Cho Jae-hyun

This is a Korean name; the family name is Cho.
Not to be confused with Choi "HuHi" Jae-hyun.
Cho Jae-hyun
Born (1965-06-30) June 30, 1965
Seoul, South Korea
Education Kyungsung University - Theater and Film
Chung-Ang University - Master's degree in Performing and Visual Media
Occupation Actor
Years active 1989–present
Korean name
Hangul 조재현
Revised Romanization Jo Jae-hyeon
McCune–Reischauer Cho Chae-hyon

Cho Jae-hyun (born June 30, 1965) is a South Korean film, stage, and TV actor. He is commonly dubbed "director Kim Ki-duk's persona" since Cho has starred as leading and supporting characters in almost all films directed by Kim.[1][2][3]

Early years and education

Cho Jae-hyun was born in Seoul in 1965. He and his family lived in a poor neighborhood on the slopes of a hill until his father became successful with his restaurant business in the Jongno area, Seoul. In a 2002 interview with the film magazine Cine21, Cho said he was a rebellious boy wandering outside the home. He aspired to be a painter, so tried to enter an art high school but failed. When he entered another high school, Cho ran away from home to Busan. Cho worked as a waiter there, and studied on his own to pass a qualification exam equivalent to obtaining a high school diploma. However, Cho failed it, so returned to Seoul to finish his high school year.[4]

Cho was admitted to study theater and film at Kyungsung University. Cho recollected he indulged himself in Busan's culture as a freshman and sophomore, then focused on theater for the rest of his university years. Cho said a question from his junior in school during his third summer break shook him to rethink about his future; "What would you do after the graduation from the school?" Cho said he felt shame at the time because he could not clearly answer the question. Therefore, Cho started dedicating himself to acting.[4]

Acting career

After graduation, Cho was selected as a TV actor by a public recruit of Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), and officially debuted as a professional actor by starring as the youngest brother of Yu In-chon in The Age of Ambition (야먕의 세월). But theater remained his main priority, as Cho and his friends established a theatrical company named "Jongak" (종각, literally "Bell Pavilion"), which produced several works on the stage such as Tricycles (세발자전거, 1989), Look Back in Anger (성난 얼굴로 돌아보라, 1990) and The Lovers of Woomook-baemi (우묵배미의 사랑, 1990). In 1991, Cho won Best New Actor in Theater at the Baeksang Arts Awards for his acting in Equus; he reinterpreted the leading role Alan Strang as an innocent person, though he is largely depicted as a cruel and rebellious character.

In 2009, Cho revisited Equus by directing the play and playing the other lead character Martin Dysart.[5] This was part of the highly successful Yeongeuk Yeoljeon ("A Series of the Best Plays"),[6] of which Cho was the programmer in 2008-2009. Cho was praised for reinvigorating the faltering local theater scene in Daehangno by coming up with the series and its star-studded casting, promotion and marketing.[7][8][9]

Other activities

Cho is also the chairman of the Gyeonggi Film Council since 2009,[10] executive festival director of the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival (DMZ Docs) since 2009,[11][12] chairman of the Gyeonggi Arts Center since 2010,[13] an associate professor at Sungshin Women's University's College of Convergence Culture and Arts since 2012,[14] and an associate professor at Kyungsung University's Department of Theater and Film since 2014.[15]

Personal life

When Cho Jae-hyun was 24 years old in 1989, he married his college sweetheart who was an anchor for the campus channel.[16] His son Cho Su-hun is a short track speed skater who won a gold medal in the 500 meter competition for male university students at the 2008 Korean National Winter Sports Festival,[17] while his daughter Cho Hae-jung is currently attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.



