Celebrity News
The brainiacs among us — stars with high IQs
by | January 27, 2008 | 42 Comments

After it became known that announcer Han Joon Ho is a member of Mensa — the group open only to those with high IQs (specifically, those who score above the 98th percentile on standardized IQ tests) — interest arose in the topic of celebrity IQs.

For reference, the average IQ is 100, although the range can be extended to include 90 through 109. (110-119 is superior intelligence, 120-140 is very superior, and above 140 is generally known as genius level. Conversely, 80-89 is in the “dull” range, 70-79 is borderline deficient, and under 70 is considered “feeble-minded.”) And yes, I know IQ can be considered an outdated standard of measurement.

Now, some of these names are familiar, but some are a bit surprising. Goong‘s Kim Jung Hoon, a smarty? Whoaaa. Not that he seemed, well, un-smart, but I’m a little surprised.


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Announcer Han Joon Ho, rapper-actor Tablo

Looking at other public figures with high IQs, Joy News turned up KBS reporter Ryu Shi Hyun, another Mensa member with a reported IQ of 160.

The SBS show host Shin Dong Yeob startled with the revelation that his IQ measured 139. Another MC and comedian Kim Yong Man is reported to have an IQ of 143.

Pop singer Hong Kyung Min admitted that his IQ, back when tested in his school days, was 148, and Infinity Challenge‘s Jung Joon Ha‘s measured 140.

Epik High rapper and Stanford University graduate Tablo has an IQ of over 150.

Ahn Jae Hwan, who attended Seoul University, has an IQ nearing 150.

Another of Seoul University’s most famous graduates is Kim Tae Hee; she and pop singer and Goong star Kim Jung Hoon both measure in with IQs surpassing 140.

Via Joy News

Singer Hong Kyung Min, announcer Ryu Shi Hyun, comedian-MC Jung Joon Ha

Comedians Kim Yong Man, Ahn Jae Hwan, Shin Dong Yeob


42 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. cowmeisterr

    the zshare link doesnt work T_T goes to stupid zwinky download oh and i love this website =D

  2. sweetanna

    I don’t usually post here, although I try to keep up with your amusing summaries javabeans (komawoyo btw)….but I had to respond to this one…

    The funny thing about this news for me is that when my brother first saw a picture of Kim Jung Hoon the first thing he said was that he looked smart. So till now my brother and I refer to him not by his name but as “the smart guy”.

    funny, huh?

  3. Jane

    I always thought that Tablo was pretty smart.

    I guess I have proof now! ^-^

    I had no idea Kim Tae Hee graduated from Seoul University.


  4. George

    I remember learning in General Psychology that IQ is no longer a good measure of intelligence. Not to say that these people aren’t smart, but their IQs shouldn’t be causing such a huge fuss.

    But then again, Koreans seem to love empirical “proof” of intelligence! (as well as “brand name” colleges and universities. But, heureusement, my grandmother now knows of at least one other university other than Harvard…since, I didn’t go to Harvard)

  5. OldSchool

    Interesting list

  6. M

    I read that Lee Byung Hun has an IQ of 155. Does this high level of intelligence translate into success?

  7. Miki

    Kim Jung Hoo’s IQ is really high!!

    ~__~ I took some IQ test awhile back and my IQ is only about 130….XD And I’m considered pretty smart around my peers. So these celebrities are really really just too much! They have to be good looking, talented (well, some of them) and smart too?! God isn’t fair.

    Tablo comes as no surprise to me. Didn’t he go to Standford?

  8. jaime

    aww. its a shame that Tablo is not really using his intelligence.. no offense. but he can be some chemist finding the cure for cancer.
    and im not surprised Kim Jung Hoon is smart. i saw this show once.. where you compete.. and you do calculus problems. and he won it! its not the easy calc but actually hard stuff. ^^

  9. Nicole

    wooht wooht… go tablo!!! =D
    not really surprised that he’s on the list but it just makes me respect him even more…he’s so adorable…like the dorky kinda cute!!!

