Controversy over Lee Min Ho’s English pronunciation: Are netizens being excessively demanding? 

Does Lee Min Ho deserve negative comments only because he does not speak English fluently? 

In a recent interview with Rotten Tomatoes where the cast of “Pachinko” talked about the series, Lee Min Ho’s English pronunciation caught the attention. The difference between him and his female co-star Kim Min Ha in terms of English speaking skills sparked a debate among netizens. 

Lee Min Ho-Kim Min Ha

Lee Min Ha left a strong impression because she spoke English fluently and confidently. She boasted a clear diction and a natural accent, making her sound like a native. The actress is known to have learned English since she was a child. On the other hand, Lee Min Ho disappointed some netizens with his awkward English pronunciation. Despite being a globally famous actor, in interviews with international media outlets, Lee Min Ho still needs to rely on interpreters.

In the 2016 drama Legend of the Blue Sea, there were some scenes that required Lee Min Ho to speak English but his pronunciation and accent were so funny and unnatural that it even turned into a meme. It has been years since Legend of the Blue Sea, but Lee Min Ho‘s English speaking skills have not improved much. Since he is a top actor that is not only popular domestically but also overseas, some netizens believe that Lee Min Ho should improve his English because it will only benefit his activities and promotions in the international market.

Lee Min Ho’s funny English-speaking scene in Legend of the Blue Sea.

However, many fans have defended Lee Min Ho, saying that he has improved and he only lacked confidence so he depended on an interpreter to make sure what he wanted to say is fully and correctly conveyed. Fans think that netizens are being excessively strict and demanding toward Lee Min Ho. He is a Korean actor, so acting should be the number one priority. He is not acting in an English-speaking movie either, so him not being fluent in English should not be a problem. 

Lee Min Ho

One netizen commented, “He’s an actor, he needs to be good at acting, but he doesn’t need to be good at English.  He is Korean so he does not have to speak English fluently.  You are not good at everything yourself, so why do you force others to know everything?”

Countering this opinion, another netizen said that Pachinko is being promoted in the international market and Lee Min Ho is also expanding his influence overseas, so English proficiency is necessary:  “It’s okay for actors who are only popular in Korea, but if Lee Min Ho doesn’t use an international language, how can he develop abroad?”


Ignoring this controversy, Lee Min Ho is having a makeover with the role of Koh Hansu in PachinkoLee Min Ho has escaped from the image of a “nice guy” in previous films to transform into an evil, scheming Hansu.

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