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25 Asian Actresses Born in the 90s

Written by YumCha! Editorial Team Tell a Friend

We covered the men last month, and now we turn the spotlight to the women! We have chosen 25 up-and-coming young actresses born in the 90s that are shining on both the small and big screens. Some of them have been acting for over a decade, and some had just scored their big breaks in recent years. These actresses cover a diverse range of roles, and they are all brilliant in their own way.

Here are 25 actresses born in the 90s that we will be keeping our eyes on in the coming years!



1. Park Bo Young
Debuting as a teen actress in 2006, Park Bo Young co-starred in a slew of school dramas - Secret Campus, Mackerel Run, Jungle Fish and Our School's E.T. - alongside other stars-in-waiting like Lee Min Ho, Kim Soo Hyun and Moon Chae Won. Her break would come quickly in 2008 with her spunky performance as a teen mom in the blockbuster comedy Scandal Makers launching her to "nation's little sister" status in Korea. Though Park Bo Young has worked relatively sparingly and mostly in film since breaking out, she has maintained high popularity with audiences, scoring two more hits in 2012's fantasy romance blockbuster A Werewolf Boy and 2014's nostalgic youth film Hot Young Bloods.This year is to set to be the petite 25-year-old's most prolific yet with three films slated for release and her return to television in the upcoming supernatural romcom Oh My Ghost.



2. Kang So Ra
A Dongguk University film and theater major, Kang So Ra debuted in 2009 in the real-time school suspense 4th Period Mystery opposite Yoo Seung Ho. Since that fairly high-profile start, the 25-year-old style icon has steadily built on her stardom with a tough-talking turn in blockbuster film Sunny, a stint on the reality program We Got Married and major roles in a mixed bag of TV dramas including teen musical Dream High 2, family series Ugly Alert and medical suspense Doctor Stranger. Last year's acclaimed office drama Misaeng propelled Kang So Ra further into the spotlight as a new-generation talent, paving the way for her leading role in the latest Hong Sisters drama Warm and Cozy, currently airing on MBC.



3. Park Shin Hye
To tell the story of Park Shin Hye is to describe one massive hit after another. As one of the biggest stars in Korea today, her casting in any drama or film is practically a guarantor of enormous success. Park broke through at the age of 13 with a role in the Asia-sweeping smash hit Stairway to Heaven, for which she received an SBS Drama Award for Best Young Actress. She confirmed her top hallyu star status with a leading role in You're Beautiful, which gained her a bevy of fans around the world. Following a further string of hits including Cyrano Agency (for which she won her first Baeksang Arts Award for Most Popular Actress, a feat she would repeat yearly), Heartstrings and Miracle in Cell No. 7, her career reached new heights with yet another worldwide hit in The Heirs. Considering the immense success she's had with her most recent work Pinocchio, it's safe to say that Park Shin Hye isn't slowing down any time soon.



4. Kuroki Haru
Kuroki Haru's stardom came with lots of talent and a little assistance from good timing. After making the jump from television, Kuroki took home numerous Best New Actress prizes in late 2013 with her supporting role in The Great Passage. Just a month later, she picked up the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival for her performance as a morally conflicted young maid in Yamada Yoji's The Little House. The two sets of accolades opened the floodgates for the young actress, earning her supporting roles in Mitani Koki's Murder on the Orient Express, Solomon's Perjury and TBS 60th anniversary television drama The Emperor's Cook. Not the typical cute Japanese actress, Kuroki brings a classical sense of elegance to all her performances, making her an actress that appeals to audiences of all ages.



5. Saipan Apinya Sakuljaroensuk
Apinya Sakuljaroensuk made her debut splash in the title role of Pen-ek Ratanaruang's 2007 film Ploy, which garnered the then 17-year-old newcomer Best Supporting Actress nominations at the Thailand National Film Associations Awards and the Asian Film Awards. Since then, Saipan has been a fixture of Thai cinema. She's a familiar face in many of the country's most exportable horror blockbusters like 4Bia, 3AM and I Miss U, as well as populist romcom confections like Love Julinsee, Love Sud Fin Sugoi and the all-star Sweety films. At the same time, she hasn't forgotten her arthouse beginnings, either. The 25-year-old star won Best Actress at the 2013 Thailand National Film Association Award for her portrayal of a young woman accompanying her dead mother and estranged sister on a road trip in I Carried You Home, and just this past March, she picked up Best Supporting Actress for her role in Concrete Clouds.



