Blooming Genius: Korean Child Actors/Actresses: Part 4 (Final)

Yeo Jin Goo (1997)

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I know it’s extremely weird to see Yeo Jin Goo now and call him a child because he doesn’t look like one in any possible way but he still is a child. Teachers go through this daily. The student would look like a super model but is only 16 years old, and they have to deal with them daily. Here it is the same case. This gorgeous boy with six packs and a perfect height is only 18 years old. He’s still a high school boy. It’s so hard!

As a child actor he was everywhere, playing dignifying and royal roles (A Frozen FlowerIljimaeJa Myung Go), miserable and broken roles (Antique Bakery), and scarred but proud and courageous roles (Warrior Baek Dong Soo). Then suddenly he was no longer a child. In Missing You, he was playing the role of a teenager, sentimental, passionate, loving, funny and charismatic to the core. But he was cute chubby. He was cute just like any cute boy at his age. Just a talented adorable boy.

Then surprise! Comes Orange Marmalade. Say what? This is who? This is exactly how old? Shower scene and shirt off! No! He’s a minor. They shouldn’t do this to him and us. His transformation is scary. I still haven't watched The Royal Gambler. I’m afraid to see him against Jang Geun Suk. My heart won’t take it.

And I’ll be praying every day and night for the drama where he and Yoo Seung Ho co-star and kill me once and for all.


Kim Ji Young (2005)

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This kid is a talent ball. She hasn't reached 11 years old yet but she already left a deep impression on me. It was her role in the drama Temptation. Her jealousy and realization of the troubles between her parents turned her into a cruel young thing. She was pitiful but spiteful. She scared me. A child of 9 years old acting a role that scared me. Where did she get that hatred from?

I loved her in Punch –tears-. Her role was heart breaking. Dad is dying and at the same time getting criticized by everyone. Daughter is split between her love for her father and how she got scarred because of how people treat him. When she clings to him and start crying, no wonder Kim Rae Won couldn’t help but cry in almost every scene with her. She’s a heart breaker.


Kim Yoo Jung (1999)

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Whenever I see this girl I smile. She’s the kind of person that makes one think: ah! This is what they mean by someone born to be loved. Yoo Jung is such a child. Where do I start? With her cute and brave child roles? She played Yoo Seung Ho’s younger sister Do You See Seoul?, always following him around. He would wash her face and take care of her so kindly. You could never tell they weren't real siblings. Yoo Jung announced some time last year that she would like to play against him in more mature roles. Sounds like a love story to me. Not complaining. In Iljimae she was a little dignified lady and the role totally suited her! Her crush was Yeo Jin Goo! In Road Number One she was playful and fun. In Flames of Ambition, now that was different. The main character played by Shin Eun Gyeong starts developing in a complex and twisted way during her harsh childhood. You wouldn't understand the depth of her dark character without the outstanding performance of child Kim Yoo Jung. Not all actors can be in sync with the young versions of the character they are playing. Sometimes one does much better than the other at understanding and portraying the character. Sometimes their interpretations and therefore performances are different. But the Shin Eun Gyeong and Kim Yoo Jung were in perfect harmony as they performed the complicated character of Na Yeong.

Then she wasn't a child any longer and her roles changed. If I was 15 and were asked to star against Lee Je Hoon in a relatively romantic relationship and hang out with Kim Min Jong, who's 27 years her senior, all day talking banmal to him and bossing him around, I would faint on the spot. But she did it, confidently and charismatically. She impressed me in Secret Door, and her adult version disappointed me very much. The writer didn’t develop her and she was nothing like Yoo Jung. It was a waste of the second half of a very promising sageuk.

Love Cells was cute in every aspect. Can’t say more. She was the cutest.

Then came Angry Mom and my oh my, I love Kim Hee Sun very much. She was the first Korean actress I knew and fell in love with. She’s a versatile veteran with years and years of experience. She would make her co-stars shine, yes. But honestly, her chemistry with Yoo Jung raised the drama to where it was. If it was another child actress playing the daughter, the drama might not have turned as awesome as it did. Not underestimating any of the other cast members. It was the combined effort of all that gave us that unforgettable experience. That’s exactly why Yoo Jung mattered much. Her upcoming drama Love in the Moonlight sounds promising, with a breathtaking cast.


Lee Re (2006)

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A new child prodigy-to-be. If this little lovely girl is well taken care of, she’ll become another prodigy. I have watched her three dramas and she’s so natural, as of she’s been acting for a long time. In Super Daddy Yeol, she gave everyone a piece of her mind whenever she felt like it. She played the whole adult cast around. She was the boss. In Six Flying Dragons, where Shin Se Kyung did a really good job at playing adult Boon Yi, Lee Re played the young version, I’m sorry, in all honestly, better. It was only a few episodes at the beginning of the drama but we expected a stronger adult performance because of the powerful performance of the 10-year old child. They shouldn’t have cast her as the young version of Shin Se Kyung. Poor Shin Se Kyung, even when she does well, it was such unfortunate comparisons happen.

I’m so bad I hate myself.

