Seo In-guk (Korean서인국; born October 23, 1987) is a South Korean singer and actor. He launched his singing career after winning the talent reality show Superstar K in 2009, and made his acting breakthrough in Reply 1997 (2012). Since then, he has starred in television series High School King of Savvy (2014), Hello Monster (2015), Squad 38 (2016), Shopping King Louie (2016) and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (2018).

Seo In-guk
서인국
(TV10) 쇼핑왕 루이 서인국, 거지 분장… 감독님이 말릴 정도로 적극적 (제작발표회) 서인국 10s.jpg
In September 2016
Born (1987-10-23) October 23, 1987 (age 32)
Ulsan, South Korea
EducationDaebul University
Applied Music
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
Years active2009–present
Labels
Korean name
Hangul
서인국
Revised RomanizationSeo In-guk
McCune–ReischauerSŏ In'guk

Early life and educationEdit

Seo was born on October 23, 1987, in Ulsan.[1] He grew up in relative poverty; his mother worked as a recyclables collector and his father as a welder. He has a younger sister. Seo trained as a ssireum wrestler, learnt boxing and mixed martial arts in school and is a Hapkido 2nd dan. He decided to become a singer at the age of ten, after being inspired by the Korean rock musician Kim Jung-min. He performed at family gatherings and school events, and went on to study Applied Music at Daebul University, also auditioning at entertainment agencies.[2] After repeatedly being rejected and told to lose weight, he struggled with bulimia for a time.[3][4]

CareerEdit

2009–2012: Superstar K and Reply 1997Edit

In 2009, Seo competed in the Mnet singing contest Superstar K, winning the show's first season.[5] The subsequent spotlight came with a hectic schedule of recording, photoshoots, interviews and television appearances as well as chart-topping singles and albums.[6] Seo also faced negative consequences of media attention, including rumors of plastic surgery and "cold shoulder" treatment from the three major Korean networks, as he was a cable television star.[7][8]

In 2012, Seo was part of the cast of the jukebox musical Gwanghwamun Love Song[9] and made his onscreen acting debut with a supporting role in KBS's Love Rain.[10][11] He also signed with Japanese agency Irving Entertainment.[12] He landed his first leading role later that year, in cable channel tvN's '90s nostalgic hit drama Reply 1997. Seo's portrayal of a teenage boy in unrequited love with his childhood best friend won praise from both audiences and critics.[13][14][15] He also recorded two singles for the soundtrack (both duets with co-star Jung Eun-ji), and one of them, "All For You", became one of the best-selling singles of the year on the Gaon Single Chart.[16][17] Shortly after, he appeared in MBC's weekend drama The Sons (also known as Rascal Sons).[18][19][20]

2013–2015: Japanese debut, variety shows and return to actingEdit

 
In November 2013

Seo joined the newly launched reality/variety show I Live Alone from January to June 2013.[21] He returned to the music scene in April 2013 with the single With Laughter or with Tears, the first soulful ballad from his discography.[22] Several weeks later, the song was followed by his Japanese debut with the release of the single Fly Away.[23][24]

In June 2013, he was cast in Master's Sun, a drama series written by the Hong sisters, playing a former soldier who served in the Zaytun Division who becomes the head of security for a shopping mall company.[25][26] In October 2013, he starred in his first big-screen leading role in No Breathing, a coming-of-age film about two swimming rivals, alongside Lee Jong-suk and Kwon Yuri.[27][28] He then played a dual role in Another Parting, a five-episode miniseries about a man and a woman who meet in the final moment of their lives and spend one special day together. Produced by LOEN Entertainment, the drama premiered on February 17, 2014 on Taekwang Group-owned cable channel Dramacube (also airing on BTV and YouTube).[29]

 
In December 2012

In 2014, Seo released his first Japanese album titled Everlasting, which comprises his previously released singles “Fly Away” and “We Can Dance Tonight”.[30] The album also features a new track titled “Everlasting Love” with a total of 12 tracks. The album debuted at number nine on the Oricon Daily Chart.[31] Seo later won the Best 3 New Artists (Asia) award at the Japan Gold Disc Awards.[32]

The same year, Seo headlined another cable romantic comedy series High School King of Savvy, in which he played a high school student and star hockey player who leads a double life when he's forced to take on his older brother's job as an executive at an IT company.[33][34][35] Later that year, Seo starred in his first period drama The King's Face, playing illegitimate crown prince Gwanghae, who becomes his father King Seonjo's rival in politics and love.[36]

In 2015, Seo joined the cast of SBS variety show Law of the Jungle from March to May, for the Indochina season.[37] He was then cast as a genius profiler in the police procedural/romance series Hello Monster which premiered in June 2015 on KBS2.[38] Later that year, he participated alongside other artists on Jellyfish Entertainment's collaborative track “Love In The Air” (Korean사랑난로) for the album Jelly Christmas 2015 – 4랑.[39]

2016–present: AcclaimEdit

In 2016 Seo joined Law of the Jungle for the second time for the show's Mongolia season.[40] He also starred in OCN's workplace drama Squad 38, playing a professional swindler.[41][42] The drama became the highest rated drama for OCN, and Seo won a special award or his role at the 11th Asian TV Drama Conference.[43] He then took on the leading role in MBC's romantic comedy Shopaholic Louis.[44]

