[OPINION] Who Created Today’s Seungri?

Who exactly is Seungri, the hallyu star currently surrounded by various controversies in Korea?

Right now, whenever a Korean individual or Kpop fan hears or reads the 2 syllables Seungri, the first thing that comes to mind would be that celebrity who is in the news for various scandals. Keywords are likely to be Burning Sun assault, offering women to investors, illegal filming of sexual content, retirement, nation’s traitor etc. But just prior to a few months ago, Seungri was not a hated individual but a world star who’s influence was especially prominent in Asia.

Who is Seungri?

Seungri also known as Lee Seung Hyun was the maknae of Kpop’s global idol group, Big Bang. The 29 year old idol made his debut under YG Entertainment in 2006 with Big Bang to later become one of the most popular boy groups in the world. Seungri was one of the youngest singers during that time, merely 16 years old, when he stepped into the entertainment industry. Over the years, Seungri experienced various roles in the entertainment industry as singer, songwriter, actor, producer and entrepreneur.

Prior to controversy


Big Bang had their first break through in 2007 with the release of their first extended play ‘Always’, Big Bang took their place as one of the most influential artists as they focused on producing and creating their own songs. During this time, leader and producer G-Dragon was gaining more attention as fans from the group as his songs became hits setting records for continuously topping charts and sales. Some of G-Dragon’s earliest hits were ‘Lies’ (2007), ‘Last Farewell’ (2007), ‘But I Love U’ (2007).



With Big Bang’s continuously growing popularity, the group was having concerts within 7 months of debuting. As they continued to rise in popularity in Korea, they set their sights for Japan just one year after debut. During that year, the members had hectic schedules letting exhaustion pile up to the point G-Dragon, T.O.P and Seungri became hospitalized halting activities. Seungri already had an ankle injury when it was reported he later lost consciousness towards the end of a show on December 29, 2007. Later it was reported Big Bang had earned over $11.5 Million USD just in 2007. Considering inflation in 2019, 11.5 Million dollars was worth a lot more 12 years ago.

The following year in 2008, Big Bang was very successful in Japan becoming one of the groups to solidify the hallyu wave. By 2009, the group was pursuing solo activities during which each member focused on nurturing their individual talents. Seungri was well known for wanting to “shed” his maknae image at this time for a more mature look. He won his first award with his solo ‘Strong Baby’ tasting his individual success at the age of 19.


In the following years, Seungri continued his solo activities while also promoting as a member of Big Bang. He took on various acting roles, released more solo music, developed his DJ skills etc. Seungri was in some ways overshadowed by other Big Bang members in the entertainment industry. Once his hyungs went on hiatus for military service, Seungri’s popularity and activities undeniably surged.


Just a year ago, Seungri was the only Big Bang member who was not serving mandatory military service yet. As a result, his popularity was growing not only in South Korea but also abroad as the only Big Bang member ‘to hold the fort’ before he went on hiatus for his own mandatory military service in Spring 2019. He made several guest appearances on MBC’s ‘I Live Alone’ increasing his popularity as viewers learned he was a considerate, detail oriented person in addition to being a successful businessman.


After his segment in ‘I Live Alone’ was aired, Seungri was widely complimented for his successful ramen franchise company that has over 45 locations all over the world claiming annual earnings of approximately $96 Million USD. From then on, other successful businesses of the idol/entrepreneur was in the headlines like dance academy, clubs, DJ label etc.. Public perspective of Big Bang Seungri was shifting from an immature playboy often in the headlines because of scandals, clubbing and such to a mature and charismatic man. He went on to explain his tendency to pursue all forms of entertainment led him his success today as an entrepreneur in the show.

Seungri further explained on ‘I Live Alone’ that while his current businesses may seem successful he has experienced failure in previous business ventures. He stated he lost many things but learned from those incidents leading to his current identity (in 2018).


Shortly after Seungri’s image as a successful businessman continued to garner positive reception, he was reported to be the new CEO of YGX in June 2018. YGX is a subsidiary of YG Entertainment that merged with Seungri’s DJ label NHR.


For the following months until the Burning Sun controversy was in the headlines, Seungri’s popularity was at its peak. He was appearing in various shows, held his first solo tour and his first studio album was well received. The idol was holding multiple executive positions in various companies and his businesses were growing. Seungri ended 2018 with on a good note, even hosting the 2018 MBC entertainment awards ceremony with Jun Hyun Moo and Hyeri.

