Tag Archives: k-pop

Friday's Link Attack: Gail Kim, ID Theft, JYP

Sung Kim Confirmed as Next U.S. Ambassador to S.Korea
Chosun Ilbo

The U.S. Senate passed the stalled confirmation of Sung Kim as the new U.S. ambassador to South Korea on Thursday, just minutes before President Lee Myung-bak made a rare address to a joint session of Congress during his six-day state visit to the country.

Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona had held up the confirmation, to the dismay of many U.S. and South Korean officials, due to concerns that the U.S. would continue to hold one-on-one meetings with North Korea.

However, State Department officials were able to convince the senator to approve Kim in conjunction with Lee’s state visit. Kim becomes the first Korean-American ambassador to South Korea.

Gail Kim: I’ll never go back to WWE
The Sun (U.K.)

FORMER WWE Diva Gail Kim has vowed that she will never return after enduring an unhappy second spell with the wrestling giant.

Kim asked for her release from the company on August 5 after being chronically under-utilised, but WWE refused to let her go, and instead made her sit out her contract, which concluded at the end of September. Kim is now a free agent, and is understandably vehement that wherever her wrestling career from now on takes her, it will not be back to WWE.

In her first free-to-air interview anywhere since she left, she exclusively told SunSport: “I’ve experienced WWE twice now, and I know that I do not enjoy that place. “The second time I really had optimistic hopes and dreams, but I know I would never go back there.”

Fairfax police seek fresh leads in 2010 slaying
Washington Post

Police think a businessman who was slain inside his upscale Fairfax Station home in October 2010 was the victim of a targeted robbery.

One year after the killing of Yong Suk Yun, 61, Fairfax County police detectives released new details Thursday to try to generate fresh leads.

Two more ID thieves plead guilty in ‘crime superstore’
Cliffview Pilot (N.J.)

A former Ridgefield resident today admitted his role in a “crime superstore” that stole identities from people in Asia to get credit cards and bank loans they then used to buy fancy cars, fine whiskey and designer shoes, among other luxuries.

Min-Soo “Chris” Son, 26, now of Fairfax, Va., was one of 53 people arrested in a massive fraud ring that bilked banks and other financial establishments by stealing the identities of Asian immigrants who worked in Guam and other American territories.

One of those charged, Kang Hyok Choi, was already in custody — awaiting trial for a triple murder in Tenafly.

Another member of the scheme, In-Suk Joo, 61, of Clark, N.J., pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to purchase a Social Security card to commit fraud. U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden scheduled sentencing for both for Jan. 30, 2012.

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Korean Woodstock upsets Leonia residents
Leonia Life (N.J.)

After a Korean festival sponsored by the Korean Produce Association of New York was moved from New York City to the Ridgefield Park section of Overpeck Park, Leonia Mayor Mary Heveran said she received over 50 voice mails and emails from residents complaining of concert noise on Oct 8 and Oct 9.

Approximately 50,000 attendees descended upon the park, putting county and municipal police to the test, as they attempted to maintain traffic control.

Heveran, who lives in the north end of town, said she heard the noise in her house, but it was not music she heard – it was the constant reverberation of the bass speakers blaring out above the crowd and into the surrounding towns.

“This is not only an assault on one’s hearing, but on one’s religious observance,” said Heveran, referring to Yom Kippur, the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. “Most importantly, it is an assault on our quality of life.”

Hines Ward: ‘Lot of football left in me’
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Even with his two touchdown-day against Tennessee, it’s clear Hines Ward is nearing the end of his great career. The question is: Does he know it? Ward was on with Jim Rome and said, among other things, “I’ll walk away from the game when I know I can’t play anymore. There’s still a lot of football left in me.”

5 hot murse trends
CNNGo

Not too long ago, murses were pretty much nonexistent.

“Men on average just used to stick stuff in their pockets,” says photographer and yourboyhood.com fashion journalist Hong Suk-woo, 28. But that changed around three years ago, which was when men “really started carrying bags.”

