Today is the 11th day since a major earthquake hit Japan. And those who have survived can't seem to know how to start their lives again. What they need right now is encouragement and friendly support so that they can get back on their feet.
[Interview : ] "Please help Japan".
Among the numerous relief campaigns taking place around the world, Hallyu, or Korean Wave, stars are making headlines for their nonstop online contribution relays.
[Interview : Kim Dong-il, Seoul resident] "The contributions that Hallyu stars are purposedly doing now are not for personal benefits, but rather for humanitarian purposes. I think it's their way of helping the Japanese earthquake victims and showing that they care for them".
[Interview : Choi Jin-yeong, Seoul resident ] "If Hallyu stars start contributing with donations and support, many people will follow their example, since Hallyu stars are very well-known. That's why I think it's a good idea that celebrities are contributing".
Japan has been Hallyu's biggest supporter, and Hallyu stars have tight friendships with their Japanese fans. These ties have prompted Hallyu stars to be the first to ask for help on their behalf. Bae Yong-joon
, the most well-known Hallyu star, made headlines in the Japanese media with his donation of US$882,000 to the earthquake victims.
There is no need to point out who started the campaigns. From cash contributions to all profits from albums given as donation, the stars' funding campaigns are growing in number, and their methods are also becoming more varied.
Ryu Shi-won not only donated US$176,000, but also promised his fans that he will visit Japan to help out in person.
[Interview : Ryu Si-won
, Actor and singer] "I believe that many people in Japan are suffering because of the catastrophe. Now that I have been active in Japan for more than six years, Japan doesn't seem like a foreign country for me anymore. I'm very saddened that such a catastrophe took place".
To date, Hallyu stars have gathered and contributed a total of US$4.4 million. However, the stars haven't given only monetary and material contributions. They have also left words of encouragement through their homepages or Twitter.
[Interview : JYJ, Singers] "We are very saddened by the recent earthquake, as there are many of our friends and fans in Japan who have cheered and supported us for a long time".
The number of Hallyu stars appealing to the general public to provide help is also growing.
[Interview : Lee Hyeon-jin, Seoul resident] "Looking at what Hallyu stars have done so far, I feel like helping out, too".
[Interview : Ha Ju-hyeon, Seoul resident] "After seeing what the Hallyu stars have written, I want to help the earthquake victims, too".
[Interview : Japanese student] "The damages from the earthquake are a big issue, so I am thankful that Hallyu stars are stepping forward and helping out".
[Interview : Tae Jin-ah, Chairman of the Korea Singers Association] "We had a charity concert for the victims of the Kobe earthquake in 1995. Many Japanese were very thankful and enjoyed the concert. They said that they were cheered up by it and still remember the concert today. The Korea Singers Association wants to have another similar concert for the victims of this earthquake, featuring many different singers. "
Picking up the pieces after a tremendous disaster is no easy task. However, with the support of Hallyu stars who have spearheaded relief efforts, hope will rise again.
[Interview : Ryu Si-won
, Actor and singer] "I hope that this doesn't happen again. Don't lose hope, Japan, and don't lose your courage. I also hope that we can meet with smiles on our faces once again. Everyone, hang in there! "
[Interview : JYJ, Singers] "We will pray that the situation will stabilize quickly and that all the Japanese people can be safe as soon and as possible. Be strong!"