Thursday, July 29, 2010

Unofficial Groups of Close Celebrities Revealed

An airing of a morning show on one of the major broadcasting channels in Korea on July 26th gathered a list of private unofficial clubs or groups of celebrities that often get together for different purposes. This report has been gathering a lot of attention, giving the public a glimpse into the private lives of some of their favorite stars.

For example, Lee Han-wee, Cho Jae-hyun, and Bae Soo-bin share their love for hiking together and call themselves the "Empty Mountaineering Club". Ahn Seon-young, Ha Ri-soo, and Kim Na-young call themselves the "Carnivores" because the three often meet up to indulge in their love for eating meat. In fact, they say that they cannot even go for one day without having some form of meat in their diet.

One group that's of particular interest to the masses is one that includes one of Korea's biggest actors, Jang Dong-gun. Jang is part of a large group that calls themselves the "Playboys", which includes names such as Kim Seung-woo, Gong Hyung-jin, and Hyunbin. The man considered to be the nation's emcee, Yoo Jae-seok, ?meets with other?group members?such as Kim Yong-man and?Ji Seok-jin -- who probably talk just as much as Yoo himself -- to spend the entire night chit-chatting away. These members call themselves the "Jo Club".

Jung Joon-ho, Shin Hyun-joon, and Tak Jae-hoon pride themselves in all having a "J" in their names. They're more than just friends as they have set up their own business focused on movie production. Popular actor Jang Dong-gun, along with his beautiful wife Go So-young, is in another group?where they meet regularly with actors such as Jung Woo-sung and Lee Jung-jae to eat out or even travel together. You can consider all of them the royalty of Korean drama/movies, and this was also?where the ultimate royal Jang-Go couple?(Jang Dong-gun and Go so-young) was born!

Moving down the age ladder, there are similar groups in the idol star world too.?One group?calls themselves the "Nuts" and is made up of members from some of the top idol groups out on the scene these days: Girls Generation, 2AM, 2PM, etc. They each have a specific nickname where they take on a specific type of nut --?such as peanut or walnut -- and have secret get-togethers.

Another group centered on Super Junior member Eun-hyuk was formed after Eun-hyuk got closer to other stars of the same age through his radio show. This group is called "Ashtray Party" and includes 1986 born idol stars from groups such as TVXQ, Jewelry-S, and 2AM.

One group that stands out for the good that it does is called "Dda-sa Mo" which is a spin off of the Korean word for "warm". Members of this group are known to regularly plan and execute charity or volunteer projects together.

Viewers of this report commented that they "didn't know there were so many different groups and gatherings between celebrities" and that they hoped "more groups would be like "Dda-sa Mo" and do some good together.

source: KBS Global

Monday, July 26, 2010

BoA shoots new music video in 3D with "Avatar" creators

Korean singing sensation BoA has recently completed shooting a music video for her upcoming new single "Hurricane Venus" in 3D format with the help of creators of the smash hit 3D pic "Avatar," according to agency SM Entertainment (SM) on Monday.

SM explained in a press release that the singer collaborated with Samsung Electronics and PACE HD, the cinematography team behind "Avatar," to complete the shooting for the video to "Hurricane," the title single from her new sixth album.

This is the first time that creators of "Avatar" have worked on a 3D music video in Korea.

"We expect that this 3D music video shoot will be a masterpiece since it is a union of Samsung Electronics and PACE HD, two of top teams in the 3D industry," John Brooks of PACE HD was quoted as saying. "We hope this will be a good opportunity to promote 3D content."

During director James Cameron's visit to Korea in May, SM had announced that it will be creating 3D content for its artists with his "Avatar" team and Samsung Electronics.

BoA, one of the most active K-pop stars on the international scene, debuted in August 2000 with the album "ID; Peace B". She has released eight studio albums in Korea, six in Japan and made her U.S. debut in March 2009. Her last album in Korea was "Girls on Top," released in 2005.

She will be going on a world tour titled "SMTOWN LIVE '10 WORLD TOUR" with the rest of her SM labelmates including Kangta, U-know Yunho, Max Changmin, Super Junior, Girl's Generation, SHINee, f(x) and TRAX starting in Seoul on August 21.

The L.A. leg of "SMTOWN LIVE ’10 WORLD TOUR," to be held in September, will be filmed in 3D by PACE HD.

Reporter : Lynn Kim lynn2878@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@
<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

Big Bang honored with UN "Global Unity" award

Members of Big Bang during the "Asia-Pacific Global Tolerance with Music 2010" concert with their "Global Unity" award [YG Entertainment]

K-pop idols Big Bang was honored with the United Nations' "Global Unity" award over the weekend, according to their agency YG Entertainment.

YG announced in a press release that the boys were handed the "Global Unity" award on July 24 during the "Asia-Pacific Global Tolerance with Music 2010" concert held at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.

The "Global Unity" award was given to the group for their endeavor to support the Haiti Rehabilitation efforts after the country became hit with a huge earthquake earlier this year.