Hong is referring to the “man bag,” a broad category of purses, backpacks and other satchels tailored specially for guys.

JYP to Open Upscale Korean Restaurant in New York
soompi

JYP Entertainment’s CEO, Park Jin Young, has just announced that he is opening an upscale Korean restaurant in Manhattan, New York.

Called “Kristalbelli,” it is coined as the next hot Korean restaurant. Park Jin Young created the menu in collaboration with renowned Korean American chef David Shim. David Shim is a chef from the French restaurant, “L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon,” located at the Manhattan Four Seasons Hotel. “Kristalbelli” will also incorporate JYP’s personally-developed unique barbecue grill.

Wednesday's Link Attack: Priscilla Ahn, Moon Bloodgood, SNSD

South Korea’s Lee defends stance on North
Washington Post

Facing growing criticism that his hard-line stance toward North Korea has backfired, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak defended the strategy, and said there are signs his approach is beginning to work.

Lee has said that Seoul will provide aid and security to its neighbor only after Pyongyang denuclearizes. Speaking on Monday, he said that controversial strategy had yielded a breakthrough: In recent meetings between the Koreas, the North has been willing to discuss its nuclear program. Though talking about the arsenal is far different than dismantling it, the subject itself was previously off limits.

In Falling Skies Moon Bloodgood: Softer, more cerebral
Philippine Star

What do you like most about your character, Anne Glass?
I really enjoy the fact that she’s a doctor. I think she’s very admirable. She doesn’t talk about herself often, is extremely selfless, always calm, rational, fair, and with reason. I admire her because I’m not always that way, and she is always selfless and very maternal towards everyone.

What would be the most difficult part of doing the series?
The subject matter is heavy and there’s lot of depth and weight, and you have to take yourself to that level. You’re supposed to be hungry and scared and you’ve lost your family. When we were working, the subject matter weighed on me at times. Sometimes I wanted levity, so I’d go home, watch some comedy on TV and have a beer because I just needed some sort of change. But I think no matter how much I resist it, I gravitate towards these subject matters because I like the drama and that’s where I feel most comfortable.

All grown up: Q/A with Priscilla Ahn
Oregon Music News

When you aren’t making music, what do you like to do?
I started taking a pottery class at the beginning of the year. I sorta suck at that, but I’m glad I tried! [Giggles] Now that it’s fall, I’m really wanting to make soups, and make the house smell like pumpkins, and just do a lot of cooking and be a home maker. So, when this tour is over, I’ll be doing a lot of that. I’m a home body.

SNSD officially joins Universal Music Group for U.S. debut
allkpop

SM Entertainment previously announced plans on releasing SNSD‘s upcoming album “The Boys“ worldwide, and it seems their plans on doing so have been officially confirmed!

On Oct. 12, SM Entertainment revealed that SNSD will release a maxi single (similar to a mini-album) in the United States sometime in November through the well known Universal Music Group under Interscope Records, which currently houses extremely famous talents such as Lady Gaga, Eminem and the Black Eyed Peas.

For Pyeongchang region, a golden opportunity in 2018
Travel Weekly

Now that South Korea has been named the host of the 2018 Winter Olympics, the Korea Tourism Organization is hoping that publicity building up to the sporting event seven years hence, along with associated infrastructure development, will spur foreign interest in, and visits to, the region surrounding host city Pyeongchang-eup.

Luis Maravi, spokesman at the KTO’s New York-area office in Fort Lee, N.J., said that Pyeongchang county, set in the scenic Taebaek Mountains about 110 miles east of capital city Seoul, is South Korea’s most popular outdoors-oriented getaway destination for domestic travelers. It might hold similar appeal for U.S. visitors, he added — if only they were also in the know.

The man behind Kim Jong-il Looking at Things
The Next Web

Undoubtedly, one of the most famous and most loved Tumblr blogs is Kim Jong il Looking at Things, which was founded one year ago by a 26-year old Portuguese guy named JR and has over 50,000 followers. In fact, when you search for “kim jong-il” on Google, his Tumblr is the 3rd result.

