Get Closer With Korean Actor Yoo Seung-joon, From Profile To Banishment From South Korea


Find Out More About South Korean Singer Yoo Seung-joon

Steve Seung Jun Yoo, born on December 15th, 1976, also known by his Korean name Yoo Seung-joon (Hangul: 유승준), is a Korean-American singer and actor who became one of South Korea’s most popular K-Pop singers after making his debut back in 1997. Yoo Seung-joon’s singing career ended in 2002 when he was accused of evading the South Korean mandatory military service by becoming a U.S. citizen. He was subsequently banned from entering South Korea, becoming the only person in history to be banned from the country for acquiring citizenship from another country. However, since then, Yoo Seung-joon has been working as an actor in China.

Yoo Seung-joon’s Profile
Name Steve Seung Jun Yoo
Korean Name Yoo Seung-joon (유승준)
Date of Birth December 15, 1976
Origin Seoul, South Korea
  • Singer
  • Actor
Years Active
  • 1997 – 2002
  • 2006 – Present
Spouse(s) Christine Oh (m. 2004)
  • Yoo Ji-ahn
  • Yoo Ji-hyo

Yoo Seung-joon’s Career

Yoo Seung-joon made his Korean debut as a singer in 1997. His first album West Side became a big hit with the debut single “Gaui” (“gaui” is the Korean word for “scissors” – in this context it translates to “nightmare” as Koreans use the word to describe the rigid sleep paralysis which sometimes accompanies bad dreams). Along with another single “I love you Noona,” he won the Best Newcomer of the Year award on many award ceremonies. Yoo Seung-joon gained popularity with his signature dance move “Gawi,” in which he and his backup dancers lined up diagonally to perform the same moves in unison. West Side ended up selling a million copies.

In the summer of 1998, he released the second album 1998 V2 for SALE with “Na Na Na” as its title song, where both the song and the music video topped the charts. The music video featured actress Choi Ji-woo, who played the role of an internship teacher, while he played the role of a troublesome student. Many consider this album as the most successful of his career, as it won him the Best Artist of the Year award on multiple award ceremonies. The album again sold 1 million copies.

In 1999, he went on to release his third album Now Or Never, which contained the hit single “Passion.” Later that year, Yoo Seung-joon released his fourth album, Over and Over that contained the hit single “Vision.”

During this time, he began to expand his career into China and Taiwan, with the release of the single “Can’t Wait,” where he collaborated with Taiwanese singer Yuki. The album Now or Never topped the Korean charts with first-week sales of 879,000 copies. Setting a record for the highest first-week sales ever at the time. The album eventually sold close to 1.5 million copies. He also released music videos for two of his Korean songs that year, namely for “찾길 바래” (Wish you could find), and “어제 오늘 그리고” (Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow), the latter showing off a more sophisticated image.

In 2001, he released the single “Wow” from his 6th album Infinity. Though considered a bit of a disappointment, critically and commercially, compared to his last three albums, Infinity still managed to launch at number 1 on the charts with first-week sales of 359,961 copies. The album has sold over 600,000 copies.

Up until this point in time, Yoo Seung-joon had repeatedly stated on television that he would fulfill his mandatory military service. But in 2002, just before he was to be drafted, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen. As a result, the South Korean government considered it an act of desertion, and deported him, permanently banning him from entering the country.

Yoo Seung-joon Avoided Compulsory Mandatory military Service

For Korean men who are physically and mentally healthy, conscription is a must. Not least celebrities, both actors, members of the K-Pop boy bands, songwriters, and politicians. They are all obliged to undergo military training in preparation just in case South Korea is suddenly attacked by North Korea.

For many people, compulsory military service is the stage in life that brings you closer to becoming a real man. Apart from that, it is proof of patriotism and there is a sense of pride for those who undergo military service, especially active duty.

In addition to gaining pride as a real man and self-confidence, compulsory military service also makes Korean men who happen to undergo their conscript together become more confident. Nobody said military service was easy. But unfortunately, many do not want to undergo the rigors of military training and even look for ways not to be conscripted. A South Korean celebrity, the singer Yoo Seung-joon, successfully managed to avoid the Military Service.

Yoo Seung-joon a.k.a Steven Yoo is now considered to be an American idol who debuted in 1997. He once announced that he would undergo two-year conscription as most South Korean men do. But in 2002, before starting his military service he changed his citizenship and became a citizen of the United States, which eventually enabled him to avoid the army. In the end, Yoo Seung-joon was deported and banned in South Korea. In 2015, he appeared in a broadcast on AfreecaTV telling the background story of the issue and pleading to be permitted to return to South Korea again.

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