Kim Hyun-Joong is a South Korean entertainer, actor, singer, dancer, and the leader and main rapper of boyband SS501. Kim is well known for his role as Yoon Ji-hoo in the 2009 Korean drama Boys Over Flowers, and as Baek Seung-jo in Playful Kiss.
As a young kid, Kim excelled in his studies. He won countless math and art competitions and often ranked first or second in his school, that his parents did not think he would become an artist. During his school days, Kim was introduced to music and played bass guitar in a band. He dropped out of school when he decided to become a singer. After SS501's debut, nevertheless, Kim returned to school and graduated in 2006.
Initially he was to debut in a five-member group, of which Han Yeon of B2Y (now disbanded) was to be the leader and Kim the youngest member. During 2001 and 2002, while working as a waiter in a family restaurant located at Jamsil-dong, Kim was introduced to a CEO of a new set up management company. While the group underwent training together, they were asked by their company to debut in China as a Hallyu project group, but they rejected the offer and disbanded. Kim proceeded to audition for DSP Media (formerly DSP Entertainment) and became a member and the leader of SS501.
In 2011 Kim enrolled in Chungwoon University to study stage production management. He, then, enrolled into Kongju Communication Arts (KCAU) to study applied music in February 2012.
Kim made his entertainment debut with SS501 on 8 June 2005, along with their debut album entitled Warning. Their second mini album, Snow Prince was released in late 2005. During this time, they also established their official fan club name, "Triple S", and its colour, pearl green.
The group earned popularity right away as they won many rookie awards after debut. In fact, SS501 has had their first variety show, SS501 M!Pick by MNET, documenting their pre-debut days and three months after their debut. At the same time, SS501 also appeared on the 2006 show Thank You For Waking Me Up, which proved Kim to be a heavy sleeper.
SS501 soon promoted their first studio album S.T 01 Now. In late 2007, they expanded their activities in the Japanese market to challenge themselves outside Korea with the release of their Japanese single Kokoro. Within one year in Japan, they received the Newcomer Award by Japan Gold Disc Award in January 2008; this was the first time for Korean artists to receive this award.
Having built their foundation as artists in Japan and Korea, they continually released singles and albums back-and-forth such as Deja Vu in Korea and Lucky Days in Japan, both released in 2008.
In May 2008, Kim joined the cast of We Got Married along with Hwangbo. Known as the 'Lettuce Couple', they won MBC's Best Couple Award. The couple made their official exit from the show in 14 December 2008 due to scheduling conflicts with Boys Over Flowers.
While working in Japan in 2008, Kim was cast for his first lead-acting role as Yoon Ji-hoo in the Korean drama Boys Over Flowers, a role for which he won the 'Best Actor Award' at the Seoul International Drama Awards 2009 and the 'Popularity Award' at the 45th Baeksang Arts Awards. Because of his drama work load, Kim, along with his bandmate Park Jung-min who starred in a musical at the time, were absent for SS501's U R Man album.
In 2009-2010, SS501 released All My Love, Solo Collection, Rebirth and Destination consecutively before their contracts ended. In September 2009, Kim was diagnosed with H1N1 during promotional activities in Yokohama, Japan for Boys Over Flowers. He was treated in a Tokyo hospital and was discharged on 15 September 2009. While recovering from H1N1, he could not attend the Seoul International Drama Awards; so his SS501 band mates, Heo Young-saeng, Kim Kyu-jong and Kim Hyung-jun accepted the award on his behalf.
On 19 June 2010, Kim appeared at a concert in the Philippines alongside BEAST for the 'K-Pop Meets P-Pop: Kim Hyun Joong and Beast Live in Manila' at the Araneta Coliseum. Nine days later, the news that Kim had officially left DSP Media and joined Bae Yong-joon's KeyEast Entertainment was announced. He was also invited to perform "Sunshine Again" with four other singers from Chinese-speaking countries at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou as the representative of South Korea.