6. Kuo Shu Yao
Two years after making her debut as a model, idol and VJ, Kuo Shu Yao (a.k.a. Yao Yao) transitioned into acting, taking on various roles in TV dramas. Her major breakthrough came in 2012 when, at the age of 22, she took on the lead role as a tug-of-war athlete in the inspirational sports film Step Back to Glory. Her impressive performance earned her a Best Newcomer title at the 2013 Golden Horse Awards and solidified her position as one of Taiwan's leading new-generation actors. Since then, she's taken on more acting roles on both the small and big screens. Her recent TV ventures include her role as a chatty best friend in Princess' Stand-In and an insurance salesperson who yearns to be a flight attendant in Aim High. On the big screen, after supporting turns in Campus Confidential, Live @ Love and My Girlfriend Is Sick, she takes on a leading role once again in the upcoming youth film BATTLE UP!



7. Shin Se Kyung
Shin Se Kyung appeared in a handful of works as a child actress including My Little Bride and the 2006 horror Cinderella, but it was a small teenage role in the 2009 period drama Queen Seon Duk that first brought her wider notice. That same year, she scored a main role in the second season of the star-making High Kick! sitcom series, and shot straight to the top. The 24-year-old beauty has since starred opposite some of the biggest actors in Korean entertainment including Song Kang Ho (Hindsight), Jang Hyuk (Tree with Deep Roots), Rain (R2B: Return to Base), Song Seung Heon (When a Man Loves) and Lee Dong Wook (Blade Man). Having just wrapped up the SBS fantasy romance thriller The Girl Who Sees Smells last month, she's already set to return in the fall for the historical drama Six Flying Dragons.



8. Mizuhara Kiko
Born to an American father and a Zainichi Korean mother, Mizuhara Kiko was raised in Japan and entered the entertainment industry at the young age of 12 as a model. Starting out as a model for Seventeen magazine, Mizuhara later moved onto more mature titles such as ViVi and MAQUIA. In 2010, she made her acting debut opposite Matsuyama Kenichi and Kikuchi Rinko in Anh Hung Tran's adaptation of Murakami Haruki's Norwegian Wood. She followed that up with memorable supporting turns in films like Helter Skelter, I'm Flash and Platinum Data. She also branched out onto the small screen in Shitsuren Chocolatier and Nobunaga Concerto. Mizuhara takes on her highest-profile role to date as female lead Mikasa Ackerman in the upcoming blockbuster adaptation of the hugely popular manga series Attack on Titan.



9. Kaho
After being scouted on the streets of Harajuku as a fifth-grader, Kaho made her entertainment debut in a commercial in 2003. She remained active as a child star in commercials, movies and TV, and eventually reached a breakthrough in 2007 with her starring role in the film adaptation of the Kodansha Manga Award-winning title Tennen Kokekko. Thanks to her beautiful performance, Kaho almost swept the year's Best Newcomer awards, including at the Japan Academy Awards. Since then, she has become her generation's leading character actress with eye-catching, varied roles in Beautiful World, Tokyo Girl, Trick The Movie: Psychic Battle Royale and Puzzle. In addition to maintaining an active presence in the worlds of commercials and dramas, Kaho is set to star in the much anticipated movie adaptation of NEWS member Kato Shigeaki's debut novel Pink and Grey.



10. Kim Go Eun
With no previous experience in film or television acting, Kim Go Eun burst into the Korean film scene in 2012 with an erotically charged performance in A Muse, playing the object of sexual obsession for an elderly poet and his apprentice. Kim has followed her high-profile debut with violent thriller Monster and little-known indie film Neverdie Butterfly. This year, she can be seen as a ruthless tomboy-ish debt collector in noir drama Coin Locker Girl (alongside Kim Hye Su) and in the long-awaited period action drama Memories of the Sword (starring Lee Byung Hun and Jeon Do Yeon). Kim also has an additional advantage that may put her ahead of her fellow Korean post-90s actresses: She lived in China for ten years during her childhood and can hold a conversation in Mandarin Chinese.



11. Zheng Shuang
A regular presence in articles with titles like "China's Top Post-90s Actresses," Zheng Shuang has been schooled in all manners of cultural pursuits since childhood. At the age of 16, she became the youngest person of the year to gain admission into the prestigious Beijing Film Academy. A mere two years after that, she made her debut in the massively popular youth drama Meteor Shower. As the series' female lead, Zheng's star skyrocketed overnight. After two seasons of the drama, Zheng received further recognition for her supporting role in Gordon Chan's Mural, which led to Zheng being nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2012 Hong Kong Film Awards. Her profile has been further boosted with her roles in recent popular dramas Swords of Legend and Love Through a Millennium. With no less than four series waiting to air, Zheng is proving to be one of Chinese TV's most in-demand leading ladies.



12. Zhou Dongyu
The epitome of the girl next door, Zhou Dongyu revived Chinese audiences' memories of first love with her debut performance in Zhang Yimou's Cultural Revolution-set romance Under the Hawthorn Tree. After taking time off to concentrate on her academic career at the Beijing Film Academy and a brief contract dispute, the young actress made a huge comeback in 2014 with hit youth romance My Old Classmate and a scene-stealing supporting role in blockbuster comedy Breakup Buddies. Now approaching her mid-20s, Zhou is slowly stepping into more mature roles, co-starring with Korea's Lee Jun Ki in romance drama Begin Again and sharing the screen with Tong Dawei in crime drama Lost in White.