Controversy Recap (up to March 11)

This momentum unfortunately did not last as news about his club, Burning Sun’s alleged assault broke the headlines in January 2019. Kim posted online he was assaulted by security and police when he tried to help a female at the club. This case is currently under investigation and with so many articles with various information, the exact details has become unclear.

Soon after, news about Seungri lobbying to investors with prostitutes joined the headlines. It led to chaos in the entertainment industry as various prominent figures were identified during the investigation.

In courtesy of YG Entertainment (left) and SBS funE (right).

Park Han Byul’s husband was identified to be involved in this case affecting the actress’s long awaited return to the small screen in MBC’s ‘Love in Sadness’.


Amidst the growing controversy surrounding Seungri, on March 11 everything changed. News reported Seungri to be a part of a group chatroom that had illegally filmed sexual content. What made this worse was the report of other celebrities being a part of the chatroom. Some of the females illegal filmed were reported to be idols.  

Shortly after, various celebrities including idols were implicated as many forms of “evidence” circulated on the Internet. Hours later, Seungri declared he would retire on his Instagram which was met with derision.

Society’s role 

There are various rumors and speculations about the controversies surrounding Seungri, but this article will not be delving in that direction. Instead, the focus will be what may have led to such controversies in the first place. What makes this such a big deal would be because it forced a lot of the “dirty laundry” in the entertainment industry to become public. It’s not a simple matter of someone caught breaking the law. But of a world star as the cause of the controversies that led to implicating other influential people.

In Korea, there are many situations where superficially everyone verbally supports gender equality and put their faith in the LAW. However, behind closed quarters there’s corruption, bribery and connections that can solve many things. A common plot seen in Korean drama where a chaebol uses their power, money and influence to be above the law is not completely without a grain of truth. In reality, it isn’t just chaebols but also influential figures in all parts of society, not only in South Korea but in every other country of the world. Just a couple years ago, Korea was in complete chaos as a nation because of abused power. If you’re unaware, the previous Korean president was impeached in 2016.

Many foreigners are unaware of Korean culture that takes hierarchy, social connections, “specs” (Korean term for social economic status) etc. very seriously. For a general idea, I would personally recommend watching Misaeng (2014) starring Im Si Wan, Lee Sung Min and Kang Sora.


In Korea, there are still many people who work overtime without being able to request for overtime pay, sick leave and vacations. This is something I myself have experienced when I interned in Korea just a few years ago. Additionally, female employees are still pressured to pour alcohol for male colleagues. An example would be a scene in the beginning of episode 2 in JTBC’s ‘Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food’ (2018). Furthermore, prostitution is illegal but ‘red light districts’ do exist.

Interestingly, Seungri was previously in the headlines for having Gugudan’s Sejong pour drinks to “her favorite man” on TVN’s ‘Cheap Tour’ last October. But rather than the media focusing to criticize Seungri for his actions, it was the broadcasting company who was under fire for broadcasting that scene during “ safe hours for adolescent television viewing time.” (Note: Jung Joon Young was also in this episode)

This isn’t the first time YG’s celebrities have caused waves in the industry because of scandals. There have been previous scandals in the entertainment industry because of sexual and physical assault, harassment, prostitution, illegal drugs, drunk driving, tax evasion, sponsorship, adultery, underage drinking etc. in all areas of the entertainment world. 

Many of the celebrities who were implicated in various scandals mentioned above were able to return to the entertainment industry after a few years. This itself shows society may easily forget and forgive while failing to fix the actual problem resulting in lofty disdain for indiscretions and breaking the law.


The controversies surrounding Seungri aren’t exactly new in Korean society. Seungri’s status whether guilty or innocent doesn’t matter as much as the fact that he isn’t the first nor the last person who will be accused, indicted, investigated etc. There are others who have probably done the same things mentioned in the controversies and there may be more in the future regardless of whether indicted or not. Aside from investigating to find out the truth, I think it is important to consider what this means for Korean society and what can be done to prevent it from reoccurring in the future.