Kim played the leading role of Baek Seung-jo in the drama Playful Kiss, a Korean adaptation of the Japanese manga Itazura na Kiss. Baek Seung-jo is an all-around perfect genius with an IQ of 200, who ends up falling in love with Oh Ha-ni, played by Jung So-min. Because of the drama's success in Korea, Playful Kiss was broadcast in China.
In May 2011, Kim named his official solo fanclub Henecia, a combination of "H" (as in Hyun-joong) and "benecia" (or "blessed" in Latin). He released his solo debut mini album Break Down on 7 June 2011 produced by Steven Lee.
Kim released his second mini album Lucky on 11 October. In the same month, Kim released a digital single for "The Magic of Yellow Ribbon" together with Seohyun, a theme song for The Face Shop commercial.
In November 2011, Kim won the 2011 KIA Soul People's Choice Style Icon Award for the third consecutive year. Later on, Kim signed a deal with Universal Music Japan for his Japan-based music activities. By the end of the year, Kim won the award for Best Male Solo Artist at the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards held in Singapore. He, then, released another digital single "Marry You / Marry Me" on 15 December.
On 25 January 2012, Kim moved to Japan and released his first Japanese single "Kiss Kiss / Lucky Guy", which consists of Japanese versions of his singles from his two Korean mini albums and one original Japanese song.
The singer, who had mostly focused on promoting his albums after his second drama Playful Kiss had come to an end in 2010, was cast for the upcoming drama City Conquest, an adaptation from the original comic by author Shin Hyung Bin. Kim portrayed the main character of Baek Mir, a wild and strong man who experienced many hardships and difficulties throughout his life.
Only a few days before filming for City Conquest began in Japan, Kim released his second Japanese single Heat on 4 July with lead tracks "Heat" and "Let's Party".
Two months after he won the Best Asian Artist Award at the 2012 Asia Song Festival, Kim announced during his promotional event for City Conquest and his Japanese fanclub Henecia Japan's first anniversary celebration his upcoming first full-length album release in Japan. Universal Music Japan also released its further information via Kim's Japanese website the day after.
Unlimited was finally released on 12 December, which consists of 14 tracks including the Japanese versions of "Break Down" and "Lucky Guy".
Kim participated in being a model for Madame Tussauds' display in November 2012. The museum created an accurate life-size wax model of him to be displayed at Madame Tussauds' studio in Busan on 21 December. The figure was said to have cost 200 million KRW (approximately US$186,000) and was built after 500 measurements were taken.
In February2013, it was rumoured that City Conquest had been rejected by KBS for the reason that it 'lacked in quality'. The producers of the drama argued that KBS decided not to air it without any words of apology or explanation to the producers and fans even after following KBS's requirements and requests. Instead, the team accused KBS of having political reasons for pulling out the drama, which KBS denied. After some time, it was announced that Kim will be withdrawing from the drama and is planning to start in another drama later in the year instead.
In March Kim received the Creator's Factory Best Actor Award for the music video "Lucky Guy" at the Fifth Okinawa Music Festival.
Kim made his comeback in a Korean variety show after a long while. He was cast on SBS variety show Barefooted Friends with Kang Ho Dong, which first aired on 21 April. Despite having a show, Kim released his third Japanese single "Tonight" on 5 June.
During his birthday on 6 June, Kim released "What It Means To Be Alive" digital single as a present to his fans. A few days later, KeyEast stated that he will be releasing his third mini album Round 3 on 22 July. Jay Park and Dok2 participated in the lyric-making and performing in tracks "Unbreakable" and "Your Story" respectively. In addition, while Lyle Beniga and Keone Madrid choreographed the former and the latter tracks respectively, Steven Lee participated in the album once again.
By the end of the October, Kim exited Barefooted Friends due to his new KBS drama Inspiring Generation, which started filming in November in China. The action drama, depicting the story of love and friendship of fighters from Korea, Japan and China, received much attention from the Asia market prior to its airing. Inspiring Generation premiered on 15 January 2014. Throughout the dramas successful run Kim received acclaim for his improved acting skills in a more mature role.
He enlisted in the army for South Korea's mandatory military service on 12 May 2015 as a border patrol. He was officially discharged on 11 February.
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