A Korean cloth-wrapper, a samulnori (traditional Korean percussion group) and Mr. Bae Yong-joon went onto stage at the Tokyo Dome. A celebratory event was being held at the dome on September 30 for the publication of “Discovering the Beauty of Korea”, Bae's essay on traditional Korean culture experience published September 23 in Korea. Like the previous day’s event for the premiere of animation “Winter Sonata~ Another Story~”, 45,000 fans filled the seats but the atmosphere was much more serene with traditional Korean music playing in the background.
After a video about Korean culture, such as Kyongbok Palace, traditional Korean-style houses and pottery, was shown to the audience, Bae appeared from beneath the stage with a stone pagoda from Miruksa. He greeted the fans saying, “I wrapped up a long, one-year journey. It is a relief to be able to tell you I had a good time.” Of the book “Discovering”, he explained: “The book contains pictures of how I changed while experiencing the beauty of Korea throughout my journey. I was born and raised in Korea but I never really knew the beauty of Korea. By experiencing it, I felt the passions I had forgotten about, come alive within me again.” Then he recited a passage from “Discovering”, a collection of thoughts he wrote down at the Miruksa Temple in Iksan, North Jeolla Province, which drew a big applause from the audience.
Next, lacquer artist Jun Yong-bok, who taught Bae about lacquer in the actor's book, came up on stage and shared an anecdote from their production process. “It was impressive how he tried to learn how to lacquer with no gloves on, at the risk of getting lacquer poison on his hands.” To which Bae replied, “I thought how dare I put on gloves when he doesn’t wear them. And even if I caught lacquer poison, I thought that would be a learning experience too.” Bae went on to share his affection for traditional culture. “I learned how to combine tradition with modern lifestyle while not throwing tradition away. And I think that is going to inspire me on how I live in the future." Bae shared another anecdote regarding his experience making kimchi for the winter season with hanbok designer Hyo-jae Lee. “Preparing kimchi for the wintertime with other people can be fun and festive, so I'm thinking about doing it every year with my close friends. But I felt like a housewife because the smell of pepper powder stayed on my hands til the next day.”
Bae Yong-joon reads a passage from "Discovering" [BOF Korea]
On stage, Bae also wrote a postcard in Japanese for the fans he calls “family” and put them in a mailbox. He recited a letter he had written in his book which said: “I came back from a long journey. Every time I saw, heard and ate something good, I thought of my family members first. I want to keep on sharing the same dreams with my families.” To this, the fans responded by taking out the traditional Korean cloth-wrapper they had received when entering Tokyo Dome, tied it into a knot and waved while calling out, “Mr. Yong-joon.” Bae responded to the fans’ cheering by riding in a palanquin which circled the first floor of Tokyo Dome. And appearing on the stage for the last time, Bae promised the fans, “I will do my best to live as a shameless member of your family by living as a true person."
The event focused strictly on traditional Korean culture. Staged in between were performances by various artists, including Korean fiddle player Eun-il Kang, Sookmyung Gayageum Orchetra, Korean Traditional Percussion Institute. The fusion performance of a Korean fan dance, B-boying dance and Korean traditional music received a huge reaction from the fans. A proclamation ceremony for “2010~2012 Years to Visit Korea” was also held at the event, as Bae is the publicity ambassador for the cause. Mr. Cham Lee, chairman of KBS (Korea Broadcasting Station) and Mr. Kwon Chul-hyun, the South Korean ambassador to Japan joined Bae in a fan lottery event and presented the winners with plane tickets to Korea and Korean culture experience tickets. The event’s admission ticket was sold at 8,000 yen per person and seats were randomly assigned. The fourth print of “Discovering” has been sold out in Korea and initial 50,000 copies of the book have been sold out in Japan on advance order.
Reporter : Choi Ji-Eun firstname.lastname@example.org Editor : Lynn Kim email@example.com, Lee Ji-Hye firstname.lastname@example.org <ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>