The 5 Biggest Korean Entertainment News Stories of 2021

squid game

Various incidents shook the Korean entertainment industry in 2021. Controversy over the private lives of actors and artists made the headlines across the nation this year, and there was, luckily, some good news amidst all the chaos. So, without further ado, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories that took the celebrity world by storm in 2021.

Squid Game
Credit: Netflix, Pan Cinema, Big Hit Music

Squid Game‘s Success

Squid Game, which was released back in September, has set the record for staying atop Netflix’s Top 10 chart for 53 days. It sparked a global phenomenon and acted as a springboard for viral memes and a keen interest in the cast and their personal lives. Moreover, the smash hit show took home the trophy for Breakthrough Series �” Long Format at the 2021 Gotham Awards and bagged The Bingeworthy Show of 2021 at the People’s Choice Awards. Plus, the show is also currently nominated for three awards at the Golden Globes.

Yoon Yuh Jung from ‘Minari

Yoon Yuh Jung won the Best Supporting Actress Award for her performance in Minari at the 93rd Academy Awards. She became the first Korean actress and the second Asian actress to win an Oscar after Miyoshi Umeki did with her 1957 movie Sayonara. This year alone, she bagged a total of 42 awards at major film festivals, including the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).

BTS Craze

This year, BTS became the group with the most No.1 hits on the Billboard’s charts after “Butter,” “Permission to Dance,” and “My Universe” topped its charts. The phenomenal boy band also took home four Billboard Music Awards and three American Music Awards. Currently, they are waiting for their first Grammy celebration after they have been featured as nominees for two consecutive years.

Controversies Over School Violence and Personal Lives

korean actor controversy
Credit: KBS, CJ ENM, tvN

School violence controversies struck a heavy blow on the broadcasting industry this year. The premiere of Dear M, starring Park Hye Soo, was postponed indefinitely and Ji Soo was dropped from River Where the Moon Rises in the middle of its run. (G)I-DLE’s Soojin also left the group after she was accused of committing school violence.

Following the finale of Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, Kim Seon Ho was swept up in controversy for forcing his ex-girlfriend to get an abortion. Kim Seon Ho admitted that he is the Actor K mentioned in the article exposing his acts and apologized. He dropped out of all of his projects except for the film Sad Tropics.

Kim Jung Hyun and Seo Ye Ji also faced major crises in their acting careers after it was revealed that they were past lovers. It was revealed that Kim Jung Hyun’s departure from MBC’s Time back in 2018 was due to his relationship with Seo Ye Ji. They have both temporarily put their activities on hold due to this scandal and are currently preparing to make TV returns as of now.

Controversy Over the Distortion of History

Joseon Exorcist
Credit: SBS, JTBC

Two of the fictional historical drama series, Mr. Queen and Joseon Exorcist, sparked debate over its inaccurate historical narrative. Mr. Queen had to suspend all VOD services after its finale and Joseon Exorcist was canceled after airing just two episodes. Furthermore, Snowdrop, which had been embroiled in controversy over its alleged distortion of history even before it premiered, is getting international attention as the viewer’s worries came true.

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Translator Esther Lee: I’ll be providing you with up-to-date, reliable Korean entertainment news. Enjoy!


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