CBM: Who is the man behind Kim Jong-il looking at things?

JR: This is gonna be the most boring answer you’ve gotten. I’m just a regular guy, honestly. I’m 26 and I do what every regular, well-adjusted 26-year-old does, which involves lots of things I’ll probably regret in 15 years.

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NKorean leader’s grandson arrives in Bosnia to enroll to an international high school
AP via Washington Post

Officials in Bosnia say North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s grandson has arrived in the country to enroll at a private high school made up of international students.

A border police spokeswoman said 16-year-old Kim Han Sol entered the country at Sarajevo airport Wednesday afternoon on a regular flight from Vienna.

Why David Henry Hwang Wrote ‘Chinglish’
Wall Street Journal

The Tony Award-winning Chinese American playwright returns to Broadway with his new play “Chinglish.”

The comedy, which begins performances at the Longacre Theatre tomorrow and officially opens Oct. 27, is about the hilarity and politics that ensue when a U.S. businessman tries to secure a lucrative contract in China for his family’s sign-making firm. The lead producers of “Chinglish,” Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel, are bringing the play to Broadway after a sold-out run at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

“In its own way, I would call it a groundbreaking comedy,” Richards said in an interview. “There’s never been a play, a comedy like ‘Chinglish,’ on Broadway. It explores relations today between the Chinese and Americans and our relationship. It’s very much cutting-edge in its way.”

The play was inspired by Hwang’s own business trips to China, which he has taken in the past six years amid China’s interest in Broadway-style musicals. “I happen to be the only even nominally Chinese person who’s written a Broadway show,” Hwang said. “So people would call me over for meetings and there’d always be plans to build a theater district in China.”

What’s so great about Seoul? Residents and visitors disagree
CNNGo

Most of Seoul’s residents love living in the Korean capital. Most visitors love the city too. But when it comes to why, their opinions diverge.

The findings emerged from a survey of 3,827 citizens and foreigners carried out by the Seoul City government. Seoulites said that Han River was the most charming aspect of Seoul, while palaces came in second, reported Yonhap.

In contrast, visitors to Seoul liked Korean food best, and the city’s friendly people. A new addition to the list for visitors was Korean saunas (jjimjilbang), which came in eighth in terms of popularity.

Thursday's Link Attack: State Dinner, K-Pop, Kim Jong-Il's Grandson

White House state dinner for Korea: We try to guess the guests
Washington Post

The invitations for next week’s White House state dinner are in the mail, and so begins one of Washington’s favorite parlor games: Who scored one of the coveted seats at the Oct. 13 black-tie evening honoring South Korean President Lee Myung-bak?

Kim Jong Il’s grandson barred from Hong Kong
Los Angeles Times

The boy who couldn’t visit Disneyland now has been turned down by Hong Kong as well. The 16-year-old grandson of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was accepted at an elite English-language high school in Hong Kong but was rejected for a student visa by local authorities, the school’s former principal said Thursday.

Kim Han Sol is the son of Kim Jong Nam, the leader’s oldest son. In 2001, Kim Jong Nam tried to bring the boy to Tokyo Disneyland but ended up being arrested for trying to enter Japan on a forged Dominican passport.

Flash forward a decade: Hong Kong authorities turned down Kim’s request for a visa to attend United World Colleges’ campus there, according to Stephen Codrington, who was principal until this summer. The official reason was that North Korean passport holders, along with Filipinos, Nepalese and Cambodians, are not eligible for student visas because of a history of overstaying their visits.

Web Postings Stir Interest in Teenager’s Relation to North Korean Leader
New York Times

The sharply dressed 17-year-old might be any fashionable South Korean teenager: bleached blond hair, an earring and a necklace with a cross-shaped pendant.

Or he might be the grandson of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

A frenzy of speculation about the teenager, named Kim Han-sol, has gripped South Korean news organizations this week as reporters scour the Internet for any shred of evidence connecting the seemingly loquacious youngster with the deeply secretive man atop North Korea.

