Korean Wave star Bae Yong-jun has visited Japan, where he was welcomed by some 2000 fans. His visit comes more than a year after his last visit to the country.
Bae left for Japan on September 27 on a special Korean Air jet, which was rented for him. The actor arrived at Narita Airport at 3:20 p.m. He and actress Choi Ji-woo will attend a promotional event for the animation version of “Winter Sonata” at the Tokyo Dome.
Bae previously visited Japan in June last year to promote the epic drama “Legend.” It is his first visit to Japan alongside actress Choi Ji-woo, who played opposite him in the TV drama “Winter Sonata.”
Korean Air offered a special jet for the two stars. Some 2000 fans greeted Bae and Choi at Narita Airport. Bae’s fans kept asking him about his health, as the actor was recently diagnosed with septicemia. Bae responded with a smile and waved his hand. Walking among the crowd of fans, he said briefly that he was fine. Bae’s agency, BOF, said the two actors didn’t pause to greet their fans because of security concerns.
Bae, Choi and Ryu Seung-soo will attend the “Winter Sonata” event on September 29 at the Tokyo Dome. On September 30, Bae will hold an event marking the publishing of his book on the beauty of Korea. He will stay in Japan until October 2.
Two stars of “Winter Sonata,” Bae Yong-joon and Choi Ji-woo, will be in Japan together this fall. The first-generation hallyu stars will be in the Tokyo Dome to promote “Winter Sonata – Another Story,” a 26-part animation show dubbed with their voices. This is the first time that Bae and Choi will participate in the same event since their drama was broadcast in 2002.
On the following day Bae will also hold a promotional event for his book tentatively titled “The Beauty of Korea.” His representative said that as many as 90 thousand Japanese fans are expected to come to the Tokyo Dome to see Bae over the two-day event. Also the events will be telecast live via satellite feed to local theaters, so those who will not be able to attend the Tokyo Dome events can still see Bae on screen.
Top Korean actress Choi Ji-woo, 34, has also recently disclosed her relationship with her younger boyfriend, Lee Jin-wook, 28, who acted opposite her in a TV drama two years ago. She made headlines not only in Korea but in Japan as well, where she enjoys enormous popularity. The “older women with younger men trend” has been popular for quite a while now. Actress Chae Si-ra, 41, who is married to singer Kim Tae-wook, 40, as well as comedian Park Kyung-rim, 30, and her younger husband, Park Jung-hoon, 29, are just a few examples.
However, couples’ age differences have been on the rise recently, reaching as many as 5-6 years. Some couples have an age difference of 10 years. Actress Choi Jung-won, 28, made headlines because of rumors that she was dating actor Baek Sung-hyun, who is eight years her junior. Actress Kim Seon-ah, 34, also drew attention when rumors spread that she was dating singer Lee Seung-ki, 22, when the two appeared in a TV commercial for a beer brand. Though the rumor turned out to be groundless, the two received great attention for making a perfect couple despite their 12-year age difference. Rumors about Choi Jung-won and Baek Sung-hyun and Kim Seon-ah and Lee Seung-ki acted as a “noise marketing” tool, because they were spread when these couples appeared in the same productions, and contributed greatly to promoting the productions. It is also further proof that news about older women dating younger men is no longer surprising these days.
The popularity of younger men among older women and vice versa is also a result of changing public perception. As women’s social status keeps improving, nobody is surprised these days to see women dating younger men. The social stereotype that men must date younger women is also gradually losing ground. That also explains why many couples with younger men and older women are unabashed about their relationships.
Actress Choi Ji-woo’s visit to Japan has drawn great attention from the media there, amid rumors that she has fallen in love. Japanese sports dailies and broadcasters on Thursday gave intensive coverage of the Korean actress–who arrived at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Wednesday for a three-day visit until Saturday–and her relationship with actor Lee Jin-wook.
Choi was welcomed by some 150 fans waiting at the airport, despite a snowstorm, who gave her a bouquet of flowers. “I am very happy to visit Japan again. I have wanted to meet you again,” she told them. But when reporters, noticing a ring on her right hand, asked her if she plans to marry, she just smiled and hurried to leave the airport.
The actress went to Japan to promote her latest SBS drama “Celebrity Sweetheart,” which is scheduled to be aired on the satellite channel Wow Wow TV from May 1.
Attending a premiere for the movie at Tokyo’s Yebisu Garden Hall on Thursday afternoon, Choi was bombarded with questions about her relationship with Lee. “We have good feelings toward each other, but that is all for now,” she answered. “I can tell you one thing for sure — that I have never yet thought about getting married.”
Choi Ji-woo is flying solo, leaving her management behind to establish her own company.
The glam (and melodrama) queen has ended her contract with Olive Nine, and even before its expiration (on March 1), Choi been approached with many management offers from other large companies. Ultimately, Choi decided to assert her independence and is busily working to set up her own company in hopes to be ready by early April — hiring staff, renting an office.
(The timing seems ill-planned — she knew her contract was ending, and only now starts setting up an office? I smell fishiness… or maybe I’ve seen too many dramas. This one seems right out of her latest, A Star’s Lover.)
A representative from Olive Nine says that despite Choi leaving the company (they’ve ended the contract “cleanly, and promised to keep on good terms”), they will continue to have a relationship of “strategic cooperation.” For instance, she is still conferring with them about a few projects in development.
Other stars who have gone independent include Choi’s Winter Sonata co-stars Bae Yong-joon and Park Yong-ha, as well as her Everybody Has Secrets co-star Lee Byung-heon. (Lee Byung-heon’s BH Entertainment reps Han Chae-young; Rain’s J Tune reps Lee Da-hae and Yeon Jung-hoon; Yonsama’s BOF reps Choi Kang-hee and So Ji-sub, although the latter is ending his contract in April.)
Via Hankook Ilbo
The Korean drama Winter Sonata, which helped spur the popularity of Korean pop culture in Asia, the phenomenon known as Hallyu, will be made into a movie, along with another hit drama, Autumn in My Heart.Korean production company Culture Cap Media, which currently holds film rights to the hit TV drama, said it sealed a deal with investment management company Kara & Rich Holdings Korea and Japanese film development and finance company Entertainment Farm to produce a film based on mega hit TV drama series Winter Sonata.
Culture Cap Media will handle the production process, while Entertainment Farm will be involved as an investor.
The casting for leading roles has not been decided, but Culture Cap Media says the two stars of Winter Sonata, Bae Yong-joon and Choi Ji-woo, will not be participating in the movie adaptation and new faces will be chosen to add a fresh new feel to the film.
After production is complete, the involved companies will start producing Autumn in My Heart as well.
Winter Sonata and Autumn in my heart have drawn a large audience in East Asian countries, including Japan.
Song Seung-heon and Song Hye-gyo, who played the leading roles in Autumn in My Heart, and Bae Yong-joon and Choi Ji-woo, the two stars of Winter Sonata, have also been very popular across Asia.