13. Ko Ah Sung
Acting since the age of four, Ko Ah Sung saw her first career breakthrough at the age of 13 in Bong Joon Ho's monster blockbuster The Host. Even though her work in subsequent years were less successful (with the exception of a major supporting role in hit 2010 television drama Master of Study), Ko recently returned to the spotlight with Bong's English-language hit Snowpiercer, critically acclaimed bullying drama Thread of Lies and an award-winning performance in the SBS television drama Heard it Through the Grapevine. This summer, the wide-eyed actress stars as an intern caught in a murder case in Office - which brought her to the Cannes Film Festival in May - and in romantic fantasy The Beauty Inside. She will also reunite with Thread of Lies director Lee Han in a drama co-starring Im Si Wan later this year.



14. Gouriki Ayame
In 2002, Gouriki Ayame entered the auditions for the Japan Bishojo Contest. Although she didn't make it past the second round of preliminaries, she caught the eye of representatives from her current management company, thus kicking off her life in the entertainment industry. After a series of supporting roles in dramas and films like ChocoMimi, Battery and Thriller Restaurant: The Movie, she turned heads as a bright and optimistic high school student in the 2011 Fuji TV getsuku drama Taisetsu na Koto wa Subete Kimi ga Oshietekureta. Since then, she's had an unstoppable ride to the top, starring in films like Gatchaman, Black Butler and L DK. A particularly significant vote of confidence in her abilities came as the much revered Mitani Koki cast her in a pivotal role in his historical comedy The Kiyosu Conference.



15. Arimura Kasumi
A testament to the power of Amachan, Arimura Kasumi, who played the young incarnation of the heroine's mother in the flashback scenes, is one of the three young actresses on this list who found their big breaks in the hit NHK Morning Drama. Since then, the SPEC actress has been very prolific with supporting performances on hit television dramas Mozu, Yowakutemo Katemasu and Shitsuren Chocolatier. Less than halfway through 2015, Arimura already has two hit films on her resume: youth romance Strobe Edge and comedy Flying Colors.



16. Nounen Rena
Like any young star of an NHK Morning Drama, fashion model Nounen Rena was suddenly thrust into the spotlight when she was chosen among numerous candidates to star in writer Kudo Kankuro's Amachan. The story of a Tokyo girl who becomes a sea urchin diver and an aspiring pop idol, the 156-episode drama was the best showcase any young actress could ask for. When the show became a national sensation, Nounen landed regular appearances on magazine covers, advertisements and variety shows. Although Nounen hasn't made another full-length television drama since Amachan (though she did star in a single-episode drama special), Nounen found her way to the big screen for the hit live-action adaptation of Hot Road – for which she won multiple newcomer awards – and otaku girl comedy Princess Jellyfish.



17. Zhang Huiwen
As one of China's most revered contemporary filmmakers, Zhang Yimou wields considerable influence in the Chinese entertainment industry, so it's no surprise that many actors who star in his films go on to lead massively successful careers. This esteemed list includes the likes of Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Ni Ni and Zhou Dongyu. In 2014, Gong Li teamed up with Zhang Yimou once again for the emotional drama Coming Home, and playing her daughter is a starlet who will no doubt embark on her own successful career soon, Zhang Huiwen. After delivering a performance in Coming Home that has earned her Best Newcomer Awards at the Macau International Movie Festival, the Shanghai Film Critics Awards and the Asian Film Awards, Zhang is set to raise her profile even further as the female lead in comedian He Jiong's upcoming directorial debut Forever Young.



18. Takei Emi
As a student, Takei Emi dreamed of being a model, going so far as to declare to her parents that she would become one by the end of her junior high school career. She made good on her word, and after winning two categories at the 2006 Japan Bishojo Contest, Takei made her debut as a model for Seventeen magazine. Within a couple of years, Takei had expanded her career to include acting, appearing on the big screen with Sakura no Sono and the small screen with Otomen. She soon graduated to leading roles with Miike Takashi's For Love's Sake and dramas Otenki Onee-san and Clinic on the Sea. Her status as one of Japan's top starlets has been cemented by her role in the recently concluded mega-hit Rurouni Kenshin trilogy, with her performance in the series earning her accolades from industry leaders like the Japan Academy Awards.



19. Cherry Ngan
In 2013, Cherry Ngan showed that she can act and dance in surprise hit youth film The Way We Dance, a role that earned her a Best Actress nomination at both the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Golden Horse Awards. Her supporting role in Fruit Chan's The Midnight After, voice work for the Cantonese version of Miyazaki Hayao's The Wind Rises and a guest vocalist spot on C AllStar's collaboration album Collab Star made Ngan one of Hong Kong's most popular up-and-coming actresses. For her next starring role, Ngan branches out to Taiwan in novelist Hiwayu's directorial debut At Café 6, co-starring Dong Zijian.



