A man wearing a dark blue jacket with “KOREA” printed on the chest threw the ball, which landed in the catcher’s mitt with no bounce. A woman watches with an ecstatic expression on her face. She was Kim Keon-hee, 50, the first lady who accompanied South Korean President Yun Suk-yeol, 62, to the first pitch ceremony.
President Yun took the first pitch for the Lions vs. the Dinos in Daegu, Southeast on April 1. For this event, President Yun had practiced throwing in about 20 pitches. As one would expect, he was a member of the baseball team at Seoul National University’s College of Law after attending the prestigious Chung-Am High School for baseball. Even though he is over 60 years old, he still throws a no-bounce speed ball.
Mrs. Kim, wearing the same Korean national team jacket as President Yun, happily watched her husband pitch from the ground. President Yun responded to the applause from the stands by raising both hands, and Mrs. Kim responded with a smile. She bowed deeply to the audience.
The South Korean presidential office publicized the first pitch by President and Mrs. Yun to a large extent. A video of President Yun training hard for the “perfect pitch” was also made public. It is likely that the attention will be heightened when Mrs. Kim accompanies them. The media also reported it extensively.
She looks different from when she was a student.
The “talented and talented Mrs. Kim is very popular, you know. In December 2009, the fan site “Keon-Sarang (I love you, Keon-Sarang)” was launched. Initially, there were about 30,000 members, but since May of last year, when Yun assumed the presidency, the number has surpassed 90,000. The number is now approaching 100,000.
Mrs. Kim casually shares her personal life on her Instagram. Her favorite white sandals (about 3,500 yen) and skirt (about 5,500 yen) on Instagram have become a hot topic and are sold out at various stores. They are so popular that a search for ‘Kim Keon-hee’ on a major Korean online shopping site returns more than 2,500 hits,” she said.
Why is Mrs. Kim attracting so much attention?
Because she seems fresh for a first lady and is a firm supporter of Mr. Yun. The past first ladies of Korea have been mostly in their 60s, and Mrs. Kim, who became the first lady in her 40s, is by far the youngest.
She is also unique in her career as a female businesswoman, having established the arts planning company “Kobana Contents” in 2007. When people talk about her face on the Internet, saying that her face looks different from when she was a student, she is also well-liked for her attitude of honestly answering, ‘I had a double surgery when I was in college.
President Yun’s popularity, on the other hand, is not so good: He visited Japan in March for the first time in four years as South Korean president, and held a top-level meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to appeal for friendship, but the meeting was ineffective. His approval rating has slumped to the low 30s, while his disapproval rating has nearly doubled to over 60%.
The government must be feeling a bit of a headache. The government has not been able to find a chance to recover its approval rating. For now, they have no choice but to rely on the popularity of Mrs. Kim. When she visited Japan, she made Japanese sweets with Prime Minister Yuko Kishida’s wife and had a conversation with architect Tadao Ando, and I feel that she was more conspicuous than President Yun.
It is likely that Mrs. Kim will participate in more events with her husband in the future. The South Korean authorities are likely to put more and more effort into promoting the couple.