Kang Ji-young joined the South Korean girl group Kara in 2008 after the departure of its original member Sunghee. Her first album with the group is the extended play Rock U released in July 2008. In November 2010, they released their debut Japanese album Girl’s Talk, which sold over 100,000 copies in its first week. Japan’s Oricon named the group as 2010’s Best Rookie Artist. In 2014, Kang Ji-young left the group to focus on her studies in London. In 2016, she made her solo debut as a singer in Japan under the stage name JY with the singles Final Farewell and Radio, which were used as original soundtrack songs for a Japanese drama.

Kang Ji-young played one of the main characters in the 2014 live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga series Hell Teacher Nube. She has since appeared in several Japanese television dramas such as NTV’s Tamiou in 2015 and Fuji TV’s Orphan Black – 7 Genes in 2017. In 2019, she became part of the cast of the Japanese movie Tokyo Ghoul S, which is the sequel of the 2017 film Tokyo Ghoul. In 2020, she starred in the South Korean romantic comedy series Sweet Munchies, opposite Jung Il-woo.

Kang Ji-young is cousins with South Korean singer NS Yoon-G.