The mandatory Korean Military Service was established in 1957. It requires all male citizens in the country aged 18–28 to enlist in the military for a certain period of time. This does not exempt Korean male stars; popular actors such as Lee Min-ho, Kim Soo-hyun, Hyun Bin, and Song Joong-ki have all undergone the military service.
South Korea is among the countries with the longest military serving periods, along with North Korea, Israel, and Singapore. The period that these male citizens have to serve depends on their military branch and/or their profession, but it’s usually between one year and six months to three years.
Below is the list of Korean male actors who are currently serving in the military and their discharge dates, including those who are scheduled for enlistment within this year.
- Real Name: Ahn Byeong-ho
- Birthday: January 7, 1991
- Enlistment Date: April 30, 2019
- Discharge Date: November 29, 2020
Ahn Woo-yeon is a rookie in the television industry. He has appeared in dramas such as My First Time (2015), Jealousy Incarnate (2016), Strong Woman Do Bong-soon (2016), Hello, My Twenties! 2 (2017), and The Banker (2019).
- Real Name: Lee Jong-suk
- Birthday: September 14, 1989
- Enlistment Date: March 8, 2019
- Discharge Date: January 2, 2021
Debuting in 2005 as a runway model, Lee Jong-suk was the youngest male model to take part in Seoul Fashion Week. In 2012, he appeared in School 2013, where he became a breakout star. He has played memorable roles in dramas like I Can Hear Your Voice (2013), Doctor Stranger (2014), Pinocchio (2014–2015), While You Were Sleeping (2017), and Romance Is a Bonus Book (2019).
- Real Name: Lee Won-geun
- Birthday: June 27, 1991
- Enlistment Date: June 13, 2019
- Discharge Date: January 7, 2021
Lee Won-geun first appeared in the 2012 historical series The Moon Embracing the Sun. He then went on to appear in many dramas such as Passionate Love (2013–2014), Hyde Jekyll, Me (2015), and Queen of Mystery (2017).
- Real Name: Ji Yoon-ho
- Birthday: March 16, 1991
- Enlistment Date: June 13, 2019
- Discharge Date: January 7, 2021
Ji Yoon-ho is more popularly known for his antagonist role in the 2016 romance drama Cheese in the Trap. He played the obsessed stalker of the main character Hong Seol (played by Kim Go-eun). He has appeared in other series such as Faith (2012), High School King of Savvy (2014), and Sweet Stranger and Me (2016).
- Real Name: Choi Tae-joon
- Birthday: July 7, 1991
- Enlistment Date: August 1, 2019
- Discharge Date: May 18, 2021
Choi Tae-joon started in the industry as a child actor, playing the young Lee Kyung-ho (Jo In-sung) in the 2001 series Piano. He went on hiatus from 2002 to 2010. Since then, he has appeared in series such as Padam Padam (2011–2012), The Lord of Dramas (2012), A Girl Who Sees Smells (2015), and Exit (2018).
- Real Name: Hong Jong-hyun
- Birthday: February 2, 1990
- Enlistment Date: December 2, 2019
- Discharge Date: June 17, 2021
Hong Jong-hyun entered the industry as a professional model back in 2007, venturing into the acting profession with his debut film Lovers (2008). He is more popularly known with his villain role in the 2016 fantasy sageuk (historical drama) Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo as the wicked Wang Yo.
- Real Name: Yang Se-jong
- Birthday: December 23, 1992
- Enlistment Date: May 12, 2020
- Discharge Date: November 15, 2021
Yang Se-jong is the breakout star of the 2017 romance drama Temperature of Love. His performance won him three Best New Actor distinctions at various award ceremonies, including the prestigious Baeksang Arts Awards. He starred in other popular series such as in Dr. Romantic (Seasons 1 & 2, 2016–2017, 2020), Saimdang, Memoir of Colors (2017), Still 17 (2018), and My Country: The New Age (2019).
