Celebrities offer condolences, aid to Japan

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Celebrities offer condolences, aid to Japan


Kim Hyun-joong / Song Seung-heon / Bae Yong-joon

Korean pop stars are rolling up their sleeves to help the victims of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last Friday.

Actor Bae Yong-joon, one of the first Hallyu (Korean Wave) stars, donated 1 billion won ($882,000) to a Japanese government fund, Bae’s agency, Keyeast, said Monday.

Bae gained fame in Japan, where he is known as Yonsama, through the hit 2002 television drama “Winter Sonata.”

He offered his condolences to quake victims on his Japanese Web site on Monday and said he would continue relief efforts.

“I’m so worried about the safety of my fans that I can’t stop watching television,” Bae wrote. “I hope Japan can find peace as soon as possible. I will try to do my best to help the situation.”

This isn’t the first time Bae has stepped forward to fund relief efforts following a global disaster. He donated 300 million won to the victims of the 2004 Niigata Chuetsu earthquake and 300 million won to the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Actress Choi Ji-woo, who also became popular in Japan through “Winter Sonata,” donated 200 million won to the victims of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami through the Korean Red Cross yesterday.

“I was so shocked that I didn’t dare ask about the safety of my fans,” she wrote on her Web site. “I just want to provide some small support.”


Jang Geun-seok / Ryu Si-won / Choi Ji-woo

Actor and singer Ryu Si-won also said he would donate 200 million won and volunteer to participate in relief efforts.

“I can remember the faces of my fans in Sendai who cheered for me when I was singing there. The scenes shown on television broke my heart,” Ryu told Yonhap News Agency by phone.

His agency said he is now discussing with his Korean and Japanese agents about ways to directly participate in relief efforts. Ryu has been actively involved in the search for a Japanese fan, Eriko Tanahashi, who came to Korea in early 2010 and has been missing ever since.

Meanwhile, Kim Hyun-joong, an actor and member of the popular boy band SS501, donated 100 million won to relief efforts through his Japanese agency DA. Kim gained fame through his role in the Korean drama “Boys Over Flowers,” which was based on a Japanese comic of the same name.

He was scheduled to meet with fans in Tokyo last Sunday to mark the Japanese premiere of his Korean television drama “Playful Kiss,” also based on another comic, but canceled the event after the earthquake.

Actor Song Seung-heon donated 2 million won to the Salvation Army and actor Jang Geun-seok donated 10 million yen ($122,000) to the Japanese Red Cross.

Kara, a girl group that has emerged as the leader of the so-called New Korean Wave, pledged to donate all proceeds of its new single to the quake victims, according to its agency.

Actor Lee Seo-jin said in a telephone interview with the JoongAng Ilbo on Monday that he was shocked by the news of the quake because it followed a recent visit to Japan in which he met with former first lady Miyuki Hatoyama and shot a promotional film for Aomori Prefecture. Now he is hoping to help with relief efforts.

“I would like to participate in the recovery efforts,” Lee said. “I’m looking at ways to help.”

Other celebrities, such as actors Lee Byung-hun and Park Shin-yang and singer Younha, sent condolences to their Japanese fans via Twitter.

Actor Park Joong-hoon, who appeared in the 2009 Korean disaster movie “Haeundae” about a fictional tsunami that swept over the Korean port city of Busan, expressed his shock about the Sendai tsunami and left messages for quake victims on his Twitter page.

The members of musical group TVXQ sent their condolences via the Web site of their Japanese agency, Avex.

“We were both shocked to hear about the earthquake and tsunami,” the message said. “We are concerned about all our fans in Japan and truly hope everyone is safe. The damage is beyond imagination and we’re praying for a fast recovery.”

Singer BoA, who is shooting a movie in the United States, also sent her condolences on her Twitter page.

“I heard Tokyo is also suffering from the earthquake,” the message said. “Hope everyone is safe.”

Idol group Big Bang also offered words of comfort on a Sunday music ranking TV program, saying they hope their fans in Japan and Korean residents in the country are safe.

By Moon So-young, Oh Yoon [estyle@joongang.co.kr]

Related Korean Article[뉴스엔]
日 지진피해 韓 연예인 기부 봇물, 세계언론 “과거사 잊은 감동” 찬사

일본의 지진 피해에 대한 한국 연예인들의 기부와 위로 행렬에 세계 언론들이 깜짝 놀랐다.

일본의 유력 일간지들과, 중국 ifensi, 프랑스 AFP, 미국 월스트리트저널 등은 "한국은 일본과의 과거사로 인한 껄끄러운 관계 속에서도 이웃이 처한 재난을 그냥 보고 넘기지 않았다"며 "그 중심에는 김현중 류시원 배용준 송승헌 등 대한민국을 대표하는 한류스타들이 있다"고 보도했다.

먼저 피해의 직격탄을 맞은 일본의 요미우리 신문, 산케이 스포츠, 닛칸 스포츠, 데일리 스포츠 등 유력 매체와 지상파 방송인 후지TV, 니혼 테레비 등 메인 뉴스 프로그램은 배용준의 기부 소식을 전하며 고마움을 표했다.

이들은 "한류스타 배용준이 3월 14일 일본 대지진 재민들을 위한 의연금으로 히로시 관광청 장관에게 10억원(엔화 약 7200만엔)을 기부했다"며 "관광청은 배용준에게 받은 의연금을 일본 적십자사 창구 등을 통해 재난민들에게 전해지도록 할 예정"이라고 전했다.

한국 연예인들을 깎아 내리기 좋아하는 중국 언론들의 반응도 이번만큼은 달랐다.

중국의 유명 연예매체 ifensi(粉丝网)는 3월 15일 오전 "배용준 김현중 장근석 등 일본에서 큰 인기를 얻고있는 한류 스타들이 선뜻 기부금을 내놨다"며 "보아 박중훈 박신양 윤하 등 수많은 한국 연예인들은 현재 자신들의 트위터를 통해 실시간으로 일본의 상황을 중계하며 그들을 위로하고 있다"고 보도했다.

이들은 "중국과 마찬가지로 한국 역시 일본에 대한 아픈 역사를 가지고 있지만 자신을 사랑해줬던 팬들을 위해 지금 순간만큼은 그런 마음을 잠시 접어둔 것 같다. 대단하다"고 전해 감동스럽다는 반응을 나타냈다.

프랑스 통신사 AFP는 3월 15일 오후 '한류스타, 옛 식민통치자 일본에 도움'이라는 기사 제목으로 "한류스타들이 연이어 일본 지진피해 돕기 기부에 나서고 있다"며 배용준 류시원 등의 사례를 자세하게 소개했다.

이어 "한류스타들은 과거에도 국가적 재난을 맞은 중국 등 외국에 기부를 해왔지만 일본의 경우는 드물었다"며 "이는 한국이 1910~1945년 일본에 의해 식민통치를 받은 두 나라의 과거사 때문"이라고 덧붙여 우리의 아픈 역사를 되짚기도 했다.

이와함께 미국의 월스트리트저널은 "배용준 10억, 류시원과 송승헌이 각각 2억원, 김현중이 1억원을 기부 했다"며 배우 이병헌과 가수 보아가 일본 참사에 깊은 애도를 표했다고 전했다.
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