Korean actors typically get paid per episode for dramas. The Korean Actors and Broadcasting Worker’s Union divided the actors from grade 6 to grade 18 (similar to America’s A-list, B-list, etc. actors). However, as more Korean dramas have been exported overseas, the value of the dramas and actors skyrocketed. It’s often difficult to give a label to Korean actors now until the system is edited.
As of right now, these are the highest-paid male actors (by episode) that we know of.
5. Lee Jong Suk (for While You Were Sleeping)
Lee Jong Suk earned a whopping ₩120 million KRW~₩130 million KRW which is about $109,499 USD~$118,624 USD per episode for the hit While You Were Sleeping.
Supposedly he earned about ₩100 million KRW (about $91,249 USD) for Romance is a Bonus Book.
4. Lee Seung Gi (for Vagabond)
Lee Sung Gi also earned ₩120 million KRW~₩130 million KRW ($109,499 USD~$118,624 USD) per episode for his series, Vagabond.
He supposedly earned over ₩100 million KRW (about $91,249 USD) for A Korean Odyssey.
3. Lee Byung Hun (for Mr. Sunshine)
Lee Byung Hun earned around ₩150 million KRW (about $136,874 USD) per episode for the groundbreaking Mr. Sunshine.
He also earned over ₩100 million KRW (about $91,249 USD) all the way back in 2009 for his role in Iris.
2. Song Joong Ki (for Arthdal Chronicles)
To no one’s surprise, the Netflix actor Song Joong Ki warned ₩180 million KRW (approximately $164,250 USD) per episode for the highly funded Arthdal Chronicles.
1. Bae Yong Joon (for The Legend)
Finally, veteran actor Bae Yong Joon dominates the charts with his amazing ₩250 million KRW (about $228,123 USD) per episode for The Legend. The record continues to stand even after all these years.