In Please Come Back, Mister, she played the role of a sad character but she was brilliant at it. Rain has perfect harmony with kids (think Sang Doo, Let’s Go to School), but Lee Ra had perfect harmony with everyone in the drama. She grabbed the hearts of every single person there. It showed in their eyes.

I’ll be watching this girl grow up to be a talented star actress. Wishing her luck.


Kim So Hyun (1999)

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Hugs and kisses. Cheers and applause. Prayers and best wishes. If I were to be reborn as a guardian angel, I would choose to look after this child. She IS my favourite child actress. It is simply because she always speaks to me. She knows how to reach the heart with her acting. She doesn’t need to do much. She can stand there, act like she always does, and fill my heart with warmth. She’s a gift to humanity, no exaggeration.

She’s been active since she was 8. I Loved her in all her roles. She can be utterly cute and playful (Triangle). She can present a sensational heart wrenching performance like nobody ever did (Man of Vendetta, Missing You). She can be complicated and hard to figure (I Hear Your VoiceThe Suspicious Housekeeper, ResetWho Are You: School 2015Nightmare TeacherPage Turner). She can be mean and cruel (Rooftop Prince). She can be loving and trustful (Ma Boy). She can be pitiful and miserable (The Girl who Sees Scents). However she can never be boring. She's always convincing, brilliant and beautiful.

I’m super excited for Bring it on, Ghost. Ok Taec yeon oppa did a really good job in Assembly and is finally on track. I’m excited to see the humour between the two.


This is the last official part. If there are any other child actors I didn't mention and are worth being in the list, please do tell me. I'll  do a special edition on them.

Thank you for accompanying me on this journey ^^

See you with another article. 

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Comments (28)

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  • Reply
    RodJun828 Apr 22, 2017

    Add Kim Yoo Bin in this list and it's perfect.

  • Reply
    Lovelyinside Sep 18, 2016

    I love kim yoo jung so much she is so so beautifull .. her acting is great

  • Reply
    KMR Aug 10, 2016

    Kim Yoo Jung hit me so hard in The moon that embraces the sun. Since then I'm a fan.

  • Reply
    ines Aug 6, 2016 - edited

    Kim So Hyun is amazing, we're the same age and I look up to her a lot

    • Reply
      ParkChohwa Aug 6, 2016

      you'll be a great person as well, if you believe in yourself

  • Reply
    dapinaymrs Aug 5, 2016 - edited

    Oh my goodness. Thank you for this. You have included my fave trio: Yeo Jin Gu, Kim Yoo Jung and Kim So Hyun. The Moon Embracing the Sun was a memorable drama. I have a fondness for Kim So Hyun and she is about the same age as my first-born. She is my favourite 'child' actress, too. (I have been negligent these past few years and I haven't watched her dramas.) But oh, how they grew up right in front of us.

    Thanks for this! I am taking note of the dramas I have missed out! <3

    • Reply
      ParkChohwa Aug 5, 2016

      I'm glad you like it

    • Reply
      Eimii Aug 6, 2016

      moon embracing the sun was the first drama where i discovered those three. Now i always try to watch out for dramas they are in :)

    • Reply
      Anniee Aug 8, 2016

      Same for me too. I first saw these three in METS. They were all good and I loved them. I think I like the drama more with them. Kim Soo Hyun is my most favorite actor, but these three really made the drama a lot better.

  • Reply
    peacewon Aug 4, 2016 - edited

    It is simply amazing to have seen these kids grow up into the lovely people and veteran actors they are. i am so glad they are cast all over the place because this is the true pool of talent here. ( YAY Jin Goo)

  • Reply
    LiteD Aug 4, 2016 - edited

    THANK YOU for praising their ability to work with older actors rather than bashing the production crews' choices in casting (which seems to be happening a lot lately)!! It really does speak to their abilities as actors and to the art-form :)

    • Reply
      ParkChohwa Aug 5, 2016

      there are issues of concern of course but talents are talents

  • Reply
    Rouzmary Aug 4, 2016

    I first came to know both Yeo Jin Goo & Kim Yoo Jung in The Moon that Embraces the Sun and I absolutely loved them! Their performance was breathtaking!

  • Reply
    ParkChohwa Aug 4, 2016

    P.S I wrote this article a while ago that's why some of the information are not up to date

  • Reply
    marys Aug 4, 2016

    Yeo Jin Goo did a wonderful job in Jackpot. Although he was acting next to veteran actors, he wasn't lacking in any way.

  • Reply
    HAVA-RAVA Aug 4, 2016

    Fun fact: Yeo Jin Goo is now considered legally adult in Finland :--) He's only year younger than my lil sis

  • Reply
    Ding Dong Aug 4, 2016 - edited

    no kwak dong yeon? he is same age as yeo jin goo, it seems nobody knows him

    • Reply
      ParkChohwa Aug 4, 2016

      I do!! How could I forget him?!! I'll add him to the special edition

  • Reply
    Yamness Aug 4, 2016 - edited

    I really love Kim Yoo Jung and Kim So Hyun very much and equally! People always compare these two but I think they are equally talented and beautiful in their own way. I hope these two can work in a drama together in the future, them being friends is a great duo! Both of them as the main cast and not rivals is the best!

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