- Real Name: Woo Do-hwan
- Birthday: July 12, 1992
- Enlistment Date: July 6, 2020
- Discharge Date: January 5, 2022
Woo Do-hwan caught the hearts of both the media and the audience with his most recent role in the 2020 fantasy romance series The King: Eternal Monarch as the duo doppelgangers Jo Yeong and Jo Eun-seob. Before that, he has already starred in many series, such as Save Me (2017), Mad Dog (2017), Tempted (2018) and My Country: The New Age (2019).
- Real Name: Park Sun-ho
- Birthday: May 9, 1993
- Enlistment Date: August 10, 2020
- Discharge Date: February 9, 2022
Park Sun-ho is an actor, model, and singer. He was a contestant in the Mnet survival program Produce X 101 (2019). He made his acting debut in Golden Rainbow (2013–2014) and was last seen in the crime thriller Rugal, which aired this year.
- Real Name: Park Bo-gum
- Birthday: June 16, 1993
- Enlistment Date: August 31, 2020
- Discharge Date: April 30, 2022
Park Bo-gum made a notable portrayal of a psychopath lawyer in the series Hello Monster (2015). He then landed one of the lead roles in Reply 1988 (2015–2016), where he played a genius Go player. One of his most memorable roles is a Joseon Crowned Prince in the romance sageuk (historical series) Love in the Moonlight (2016). He was the first actor to land the top spot in the Korea Power Celebrity list by Forbes. His pre-enlistment drama Record of Youth is currently airing on tvN and Netflix.
No Official Dates (To enlist this year):
- Real Name: Kim Ji-soo
- Birthday: March 30, 1993
Ji Soo is comically known as the King of Second Leads among his fans for his roles in many romance series where the main female lead never chooses his character in the end. Now, he is currently playing one of the lead roles in a romance series, acting alongside Im Soo-hyang and Ha Seok-jin. In When I Was the Most Beautiful, his character rivals his brother as they harbor the same romantic feelings towards one girl. He is known for his past “second-lead” roles in many famous series such as Moon Lovers: Scarlet Ryeo (2016), Doctors (2016), and Strong Girl Do Bong-soon (2017).
- Real Name: Jang Ki-yong
- Birthday: August 7, 1992
Jang Ki-yong entered the industry as a model. He began his acting career with his debut series It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014), but he gained attention in the fantasy romance series Go Back Couple (2017) as Jang Na-ra’s other love interest. He appeared in other popular series as well, including Beautiful Mind (2016), My Mister (2018), Touch Your Heart (2019), Search: WWW (2019), and the most recent, Born Again, which aired this year.
- Real Name: Kim Myung-soo
- Birthday: March 13, 1992
Known by his stage name L, Kim Myung-soo is a singer-actor who debuted as the vocalist of the boy band Infinite. He made his acting debut in the Japanese drama Jiu – Special Investigation Team (2011) and has appeared in many South Korean dramas since then, including Master’s Sun (2013), My Lovely Girl (2014), and Ms. Hammurabi (2018). He is best known for his roles in the fantasy romance series Angel’s Last Mission: Love (2019) and Welcome (2020).
- Real Name: Kim Dong-jun
- Birthday: February 11, 1992
Kim Dong-jun debuted as a member of the boy band ZE:A. He made his acting debut in the series Prosecutor Princess (2010). He has taken on roles in many popular series such as Black (2017), About Time (2018), and Chief of Staff (Seasons 1 & 2, 2019). He is currently starring in the romance series More Than Friends, which aired on September 25.
- Real Name: Lee Seung-hwan
- Birthday: October 12, 1993
Another idol turned actor, Seo Kang-joon debuted in the industry as a member of the boy group 5urpise. He made his official acting debut in the series The Suspicious Housekeeper (2015), but he is more known for his role as the second love interest of Kim Go-eun in the 2016 series Cheese in the Trap. He then went on to star in many popular series such as Entourage (2016) and Are You Human? (2018). His recent lead role is in When the Weather Is Fine (2020), where he starred alongside Park Min-young.