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Korean Festival Moves From NYC to Bergen
NorthJersey.com

New York’s annual Korean harvest festival — one of the largest in the United States — will be held for the first time in Bergen County this weekend.

But the two-day festival’s move across the river is not being welcomed by members of the Korean American Association of New Jersey. They say the upcoming event led fewer people to attend their 10th annual local celebration of Chusok, a harvest festival they organized this past weekend at Overpeck County Park in Ridgefield.

Kun Y. Lee, past president of the Fort Lee-based group, said only about half of the more than 20,000 people who attended last year’s event showed up this year to the annual Jersey event.

More than half of the vendors who had registered for a spot backed out when they heard that the New York festival would be coming. He said the non-profit group estimates they may have lost more than $50,000.

Body of missing swimmer visiting from Canada located 30 yards from Kauai shore
AP via The Republic

Rescue crews have recovered the body of a 28-year-old man from Canada who was swept out to sea while swimming off Kauai.

The Kauai Fire Department says the body of Steve Kim, a tourist from Ontario, was found 30 yards from the shore of Polihale Beach Wednesday morning.

K-Pop to Descend on Las Vegas in November
Chosun Ilbo

K-pop stars are drawn to Las Vegas, the home of gambling and glitzy entertainment, with 10 of Korea’s top singers — including TVXQ, BEAST, SHINee, 4minute, G.Na and MBLAQ — set to assemble there for a concert next month, host Billboard Korea said on Wednesday.

The concert, dubbed the “2011 Billboard K-Pop Masters, presented by MGM Grand,” will launch at 8 p.m. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Nov. 25. This will set another new milestone for Korean idols.

One in 25 Korean Women Contract Breast Cancer
Chosun Ilbo

Recent data suggests the one out of every 25 women in Korea has breast cancer, although the rate varies by year.

The number of breast cancer patients around the country surpassed 11,000 in 2006 but was as high as 14,000 in 2008. The country has seen a 91 percent increase in the rate of women’s breast cancer patients from 2002, the biggest jump among OECD nations.

Unlike other Western countries, where women tend to contract the disease after going through their menopause, it is more prevalent in Korea among women under 40.

Wednesday's Link Attack: G-Dragon, Kim Jong Il, SAT Cheaters

‘Glee’ Roars Into the World of Tiger Moms, Dads and Cubs
Wall Street Journal

Count me among the legions of Asian American Gleeks who’ve been irritably waiting for show producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan to do something interesting with Harry Shum Jr.’s peripatetic footballer-turned-dance machine, Mike Chang. Really, RyBrI: After two years of back-bench toil as the mostly mute “Other Asian,” there isn’t a performer on the show who’s earned a turn in the spotlight more than Harry. And given the season-opener revelation that Chang is a senior, with little likelihood of sticking around on the show post-McKinley, this season could represent Shum’s final chance to shine.

A Closer Look: Back from Libya
The Daily Bruin (UCLA)

Chris Jeon reminisces about his time fighting in the Libyan revolution and living with rebels.

Rain’s final concert this Sunday
CNNGo

Weeping will ensue en masse this weekend, as South Korea’s biggest pop star and Stephen Colbert’s arch-nemesis, Rain, will perform in the public for the last time before enlisting in the South Korean military. The “Ninja Assassin” star’s free good-bye concert will be held on Sunday, October 9, as part of the Gangnam Fashion Festival 2011.

It is sure to be a tearful affair on both sides: “Concerts to me are like life on a smaller scale,” Rain told CNN Talk Asia in 2009. Rain begins his mandatory, 22-month, Republic of Korea Army service on Tuesday, October 11.

Big Bang’s G-Dragon caught smoking marijuana
allkpop

But did he inhale?

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Koreans make their mark in Fairfax
Fairfax Times (Va.)

When Steve Choi and his family moved to Virginia from South Korea in 1974, his sixth-grade classmates wanted to touch his hair, or challenge him to a fight–sometimes both.

