Happy Nam Joo Hyuk Day: Breaking down his iconic role in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo with Lee Sung Kyung

Nam Joo Hyuk turns 30 today. One of the most iconic roles that he has delivered up till now in his career is his portrayal of Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo’s Jung Joon Hyung besides Lee Sung Kyung.

Updated on May 08, 2024  |  04:21 PM IST |  174.7K
Nam Joo Hyuk; Image Courtesy: Management SOOP, MBC
Nam Joo Hyuk; Image Courtesy: Management SOOP, MBC

Nam Joo Hyuk, the Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo’s fame star, turns 30 today. The popular K-drama actor enters his thirties today as we speak. In his career, the actor has delivered many unforgettable roles and has been praised for his acting and the way he becomes one with the characters that he portrays. One of the iconic roles that the actor has delivered in his praiseworthy career, is Jung Joon Hyung the titular character in the MBC drama Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo alongside Lee Sung Kyung’s Kim Bok Joo, a professional boxer and close friend of Jung Joon Hyung. 

He also played the role of Baek Ye Jin in Twenty-Five Twenty-One and Habaek in The Bride of Habaek among his many great roles. His most recent role was Kim Ji Yong in Vigilante. 

Nam Joo Hyuk’s iconic portrayal of Jung Joon Hyung in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo 

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo is an archetypal romantic comedy Korean drama. A coming-of-age sports drama was based on the true life story of Olympic gold medalist Jang Mi Ran. The character Kim Bok Joo is based on and developed after Jang Mi Ran, who was an Olympic Weightlifter. 

It's not very often we come across a drama that makes its name and its identity so iconic that it manages to create itself as a symbol in the entertainment industry. Some stories stay with us forever and it becomes a comfortable place for us, more like a home where we can keep coming back to, wherever we are stuck or feel down. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo is such a legendary piece of life, a Korean drama that has withstood the test of time and still amasses love. With its remarkable and influential dialogues, characters, and the relatable sense that connects it to admirers and audiences. 

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Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo is a heart-warming story of two friends while they make their way through life, they grow and fall in love with each other and help each other find the best of themselves. Kim Bok Joo played by Lee Sung Kyung is a professional weightlifter who is also getting through college when she develops a crush on her friend, Jung Joon Hyung’s older brother, Jung Jae Yi. Jung Joon Hyung, the main male lead is played by the real-life boyfriend material, Nam Jo Hyuk. Kim Bok Joo goes to big lengths to get her crush’s attention and lies left and right and it is nothing but fun as she messes up and makes stupid mistakes. She is a cute and lovable character with her own way of doing things and doesn’t give a thought to what the world might think of her. Jung Joon Hyung, her good childhood friend even gets in on her lies and makes it even more funnier as they struggle to keep the lies intact. Soon while playing a cupid for Kim Bok Joo, Jung Joon Hyung irresistibly falls head over heels for Kim Bok Joo himself.

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Nam Joo Hyuk’s lovable and charming yet complicated Jung Joon Hyung 

The love story between Kim Bok Joo and Jung Joon Hyung is all kinds of adorable, and mischievous as it comes. Jung Joon Hyung who aspires to become a professional swimmer, with his good looks and boyish charm is as charming as the perfect boy-next-door gets. 

He is the classic happy-going guy who radiates contentment and joy wherever he goes. But as the drama progresses we see that he is much more than the hyper, childish, and playful guy. He struggles with his swimming career and doubts himself as well. He suffers from a crippling fear of being abandoned which found a place in his heart and mind when as a kid he was abandoned and left alone by his own mother. He is always scared that the people he loves and the ones who love him one day without any warning will leave him, all alone in the world as once by his mother. 

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Nam Jung Hyung’s portrayal of the character where he had to shows him as a playful, boyish charming guy on the outside while in reality, he harbors his fears and deep insecurities is commendable and praiseworthy. His portrayal makes audiences connect with Jung Joon Hyung on a personal level as he suffers from something that can happen to anyone. The paralyzing fear of abandonment that resides in Jung Joon Hyung takes over him. His trauma leads to a panic attack most often before the tournament and leads to his being disqualified before he can even try.


Nam Jung Hyung, fails even before he can try and the realization is worst, the breaking-down scenes where Nam Jung Hyung cries and lets out, how he feels like a failure, and how a childhood trauma still stops him from achieving his dream are heartwrenching. Nam Joo Hyuk’s sublime portrayal of Jung Joon Hyung in these crucial, heartbreaking scenes is what makes audiences grab tissues and cry their hearts out. He is unfiltered and real and touches hearts one at a time. Nam Joo Hyuk delivered a performance with layers, depth, and emotions which is much worthy of applause. 

In addition to such heartbreaking emotions, Nam Joo Hyuk’s boyfriend image was also iconic, when Jung Joon Hyung started falling in love with Kim Bok Joo. With the teasing, and the boyfriend roles he plays, he becomes the epitome of a supporting, loving boyfriend that everyone loves. He follows her around, teases her every chance he gets, and admires her with his endearing gaze, how he is jealous and doesn’t want Kim Bok Joo to look pretty for any other man but him. Their relationship is all swoon-worthy and will have you kicking and punching the air with their slow-burn but endearing romance. 

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Nam Joo Hyuk, with his Jung Joon Hyung, becomes the perfect boyfriend that every girl dreams of and is worthy of securing him the title of the king of boyfriends. On his thirtieth birthday what could be better than watching him portray the cute, playful, and hot swimmer, Jung Jung Hyung by rewatching Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo?

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ALSO READ: 15 Nam Joo hyuk K dramas you are sure to love: Twenty Five Twenty One, Moon Lovers, and more

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About The Author

Tanya, on this side of the screen, probably with a Bangtan Bomb and my K-pop playlist on the play.

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Credits: Management SOOP ,MBC
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