Get To Know Korean Entertainer and Westler Kang Ho-dong

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Let’s Find Out More About Comedian From South Korea Under the Subsidiary of SM Entertainment, SM C&C – Kang Ho-dong

Kang Ho-dong was born on June 11th, 1970, in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. He is a South Korean television host and comedian, who first became known to Koreans as one of the top Korean traditional wrestlers. He is known to be one of the two National MCs alongside Yoo Jae-suk.

In 2008, Kang Ho-dong became the first comedian in history to win the Baeksang Arts Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) in the category Television. It also made him the first in history to achieve entertainment awards Daesang grand slam, including KBS, MBC, SBS, and Baeksang.

Along with comedian Yoo Jae-suk, he has terminated his contract with De Chocolate E&TF (a.k.a. Stom E&F) for issues of non-payment. On September 9th, 2011, Kang announced that he would be taking a temporary leave of absence from the public eye due to rumors of tax evasion (which were later found to be caused by mistake by one of his agency’s accountants). He announced his return to the entertainment industry in late 2012 with S.M. C&C as Kang Ho-dong’s new agency.

Full Profile of Kang Ho-dong

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Birth Name  Kang Ho-dong (강호동)
Date and Place of Birth June 11th, 1970Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea
Years Active 1993–present
Spouse(s)
Lee Hyo-jin (이효진) (m. 2006)
Notable Works and Roles
  • SBS X-Man
  • SBS Love Letter
  • SBS Star King
    MBC Golden Fishery
  • KBS Happy Sunday: 2 Days & 1 Night
  • SBS Strong Heart
  • KBS Our Neighborhood Arts and Physical Education
  • tvN New Journey to the West
  • JTBC Knowing Bros
Agency S.M. C&C under SM Entertainment (2012 – present)

Random Facts About Kang Ho-dong

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  • Kang Ho-dong was born in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea.
  • Kang Ho-dong married Lee Hyo-jin in 2006
  • Kang Ho-dong is a wrestling athlete.
  • Kang Ho-dong loves to do Aegyo (adorable behavior).
  • Kang Ho-dong is 47 years old.
  • He and his wife, Lee Hyo-jin, welcomed their first son, Kang Si-hoo, in 2009.
  • He was born on June 11th, 1970.
  • After attending the Masan Business High School, he began his career as a ssireum wrestler, defeating South Korean wrestling legend Lee Man-ki in the 1989 match.
  • His birth sign is Gemini.
  • He established the Baek Jeong Korean barbecue.

Kang Ho-dong’s Family and Career

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Kang Ho-dong first met his wife on an arranged double blind date with Yoo Jae-suk, and on November 12th, 2006, Kang married Lee Hyo-jin. On March 13th, 2009, they had their first child, a boy named Kang Si-hoo.

Career As Ssireum Player

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Kang Ho-dong graduated from Masan Business High School. After graduating from high school, he started participating actively in professional Ssireum (Korean wrestling) matches. Early in his wrestling career, he lost many matches. However, on July 8th, 1989, at the 44th national ssireum championships, the unseeded Kang Ho-dong managed to defeat the legendary Lee Man-gi and went on to win the tournament, which marked the start of his successful Ssireum career. Known as the “Devil on the sand” for his arrogant and fearless demeanor, he went on to win the Baekdujangsa Ssireum Championship seven times and the Cheonhajangsa Ssireum Championship five times; he was widely recognized as the youngest ever Cheonhajangsa title holder.

Debut as Entertainer

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After Kang Ho-dong retired from wrestling, he began his MC and comedian career in 1993, appearing on MBC as a talent. He was influenced by Lee Kyung-kyu, who is a famous MC and comedian in South Korea. He later became the host of a number of popular variety shows, such as X-ManLove Letter and Ya Shim Man Man. Kang Ho-dong has won numerous entertainment awards, and is widely recognized as one of the best television hosts in Korean television history. In 2011, he hosted four popular variety programs – Happy Sunday – 2 Days & 1 Night, Golden FisheryStar King, and Strong Heart.

In 2008, at the 44th Baeksang Arts Awards, Kang Ho-dong became the first in history to win the TV category Daesang (Grand Prize) as a comedian. Daesang was only awarded to TV actors/actresses or drama ever since it is established and Kang is the first one to break this tradition.

On August 17th, 2012, Kang Ho-dong signed an exclusive contract with SM C&C with Lee Soo-man convincing him personally even though he is retired and also with fellow MC Shin Dong-yup SM Entertainment and made a comeback.

Kang Ho-dong had a rough time after his return to the industry. Multiple programs in three main public broadcasts were canceled because of low ratings. However, starting at the end of 2015, Kang Ho-dong hosted a number of new variety shows on cable broadcast, including Knowing BrosLet’s Eat Dinner Together on JTBC and New Journey to the West series on tvN. And all of these programs had very good feedback and high ratings. Thanks to the popularity of the program New Journey to the West, a spin-off program titled Kang-sikdang was launched. As a result, Kang Ho-dong slowly regained his popularity and re-established his status as a National MC.