20. Shim Eun Kyung
Like many young Korean actors, Shim Eun Kyung started out as a child star and appeared in various TV dramas throughout the previous decade, including Hwang Jin Yi, The Great Merchant, The Legend and even Dae Jang Geum. Where she truly hit her stride, though, is on the big screen. In 2011, Shim showed her comedic talents in two films, the nostalgic romp Sunny and the Jang Jin afterlife comedy Romantic Heaven. The former was a massive critical and commercial hit, the latter won her the Best Supporting Actress award at the Daejong Film Awards at the age of 17. In 2014, she reached even higher heights and won Best Actress at the Baeksang Arts Awards for her vivacious portrayal of an old woman in a young body in Miss Granny, affirming once more that the 21-year-old star is not only one of Korea's best young actresses, but also one of the very few to be taken seriously for comedy.



21. Nikaido Fumi
Like her Himizu co-star Sometani Shota, Nikaido Fumi has found herself in high demand by Japanese filmmakers following her shared Best New Young Actor award at the Venice Film Festival. With an adorable face and an eccentric demeanor that gave her an offbeat charm, the young actress has since more than lived up to expectations with memorable performances in films like Sono Sion's Why Don't You Play in Hell, indie comedy-drama Au Revoir L'ete, controversial Lolita-esque drama My Man and Yamashita Nobuhiro's La La La at Rock Bottom. In the past year, Nikaido even received the Rising Star Award from the New York Asian Film Festival and an Elan d'or Newcomer award from the All Nippon Producers Association.



22. Hashimoto Ai
Before sharing the screen with Nounen Rena as her unlucky best friend in Amachan, Hashimoto Ai had already attracted attention as a disturbed high school student in Nakashima Tetsuya's Confessions and with her award-winning performance in high school drama The Kirishima Thing. Nevertheless, the popular Morning Drama opened up the path for roles in major films like Parasyte, The World of Kanako, as well as the star-studded remake of television drama Wakamonotachi. She even took a solo starring role as a young girl living on her own in the forest in the four-part foodie saga Little Forest, propelling her as one of the most prolific young actresses in Japan.



23. Xu Jiao
Xu Jiao's first role was as big as they come. The then nine-year-old girl was handpicked by Stephen Chow to star in the sci-fi fantasy comedy CJ7 as his rambunctious son. Her gender-bending debut won her Best New Artist at the 2009 Hong Kong Film Awards. Since then, she's maintained a balance between school and acting, taking on one or two varied projects per year - from playing the young Mulan in Jingle Ma's 2009 epic and time traveling with Andy Lau in Future X-Cops, to headlining the 2011 Jimmy Liao adaptation Starry Starry Night and training CGI circus gorillas in the Korean-Chinese co-production Mr. Go. Now 17 years old, Xu Jiao just graduated high school in the US, where she's been studying since 2013. Ahead of her is college and a long career of many options.



24. Kim So Hyun
Dubbed the "Little Son Ye Jin," Kim So Hyun, who has been appearing on television since the age of seven, has grown from child star to teen royalty in the last few years. 2012 was a turning point with The Moon That Embraces the Sun launching her and fellow teen sensations Yeo Jin Gu and Kim Yoo Jung into household names. Since then, her star and her roles have just kept getting bigger. Besides continuing to take on child actor roles, she's ascended to the main cast in series like the cable mini-drama Ma Boy (her first starring role), the family suspense The Suspicious Housekeeper and the crime thriller Reset. The versatile 16-year-old starlet just completed her biggest project to date headlining KBS's Who Are You - School 2015, in which she convincingly played dual roles as twin sisters. At this point, "Little Son Ye Jin" is more than just a reference to looks: Kim So Hyun is well on her way to becoming Korea's sweetheart.



25. Kim Yoo Jung
At only 15, Kim Yoo Jung already has a longer filmography than actors twice her age. Since debuting at the age of five, the teen actress has appeared in some of Korea's biggest works of the last decade, from Sympathy for Lady Vengeance and The Chaser to Dong Yi and Iljimae. Besides being the go-to actress to play young versions of protagonists, she was getting fairly big roles even as a child, like in Haeundae and Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho. Already known as one of the top talents of her age group, Kim Yoo Jung's popularity exploded in 2012 with The Moon That Embraces the Sun. She's followed with substantive roles on both the big screen (The Commitment, Thread of Lies) and the small screen (Secret Door). This year, she's co-starred in the well-received series Angry Mom with Kim Hee Sun, and has a new film (Joy) and web drama (Love Cells 2) in the works.


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Published June 25, 2015


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