“A lot of them had never even met an Asian before, so even my hair was very interesting to them,” said Choi, who now runs a highly successful food service company and serves as President of the Korean-American Association of the Washington Metro area, based in Annandale. “Everybody thought I was Bruce Lee- they wanted to fight me to see if I knew kung-fu.”

These days, Koreans are no longer the novelty they once were in the region. Korean immigration to the U.S. was negligible prior to 1970, but since that year some 973,450 South Koreans have obtained permanent resident status in the U.S. and the Washington, D.C. metro area has the third largest Korean population in the country behind Los Angeles and New York.

The Torrid Romantic Life of Kim Jong-il
Chosun Ilbo

Yun Hye-yong was a woman beyond the reach even of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Yun, the lead singer of Kim’s former favorite band Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble, was brutally executed after she spurned Kim’s persistent advances and fell in love with another man.

Or so claims Chang Jin-song, an author formerly affiliated with the North Korean Workers’ Party, in “Kim Jong-il’s Last Woman.” Published in May, it is an epic poem that details Kim’s private life and inside story of his regime based on the true story of the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble.

SAT cheaters
Korea Times

A famous SAT teacher in Korea was caught illegally discussing what was on the exam. He used the time difference between the United States and other countries to tell his students what will be on the test.

As students talked after the test, some of them, without noticing, told others that they had known what was going to be on the exam.

Since SAT scores are based on percentages, the other students felt this was unfair and reported the incident to the College Board. All the tests taken in Korea were voided and the efforts of those who actually worked hard came to naught.

However, the worst part starts here. As more and more people found out about the SAT teacher, more and more parents tried to send their kids to him so their children could attain high scores. It is shocking that some parents care more about children’s short-term goal of getting into a good college instead of looking to the distant future of their children.

Korean Official: US will endorse FTA with Korea by Oct. 21
Korea Times

Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon said Wednesday that the U.S. Congress is expected to give a final endorsement of a free trade agreement with Korea by Oct. 21 at the latest.

Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na named ambassador for 2012 Winter Youth Games
AP via Washington Post

Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na will help promote the first Winter Youth Games.

The IOC says the 21-year-old South Korean skater will join Olympic ski champions Lindsey Vonn and Benjamin Raich as an “ambassador” for the games, which will be held in Innsbruck, Austria, from Jan. 13-22.

Jay Park interview with channelAPA.com
channelAPA

Over the weekend at 2011 ISA LA, channelAPA.com had a chance to chat with Jay Park about his music and dance careers. With a huge following in both USA and Asia, we talk about opportunities for Asian Americans in both regions. He shared with us about his strategy straddling the East and West. Jay Park has already release several singles including Single Life, Demon, Bestie & Speechless. He’s even done several collabos like Clouds and Maybe One Day. He might not have an English album soon, but he’s working on new English tracks. In the meantime, he’ll be busy promoting his upcoming Korean film “Mr. Idol” and a Korean album in November.

Tuesday's Link Attack: Tablo, Racist Bake Sale, Brian Joo

UC Berkeley GOP student bake sale is mean-spirited [COLUMN]
San Francisco Chronicle

A Republican student group at U.C. Berkeley recently hosted a “race-based bake sale” on campus to protest pending California legislation which would factor in race and gender into college admissions. Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson weighs in:

Their point that government and justice should be color blind and that no individual – or group – should receive a leg-up in any public competition is a legitimate issue. But they didn’t go about making their point in an effective way.

If enrollment was based solely on scholastic merit – and did not include financial concerns – it would soon be white students clamoring for affirmative action alongside other “disadvantaged” groups. Consider this: Asian freshman students at UC Berkeley in 2010 made up 46 percent of the student body, while white freshman students constituted 32 percent. And those figures come after a 9 percent drop in enrollment among Asian students.

The ensuing controversy prompted by the bake sale has pretty much assured the group of special notice at Sproul Plaza, where student groups, political extremists and religious zealots set up shop to expound on their world views daily.