  10. 10 Kikari

    Uwahhh Tablo is so smart! ^^
    Tablo has a “Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, respectively from Stanford University” -from wikipedia-
    heheh I love his glasses ;3

  11. 11 vrosemarie

    Yeah, I knew Kim Jung Hoon gave on a degree for dentistry so he had to have some brains for that… Is education for a celebrity that important? It generates respect from the public but they don’t really put it to good use anyway unless they channel all that genius into creative thinking for entertainment purposes or self expression… Kim Jung Hoon and Tablo are cuties!

  12. 12 Linda

    yea i definitely think KJH is smart

  13. 13 javabeans

    Is anyone else having trouble with zshare? The link works for me. cowmeisterr, you may have to click on a link at the top to bypass the ad page, which sometimes appears.

  14. 14 loveactually

    i knew Tablo was quite smart, but I never knew that he was this exceedingly intelligent! over 150…..? Not that I am saying that being in the entertainment industry is unworthy of people with high intelligence, but dont you think it’s a waste for Tablo with his IQ of over 150 to be a rapper/actor (yes i know its his passion….but still)? music can touch people’s lives but science and math affect far more.

  15. 15 javabeans

    Hmm… Someone with a high level of verbal facility may or may not have an equally high proficiency in science or math… so it’s quite possible that Tablo, had he decided not to be a rapper/songwriter, would be little help to the scientific community. Not knockin’ him, just saying that his career choice doesn’t strike me as a waste.

  16. 16 moodyhap

    It’s funny, for them being a member of Mensa means they are extremely intelligent. In Spanish, mensa is the femenine form of dumb. hahahaha.

    I’m not surprised about Tablo, Jung Joon Ha on the other hand I wasn’t expecting.
    That just goes to say, ‘never judge a book by it’s cover’.

  17. 17 incarnadine

    I wasn’t surprised about KTH, KJH and Tablo… but Jung Joon Ha?!? Wow!!! ^_^

  18. 18 Carina

    I like how this proves that a high IQ doesn’t translate to (acting) skills. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. 19 keiko04

    Shin Dong Yup… that’s just really cool. 8D I guess that’s good enough an explanation why he’s hosting Exploring the Human Body which I think is actually pretty educational. :]
    Some of the people in this list really surprise me o_o This is a really interesting topic~
    And Kim Jung Hoon was studying dentistry before he decided to enter the entertainment business, I believe. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. 20 Carina

    Something else that surprises me about this is how in the world someone the level of Kim Jung Hoon starred in Witch Amusement. It seems to me like making a genius play a part in this horrendous drama is an insult akin to making a priest make a Jesus statue out of elephant dung.

  21. 21 hellaakon

    Hmm…that’s some interesting trivia to me. I’ll take it all with a grain of salt…but nice to know anyways.

    The only people I knew beforehand with high IQs were Tablo and Kim Jung Hoon.

  22. 22 kriza09

    @loveactually -> “music can touch peopleโ€™s lives but science and math affect far more.”
    not really. i have an IQ of 141 (even though i’m only at the bottom range but yay, i’m genius!!! lol) and i’m a chemeng major in uc berkeley. i don’t think i can go farther than working my a$$ off at someone else’s company trying to make money for myself… and i don’t think having high IQs equals success. at the end success will only come to those who have worked hard and diligently..

  23. 23 heyleadinglady

    I love Shin Dong Yeob, he’s one the funniest comedians around ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad he’s smart

  24. 24 tooizzy

    I heard that EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is more important to your success than IQ. While you can’t improve your IQ, you can certainly improve on your EQ.

  25. 25 tealeaf

    tooizzy, i totally agree with you, though i think you can change your IQ over time.

    IMO, those numbers are trivial if you can’t apply and translate your intelligence into something that is positive. Many of the Mensa members that i’ve known interestingly have failed to make significant contributions to our society. On the other hand, those who have affect incredible worthwhile changes to this world have done it without relying heavily on their (lack of) cerebral abilities.

    loveactually, being analytically sound is overrated. Yes, we and the world are better because of the many advances in science, technology and medicine. However, i have the utmost respect for the arts and anyone with an English major. Have you ever experience the power of a good book?

  26. 26 Blake

    yay for the humanities! i’m a humanities-oriented asian myself.

    i knew about KJH before this post. oi, some people have everything.

