Korean actor Jung Woo-sung, singer-actor Lee Seung-gi and idol group Kara will receive recognitions today for their contribution in spreading Hallyu, or Korean pop culture overseas.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s (MCST) Cultural Industry Policy Division announced today that the celebrities will receive the annual Distinguished Korean Wave Entertainer Award in the categories of film, drama and music, respectively, at a ceremony at Imperial Palace Hotel in Nonhyun-dong of Seoul on Thursday evening.

Recipients of last year’s Hallyu prizes were actor Song Seung-heon and nine-member idol group Girls’ Generation.

Hallyu, also known as Korean Wave, is a term that refers to the widespread boom of Korean popular culture in countries overseas in the form of TV dramas, pop music, films, online games and other genres of entertainment.

Jung, 37, has been one of the most widely known actors in Korea since debuting in 1994, starring in over two dozen Korean dramas and films including internationally acclaimed pic “The Good, The Bad, The Weird” (2008)” and most recently, Chinese-speaking feature “Reign of Assassin” (2010) co-starring Chinese actress Michelle Yeoh.

He is currently starring in SBS’ spy thriller “Athena,” a spin-off to last year’s smash-hit TV series “IRIS,” which began its run early last month.

Lee, 24, made his debut as a singer with album “The Dream of a Moth” in 2004 but expanded his career into acting the following year with a role in MBC’s sitcom “Nonstop 5.”

He became a household name in Korea after starring in series “The Infamous Chill Sisters” and rose to fame throughout Asia last year through hit SBS drama “Brilliant Legacy.” Lee is currently also a popular show host in various variety shows televised nationwide.

Kara, composed of members Gu Hara, Han Seung-yeon, Park Gyu-lee, Kang Ji-young and Nicole, made their debut in Korea with their first album “Blooming” in 2007 and rose to stardom with numerous hit songs such as “Honey,” “Mister” and “Lupin.”

They expanded their career into Japan last August have seen success there so far as well, being named best new artist of the year at the 25th annual Japan Gold Disc Award and placing at No. 1 on the Oricon chart’s listing for the most successful new artist of 2010.

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