Epik High’s Tablo Signs Exclusive Contract with YG
soompi.com

Daniel Lee a.k.a. Tablo looks to be getting his life back together following a harrowing cyber-bulling experience.

Epik High’s rapper extraordinaire Tablo has grasped hands with YG’s Yang Hyun Suk.

YG Entertainment has announced on Sept. 27, “Tablo has signed an exclusive 4-year contract with YG Entertainment and will be dropping his first official solo album on Nov. 1.”

Through this event, Tablo will break out from his 2-year hiatus that occurred when an academic controversy sparked around him. This contract has been known to be a solo contract that doesn’t involve Epik High.

Police Seek New Leads in Unsolved Murder
Patch.com (Fairfax City, Va.)

One year ago this October, a prominent local businessman found murdered in his Fairfax Station home, dead of trauma to the upper body. Over the past year, detectives have searched for new leads, but to date the murder of Yong Suk Yun is still unsolved.

Yun owned the Dr. Wash Carwash on Route 50 in Chantilly, and another in Georgia. He was well-known in the Korean-American community was also a member of the Korean-American Association of Virginia.

North Koreans abroad said to face poison-needle attacks
Los Angeles Times

Three times in recent weeks, activists opposing the regime of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il have been targeted for assassination by well-trained agents wielding poisoned needles, fellow activists allege.

A 46-year-old South Korean pastor living in Dandong, a Chinese city near the North Korean border, was found unconscious in the street — his face and fingers badly discolored — and died.

The following afternoon in the Chinese city of Yanji, a South Korean involved with missionary work was standing at a traffic light when he felt a pinprick in his lower back. As he collapsed to the sidewalk, he heard a man muttering behind him in Chinese, “Sorry, sorry.” He survived the apparent attack.

Initially, the stories about North Korean assassins wielding poison needles sounded improbable, but the activists gained some support for their charges this month when South Korean intelligence announced that it had foiled an attack in Seoul in which the intended weapon was a poisoned needle. The target in that case was Park Sung-hak, an activist who had launched balloons into North Korea carrying anti-regime leaflets.

Stars come to support Brian Joo in “RENT”
allkpop

Actress Yunjin Kim of Lost fame and others came out to support Korean American singer Brian Joo, who is starring in the Korean version of Rent.

A mother’s lesson: Country living inspires the wife to learn mother’s traditional kimchee
Chicago Tribune

Chef Christine Lee makes a trip back to the mother land to discover the joys of country living.

Former top [South Korean] presidential aide arrested
Yonhap

State prosecutors arrested a former senior presidential secretary on Wednesday after a Seoul court approved an arrest warrant, dealing a blow to the Lee Myung-bak administration, which has been struggling to fight against corruption in its final years.

Kim Du-woo, who served as Lee’s senior secretary for public affairs, is accused of taking bribes from an indicted lobbyist for a Busan-based savings bank on the verge of bankruptcy.

Seoul’s 5 best barbecue joints
CNNGo

In Seoul, it can be a daunting task to choose from the staggering number of gogi-jip (literally, “meat houses”) that sit on almost every street.

Whether it’s a casual after-work dinner with colleagues, an unusual sogeting or after-clubbing munchies at 3 a.m., these five best barbecue places in Seoul are where sophisticated foodies go to grill some quality beef, Korean-style.

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Shanghai Subway Accident Injures Hundreds
New York Times

Hundreds of people were injured Tuesday when a subway train slammed into the rear of another train in a sprawling transit line that had opened just last year in Shanghai. The accident cast new scrutiny on the safety record of China’s rapidly modernizing mass transit rail systems.

The Persecution of Daniel Lee

Photo credit: Timothy Archibald

The Trials of Daniel Lee

An internet smear campaign nearly destroyed the South Korean star, but he fought back with the only weapon he had: the truth.

by Joshua Davis

ON AUGUST 19, 2010, Dan Lee stood on the steps of Meyer Library and pointed to a nearby patch of grass.