On August 4, 2017, it was confirmed that Seo's contract with Jellyfish Entertainment had expired and that he would not be renewing his contract.[45] On August 7, it was announced Seo had signed with BS Company.[46]

In 2018, Seo was cast in The Smile Has Left Your Eyes, an adaptation of the 2002 Japanese television series Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi.[47][48]

In 2019, Seo was cast in the crime thriller film Pipeline by Yoo Ha.[49]

Personal lifeEdit

Military duty exemptionEdit

In February 2017, it was announced that Seo received his official military enlistment date, set to take place on March 28. It was reported he would enter his two-year military service quietly, without media coverage. Seo opted, instead, to release a music video for his self-composed song, "Better Together", written to his fans. The video was released on YouTube on March 26, 2017.[50] However, due to a fractured ankle, Seo was excused from mandatory military service just four days after entering the military and was scheduled for a medical re-examination to determine if he was fit to return to the military. His agency released the results of his medical re-examination, revealing Seo was diagnosed with Osteochondritis dissecans, a bone and cartilage condition. He was subsequently declared at a Grade 5 health rating and became exempt from military duty as a result.[51][52]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Ref.
2013 No Breathing Jo Won-il [27]
2016 I Love That Crazy Little Thing Cameo [53]

Television seriesEdit

Year Title Role Network Notes Ref.
2012 Love Rain Kim Chang-mo (1970s) / Kim Jeon-seol (2012) KBS2 [10]
Reply 1997 Yoon Yoon-jae tvN [13]
The Sons Yoo Seung-gi MBC [18]
2013 Master's Sun Kang Woo SBS [25]
Reply 1994 Yoon Yoon-je tvN cameo, episodes 16-17, 21 [54]
2014 High School King of Savvy Lee Min-seok/Lee Hyung-seok [33]
The King's Face Prince Gwanghae KBS2 [36]
2015 Hello Monster Lee Hyun/David Lee [38]
Oh My Ghost Edward tvN cameo, episode 16 [55]
She Was Pretty Himself MBC cameo, episode 9 [56]
2016 Squad 38 Yang Jeong-do OCN [41]
Shopaholic Louis Louis/Kang Ji-sung MBC [44]
2018 The Smile Has Left Your Eyes Kim Moo-young tvN [48]
2019 Abyss Alien "Grim Reaper" tvN Cameo, episode 1 [57]

Web seriesEdit

Year Title Role Network Ref.
2014 Another Parting Ahn Young-mo Dramacube, YouTube [29]

Variety showEdit

Year Title Network Notes Episodes Ref.
2013 I Live Alone MBC Cast member Episodes 1–14, 16, 26 [21]
2015 Law of the Jungle in Indochina SBS Episodes 154–158 [37]
Mari and Me JTBC [58]
2016 Law of the Jungle in Mongolia SBS Episodes 229–233 [40]

Music video appearancesEdit

Year Title Artist Video
2012 "Please Don't..." K.Will starshipTV
2013 "Would You?" Swings Brand New Music
"Pick Up the Phone" Phone 1theK (원더케이)
2014 "Another Parting" Melody Day 1theK (원더케이)

Musical theatreEdit

Year Title Role Ref.
2012 Gwanghwamun Love Song Hyun-woo [9]

DiscographyEdit

AchievementsEdit

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2009 Cyworld Digital Music Awards Male Newcomer of the Year "Calling" Won [59]
2010 Mnet Asian Music Awards Best New Male Artist "I Love U" Nominated [60]
2012 5th Korea Drama Awards Best New Actor Love Rain Won [61]
Best Couple Award with Jung Eun-ji Reply 1997 Won [62]
5th Style Icon Awards Top 10 Style Icons Won [63]
1st K-Drama Star Awards Rising Star Award Won [64]
Best Couple Award with Jung Eun-ji Won
Best OST "All for You"
(with Jung Eun-ji)
Won
14th Mnet Asian Music Awards Best OST Won [65]
4th Melon Music Awards Best OST Won [66]
MBC Drama Awards Best New Actor The Sons Nominated
KBS Drama Awards Best New Actor Love Rain Nominated
2013 2nd Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards Song of the Year (September) "All for You"
(with Jung Eun-ji)
Won [67]
49th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor (TV) Reply 1997 Nominated
SBS Drama Awards New Star Award Master's Sun Won [68]
2014 3rd Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards Song of the Year (December) "Loved You"
(with Zia)
Won [69]
16th Mnet Asian Music Awards Best Collaboration Nominated
Japan Gold Disc Awards Best 3 New Artists (Asia) Everlasting Won [32]
7th Korea Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor High School King of Savvy Nominated
7th Style Icon Awards Top 10 Style Icons N/A Nominated
KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Mid-length Drama The King's Face Nominated
Best New Actor Won [70]
2015 8th Korea Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor Hello Monster Nominated
2016 tvN10 Awards Made in tvN Actor (Drama) Reply 1997 Won [71]
Best Kiss (with Jung Eun-ji) Won
11th Asian TV Drama Conference Special Award, Actor Squad 38 Won [43]
MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Shopping King Louie Won [72]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit