Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Late Bloomer Yoon Sang Hyun

More often that not, I tend to assume stars are born into the fame and limelight, which is why I appreciate articles like these which make them seem almost human; I'm so glad YSH made it in Korea's cutthroat entertainment industry, for Oska wouldn't be Oska without him. Thank you for not giving up, oppa.

The Representative of "Flower Men" in their 30's
It was only in 2005 the 30-something actor begin to enter the entertainment scene; through several years of setbacks and growth, he is now finally able to show off his commendable acting chops and singing skills. After what seemed to be a year of silence, he created yet another memorable role as Hallyu star Oska in Winter 2010's Secret Garden. 

Starting At An "Old Age" Is Hard
Born in 1973, Yoon Sang Hyun debuted at the age of ripe age of 32 after performing his military service and dabbling in various trades. Although most of his roles were chaebols, his role in My Fair Lady is the one that mirrored his real life the most. He has been selling fried rice at the gates of a women's university and hawk clothes in Dongdaemun Market. He got picked by an agency through a photo of him posted on the web by a friend (hc: so I guess he's an ulzzang?) 

Yoon Sang Hyun is as good as the standard KTV singer, but no matter how good he was at KTV, he couldn't perform as well in auditions. Finally at the age of 25, his mom persuaded him to give up pursuing a career in singing (hc: *sobs* must be heartbreaking for a mother to tell his son to stop persuing his dreams). Even after his acting debut, he placed high hopes in his singing career; in his opinion his singing fared much better than his acting.

But reality and dreams are always somewhat different, and when he debuted as a singer he couldn't distinguish himself from the other pop idols, so it was the acting road for him.

A Particular Phobia Becomes A Burden
If we were to pinpoint a particular reason for his poor acting in his earlier years, it would be because of his "phobia" of his female co-stars. Believe it or not, there was a time where he would blush and turn wooden in front of his co-stars. Those factor plus his lack of acting experienced made him NG frequently. That is why his performance in Marrying A Millionaire wasn't good.  
Due to his numerous mistakes on-set, after three days of shooting, Yoon Sang Hyun begins to doubt himself. He even hid in the toilet to cry and told his agency that there was no way he could be an actor. The director also had no choice but to kill him (i.e. his role) off in a car accident. That particular experience will always be a thorn in his career. If it weren't for working with his upbeat and benelovent co-star Yoon Eun Hye in My Fair Lady, he would not be able to get past his phobia. He has expressed that although there was a fairly large gap between him and YEH, she was very much mature and tentative to others. Because there was camaraderie formed between them that he was able to conquer his fear.

A Fated Opportunity
He shot to stardom with his role in Queen of Housewives and My Fair Lady. Particularly the latter show, which had recently aired in China (hc: note that this is a Chinese article, not a translated Chinese article) and it made him a household name. 

His acting remained static even long after his debut. To which he himself has frankly admitted that his earlier performances has always been imitating acting. Not until Winter Bird did he realize that an actor must work outside to what is given and not just imitating and bluntly recite his lines. Otherwise, it would spell death even for an attractive role. 
At the time when he realizes this, he landed the role as Heo Tae Joon in Queen of Housewives as a playboy C.E.O. Although he was not the main character, he gain an equal amount of fame as the protagonist's, and shot to fame. What's interesting is that he went to a fortune teller (due to his mom's advice) and the fortune teller told him that if he sang in the show, everything will flow smoothly for him. Looks like the fortune teller was right (I scoff).

His singing voice was a big hit, and from there he harbored the idea of coming up with an album. In 2009, he released two singles in Japan, and plans to release a full length album in February this year too. He's to become the first ever Korean actor to release an album in Japan.

Life Imitates Art
In the recent red-hot drama, SBS's Secret Garden he plays a Hallyu star, the frivolous playboy Oska. Although he is a playboy, he has a sincere and affectionate side of him. In particular when facing his first love, the gripping emotions vividly captured by Yoon Sang Hyun. 
The role itself was a perfect man - a guy with both money and status. Although he wasn't the lead, his character is much more dynamic and vibrant. As a Hallyu star famous in numerous countries as well, this point reflects YSH's as well since he is developing in overseas music markets.  

To prepare for this role, not only did he practice his singing and dancing skills, he also lost 10kg and because of the sudden weight loss, he often feels faint. His collaboration with Baek Ji Young, "My Ear's Candy" and "Here I Am" has receive warm response. In addition, he is also the face of Japan's NHK Korea lecture book. 

There will be an Secret Garden OST concert on the 15th this month (i.e. today!), where he'll perform as Oska on stage and interact with the audience, for filming of the finale scenes in SG. 

Credits: Chinese article by Sina, translated into English by hellochloe 


  1. I cannot thank you enough Chloe for feeding my YSH addiction! Or should I say obsession? LOL

    Thank you to Sina for that wonderful Chinese article and to you dear for the English translation. It is very seldom that we come across an English news on YSH, and when we do a lot of the info is sacrificed in the translation process.

    I represent the numerous non-Korean, non-Chinese, non-Japanese but only English speaking fans of YSH here in your blog. Kamsahamnida, xiexie, arigato, thank you!

  2. Thank you very much Chloe for such an interesting write-up on our fav man.

  3. @Jeezvive & Julee: Cheonmaneyo, bu yong ke qi, do itashimashite, you're welcome!

    I too, love him even more now and I wish him all the best for his album launch but I hope he will continue to pursue his acting :X

  4. gotta love Yoon Sang Hyun!
    Ever since QoH, *___*

    & btw, have you seen this interview?
    it's a chinese interview w/ english subs, and he goes more into his acting. :D
    It made me want to go watch Winter Bird XD

  5. @May: Nah, I have a feeling Winter Bird would make my blood boil.

    Thanks for the link, I grew up with Stephen Chow's movies; I don't think there's a movie of his I have not watch. Now I get where YSH gets his comedic chops inspiration from ;))

    And oh the Pastor! Amazing Grace! Kekeke...

  6. @chloe: yeah, same reason I didn't want to read Winter Bird, haha.

    & high-five! I love Stephen Chow too!
    I swooned when I heard YSH say he wanted to act with Stephen Chow :D
    I used to think I saw every movie he was in until I found this pirated compilation of EVERYTHING he's been in in Chinatown xD
    Now, I just have double copies of a lot of his movies :p

    and, of course, he's only learning from the best :D
    ah, making me want to go back and watch ep1 of My Fair Lady. xD
    I THINK the airport scene was ep1 too. Sigh. It has such GREAT potential at the time D:
    Not to say it wasn't good, just.. repetitive after he kept leaving and coming back );

    oh geez. I went off on a tangent again, xD

  7. LOL, that DVD collection sounds heavenly. Besides the high profile movies he has been doing lately, I enjoyed those oldies too. One of his most memorable role will always be Sun Wukong. He had such rapport with the monk (who's played by a HK veteren actor, dunno his name)!

    I don't know if you remembered that movie, there was a scene where the monk croons, "Only Youuuuu~" to SC. OMG I laughed till my sides hurt. Only Stephen Chow movies do that to me :))

    Nothing can tempt me into watching Winter Bird but I'm tempted to reattempt My Fair Lady because of the clips in the interview :D

  8. @chloe & @may now you 2 are making me crave to rewatch MFL for the nth time already! Ah Julee, how many was it again? I lost count already! =))

    Now I am having a very hard decision to make which of Yoony's (aka YSH-our love-name for him) dramas I will rewatch after Jan 22.

    I am a 1-YSH drama woman, I dont like sharing my time between so many personalities he has portrayed so I think I have to make a decision soon! :D

    I am so glad to meet new set of YSH fans here!

  9. @Jeezvive: I'm actually quite interested on his role in Keu Keu Island. But for a romance drama, I'm gonna go with Tae Bong :X

  10. @Chloe me too wants to get mu hands on Keu Keu Island, most especially after I watched that E*Star interview. Doesn't he looked so buff and golden in that drama! :X swoon!

    Yes TB!!!! But my vote for the most lovable, charming and romantic role ever is DC, next would be TB, and then Oska!

    For Winter Bird, I cant comment. I haven't seen it, just a few clips. It seems so heavy for me to take. He is crying all the time in that drama! I think my heart would just bleed dry if I do decide on watching it, so I may pass up the opportunity for now.

    Anybody has seen Exhibition of Fireworks? I tried watching it, but his character is just so bad. I was so affected by "his" callousness, so I had to stop.

  11. Dear Chloe,

    Thanks so much for loving our beautiful Yoony! I’m most grateful to you for sparing so much of your precious time in translating this Chinese article into English which is actually quite long. I have been a fan of Yoony’s for only a few months and I have undertaken to help in translating information written in Chinese available to me into English (which sources mainly from as I am a member there), like news articles, blog messages and lyrics of Yoony’s songs since mid-October last year. Besides, I also post all of our translation work in

    I’ve been trying to do my best but there’s only so much one person can do! So I can only choose from what’s interesting and/or important to me from all that have been presented or available to me. In theses couple of days, me and Julee (she’s the editor of all my translated articles who has also a blog dedicated to Yoony: have finished translating the lyrics of Oska’s new songs from SG: “Constellation of Tears” and “Liar”.

    I understand well what a brain-torturing job translation is; so I really can’t thank you enough! I have this idea: do you think we can share information and fruits of our work so that we can avoid duplicating our labor? I can be reached at I am also a frequent visitor of your blog to search for information on our Yoony although this is the first time I’ve ever written to you.

  12. @chloe: It's hard to pinpoint a favorite when it comes to Stephen Chow, but I guess I could say Tricky Brains was my favorite. I've seen it over 20 times and STILL laugh when I watch it, haha.
    20+ isn't even a joke. We play that movie SO OFTEN in my house, LOL. (at every family gathering, too).
    gta say, it's a family favorite. :D

    &&- I do remember him as Sun Wukong! In fact, I watched that just last summer! I picked out a random title and stuck it in the DVD player and it happened to be that one :p

    As for Winter Bird, I am intrigued by his character, but I don't think I will ever actually end up watching it. If I know it will be super "makjang", I'm not even going to give it a chance, haha. I already know that I can't handle it and will end up dropping the drama.

    @Jeezvive: He talked about Winter Bird so much that I FORGOT ABOUT KeuKeu Island! I ALSO want to watch that *__* I've heard people sing it PRAISE, so I'm going to assume it was pretty good.
    I've seen Exhibition of Fireworks, but I don't remember ANYTHING from it except Han Chae Young and Kang Ji Hwan. I remember bits and pieces of their storyline, but I don't even remember any of the supporting characters and how they played into the plot. *___*

    && DEFINITELY QoH for romcom! I swear, I would watch it all over again JUST for TaeBong scenes *___* <3

  13. @May and Chloe, like what Anonymous mentioned, let me extend our warmest invitation to visit

    This is our own little Yoony World! Please drop by soon :)

  14. Dear JV,
    You smart girl must have guessed who this Anonymous is - another fanatic Yoony-lover like you!

    Sorry Chloe,
    I didn't mean to be anonymous! Pardon my clumsiness! I am waishanho.

  15. Wow, I had no idea there was so much love for YSH! Thanks guys for letting me know! (LOL on Charlie's comment about YSH being more popular than Binnie on that site).

    @jeezive: Yes, I watch Fireworks on local TV from start to finish. If you wanna watch purely for YSH, I wouldn't recommend it since he's a sleazebag with barely any airtime (you might as well watch Winter Bird, at least in that he was a sleazebag with more air time).

    @waishanho: Thanks for telling me know what to call you! :D I was wondering whether it was waishanho, waishan or shanho(assuming ho/wai is your surname).

    Feel free to post my articles or news anywhere, if you want to reach me you know the add ;) or you can just post a comment in any of my posts.

  16. @Chloe Oh so you have visited already huh! Well thanks to Charlie, the silent lurkers came out :p

    I did share this article in (YSH official korean site)

    Again thanks so much! :-*

    @Shan you made laugh, yet again =))

  17. Chloe any news on the concert filming cum SG OST Concert tonight?

  18. love this topic of yours chloe i so love oppa sang hyun so much :D i wish i could also blog sometimes >.<