Since South Korean survival drama Squid Game was released on Netflix in mid-September 2021, it quickly took the world by storm, topping the most-watched charts in several countries, thanks to its gripping plot and refreshing take on social inequality. One of the actors who caught our eyes? Wi Ha-jun, of course.
Playing the character of police officer Hwang Jun-ho who joined game to find his missing brother, we fell in love with Ha-jun from the get-go, thanks to his boyish charm and sense of righteousness displayed in the drama.
Plus, *spoilers ahead* who can forget that steamy, heart-racing scene when Jun-ho was forced to satisfy a VIP member? For those who have finished watching Squid Game, you might be anticipating season 2 to learn about Jun-ho’s fate. Fingers crossed that we see him in the sequel, if there’s one.
In the meantime, we’ve dug up nine facts about Ha-jun that will make you love him even more.
He grew up on a farm
Born on Aug 5, 1991 (he’s a Leo!), the 30-year-old grew up on his family’s abalone farm on the island of Soando, Jeollanam-do.
Ha-jun revealed in an episode of the Korean variety show Problem Child In The House that he didn’t eat much abalone and sashimi growing up, and was surprised that people paid for sashimi in Seoul as it was readily available where he grew up in.
His childhood aspiration was to be an actor
In a 2018 interview with Arirang’s Showbiz Korea, Ha-jun revealed that he wanted to be an actor. In particular, he wanted to play a villain.
Both these dreams eventually came true as he debuted in 2012 in the short film Peace in Them, got his first lead role in the horror film Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018) and played a serial killer in the thriller film Midnight (2021).
Prior to acting, he studied at Sungkyul University and majored in theatre and film. He has also been nominated for multiple Best New Actor awards for his work in Gonjiam, Something in the Rain (2018) and Romance Is a Bonus Book (2019).
He has worked alongside many big stars
Some of these names include Kim Go-eun and Park Bo-gum (Coin Locker Girl), Son Ye-jin and Jung Hae-in (Something in the Rain), Lee Na-young and Lee Jong-suk (Romance Is a Bonus Book) and Lee Jung-jae (Squid Game). Ha-jun’s actually managed by MSTeam Entertainment, the same agency that manages Ye-jin.
In Squid Game, he also got to act alongside Lee Byung-hun, whom he said he’s a fan of: “I knew beforehand that I’d be appearing as brothers with Lee Byung-hun so I was very excited. I was incredibly excited before I even met him.
"It was such an honour. Lee Byung-hun is a senior whom I already really like. After acting with him, he’s evidently so amazing. My heart would race just from his gaze and one line. He took care of me in such a friendly manner when I saw him on set and when we were eating so I was really touched.”
He fell for his Squid Game character
Speaking of Squid Game, Ha-jun professed his love for his character in the October 2021 issue of Men’s Health Korea. “I read the script in a blink of an eye, and I was just blown away by how immersive it was. It was something that I’ve never seen before and I loved the character Hwang Jun-ho, so I decided to star in the series.”
He also shared in an article on Soompi: “Even though Jun-ho didn’t get a lot of screen time, I thought he was incredibly charming because he had his own story and played the role of introducing various events to viewers.
When I was acting, I had to struggle to find my older brother, but I also had to record what was happening inside so I paid most attention to maintaining that tension. He was honest and determined and the character there with the best sense of justice.”
He is set to star opposite Lee Dong-wook and Han Ji-eun
Titled Bad and Crazy, the OCN drama will premiere in December 2021. According to Soompi, Dong-wook will play Soo -yeol, an ambitious, competent police officer with questionable ethics and a greed for success.
This changes when he meets Ha-jun’s character K, a righteous person who dreams of being a hero. We can totally see him in heroic roles!
He loves exercising
If you didn’t already know, Ha-jun has a chiselled body with six-pack abs, no less. That sculpted body is a result of the hours he put in at the gym. In the same interview with Men’s Health Korea, he shared that he would work out at the gym five times a week.
These days, he weight trains at home due to the pandemic. He also shared at the Squid Game press conference that he would set up a “very luxurious” gym if he won the 45.6 billion won prize, besides sharing the prize with his family and donating to charity.
Ha-jun is also said to be a fan of wrestling. If only we could get to train with him!
He can sing
Besides acting, he can also sing. Pretty well, in fact. Listen to him talk about the OST Maybe It’s Too Late for the drama Matrimonial Chaos (2018) above, which he starred in as well. *Swoon*
He can dance too
Keen-eyed netizens were quick to unearth a clip of Ha-jun performing Twice’s Cheer Up during a 2016 event. Watch the clip above to check out his dancing chops. According to his Kepoper profile, he was in his middle school’s dance club.
He is a doting uncle
Ha-jun is said to be single with no rumours of romantic relationships at the moment. However, you’ll occasionally catch a glimpse of a child with whom he spends time on his Instagram. That “princess” is actually his niece, the daughter of his elder sister. A handsome family man? We love it.
Can't get enough of Ha-jun? Here are other notable show he's starred in
For those who have finished Squid Game, here are some of Ha-jun’s works that you can watch while you wait for Bad and Crazy.
Start with the film Shark: The Beginning (2021) where he plays former MMA champion Jung Do-hyun, then thriller film Midnight (2021) where he plays serial killer Do-shik.
Horror fans would be into Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018) while romantic comedy fans can tune in Netflix’s Romance Is a Bonus Book (2019), where he plays a freelance book designer Ji Seo-joon, and 18 Again, the Korean remake of 17 Again where he plays a famous baseball athlete Ye Ji-hoon.
He also played Son Ye-jin’s brother in Something in the Rain (2018).
This article was first published in Her World Online.