The boys donated money they made from their concerts for the cause and were acknowledged by the Friends of the United Nations for showing tolerance and promoting unity of humanity around the world.

"We feel privileged to have received this meaningful award. We will work hard in creating music that will, at the least, help Asians understand each other better and bring developments," the members of Big Bang were quoted as saying.

The quintet is the third recipient of the award -- previous honorees include former mayor of New York City Rudolph Guiliani and singer-song writer Alanis Morissette.

Big Bang also performed their latest single "Beautiful Hangover," "Gara Gara Go!!," "Number 1," "How Gee" and "Hands Up" at the show.

"Asia-Pacific Global Tolerance with Music 2010" is a musical event where various singers come together to perform under the theme of 'tolerance and peace.' Other Korean artists at the concert were girl group 4minute and boy band BEAST.

Known as one of the biggest cultural icons in Korea since making their debut in 2006, Big Bang crossed over to the Japanese pop market last June.

They have released several Japanese singles as well as winning the Best New Artist Video for their second Japanese single "Gara Gara Go!!,” Best Pop Video for third single "Koe o Kikasete" and group leader G-Dragon won Best Collaboration Video for "Rain Is Fallin'” at the MTV World Stage Video Music Awards Japan in May.

Reporter : Lucia Hong luciahong@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@
<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

Friday, July 23, 2010

Top actress Lee Young-ae pregnant

Lee Young-ae, one of Korea’s top acting stars, is pregnant with her first child, management associates said Friday.

"Lee is currently pregnant,’’ representatives of Storm S Company said, adding that further details would be released later so that the excitement won’t distress Lee in her condition.

The 39-year-old actress married a Korean-American in August 2009, in a low key wedding kept away from the prying eyes of the public. The sudden marriage in Hawaii came as a surprise to many of her fans. The only information Lee released about her husband was that he had graduated from an engineering college in Illinois and was working at an IT firm.

Lee first made her debut on Korean TV as a model before moving on to gain popularity in dramas and films. Her role in "Dae Jang Geum,’’ or "Jewel in the Palace,’’ led her to reach a new level of hallyu popularity in Southeast Asian countries and Iran.

Her film performances include a role in the 2000 "Joint Security Area’’ and the lead in Park Chan-wook’s "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.’’

Though Lee has kept her acting profile low since 2005, immediately after her wedding she applied to attend the graduate-level drama and film school at Hanyang University. The last time she was spotted in public was with her new husband, to watch a basketball game between the Ulsan Mobis Phoebus and the Jeonju KCC, at the Jamsil Gymnasium in April.

Ines Min (Staff reporter)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ryu Si Won Sheds Tears Reminiscing About Park Yong Ha

"It is hard to believe. I really feel bad because I could not help him at all.”

Hallyu star Ryu Si Won expressed his heavy heart about the late Park Yong Ha and shed tears on the last day of his concert entitled “Ryu Siwon 2010 Live Tour Fun Fan” held at the First Gymnasium of Yoyogi National Stadium.

He began the concert with a splendid performance while singing and dancing along with around forty dancers when he sang “Call My Name” and other songs included in his 7th album, which was released last April, but he was wearing a black ribbon on his chest. After that, he sang songs that he personally wrote the lyrics for such as “Why, Why,” which is a memorial song for Yooni who committed suicide in 2007, and “Like The First Time.”

Ryu Si Won said, “Whenever he had problems or worries, he used to discuss those matters with me as if I was his real older brother and we talked about many things about what he could not decid for himself. But, actually when he was in a difficult situation, we could not see each other due to our busy schedules, and I could not help him at all. I feel very bad because I did nothing right beside him.” His eyes were filled with tears.

He also said, “Ten minutes before this concert began, I received an email from Korea saying that Yong Ha’s casketing had been finished. I also cannot believe this incident. I am a human, and actually it has been very difficult for me to hold concert from yesterday until today. Those concerts were actually my most difficult performances. I am very sorry for you audience members because I cannot make a fake smile in front of you.” He was all choked up and could not speak.

Ryu prayed for the repose of Park Yong Ha's soul saying, “I hope you can rest in a happy and better place” and he requested the audience members, “Pray for Yong Ha that he can be happy.” Then, he passionately sang his own song “Do You Have To Do?” included in the new album.

But, when he sang the part of the song with the lyrics, “I hope this is not the last time with you. How come the time for farewell has come to our love,” he stopped singing as if he was recalling his memories with Park Yong Ha, and shed tears. The audience members, who were also crying together, continued to sing the song together.

Ryu Si Won’s tour concerts began last May and 18 concerts had been successfully finished in eight different cities in Japan. This concert, as the final concert of the tour, was performed for a lengthy four hours.

