Due to unfortunate accidents or failing to meet requirements, some Korean actors aren’t required to complete the country’s mandatory military service. Here are fourteen actors who were the exception and why they were barred from serving.
1. Kim Woo Bin
Black Knight actor Kim Woo Bin was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in 2017 and completed his treatment that same year. Even after treatment, he was exempted from military service.
Kim Woo Bin
2. Woo Hyun
Alchemy of Souls actor Woo Hyun served prison time for participating in the Gwangju Democracy Movement and was rewarded with a military exemption for his contribution to the country.
3. Ahn Hyo Seop
Despite being born in Korea, A Time Called You actor Ahn Hyo Seop moved to Canada at seven and grew up there. Although he returned to Korea when he turned seventeen, his Canadian citizenship exempts him from serving.
Ahn Hyo Seop
4. Jang Dong Gun
Arthdal Chronicles actor Jang Dong Gun was exempted from service because he suffered from pneumothorax (a collapsed lung) and was hospitalized for surgery.
Jang Dong Gun | News1
5. Bae Yong Joon
Retired Winter Sonata actor Bae Yong Joon didn’t meet the standards required for eyesight and was exempted from service.
Bae Yong Joon | NewsPost
6. Park Hae Jin
Although The Killing Vote actor Park Hae Jin caught heat for appearing to dodge military service, he received an exemption in 2004 for a mental disorder he’s been struggling with since childhood.
Park Hae Jin
7. Park Sang Min
Possessed actor Park Sang Min suffered from a ruptured knee ligament that left him physically unable to serve in the military.
8. Yoo Ah In
Hellbound actor Yoo Ah In was diagnosed with a brain tumor and failed multiple medical examinations to test his ability to serve, resulting in his exemption.
Yoo Ah In
9. Eun Ji Won
Reply 1997 actor and SECHSKIES rapper Eun Ji Won spent part of his teenage years studying abroad in Hawaii. However, his education wasn’t recognized when he returned to Korea, resulting in a military exception for not meeting the education requirement.
Eun Ji Won
10. Shin Hyun Joon
Like Bae Yong Joon, Marrying the Mafia actor Shin Hyun Joon also earned an exemption for not meeting the requirements for eyesight.
Shin Hyun Joon
11. Jo Jung Suk
After his father’s death, Hospital Playlist actor Jo Jung Suk became the primary financial provider for his mother, which earned him a military exemption to take care of her.
Jo Jung Suk
12. Seo In Guk
Death’s Game actor Seo In Guk enlisted in the military in 2017 but only served four days. He was diagnosed with Osteochondritis dissecans, a bone and cartilage condition, that made him exempt from completing his service.
Seo In Guk
13. Jung Woo Sung
Tell Me That You Love Me actor Jung Woo Sung didn’t meet the education requirement to serve in the military. He dropped out of high school due to family difficulties.
Jung Woo Sung
14. Lee Hee Joon
Chimera actor Lee Hee Joon was exempted because of serious neck and thyroid injuries from a car accident—which happened a couple of weeks before his enlistment.
Lee Hee Joon
Bonus: Jung Il Woo
Good Job actor Jung Il Woo was diagnosed with a cerebral aneurysm in 2016, which would’ve exempted him from military service. However, he enlisted anyway and was discharged in 2018.
Jung Il Woo