Thanks to Korean wave star Bae Yong-joon
, affectionately known as Yonsama in Japan, Koma Jinja in the Japanese city of Hidaka in Saitama Prefecture, where members of the royal family of an ancient Korean kingdom of Koguryo are enshrined, is booming with tourists.
According to Sunday's Asahi Shinbum, the Koma Jinja has seen an endless flow of women aged between 30 and 70 since September last year, when Korean TV soap opera "The Legend" (The Four Guardian Gods of the King), which stars Bae, began to air in Korea. After being aired on the NHK satellite channel in December last year, "The Legend", which deals with the life of King Kwanggaeto the Great, known as the "Great Expander" of ancient Korean history, has been enjoying popularity in Japan, where it is now being shown once a week on regular NHK.
Fumiyasu Koma, the Guji or abbot of the temple, said he was surprised when he received enquiries about the Koguryo kings in Korean. As women began to pour into the temple in December, a bakery near the temple started selling four kinds of sponge cake named after the soap opera. A soy bean sauce maker in Hidaka is now selling a salad dressing themed on "The Legend", the daily reported. Koma Jinja is dedicated to Komanozako, who is believed to be a member of Koguryo royal family who fled to Japan after the kingdom collapsed. It was originally popular with politicians because praying in the temple was believed to bring success in life.