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Kdrama Actors With International Backgrounds

BY Joan MacDonald | Jul 05, 2013 09:40 AM EDT


If you've ever wondered why some kdrama actors seem to be so fluent in other languages, it's probably because they lived in and attended school in other countries.

For example 2PM's Ok Taecyeon, who appeared in "Cinderella's Sister," "Dream High" and will star in the upcoming drama "Who Are You?" spent several years attending school in the U.S. He was born in Korea but immigrated with his parent to Bedford, Massachusetts, living there for seven years. He attended Bedford High School, before attending, Gel In High School in Seoul and Dankook University. Besides English, he can also speak Japanese, which comes in handy at his fan meetings there.

Actress Han Groo, who plays Ha Soo Young in the new drama "Scandal," moved to the U.S. with her family when she was in fourth grade. She attended elementary school in Arizona and junior high in California, earning excellent grades. Then her family moved to China, where Han Groo went to the Beijing International Art School. As a result, she is fluent in both English and Mandarin. Her career includes appearances in the dramas "Can We Get Married?" "Just Like Today" and "Girl K."

JYJ's Park Yoo Chun, who starred in "Missing You," "Sungkyunkwan Scandal," "Rooftop Prince" and "Miss Ripley" also immigrated to the U.S. with his parents. He was in the sixth grade when they moved to Fairfax, Virginia. He attended Holmes Middle School and Chantilly High School before he was scouted by a talent agency and returned to Korea to become a singer.

Kim Jae Wook, the star of "Mary Stayed Out All Night," and the upcoming drama "Who Are You?" was born in Korea but his family moved to Japan shortly after he was born. He lived there until he was seven years old and can speak fluent Japanese. He also appeared in "Bad Guy" and "Coffee Prince," in which he spoke Japanese.

Some kdrama actors grew up in another country because one of their parents is not Korean. Daniel Henny, who starred in "My Lovely Kim Sam Soon," was born in Michigan to a Korean adoptee mother and an Irish-American father. He became a star due to that series, despite speaking no Korean, and in 2009 also appeared in "The Fugitive: Plan B" with Bi Rain and Lee Na Young.

Julien Kang is a Korean-Canadian actor, who was born in France to a French mother and Korean father. Fluent in French, and English, he has appeared in several kdramas, including "High Kick: The Revenge of the Short Legged," "Goodbye Dear Wife" and "To The Beautiful You."

For some actors who spend time in both countries, Hollywood winds up being more appealing than Hallyu fame. Yunjin Kim was born in Korea and immigrated to the U.S. when she was 10. After graduating from the London Academy of Performing Arts, she appeared in American films and on television, most notably as a main character in the series "Lost." She also appeared in the kdrama "Wedding Dress" and the Korean blockbuster film "Shiri," but has focused her career on America, and is currently starring in a new American series, "Mistresses."

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