As actor

Year Title Role
1988 I Love You (short film)
1989 Prostitute 2
1990 Man Market
1991 Portrait of the Days of Youth
1992 Sorrow Like a Withdrawn Dagger, Left My Heart
1995 The Eternal Empire
1996 Karuna
Crocodile Crocodile
1997 Wind Echoing in My Being Young man
Wild Animals Cheong-hae
1998 Girls' Night Out Yong-jak
Spring in My Hometown
1999 The Face Kim Jae-mok
2000 Interview Byung-kwon
The Isle Mang-chi
2001 Prison World Cup Question
Address Unknown Dog Eyes
Bad Guy Han-ki
2003 Sword in the Moon Yoon Gyu-yup
2004 Mokpo the Harbor Lee Su-cheol
Father and Son: The Story of Mencius Maeng Man-su
Love, So Divine Cathedral construction worker (cameo)
2006 The Romance Hyeong-jun
Hanbando Choi Min-jae
2007 Puff the Rice (short film) Jae-won
Beyond the Years Dong-ho
2009 Marine Boy Kang
The Executioner Bae Jong-ho
2010 The Influence King Gojong
2011 The Kick Master Mun
2012 The Weight Mr. Jung/Han Hae-woon
2013 El Condor Pasa Father Park
Moebius Father
2014 The Fatal Encounter Gwang-baek
2015 A Korean in Paris Sang-ho
2016 Seondal: The Man Who Sells the River Seong Dae-ryeon

As director

Year Title Notes
2006 "Standing in the Shade of a Tree-lined Road" by Yim Jae-beom Music video
2013 5th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival Film festival trailer
His Special Day Documentary short
2014 6th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival Film festival trailer
2015 A Break Alone Feature film;
also credited as screenwriter

Television series

Year Title Role Network
1989 The Tree of Love KBS2
1990 Love on a Jujube Tree KBS2
The Age of Ambition KBS2
1993 Drifting Myth MBC
Woman's Man MBC
Joy Amidst Sadness KBS2
Love and Friendship SBS
1994 MBC Best Theater "A Meeting with the Perfect Man" MBC
The Way to You KBS2
MBC Best Theater "Human Decency" MBC
1995 One Fence KBS
You Said You Love Me KBS2
1996 Thief SBS
Glorious Dawn KBS1
1997 The Mountain MBC
Passionate Love KBS2
Railing on Fire KBS
1998 Legendary Ambition Ma Dal-soo KBS2
Like the Wind, Like the Waves KBS2
MBC Best Theater "Jeondeungsa" MBC
1999 You're One-of-a-Kind MBC
School 2 Cho Jae-hyun KBS1
Happy Together Jo Pil-doo SBS
Queen Park Jang-soon SBS
Did You Ever Love? KBS2
2000 Juliet's Man SBS
Rookie Heo Jang-seok SBS
School 3 KBS1
2001 Piano Han Eok-kwan SBS
2003 Snowman Han Pil-seung MBC
Damo (cameo) MBC
2005 Hong Kong Express Kang Min-soo SBS
Smile of Spring Day Im Dae-beom MBC
2007 New Heart Choi Kang-gook MBC
2011 Gyebaek[18] King Uija MBC
2012 Syndrome Cha Tae-jin jTBC
Sent from Heaven Geum Bo-hwa's
ex-boyfriend (cameo)
2013 Scandal: A Shocking and Wrongful Incident Ha Myung-geun MBC
2014 Jeong Do-jeon[19] Jeong Do-jeon KBS1
Punch Lee Tae-joon SBS
2015 Take Care of My Dad Himself SBS
Assembly (cameo, episode 1) KBS2
2016 Master - God of Noodles Kim Gil-do KBS2


Year Title Role
1991 Equus Alan Strang
2004 Equus Alan Strang
2007 Kyung-sook, Kyung-sook's Father Jo Jae-soo
2008 Educating Rita Frank
2008-2009 Dandelions in the Wind[20] Ahn Jung-ki
2009-2010 Equus[5] Martin Dysart
2011 Dandelions in the Wind Ahn Jung-ki
2012 Thursday Romance[21] Jeong-min
2014 Thursday Romance Jeong-min
2014-2015 Educating Rita Frank
2016 Blackbird Ray