There are a lot of things I could say about Seungri’s controversies that many may agree or disagree. No doubt I would be using lots of colorful vocabulary if I was to write about it. But taking a step back to see how someone who debuted at the young age of 16 ended up becoming called out as the “nation’s traitor” 14 years later, there’s probably various factors in the entertainment industry and society that played a significant role in Seungri’s current situation. 

Passing Thoughts

Could it be Seungri’s controversies are being used to cover something even bigger? Just a passing thought seeing all the attention focused on entertainment these days instead of fine dust levels from China, N.Korea, economy etc. I suddenly remembered SBS’s drama Pinocchio (2014) starring Park Shin Hye and Lee Jong Suk. It’s a drama where the most powerful people hyped up celebrity news to hide conspiracies. (Crying because of Lee Jong Suk’s upcoming military hiatus.)



Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates.

Lee Jong-Suk Will Not Attend ‘Romance Is a Bonus Book’ After Party Due to Military Enlistment

Actor Lee Jong-suk decides not to attend the “Romance Is a Bonus Book” show completion ceremony due to upcoming military enlistment.

Image source – OSEN News database

A representative from “Romance Is a Bonus Book” told media outlets on Thursday that actor Lee Jong-suk will not be attending the show’s after party celebrating the show’s completion. According to reports, it was up in the air whether he would go. However, with his enlistment scheduled for Friday, he decided to use his time to prepare.

Lee will begin his alternative military service as a social worker on the 8th. The actor suffered a major car accident when he was young and was diagnosed with a level 4 when he had his physical examination. As a result, he will not be an active duty soldier.

An official said that he is going to spend some time with family before enlisting without any special event. Accordingly, the place and time of his enlistment are closed to the public.




By O.C


[BREAKING] Lee Jong-suk to Join Military Next Month

Actor Lee Jong-suk will start his military (alternative) service on March 8th.

On February 25th, a source told Ilgan Sports, “Lee Jong-suk will start his military duty on March 8th, and unfortunately his fans will miss him for 2 years”.

When Lee Jong-suk was 16 years old, he had a big traffic accident, which led to an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury. The injury was so big that he had to give up his dream to become a taekwondo player. Therefore, Lee Jong-suk received a level 4 from the physical examination. According to the Military Manpower Administration’s rules, a person with a level 4 physical grade must receive an “alternative” military service, which means Lee Jong-suk will serve his 2 year-long military duty as a public service worker at an appointed location.

Lee Jong-suk will leave after he finishes filming the drama ‘Romance Is a Bonus Book’. Lee will wrap up filming his parts on the 27th this month. Other cast members will also finish filming in the beginning of March.

However, he won’t take a rest for the 10 days that he has left after filming the tvN drama. He will continue finishing his schedules including shooting for commercials. Because there is an increasing number of public social workers recently, Lee Jong-suk will first begin working at a designated location, and then he will receive the basic training. The specific dates have not been decided.

If Lee Jong-suk joins the army on March 8th as planned, his discharge date will be January 2nd, 2021.


Original article
by Audrey Joung


Lee Jong-Suk Responds to Rumor about Military Enlistment This Month

Actor Lee Jong-suk’s agency responded the recent rumor about the actor’s enlistment on February 28.

On February 2, the actor’s agency A-MAN Project denied the rumor about his military enlistment. According to the agency, the rumor is rather baseless.

“He is planning to join the military sometime in the first half of this year,” said an official from the agency. “It is true that he will replace his service as a social service agent, but other things are yet to be decided.”

Earlier that day, a press media released that Lee Jong-suk is starting his social service on February 28.


When he was in middle school, the actor was seriously injured by a car accident. Due to the injury, he is to replace his military service as a social service agent.

Currently, Lee Jong-suk stars in a romantic comedy drama, “Romance Supplement.”


Original article


Lee Jong-Suk Talks about 10 Years of Acting Career

Actor Lee Jong-suk shared thoughts about his acting career and upcoming drama.

High Cut

The actor covered magazine High Cut on its January 24 issue. The pictures captured calm and sentimental aspects of the actor.

In the interview with the magazine, Lee Jong-suk talked about his character in the upcoming drama, “Romance Is a Bonus Book.” In the drama, he is acting the role as a chief editor of a publishing company.

