K-Rush of the Week: Kang Tae-oh

Updated: Aug 30


The breakout star of “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” may have a grand moment now, but he’s been around k-drama longer than you think.


After graduating as a film major from Konkuk University, his striking looks landed him a spot on the k-pop boyband 5urprise along with fellow actor Seo Kang-joon. That’s right, your new favorite actor was trained as an idol first! Then in 2013, he debuted in the web drama “After School: Lucky or Not” and since then has acted in both major and small roles for over a decade. His efforts have also started to win awards, from the Rising Star Award at the 2017 Asia Artist Awards to various Best New Actor awards in Korea. He’s also the first Korean to bag a major acting award in Vietnam!


Forever Young (2014)


Kang Tae-Oh may be one of the brightest k-drama stars now, but he shot to stardom in Vietnam first.


Kang played Lee Joon-soo in the hit 2014 drama “Forever Young,” which was co-produced by Korean and Vietnamese companies. He won a Best Actor trophy at the Vietnam Drama Awards, becoming the first Korean actor to do so. So popular was he when the drama ended that he even earned the nickname “The Prince of Vietnam.”


My First First Love (2019)


Kang flexed his comedic chops as Hoon in both seasons of this Netflix show. Hoon had been chased out of his home by his father because he wanted to pursue life as a musician, and now is stuck living with four other friends. Paired with Oh Ga-rin (Choi Ri), the silly couple turned out to be one of the funniest pairings in the show.


Run On (2020)


Kang plays Lee Young-hwa, an art student whose work interests second lead Seo Dan-ah (Girls' Generation's SooYoung) and eventually falls for her. But as he’s a much younger guy, she can’t seem to take him seriously even if she’s obviously attracted to him. Will he ever get past the wall Dan-ah built around herself, or is he doomed to spend the rest of his life hanging out with his new housemate Ki Seon-gyeom (Im Si-wan) and best friend Go Ye-chan (Kim Dong-young)?


KBS Special (2021)


As one of ten offerings of the yearly KBS Drama Special, the single-episode “The Effect of a Finger Flick on a Breakup” is a simple reminder that all relationships deserve effort and work to keep them going.


Here, Kang Tae-oh plays Cha Min-jae, a longtime boyfriend who takes his girlfriend for granted. One night, his girlfriend abruptly leaves him after a particularly insensitive incident. Cha is taken aback and spends the next few weeks figuring out where he went wrong. But by the time he realizes his mistake, she’s already enjoying the attention of another man. Will it be too late for this longtime couple? Or will they be able to give their love a second chance?


The Tale of Nokdu (2019)


In this genderswap historical drama, Kang plays Cha Yool-moo, a sly seducer of women. But underneath his intelligent and charming exterior is an ambitious man who can ruthlessly hurt anyone who stands in his way. Despite his villainous character, Kang did share great chemistry with his co-stars (even earning a Best Couple nom with co-star Jang Dong-yoon), and even became one of the dark favorites of the show.



Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022)


Kang is perfect as Lee Joon-ho, who seems to be in the running for both employee of the month and office crush at Hanbada law firm. Charming, kind, and forthright, Kang is smitten by neurodivergent genius lawyer Woo Yong-woo (Park Eun-bin).


Lee Joon-ho is getting a lot of love from fans of the ongoing drama, and we don’t blame them. We’re all wondering if men like him exist in real life or if he will remain every girl’s elusive spade-toothed whale (the world’s rarest).


Which role or drama of his is your favorite?

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