity and, in my opinion, acting talent.

jang geun seuk top10 2009

2. Jang Geun Seuk

Best known previously for his wooden performance as television's most well-known Emo Prince in Hong Gil Dong (in his defense, the role of Lee Chang Hwi gave him absolutely nothing - I've always envisioned the director actually telling him to be as expressionless as possible), Jang Geun Seuk's star is on the rise with his lead role in currently-airing You're Beautiful. While the drama has failed to quite hit the big-time as far as ratings go, being consistently defeated by ratings giant Iris, it has attained solid status as a mania hit. Fans are going crazy in particular over Jang Geun Seuk's spot-on performance as arrogant, neurotic pop star Hwang Tae Kyung.

yoon sang hyun top10 2009

3. Yoon Sang Hyun

One of several actors catapulted to popularity by the highly successful Queen of Housewives, Yoon Sang Hyun followed it up with the lead role in the much-buzzed about Take Care of the Young Lady, where he more than held his own opposite Yoon Eun Hye. While that drama wasn't quite the smash hit that had been hoped for, it did garner YSH much attention for his good looks, charisma, and screen presence (if there was one thing that Take Care of the Young Lady was lacking, it was not a stellar cast). I, along with many other people, am excited to see what he does next.

bae soo bin top10 2009

4. Bae Soo Bin

A virtual unknown until the smash hit that was Shining Inheritance (aka Brilliant Legacy), Bae Soo Bin made quite a wave as sexy restauranteur and all-around-good-guy Park Jun Se in the drama, stealing many viewers' hearts away from main male lead Lee Seung Gi. Currently heading his own drama, provocative melodrama Angel's Temptation, Bae Soo Bin is an interesting addition to the array of potential future stars.

jung il woo top10 2009

5. Jung Il Woo

Take Care of the Young Lady did not do Il Woo quite as many favors as it did Sang Hyun - it was supposed to solidify Il Woo's status as a talented young hearthrob/star, but aside from the drama itself not being quite as popular as expected (it couldn't quite break the 20% ratings roof), Il Woo's role in it was also paper-thin and (dare I say it?) quite boring. As staid lawyer Lee Tae Yoon, he was able to display none of the youthful charisma which launched him into the public eye in 2006's Unstoppable High Kick or the acting chops which won him acclaim in his lead role as Iljimae in 2009's The Return of Iljimae. It did, however, raise his profile further, so as of right now he is hovering just on the edge of mainstream stardom, and hopefully his next role will propel him forward.

Chae Seung Won top10 2009

6. Cha Seung Won

Although he has appeared as the lead before in dramas such as Bodyguard and Angel's Kiss, Cha Seung Won's star was pretty much under the radar until earlier this year, when he snagged the lead role opposite Kim Sun Ah in City Hall. Bringing a whole new meaning to the word "charismatic" as the brilliant, emotionally distant politician Jo Gook in the highly successful drama. He stirred both the hearts of ajumas and the younger girls alike. His next drama is set to be the perennially-postponed Fashion King opposite Nam Gyu Ri, but in the meantime he will appear in high-profile war film Into the Gunfire alongside Kwon Sang Woo.

jung joon ho top10 2009

7. Jung Joon Ho

Jung Joon Ho is apparently one of those actors who waits until he's in his thirties to make it big, because after heading highly succesful romcom Last Scandal in 2008, he was offered the jackpot of all acting jobs, the role of secret agent Jin Sa Woo opposite Lee Beung Hun in Iris, the year's most anticipated drama . Effortlessly transitioning from Last Scandal's warm-hearted movie star to Iris's coldly efficient (and cold-blooded) special agent, Joon Ho has shown both the professionalism and the versatility of a true star. It will be exciting to see what he does next.

oh ji ho top10 2009

8. Oh Ji Ho

Another actor who made quite a splash in Queen of Housewives earlier this year, Oh Ji Ho has, like Jung Joon Ho, been acting in dramas for quite some time, but is only now in his thirties reaching mainstream fame. He can next be seen in the Lee Da Hae/Jang Hyuk headed Chuno, which is set to premiere in December. The drama can only capitalize on Ji Ho's Queen of Housewives success as he goes from QoH's good-natured businessman to a violent slave in one of the year's most anticipated dramas.

park hae jin top10 2009

9. Park Hae Jin

Relatively new on the drama scene, Park Hae Jin first appeared in 2006's Famous Princesses, for which he won several acting awards. His role in East of Eden, however, is what really brought him to the spotlight, winning him Popular Male Star and Male Newcomer Awards for his performance as Myung Hun, Song Seung Hun's real brother. The popularity of that drama enabled him to get the lead role in manhwa adaptation Hot-Blooded Salesman opposite Chae Jung Ahn of Cain and Abel, which is currently pulling in decent if unexceptional ratings. I look forward to seeing more of him.

Kim bum top10 2009

10. Kim Bum

Kim Bum wasn't supposed to be on this list. He should have be on the list of "already made it stars", the ones who are popular enough to have made a solid career and have their pick of dramas/entertainment options. Unfortunately, after the wild success of Boys Over Flowers, Kim Bum's next drama, Dream, was a relative flop, pulling in ratings just high enough to get it through its 20-episode run. And now, with him dropping out of his film role in 71, it's up to his other film Bisang, which premieres in December, to determine whether he can move beyond his Boys Before Flowers role.

In summary,

I find Yoon Sang Hyun, Jang Geun Seuk, and Cha Seung Won to have the most potential and screen presence out of this round-up, as well as Oh Ji Ho and Jung Joon Ho based on the little I've seen of them. The others have made waves but I am slightly more skeptical about their ability to follow through and make a truly successful and versatile career. Regardless, it will be interesting watching them.

Agree? Disagree? Who did I miss?

(Side note: Dramabeans had an interesting article on The men of Queen of Housewives some time back.)