Kang Ho-dong also owns a chain of Korean barbecue restaurants called Baek Jeong. Kang Ho-dong received a high number of votes and was placed in the second place as a Comedian Of 2017.

Kang Ho-dong’s Filmography

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Television shows

Year Start Year End Network Title Note
1997 1997 KBS Open Comedy – Mother
1999 1999 Joyful Super Sunday TV – MC Standby Cue
2002 2002
2003 MBC Kang Ho-dong’s Soulmates
2004 SBS Beautiful Sunday
2003 2003 KBS Big Stars, First Looks Chuseok Special
SBS Saturday Wishes
2007 X-Man
2009 Ya Shim Man Man (S 1,2)
2004 2004 Healthy Men and Women
Star Olympiad
Medical Non-Fiction! Last Warning
2005 MBC Experimental Show, Really?! Really!
2006 SBS Love Letter
2005 2005 MBC 대통령과 함께하는 드림!드림!드림!
2006 2006 KBS 설특집 스타 대격돌 천하별미
2011 MBC Golden Fishery
2007 2007 KBS 두뇌왕 아인슈타인
Are You Ready
2011 SBS Star King
KBS 2 Days & 1 Night
2009 2011 SBS Strong Heart
2012 2013 MBC Golden Fishery Resume MC position
2016 SBS Star King Resume MC position
2013 2013 KBS2 Moonlight Prince
SBS Barefooted Friends
2016 KBS Our Neighborhood Arts and Physical Education
2015 2015 Invisible Man
2016 JTBC Mari and me
2018 tvN New Journey to the West (S 1 – 6)
Present JTBC Knowing Bros
2016 2016 O’live Korean Food war (S 4)
Naver TV Cast Celeb Champions Trophy
Present JTBC Let’s Eat Dinner Together
2017 2017 SBS Elementary School Teacher Lunar New Year special (2 Parts)
MBN Parents Watch
tvN Suspicious Singer
Present Kang’s Kitchen (S 1 – 2)
2018 O’live / tvN Island Trio (S 1 – 2)
2018 2018 O’live Talkmon
E Channel For the first time since I was born
2019 SBS Plus Day You Eat Out
tvN Amor Fati
O’live Everyone’s Kitchen
SBS We Will Channel You
Present tvN A Battle of One Voice: 300 (S 1 – 2)
Great Escape (S 1 – 2)
2019 E Channel 베이비 캐슬
Channel A Good People
TVChosun 브라더 시스터

Kang Ho-dong’s Discography

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Music

  • 2005: “Oh! Happy Day” (Christmas carol featuring child actress, Chae Eun)
  • 2009: “Horror Show” (featured in MC Mong’s repackaged album, Humanimal, also featured in the music video)
  • 2018: “I kicked my luck off” (SM STATION, Kang Ho-dong & Hong Jin-young)

Award Achievements

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Ssireum (wrestling)

Year Competition Division Result
1987 11th Hoejanggijaengtaljeon National Wrestling Championships (장사급) Runner-up
1989 44th National Wrestling Championships 95.1 kg or more Won
1990 47th National Wrestling Championships 95.1 kg or more Won
1990 18th Wrestling Tournament Titans Free weight Won
1991 54th National Wrestling Championships 95.1 kg or more Won
1991 21st Wrestling Tournament Titans Free weight Won
1992 24th Wrestling Tournament Titans Free weight Won