  27. 27 Anonymous

    majority of asian culture are obsessed with being book smart.
    although i don’t doubt some of these celebrities do have a high IQ, e.g. Tablo is very believable (being a stanford graduate and all), the rest, it’s just funny how this article states that they either admitted or claimed in some show or interview.
    there isn’t really any proof except for the fact that they told us they have those IQ levels.

  28. 28 jippo

    I don’t know if I agree with the criticisms of the careers that these people have chosen…
    But in any case, I would like to note that this article might be drawing so much attention because it is suggesting they may be more than just “entertainers” — and one cannot deny that we do not hold those in the entertainment industry to as high a standard when it comes to intellect.
    Also, those successful in their craft may not wholly attribute their rise to the top to their high IQ, but it would not be unreasonable to see that it would have certainly benefited them.

  29. 29 jiameiliya

    really interesting.
    I know tablo graduated from stanford, so he should be very smart.
    that’s cool…

  30. 30 marcel

    tooizzy & tealeaf – you’ve given me hope! reading this article, i was wondering what i’ve done with my life… & thinking maybe God’s been playing some crazy games yo.. why do some people get to be so beautiful & smart? but i have an english degree & i’m trying to get my master’s while i speak.. so in pursuit of the arts & a sky high EQ.. here’s to making a difference in the world..

  31. 31 Charlo

    O_O WHAT?! Jung Joon Ha have 140? Now THAT’S a surprise! Ahah, quite a few people here I’m surprised to see.

  32. 32 Anonymous

    I knew that Kim Tae Hee graduated from Seoul University but I didn’t know that she had such a high IQ. Too bad that it doesn’t seem to help her act…lol

  33. 33 amareally

    Yes I heard that Kim Jong Hoon is smart. I think he solved a difficult math problem in a japanese TV show or something .. really wanted to see the clip if anyone knows the link …

  34. 34 elisa

    joonha’s smart? LOL
    well there’s a first time for everything ๐Ÿ˜€

  35. 35 Sue

    HAHA Jung Joonha? I hope he bragged about this on Infinity Challenge! He’s known as the ๋ฐ”๋ณดํ˜•, haha.
    and yep kim junghoon

  36. 36 rah

    According to some Korean friends, Kim Jung Hoon studied dentristy at Seoul National but dropped out as his entertainment career was starting to hit off

  37. 37 Christine Cheng

    this makes me feel even more pathetic D:
    but thats so cool…lol i always knew kim jung hoon was smart :]

  38. 38 Alvina

    Jun Jin’s (from Shinhwa) IQ is 140 as well…

  39. 39 Tony

    Tablo’s IQ is 180. He announced on a show when he was talking about how he used to joke with friends and tell them that his IQ was 180 ish. His friends made him take the test and he actually had an IQ of 180ish. Pretty amazing since he’s a school dropout, then went back to Stanford.

  40. 40 mynameisloopy

    Hey my IQ is (purportedly) 148 but I don’t feel anything at all. I do very well in school but it doesn’t make me special as so many others do well too without having to have a certificate on the wall of your room declaring you are — INDEED — a genius; so I agree that your IQ measurement won’t take you as far as your EQ will in life. And having said IQ won’t stop you from picking out silly nicknames for yourself either LOL!

    You just have to look at Tablo and KJH to know they’re brilliant. They just have that vibe, you know?

  41. 41 John Doe

    Comment section is a good example of the Lake Wobegon effect. “People tell me I’m smart”, “I took an online test and it said I was a genius”, and so on.

    Reminds me the narcissism of young girls. “People tell me I’m pretty”, “Boys are so dumb, and I’m so smart”.


  42. 42 mary

    Why don’t you see Kim Jung Hoon as a smarty? ๐Ÿ™‚

    I saw him in Princess Hours and Witch Yoo Hee and he ‘felt’ smart… unless he has a load of other films/series where he looks… err.. dumb?

    @John Doe (comment #41) – nice comment. At least I learned something new today.

    You’re right, I’ve been searching for celebrity IQs and most of the blog posts I end up reading become a my-IQ-is-(some high score)-look-at-me comment fest.

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