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Rain recognized for enhancing Korea's image

2008/02/14 Source

Pop star Rain will receive the 2008 Korea Image Stepping Stone Award in recognition of his contribution to promoting a positive image of Korea through his music, the Corea Image Communication Institute announced Monday.

Rain, whose real name is Jung Ji-hoon, is one of Asia's most successful and well-loved artists, and has recently clinched a major role in a Hollywood film,.

The institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Korea internationally.

The awards ceremony will be held in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand InterContinental Hotel on Feb. 19, during which the heartthrob singer/actor will perform.

Also joining the event will be last year's awardee, maestro Chung Myung-Whun, who will perform with violinist Dennis Kim, cellist Song Young-hoon and violist Hung-Wei Huang.

Rain began his singing career after releasing his first solo album, " Bad Guy ", in 2002, a huge success that was followed by other popular albums. He gained worldwide fame when Korean pop culture, particularly pop music and television dramas, became hugely popular several years ago in Asia and other regions.

He launched his acting career with starring roles in the Korean television drama "Full House" in 2004 and the movie "I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK" in 2006. In the same year, Rain was named one of the 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine and one of the 100 Most Beautiful People a year later by People Magazine.

Rain recently concluded a contract with William Morris Agency, a New York-based major talent agency that represents entertainers such as Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Russell Crowe. He will make his official Hollywood debut in May with a supporting role in "Speed Racer", a family movie written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski (of the "Matrix" trilogy).

The 26-year-old star has also been cast in a major role in "Ninja Assassin", which will be produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowski Brothers, and directed by James McTeigue ("V for Vendetta").

"This will mark the beginning of the second chapter of my life. It is an opportunity that I never want to miss", he said during a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday.

Last month, he lent a helping hand to the nationwide volunteer campaign to clean up an oil spill on the west coast, and donated 300 million won ($32,000).

By Lee Yong-sung

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