“I think this character resembles myself the most,” said the star. “I tend to turn red when I’m embarrassed. Instead of calming myself and retaking, the director and writer wanted me to use my reddened face for acting.”

High Cut

Lee Jong-suk also talked about the age gap between him and Lee Na-young, the female lead.

“This work reminded me of ‘I Can Hear Your Voice’ and Lee Bo-young a lot,” he said. “Especially because Lee Bo-young and Lee Na-young are the same age. But I found myself different acting this role. Contrary to Su-ha, which is the character I acted in ‘I Can Hear Your Voice’ when I was 24, the character in ‘Romance Is a Bonus Book’ is rather grown-up and rational.”

High Cut

Debuted in 2010 through “Prosecutor Princess,” Lee Jong-suk celebrates 10 year anniversary as an actor this year. He answered the question asking what does he know now that he didn’t in the past.

“Now I know as far as the sizes of camera lenses. I thought it was a tragedy when I found myself estimating the frame size. Once I acknowledged the size of my face in the monitor, it started to give me restrictions. The more I act, the harder it gets.”


Original article


6 Korean Dramas to Premiere in January 2019

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6 Upcoming Dramas to Premiere in January 2019

Let’s kick off the new year by checking out the dramas to premiere in the first month of the year!

For currently showing dramas, check out our list of 7 Upcoming Korean Dramas to Premiere in December 2018.


The Crowned Clown

  • January 7
  • Historical / Romance / Melodrama
  • Starring Yeo Jin-goo, Lee Se-young, and more
  • The drama adaptation of “Masquerade” (2012), a historical period film starring Lee Byung-heon. Yeo Jin-goo acts the dual roles as King Lee Heon and the clown who looks identical to the king.


My Lawyer, Mr, Jo Season 2

  • January 7
  • Drama / Legal / Comedy
  • Starring Park Shin-yang, Go Hyun-jung, and more
  • Once a successful prosecutor, Jo Deul-ho gets to lose everything he’s achieved when he reports corruption in the prosecutor’s office. The story unfolds as he is given a second chance as a lawyer for the people.


Spring Turns to Spring

  • January 23
  • Fantasy / Comedy
  • Starring Lee Yoo-ri, Uhm Ji-won, Lee Jong Hyuk, and more
  • An ambitious anchorwoman and a devoted former actress housewife get to live new lives as their souls witch bodies.



  • January 25
  • Thriller / Fantasy / Historical
  • Starring Ju Ji-hoon, Bae Doona, Ryu Seung-ryong, and more
  • The fantasy zombie drama set in Joseon Dynasty, Kingdom illustrates how the prince of the kingdom tries to find the mysterious cause of an epidemic that’s spreading across the country.


Romance Is a Bonus Book

  • January 26
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Starring Lee Na-young, Lee Jong-suk, and more
  • The drama follows the lives, relationship, and romantic developments of people who work at a publishing company.


Touch Your Heart

  • Premiere date TBA
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Starring Lee Dong-wook, Yoo In-na, and more
  • A top-class actress and a perfectionist lawyer develop a romantic relationship as the actress gets to work for a law firm for a personal reason. The drama is much anticipated by many as the “Guardian” sub-couples are reuniting as the leads.


By Heewon Kim


‘2018 Instagram Awards’ Gives BLACKPINK Jennie ‘Most Loved Account’ Award

BLACKPINK’s Jennie’s Instagram account was selected as the ‘most loved account’ on ‘2018 Instagram Awards’.

On December 20th, Instagram announced the ‘2018 Instagram Awards’ list, which selects some of the top celebrities that have received much attention on Instagram throughout the year. The final list of celebrities is chosen based on the number of likes and comments on feed posts and stories that are shared by the celebrities.

On this year’s award, which is the 2nd annual event, BLACKPINK’s Jennie was selected as the ‘most loved account’ and she said “I am always thankful for your attention for my Instagram contents. Please keep watching my Instagram as I will be sharing more memories”.

Meanwhile, BIGBANG’s G-Dragon, who is currently serving for the army, kept his #1 spot in the ‘top 10 accounts’ category with the highest number of followers. Since 2014, G-Dragon has been the celebrity with the highest number of followers.