In a press conference held before the concert, Ryu said, “In the middle of the tour concert in Japan, Yong Ha once called me, wishing me good luck. Also, he told me with a pleasant voice that he would also cheer for my racing, which begins from July 3 in Japan. We had promised that we would work together in the same drama.” After he said this, he could not continue to speak for a while, and he finally said, “Today’s concert will be the most difficult performance for me, but I want to sing with my deepest heartfelt feelings toward Yong Ha.”

source: KBS Global

Friday, July 2, 2010

Singer and actor Park Yong-ha laid to rest

Singer and actor Park Yong-ha has been laid to rest at a private funeral attended by close family and friends.

The remains of the late star, who was cremated around noon on Friday, arrived at Bundang Memorial Park in Gyeonggi Province located south of Korea's capital of Seoul.

Actor So Ji-sub, carrying Park's portrait in his hands, led a procession of family and friends toward the burial site where song "STARS," from Park's last album, was being played in the background for the Buddhist ceremony.

Park's parents were not present for the service however -- Park's father, diagnosed with late-stage stomach cancer and his mother, who had previously lost consciousness over the shock of losing her son, had attended Park's coffin rites yesterday in wheelchairs.

Among the mourners were many of Park's celebrity friends including Park Hyo-shin, Kim Won-joon, Kim Hyun-joo, Kim Min-jung and Kim Moo-yeol.

Actress Park Si-yeon, who had starred in Park Hyo-shin's music video with the late Park, sobbed out loud crouched down, unable to contain the grief of losing her close friend.

Ryu Si-won, who arrived at the cemetery just as the service was wrapping up, also shed tears as he bid farewell to Park whom he had described as being "like a younger brother."

Ryu had been set to stay in Japan till next week to take part in concerts and racing competitions but he pushed back the events and flew into Korea today morning.

"We trust that Park Yong-ha will always shine by our side... We will no longer be able to see him but we promise we will always stand by you and love you for a long time," an official at Park's agency said.

Numerous Korean celebrities had paid a visit to Park's wake service for the past two days including Lee Byung-hun, Bae Yong-joon, Choi Ji-woo, Kim Ha-neul, Kim Bum, Yoon Eun-hye, CNBLUE, Eugene, Gummy, Kangta, Kim Jin-pyo, Lyn, Psy, Song Seung-heon and U-Know Yunho.

So Ji-sub was present throughout the three-day wake service and up until the burial ceremony, often seen sobbing over the sudden and unexpected loss of his best friend.

Best known for his role in Asia as Sang-hyuk in the smash hit TV series "Winter Sonata" (KBS2, 2002), Park had led an active acting career in Korea since his debut in 2004, last starring in drama "The Slingshot" and film "The Scam" last year.

He had also branched out to singing, which was particularly successful in Japan. He won an award at Japan's Golden Disk Award for four years straight starting in 2005, making him the first Korean to win and award at the event and the first to win four times in a row.

His music career in Japan continued to flourish even after he set up his own agency YONA Entertainment in 2008 -- his fifth full-length album "STARS" released in June this year reached No. 16 on the prestigious Oricon weekly chart.

He had kicked off a three-month long 16-city tour on June 19 to promote "STARS" when during a brief visit to Korea to check up on his ailing father, Park committed suicide by hanging himself from the cord of his camcorder charger early on Wednesday. His mother found him dead in his apartment around 5:30 a.m.

Sources close to Park said he recently had been having a very hard time juggling his career, his company and family problems.

Although many suspected that Park had been suffering from depression and severe stress, local police ruled his death as "a suicide taken on impulse" after drinking the previous night and claimed there were no emotional or financial issues involved.

Reporter : Park Kun-ouc kun1112@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@
<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

Stars Attend Park Yong-ha's Funeral

Thursday, July 1, 2010

SS501 Will Continue Despite Kim Hyun-joong Departing DSP Entertainment

All eyes have been on the frontman of SS501, Kim Hyun-joong, over the end of his contract with DSP Entertainment. Final confirmation arrived via many major news outlets early June 29th stating that Kim has indeed decided to leave DSP Entertainment for Keyeast Entertainment. Keyeast is where many well-known actors are signed under, including Bae Yong-joon (whom Kim Hyun-joong was sighted with before the official decision was made), Park Ye-jin, Bong Tae-gyoo, Lee Bo-young, Lee Na-young, and Hwanhee. Many have speculated that this decision will push him further into the acting realm.

Just because Kim has made his decision doesn't put the bigger issue to rest: what will happen to SS501? The main possible options were that the group would break up, the group woud continue without their leader, or that they would continue their group activities with Kim signed under a different agency. Another related issue is that if Kim does indeed leave the group, will there be a new member to replace him?

Amid these speculations, Kim spoke out to Sports Korea saying that SS501 will not be breaking up. He said that although the remaining members have yet to make their decision regarding their contract with DSP, there are no plans at present for the group coming to an end. He said that whether he leaves and is replaced, or stays as the group's leader, the group as a whole will go on. DSP reported that as the other members are currently on vacation, their final decisions will not be made until they return.

source: KBS Global