Entertainment

Year Award Category Results
1995 TV Journal Star King Top Excellence Award Won
1998 MBC Entertainment Awards Excellence Award in a Comedy/Sitcom Won
2002 MBC Entertainment Awards Top Excellence Award in a Variety Show Won
2003 SBS Entertainment Awards Special Award, MC category Won
39th Baeksang Arts Awards Best TV Entertainer (Soulmates) Won
SBS Drama Awards Special Award Best Television MC Won
2005 4th KBS Entertainment Awards Special Award, MC category Won
SBS Drama Awards Special Award Best Television MC Won
2007 SBS Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) Won
6th KBS Entertainment Awards Top Excellence Idea Corner Award Won
SBS Entertainment Awards Korean Wave Program Award – X-man Won
2008 44th Baeksang Arts Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) Won
7th KBS Entertainment Awards Won
MBC Entertainment Awards Won
20th Korean Producers’ Award of Korea Best Show Host (1 Night 2 Days) Won
SBS Entertainment Awards Netizen’s Choice Program of the Year Excellence Award (Star King) Won
2008 Famous Creative Entertainment “1 of top 50” Won
9th Korea Visual Arts Awards Photogenic Award, MC category Won
2009 8th KBS Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) Won
SBS Entertainment Awards Best Program Award (Strong Heart) Won
8th KBS Entertainment Awards Viewer’s Choice Program (1 Night 2 Days) Won
2010 SBS Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) Won
Program of the Year Award (Star King) Won
SBS 20th Anniversary Entertainment 10 Star Award Won
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Appreciation Plaque
(presented by Yu In-chon) (1 Night 2 Days)
Won
Korea Tourism Awards 2010 Merit Division (1 Night 2 Days) Won
9th KBS Entertainment Awards Viewer’s Choice Program (1 Night 2 Days) Won
2011 SBS Entertainment Awards Excellence Program Award (Talk Show Category) (Strong Heart) Won
2013 SBS Entertainment Awards Producer MC Award (Star King) Won
1st Gimcheon International Masters Diving Competition Special Award (Barefooted Friends) Won
SBS Entertainment Awards Producers award (TV sector) Won
12th KBS Entertainment Awards Best Teamwork Award (Cool Kiz on the Block) Won
Kind to Rookie Award (Cool Kiz on the Block) Won
2014 SBS Entertainment Awards Excellence Award for Programs (Talk Shows category) (Star King) Won
2015 14th KBS Entertainment Awards Best Teamwork Award (Cool Kiz on the Block) Won
2016 tvN10 Awards Best Content Award, Variety (New Journey to the West) Won

Kang Ho-dong’s Restaurant Business

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Kang Ho-dong’s Baekjeong is the hottest Korean BBQ restaurant in K-town which is always crowded even with a long waitlist all the time.

678 USA, Korean entertainer Kang Ho-dong’s restaurant franchise, reveals that Kang Ho-dong’s Baekjeong is selected by LA Times as Jonathan Gold’s Best restaurant 101 for 2 consecutive years. The restaurant passed the break-even point within a few months after opening.

The restaurant has a variety of meat items and a large space with 100 seats plus 20 special seats for group guests, which make the restaurant the perfect place for family and friends.

Also, side dishes, such as vegetables with special sauces and seasonings add more fun when you enjoy a barbecue, in addition to the egg cooked on the rim of the charcoal grill. Kang Ho-dong’s Baekjeong’s average monthly sales are close to $400,000. With 8 stores internationally, they hit $3 million in sales every month.

South Korean celebrity Kang Ho-dong is a “Star King” of the franchise business. Now he is engaged in the management of 678 Company, acting as a successful model for other celebrities. 678 is specialized in Korean BBQ restaurant business and the public figure Kang Ho-dong, who is known as an energetic food fighter and meat lover, is well suited for the brand. Kang Ho-dong is a perfect spokesperson of the brand.

If Kang Ho-dong were just a model for the brand (which is a common case when a celebrity collaborates with franchise business), 678 wouldn’t have succeeded like now. 678 owns 5 franchise brands and it has reached 30 billion (Korean Won) since the company’s establishment in 2007.

678 owns: ‘678’- Korean beef and Jeju pork BBQ restaurant (14 stores), ‘678 jjim’ – Galbi jjim and Hot stone pot bibimbap restaurant (6 stores), ‘Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong’ – Korean barbeque (62 stores), and recently added ‘Kang Ho-dong Cheonha’ – Tteokbokki (Korean-style spicy rice cake) and ‘678 Chicken’. Kang Ho-dong is the spokesperson of all brands and he holds a signing event when a new store opens.

Kang Ho-dong actively works for the 678 group because of his passion for food, in addition to his plans to restart his life by owning a restaurant business. “Kang Ho-dong has enthusiasm for Korean food and he wanted to start the “K-food wave” through restaurant business. He also has the vision to develop packaged food products to expand 678 as a major food business,” said Kim Ki-gon, CEO of 678, who has been in partnership with Kang Ho-dong since 2005.

Kang Ho-dong started to get involved in the business since last year. Before then, he was only an investor and a model for 678. But last year, the company changed its name from ‘Kang Ho-dong 678’ to ‘678’ and received an investment of 4 million dollars from SeungSan, which is a child company of the GS Group, which enabled them to expand their franchise business aggressively.

While the company’s shares are equally divided among Kang Ho-dong, Kim Ki-gon, and SeungSan, 678 clearly separates their roles. Currently, they have store management, finance, PR, and Marketing departments. The CEO of 678 group is in charge of managerial parts and SeungSan supports the finance and sales assistance. Kang Ho-dong’s role is marketing and PR. Since they distinguish the roles individually, the whole system in the company is well-designed. Due to its effective management structure, the company is not only concise about profit-sharing but is also able to generate creative marketing ideas.

“This upcoming year, our goal is to open 500 stores in Korea and 20 stores overseas,” a representative of 678 said. “We are expanding globally, beyond the U.S., to introduce and promote K-food. Our final goal is to become a global K-food corporation.”