Playback ’04] The Beginning of the Hallyu Boom: 5,000 Fans Flooded into Japan for Bae Yong Joon’s Visit | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Playback ’04] The Beginning of the Hallyu Boom: 5,000 Fans Flooded into Japan for Bae Yong Joon’s Visit

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At a fan meeting held on April 4 at Shibuya Public Hall. On that day, 4,000 fans packed the venue despite the bad weather (April 23, ’04 issue).

What did “FRIDAY” report 10, 20, or 30 years ago? Playback Friday” takes a look back at the topics that were hot at the time. This time, we bring you ” Bae Yong-jun and Choi Ji-woo’s ‘Love’ and ‘Past’ in ‘Winter Sonata’ ” from the April 23, 2004 issue, which was published 20 years ago.

Winter Sonata” was broadcast on NHK BS in 2003 and became a pioneer of the Korean boom. Bae Yong-jun (31 at the time), who played the lead role, first came to Japan on April 3, 2004. The article at that time introduced Bae Yong Joon’s visit to Japan and information about the heroine, Choi Ji-woo.

Japanese are bowing down to Korean entertainers.”

The fans’ excitement at “Yong-sama’s” first visit to Japan was incredible.

On April 3, a whopping 5,000 female fans gathered at Haneda Airport to catch a glimpse of Korean actor Bae Yong-jun, aka “Yong-sama! At a fan gathering held the next day, 4,000 women filled the venue, showing the incredible popularity of Yong-sama, who got his big break with the drama “Winter Sonata. The frighteningly enthusiastic and enthusiastic reception by the Japanese women spread to Korea as well, with the local press making a big deal of the fact that “the Japanese are bowing down to Korean celebrities.

Yon-sama, who became the “strongest lover” of Japanese women, especially middle-aged and older women, was apparently talking about a semi-nude photo book behind the scenes at the time. The idea was to publish 150,000 copies of a luxury edition at 10,000 yen per book throughout Asia . However, the article reports that the high fee, said to be about 100 million yen, was a bottleneck that prevented the project from moving forward.

Yon-sama was immensely popular not only in Japan but throughout Asia, but surprisingly, his popularity in his native Korea was not as great as in Japan.

Although he is, of course, a popular actor, his popularity has already subsided since “Winter Sonata” became a hit in Korea two years ago. In the latest popularity rankings of male actors, he is ranked at No. 12, and local women’s reactions to him are also mixed: “I don’t know how Japanese fans feel. No one makes a fuss about it in Korea” (23-year-old housewife).

Speaking of unexpected, the article also mentions that Choi Ji-woo (28 at the time), who had her big break as the heroine of “Winter Sonata” as well as Yon-sama, was a “physical” actress far removed from the innocent image of that film.

The bed scene in the TV drama “Sarang” in 1990 was amazing. She sucked Jang Dong-gon’s lips so hard that her lipstick peeled off. She was said to have done the scene because she wanted to kiss Jang. Also, she is always rumored to be in love with Jang, Shin Hyun-joon, and other actors she co-starred with in dramas.

April 3, the day Yon-sama arrived in Japan, was also the day “Winter Sonata” began terrestrial broadcasting on NHK General. Despite being broadcast on Saturday nights at 11:00 pm, the first viewing rate was an exceptional 9.2%. The popularity of “Winter Sonata” in Japan was enormous.

The popularity of “Winter Sonata” and Yong-sama knew no bounds, and when Yong-sama came to Japan seven months later in November to promote her photo book, 4,000 fans flocked to Narita Airport. In addition, there was a commotion when a fan waiting for Yong-sama at a hotel ran into her car and caused an accident. The success of “Winter Sonata” triggered interest in other Korean dramas and movies, and “Hallyu” became a huge boom.

The “Hallyu” boom was not a temporary phenomenon, and even after Yon-sama was no longer the star of the show, it came and went several times, influencing Japanese culture in various genres, including K-pop and beauty, as well as visual works. Currently, it is the fourth boom, starting with the hits of the movie “Parasite: A Family in the Half-Land” and the dramas “Crash Landing on You” and “Itaewon Class. The hit of “Winter Sonata” was the moment when Japan and “Hallyu” first met.

Yong-sama married actress Park Su-jin in 2003 at the age of 42. He has not made any official appearances since then. His last acting activity was a brief appearance in a drama in ’11, and he is not expected to make a comeback.

The fan meeting on April 4 also served as a press conference for “Scandal,” the first movie in which he starred. The press corps that gathered for the event numbered 600 people (April 23, 2004 issue).
Yong-sama, who was dressed in a pure white jacket, stunned her fans by saying, “I have a girlfriend. She is a woman who wants to be a movie director.” When she made this shocking statement, the venue fell silent (April 23, 2004 issue).
Another 2,000 fans in front of the press conference hall (April 23, ’04 issue).
  • PHOTO Mihiro Kikuchi

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