“The Rodin statue,” he said nervously. “It was here.”

The Korean television crew following him noted that there was nothing there, just a well-mowed lawn. Students on bikes zipped past, paying no attention to the cameras or the skinny, dark-haired 30-year-old they were filming. In Seoul, it was hard for Lee to walk down the street without being mobbed. To Koreans, he was known as Tablo, a chart-topping rapper who was also married to one of the country’s most prominent movie stars. Until recently, he had been one of Korea’s biggest celebrities. Now his career was in tatters, he’d parted ways with his record label, and his family was receiving death threats.

The reason? Hundreds of thousands of Koreans refused to believe that Lee graduated from Stanford.

The cameraman for the television crew closed in on Lee as he looked at the empty lawn. They were here to document for Korean national TV whether or not Lee was a liar.

“It’s not here anymore,” Lee said, staring at the spot where he knew The Thinker had been. He rubbed his face and wondered if maybe he was going crazy.

When the program aired two months later in Korea, this was the opening moment.

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K-Pop Star Rain To Join SK Military

K-pop megastar Rain is set to join the South Korean military on Oct. 11 for compulsory service, according to news reports.

The 29-year-old singer and actor had delayed his service for a year in order to complete his master’s degree at Dankook University.

Rain appeared in “Speed Racer” in 2008 before starring in “Ninja Assassin” the following year.

AFP reported that Rain, whose real name is Jung Ji-Hoon, will undergo basic training at Uijeongbu just north of Seoul before he begins his 22-month military service.

“I will be serving in the army… the date was finalized this morning,” he wrote on his website, adding he does not yet know where he will serve. “I thank you all for supporting me for the past 10 years.”

Rain will hold a free farewell concert in the Apgujeong neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam District on Oct. 9, according to The Hankyoreh.

The K-pop star has reportedly expressed his willingness to perform free for residents, since he has been a publicity ambassador for the [Gangnam Ward Office] and wanted to show the public his gratitude for his stardom before he joins the army.

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Tuesday's Link Attack: NK Defectors, Sung Kim Confirmation Delayed

Suspected North Korean defectors found off Japanese coast
The Guardian (U.K.)

Coastguard officials in Japan are questioning nine suspected North Korean defectors after they were found drifting off the country’s west coast, on Tuesday morning.

The group – three men, three women and three young children – were found by a coastguard helicopter 15 miles off the Noto peninsula, in Ishikawa prefecture, after a tip-off from local fishermen.

They were collected by a coastguard vessel and taken to Kanazawa for questioning. Their eight-metre boat bore Korean characters along its sides and was stocked with rice and pickled vegetables, Japanese media reports said.

A man claiming to represent the group told local media that they had come from North Korea and had intended to travel to South Korea. The man reportedly described himself as a member of the Korean People’s army, and said the eight other people on board were his relatives.

Hawkish senator obstructs confirmation of Sung Kim
Korea Times

The U.S. State Department is trying to persuade a senior Republican senator to lift a hold on the confirmation of Sung Kim, the nominee to become a new ambassador to South Korea, congressional sources said Monday.

Jon Kyl (R-AZ), assistant minority leader in the Senate, has been blocking the confirmation process for more than a month, according to the sources. He is known as a staunch conservative on foreign policy.

The article goes on to say that it was unclear exactly why Sen. Kyl is holding up the confirmation.

Police not ruling out foul play in former Cal golfer’s death
Oakland Tribune

Police have not ruled out foul play in the death of Diane Kwon, a 21-year-old former golf star found dead last week in a shopping center parking lot.

Kwon, a graduate of Kennedy High School in Fremont, was not shot or stabbed, Sgt. Chris Mazzone said. Authorities are trying to determine her cause of death, which they are treating as “suspicious,” he said.

The Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau is performing an autopsy and a toxicology report, which takes four to six weeks to complete.

“We’re waiting for those reports to come back to find out the cause of death,” Mazzone said.

