Park Bo-gum: 5 things to know about the Korean drama idol who left us with Record of Youth before entering military service

Korean drama fans may be mourning the news that heartthrob Park Bo-gum enlisted for his obligatory military service on August 31 – but he’s leaving them with one new K-drama to enjoy while he is gone. Record of Youth follows three individuals trying to make it in the world of fashion. In anticipation of the pilot episode, which comes out on September 7, here’s a list of five things to love about the 27-year-old actor:
He has many national titles
In Reply 1988, Park played a prodigious Go board game player, Choi Taek, who became the pride of the country in the show, making him Ssangmun-dong street’s most treasured gem. As a result, the gang dubbed him a “national treasure” on screen, but off the cast gave him the nickname “Nation’s Little Brother” and “Nation’s Son-in-Law”.
Why? Because he was the favourite of all the mothers in the hit drama. Park has also been declared the “Nation’s Crown Prince” (on account of his Prince Charming-esque good looks), and the “Nation’s Man of Good Influence” for his kind and polite manner.
His admirers invented the phrases the ‘Park Bo-gum effect’ and ‘Park Bo-gum magic’
In 2016, Park became something of an advertising golden boy. Korean search engine Naver reports that the rise in his brand-reputation rankings led the Korean Corporate Reputation Research Institute to coin the term “Park Bo-gum effect”, citing the actor’s strong ability to increase sales with his fans spanning all ages.
Admirers also introduced the term “Park Bo-gum magic”, referring to the fact that “once people look at Park, they can’t take their eyes off him”, according to Korea Times.
Park was a star student.
Park graduated from Seoul’s Myongji University as a musical theatre major.
Perhaps unsurprisingly he had a good reputation in school, finishing college within four years. He also studied the piano and was a choir member in kindergarten, a varsity member of the swimming team, and was active in extracurricular activities.
His name means ‘precious sword’ because he had a rough start as a baby
Park may emanate the angelic qualities of an individual unfamiliar with hardship, but his youth was tougher than some realise. According to Park’s father, when Park was a baby, he developed a high fever and had to be rushed to the accident and emergency. But he eventually recovered and was named “Bo-gum” (precious sword) by a pastor.
Park’s mother died while he was in junior school, and in the early stages of his career he had to deal with family debt. “I’m (the) kind of person who tries to have a peaceful life, accepting things and thanking for what is given,” Channel Korea quoted Park as saying later.
For Record of Youth, Park scrutinised fashion runway shows to get into character.
Park talks about his character Sa Hye-joon as someone who is hardworking with a good set of values and strong opinions.
“In order to play the model Sa Hye-joon, I studied fashion show runway footage, as well as photo shoots and interviews”, the actor is quoted as saying on K-pop new site Soompi.
Record of Youth is set to premiere on Netflix on September 7.
This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (, the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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