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1991 Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor (Theater) Equus Won
1992 Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actor Sorrow Like a Withdrawn Dagger, Left My Heart Won
1993 Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor Won
1998 Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Girls' Night Out Nominated
1999 SBS Drama Awards Best Supporting Actor Happy Together Won
KBS Drama Awards Best Supporting Actor Won
2001 Busan Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actor Address Unknown Won
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Piano Won
Top 10 Stars Won
2002 Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor Bad Guy Won
2003 MBC Drama Awards Special Acting Award Snowman Won
2008 Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (TV) New Heart Nominated
Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Nominated
MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Won
PCG Awards Communicator of the Year N/A Won
2011 A Series of the Best Plays 3 Awards Award for Excellence Equus (as director) Won
2013 Fantasia International Film Festival[22][23] Best Actor The Weight Won
Sydney Intercultural Film Festival Best Actor Won
Grimae Awards Best Actor Scandal: A Shocking and Wrongful Incident Won
MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Project Drama Nominated
Golden Acting Award, Actor Won
2014 Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (TV) Jeong Do-jeon Won
Korea Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Nominated
APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama Won
KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Won
Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama Nominated
PD Award Won
2015 Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (TV) Punch Nominated
Gwangju International Film Festival Grand Prize (Daesang) Won
2015 SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special Won
Top 10 Stars Won


  1. 조재현 [Cho Jae-hyun]. Korean Movie Database (KMDb) (in Korean). Retrieved 2010-02-11.
  2. 조재현 "김기덕 감독, 연기인생의 은인". Hankook Ilbo (in Korean). 11 March 2006. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  3. Shin, Hae-in (5 January 2009). "Just a touch of femininity perfects a villain: actor Cho Jae-hyun". Yonhap. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  4. 1 2 Choe, Su-im (3 January 2002). "야누스의 얼굴, 조재현 (1)". Cine21 (in Korean). Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  5. 1 2 Chung, Ah-young (28 October 2009). "Best Play Series to Open With Equus". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  6. Chung, Ah-young (21 July 2008). "Musicals Slightly Down, Plays Up in Ticket Sales". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  7. Chung, Ah-young (25 May 2008). "Theater Series Much Closer to Audience". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  8. "Actor Jo Jae-hyeon returns as a programmer". KBS Global. 5 November 2008. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  9. Chung, Ah-young (6 January 2009). "Best Play Series Project Draws Curtain". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  10. Lee, Hyo-won (2 February 2009). "Gyeonggi Province Aims to Become Film Hub". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  11. Lee, Hyo-won (20 September 2011). "Organizers hope film fest sheds light on NK". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  12. "7-day festival of documentaries closes its curtain". Korean Film Biz Zone. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  13. "Actor Cho heads Gyeonggi Arts Center". The Korea Herald. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  14. Lee, Claire (13 February 2012). "Actor Cho to teach at university". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  15. Jin, Eun-soo (25 February 2014). "Jo Jae-hyun to teach at Kyungsung University". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
  16. "조재현, 결혼 20주년 깜짝이벤트 무산된 사연 공개". Newsen (in Korean). 28 November 2008. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  17. ""★, 우리도 동계 스포츠 출신"...송혜교·장동건, 응원 메세지 전해". Sportsseoul (in Korean). 16 February 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  18. Kim, Heidi (25 May 2011). "Jo Jae-hyun to turn king in new historical drama". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  19. Do, Je-hae (3 January 2014). "Joseon founding seen in unique angle". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
  20. "All That Star: Cho Jae-hyun". Arirang News. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
  21. Lee, Claire (3 December 2012). "Five unusual dates on Thursdays". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  22. "Cho Jae-hyun Collects Gong at Montreal Film Fest". The Chosun Ilbo. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  23. Lee, Claire (12 August 2013). "Cho Jae-hyun wins acting prize at Montreal Film Festival". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-08-19.

External links

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