Kim Hyun-joong in the Drama ‘Inspiring Generation’: Acting Performance and Winning Awards

The Multi-Talented Artist, Kim Hyun-joong

Kim Hyun-joong, Korean singer, songwriter, and actor who has obtained widespread popularity since his first leading role in Boys Over Flowers as Yoon Ji-hoo. He debuted as a singer and member of the boy band SS501 in 2005, with the band’s first EP, Warning, released by DSP Media. After the big hit drama Boys Over Flowers, his face was all over TV commercials representing many brands as ambassador, especially cosmetic brands. Following the success of Boys Over Flowers, Kim got his second leading role in a drama, that is the 2010 romance-comedy drama with Jung So-min, Playful Kiss. The drama was based on the Japanese manga series Itazura Na Kiss. Unfortunately, the show flopped on South Korean television, but was an international hit on foreign televisions and on online streaming platforms, helping solidify Kim’s popularity as a Hallyu star.

With his rising popularity as an actor, Kim took a step to come back again as a singer. He released his first solo album, the EP Break Down, on June 7th, 2011. More than 70,000 pre-ordered copies of the album were sold in just 10 days. Realizing his talent as a singer should not be underestimated, Kim again shifted his focus on his singing career, and shortly after did a concert tour in Japan, visiting 7 cities. He later held ‘Kim Hyun-joong Fan Meeting Tour 2012’ for the promotions of his album Kiss Kiss, making stops in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and Thailand. In 2014, he finally came back for his acting career. He even left his TV show Barefooted friends, a TV show which has a similar concept with Running Man, to film his new drama Inspiring Generation. After playing the role of a pretty boy in his first two dramas, Kim finally plays a tougher role in this drama that began airing in January 2014.

Are you curious about how Kim Hyun-joong stepped out of his ‘Flower Boy’ concept to become more manly? If so, don’t go anywhere, here we will tell you everything about Kim Hyun-joong in Inspiring Generation!

Kim Hyun-joong in Inspiring Generation

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Inspiring Generation (Hangul: 감격시대; Hanja: 感激時代; RR: Gamgyeoksidae) is a 2014 South Korean television series starring Kim Hyun-joong, Im Soo-hyang, and Jin Se-yeon. It aired on KBS2 from January 15th to April 3rd, 2014, on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 for a total of 24 episodes.

Based on the manhwa by Bang Hak-gi (published daily by Sports Seoul from June 1985 to June 1988), the drama series had a budget of $14 million US dollars and its story depicts the loves, friendships, and patriotism of young Korean independence fighters in the 1930s, in Shanghai.

The rating was quite high, an average of 10% with the highest reaching 13,6%. It also got nominated in 4 categories at the KBS Drama Awards and Kim was nominated for the Excellence Award in the category Actor in a Mid-length Drama, but didn’t win.

Kim Hyun-joong as Shin Jung-tae

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According to Chosun News, in an interview, Kim revealed that he wanted to play a manly character, thus he accepted the role to demonstrate his skills and what he was capable of. Then he became “immersed in the role,” he said.

His role in Inspiring Generation is that of a young gangster in the 1930s in glamorous Shanghai. The character is essentially a tragic one — a man who grew up without his parents and who lost his only sister because he had no money to treat her after she got sick.

After learning about the truth behind his father’s death, however, the character finds a new reason to live. He is determined to take revenge on those behind his father’s death, but in the process ends up losing the woman he loves. Despite this tragedy in his private life, he inspires trust and friendship from those who follow him.

Kim said that he put everything into the role as he had virtually decided to quit acting if he failed to deliver a good performance. This ultimately became an obsession and one that frequently invaded his dreams. Fortunately, he learned a lot from playing the role and found how well he could do in the action genre, he said.

“I think acting well means playing the right role according to your age,” said Kim. “I’m looking at several scripts right now, but I don’t want to make a decision yet. As I have given all I had into my latest project, I want to take a while to rest and start again when I’m fully recharged and full of passion.”

After developing a love line in the drama Inspiring Generation with Jin Se-yeon and Im Soo-hyang, Kim Hyun-joong changed his viewpoint towards the opposite gender.

“Previously, I had to meet the woman that I liked. In the drama, Kim Ok-ryeon (played by Jin Se-yeon) was devoted and nice to me. And I liked that since there was no reason for me to dislike that. Hahaha.”

Kim Hyun-joong revealed his future plans as an actor, “I want to be a psycho.” He said his aim for acting skills is not to indulge himself into the character but to become the character himself.

“I feel like I couldn’t express freely through Inspiring Generation since it’s a period drama. What I’m thinking is that I want to express myself freely and appropriately through acting. In order to bring out the character as a psycho, I have to drop my usual daily lifestyles and truly become that person. I want to try something like Ruler of Your Own World by Yang Dong-geun.”

Kim revealed that while filming scenes that took place in China, he noticed one of the props was a brand of chocolate that even modern-day consumers are familiar with.

When he asked if it was historically accurate, he was told that the brand was available in China at the time, signaling how modernized Shanghai was over 70 years ago.

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The period piece genre is not the only thing new to Kim. Kim’s new street-wise hero is a guy who has to be tough and strong enough to take on the Korean, Japanese, and Chinese mafia, a guy who can wear his scars with true grit, who knows no fear and who will take on anyone if necessary with his bare fists.

“I am looking forward to showing a somewhat more manly side of myself,” he said, sporting a tan and a certain gravitas befitting his new role.

Of course, there will be plenty of action-packed fights in the upcoming series, to which, Kim promised, “I have been preparing for all those action scenes, so I do not intend to disappoint.”

As with any storybook hero, Kim’s Shin may seem invincible on the outside but harbors his own emotional scars.

“Shin Jeong-tae has endured a great deal of personal pain,” Kim revealed. “He and his father are not close and so he is a very lonely person but he is also very warm-hearted as well.”

Check out Kim Hyun-joong playing his role as a manly tough gangster in Inspiring Generation episode 1 cut version.


Unfortunately, Kim only got nominated at the 2014 KBS Drama Awards for the Excellence Award in the category Actor in a Mid-length Drama, but didn’t win it. Meanwhile, the drama got 4 nominations besides Kim Hyun-joong, such as the Excellence Award, Actress in a Mid-length Drama for Im Soo-hyang, Best New Actor for Yoon Hyun-min, and Best Young Actor for Kwak Dong-yeon. Only Kwak Dong-yeon won an award.

Kim Hyun-joong’s Latest Update  

In 2018, it was confirmed that he would be making his small-screen comeback with the fantasy drama When Time Stopped. The drama ran from October 24th to November 29th, 2018.

In November 2018 Kim released a single, “Just For My Love,” as the sixth part of the Original Soundtrack for his drama When Time Stopped.

On February 4th, 2019, he released a new album titled NEW WAY. Have you heard his latest song “WHY?” Check out his song in the video below!