About 11 p.m. Sept. 5, a passer-by discovered Kwon on the ground near her car, behind a building formerly occupied by Barnes & Noble in Fremont Plaza, 3950 Mowry Ave., police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Father’s relief as Chris Jeon, ‘dude with the AK47′, calls from Libya
The National (U.A.E.)

At first, it did not sink in. Front line? Front of what line? A concert or movie queue? A beach volleyball game? No, the caller said, your son is at the front line of the Libyan civil war with rebel fighters trying to oust a notorious despot.

Peter Jeon was stunned. “A friend said Chris was on the news, so we went on the internet,” said Mr Jeon, an orthodontist in Orange County, California. “Obviously, we were shaken.”


Moon Bloodgood Q&A
Men’s Fitness

This former dancer turned actress and star of TNT’s post-apocalyptic thriller Falling Skies talks no small amount of trash while running circles around you in the gym or beating you to a pulp on Xbox Live. That’s right, Moon Bloodgood is perfect.

Dave Gibbons Is a Church Misfit
O.C. Weekly

Check out this O.C. Weekly cover story by former KoreAm staffer Michelle Woo about Korean American pastor David Gibbons.

Newsong was on its way to becoming Orange County’s next big megachurch—then its pastor decided to pull back and go small.

Raising Kang: Single mother, single goal
Casa Grande Dispatch (Arizona)

Here’s a nice profile of a Latina single mother raising her son Michael Kang in Arizona.

Hawaii, it happens, is a part of Kang. His father is Hawaiian-Korean. His mother is Hispanic. He takes a bit of gentle ribbing from his classmates about his ethnic diversity. For Kang, that’s all just background noise, though. Military life has always been his focus.

How Korean Pop Conquered Japan
The Atlantic

In Japan—a country that has prided itself on producing and exporting its own fantastical pop culture—Korean entertainment has come to gobble up massive portions of melodrama and musical market share. Not only do Korean dramas air frequently on TV, but in the past year Korean pop groups like Girls’ Generation and KARA have shattered sales records and become primetime fixtures on Japanese television programs, thanks to a mish-mash of Western club-friendly and a sped-up tempo appropriate for an arcade. This boom in Korean entertainment isn’t just about units moved or appearances on talk shows; Korean media, especially pop music, has exploded in the Land of the Rising Sun because the K-Pop architects have embraced everything that the Japanese music industry has shunned for years.

Scholar fights for Korean studies in US
Korea Times

[Professor Kim Yung-hee], currently director of the Center for Korean Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is wrestling with a fresh challenge.

The class size of Korean studies there is shrinking.

“These days it is hard to find students who are interested in Korean studies as a major. As a Korean literature professor, this is my primary concern,” said Kim. “The arts and literature department is not a priority in many U.S. universities. I think this is the case for Korea, too. I understand many Korean parents encourage their children to attend either law or medical school in the hope that they can land high-paying jobs easily after graduation.”

Students’ lack of interest in Korean studies came as a bit of a surprise, considering the number of undergraduate students taking Korean language courses at the University of Hawaii has continued to increase. Approximately, 300 to 400 students attend the course every semester.

Seoul revival as students embrace Korean language
The Australian

Good Korea move: 89 students have signed up for a new Korean language program at the University of Western Australia, which is riding a wave of teenage obsession with Korean pop groups and television.

“We initially had more than 100 and we had to put a cap on [numbers]. Nobody expected so many students,” Associate Professor Kyu-suk Shin said. Korean has been in low demand in Australia, despite official rhetoric about its importance.

Pizza on Jesa Table?
Ask a Korean! (blog)

This photo is generating an interesting online controversy in Korea. As the Korean covered previously, jesa is a traditional ritual in which the family gets together to commemorate the ancestors. (A jesa held on chuseok and other holidays are called charye [차례].) Jesa follows a strict guideline in all aspects, including what to put on the table and the order in which those items will be arranged.

Needless to say, pizza does not really fall under that guideline — hence the controversy.

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