Other than G-Dragon, EXO’s Chanyeol, Sehun, Baekhyun, and actor Lee Jong-suk were named in the category. Lee Jong-suk, who is the only “actor” in the category said, “Because I usually can’t be involved in many activities other than dramas or films, Instagram has been the most precious platform to me as I could communicate with my fans on it. I will accept this award with even more gratitude because every single fan of mine is why I am receiving the award”.

The ’emerging account’ award was given to actress Kim So-hyun, who has been actively sharing her work and daily life through the Instagram Story. The award is given to the celebrity who’s follower number has increased the most by using a variety of functions including story and live videos. Kim said, “Thank you for giving me such a meaning ful award. I think I am receiving this award because many people have watched my Instagram with love. I will try harder to communicate with more fans’.

Meanwhile, Instagram, for the first time, selected ‘top boy group and girl group’ awards. BTS and BLACKPINK were each selected because of the highest numbers of followers.

Instagram said, “K-pop has been selected as the music genre that created the most amount of buzz from 2015 to 2017. Especially this year, K-pop stood out around the globe. K-pop dances and idol makeup tutorials were some of the top videos that gained popularity from global fans”.


Original article
by Audrey Joung


Shin Dong-yeob and Shin Hye-sun to Host ‘2018 SBS Drama Awards’

Comedian Shin Dong-yeob and actress Shin Hye-sun will reunite at ‘2018 SBS Drama Awards’.

On December 6th, OSEN reported that Shin Dong-yeob and Shin Hye-sun will co-host ‘2018 SBS Drama Awards’, which will take place on the 31st.

Shin Dong-yeob has been hosting all major 3 TV stations’ awards each year. Continuing from last year, he will once again host the SBS awards and show off his hosting skills. This year, he has been also hosting SBS TV shows including ‘My Little Old Boy’ and ‘TV Animal Farm’.

For Shin Hye-sun, this will be the actress’s first time hosting an award since her debut. Shin Hye-sun and Shin Dong-yeob will reunite as the co-hosts, since they appeared together on the 100th episode of ‘My Little Old Boy’ in August.

Meanwhile, Shin Hye-sun proved her capacity as an actress through the KBS drama ‘My Golden Life’ at the beginning of this year. Soon after, she showed spectacular performances in SBS dramas ‘Still 17’, and ‘He Hymn of Death’ with Lee Jong-suk recently.


Original article
by Audrey Joung


Song Joong-Ki and Lee Jong-Suk Are the Highest Paid Male Actors in Televison

Industry insiders have produced a list of names of the highest paid male actors on television this years. However, although there are several names on the list, there are no surprises with the biggest names getting the biggest paychecks.

Image source – Ilgan Sports

According to entertainment industry insiders, seven actors received more than 100 million won (roughly 89,300 USD) per drama. Unsurprisingly, this list comprised of Lee Byung-hun, Jang Dong-gun, So Ji-sub, Hyun Bin, Song Joong-ki, Lee Seung-gi, and Lee Jong-suk. Further, out of the seven, Song Joong-ki and Lee Jong-suk are said to have the highest salary.

Both actors are paid over 100 million per episode. After starring in the enormous success of “Descendants of the Sun,” Song is in high demand and is currently filming “Asadal Chronicles” alongside Jang Dong-gun. Similarly, Lee Jong-suk is starring in next year’s romantic drama “How to Publish Love.”

Image source – tVN

On the other hand, Lee Byung-hun, So Ji-sub, and Hyun Bin were paid a substantial amount for their roles in “Mr. Sunshine,” “My Secret Terrius,” and “Memories of the Alhambra,” respectively. However, after the first few episodes, the actors proved by they have such a high asking price.

Each of the dramas they starred in drew in a higher viewership rate incomparision to other other airing dramas at the same time. Notable, Lee’s “Mr. Sunshine” yielded an 18.1% viewership rate while So’s show always ranked in the top 10 most watched dramas. Likewise, Hyun’s program, which is currently airing, broke the 7% viewer rating in just two episodes.

All of the actors have such high salaries based on their reliable acting skills, the weight their names carry in the industry, market value, and established reputations and fans. An example of how this is how “Mr. Sunshine” simultaneous premiered on Netflix, opening it up to a global audience. Moreover, broadcasters in the U.S., Japan, and Taiwan bought the rights to air “My Secret Terrius” at high prices.



Original article

Translated by O.C