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Bae Yong-joon Calls for People to Remain Rational About Tokto

2005/03/21 | 272 views | Permalink | Source

By Park Chung-a
Staff Reporter

Bae Yong-joon, a Korean actor who is popular in Japan, announced his opinion on the worsening territorial row between Korea and Japan through his official Internet Web site on Monday, after showing reluctance to do so last week.

Through his Web site Open the link , Bae expressed concern that an emotional backlash could lead to a worsening of relations and called for "rational response".

"Tokto is Korean territory, and because of that I believe we have to respond (to the row) more rationally", he wrote. "It is my earnest desire that people from both countries do not get hurt by letting their emotions get involved and let relations worsen.

"If there is any role for me, it is in connecting the hearts and minds of Asian families, rather than saying something briefly to draw a territorial line".

Bae took part in a press conference for his new film "April Snow" in Samchok, Kangwon Province, last Thursday, which was attended by almost 400 local and foreign journalists. There, the actor was asked by local reporters to comment on Japan's recent claim to Korea's easternmost islets of Tokto, but refused, saying that he would speak about it later.

His reluctance, however, brought about criticism from some Koreans who wanted him to take a stronger stance on the issue.

Anti-Japan sentiment has been running high in Korea following a series of moves by Japan to boost its claim to the islets, located about halfway between the two countries in the East Sea.

Bae became a popular star in Japan and other Asian countries through his leading role in the drama "Winter Sonata", a tragic love story about a woman and her boyfriend who suffers from amnesia.

Meanwhile, the popularity of Korean television dramas does not seem to have fallen despite increasing tension between Korea and Japan over the issue of Tokto islets.

The competition among Japan's television networks over the rights to broadcast Korean dramas remains fierce, according to the Japanese sports daily, Nikkan Sports News.

The Japanese daily reported on Saturday about the strategies of broadcasting Korean dramas by Japanese TV networks such as Fuji TV, Nihon TV and NHK. The daily interviewed popular local actors kwon Sang-woo and Lee Dong-gun, stars of the dramas that are to show in Japan. The three networks have already set a schedule to broadcast Korean dramas until this fall.

The drama "Sad Love Story" starring kwon Sang-woo, who has already secured great popularity in Japan through the drama "Stairway to Heaven", will be run through Fuji TV.

"The new drama `Sad Love Story' is about an adventurous and eternal love", Kwon told the newspaper. " I will continue to do my best to live up to the support of Japanese fans".

According to the Japanese daily, Nihon TV is working to arm itself with younger stars. After telecasting the drama "Let's Go, Sangdoo " featuring Rain, a singer and actor in his early 20s, Nihon TV has chosen Lee, playing a role of a romantic man who suffers from unrequited love in "Paris Lovers".

The network has decided to show the program at 10:25 p.m. from Mondays through Thursdays, which is considered the prime-time period for housewives watching TV in Japan. "Sang Doo! Let's go to school" and "Lovers in Paris " were both major hits in Korea in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

Lee is quoted as saying that he feels honored that "Lovers in Paris" has not only been loved by Korean audiences but will also be introduced in Japan. " I will try to remain as an actor working with a sincere heart", he told the newspaper.

The newspaper also went on to say that while private broadcasting stations such as Fuji TV and Nihon TV are bent on discovering new and young Korean stars, the public channel NHK is still going for original "hallyu" stars such as Bae Yong-joon and Lee Byung-hun. Following "Winter Sonata", "First Love - 1996", featuring Bae, will air from March 31 and "All In" featuring Lee from April 16.

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