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05.14.11 [Washingtonpost] South Korean Star Rain Talks About Music & Movies, But Not His Looming 2-Year Military Service

source : http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/south-korean-star-rain-…

MACAU — In nine years, Rain has gone from an unknown backup dancer to one of Asia’s hottest stars. The South Korean actor-singer also has two Hollywood movies to his credit.

But his thriving entertainment career must be put on hold later this year when he reports for two years of mandatory military duty. It’s a topic the 28-year-old performer doesn’t want to discuss.

In the southern Chinese gambling enclave Macau for the latest stop of what is likely his final Asian tour before military service, Rain made sure the media couldn’t ask him about his imminent break from the entertainment industry.

At a news conference — delayed 2 1/2 hours — before his concert at the Venetian Macao casino-hotel late Saturday, organizers banned questions that were not preapproved by Rain’s managers. Instead of discussing how the break would affect his entertainment career, Rain spoke about Macau and fan reaction around Asia.

He talked about his new movie “Living in the Sky,” in which he plays a pilot, and said he wanted to make more action films and take on romantic roles in TV dramas.

Few details of his military duty have been disclosed, but he told South Korean media last month that it would start at the end of this year.

Managers for the the South Korean star, whose real name is Jung Ji-hoon, refused an interview request in Macau from The Associated Press.

In his short career, Rain has released five Korean albums and a Japanese record and launched a film and TV career. He has also crossed over to America, appearing in a “dance-off” against comedian Stephen Colbert and starring in the Hollywood action thrillers “Speed Racer” and “Ninja Assassin.”

But Rain thinks his entertainment future lies in Asia.

“Now America is no longer dominant. Now many Asian movies and songs are very popular. The two regions have the same status now,” he said.

Rain’s fans are confident their idol will emerge from the two-year break unscathed.

Several dozen die-hard fans were camped out outside the concert venue six hours before show time.

“He is a very hardworking person. Serving in the military will improve his determination. It will make him more manly and more mature. His career might take a different direction after his military service, but I think he will keep getting better and better,” said 21-year-old university student Zhao Wenwei.

“All his fans think that if he is gone for two years, we will not forget him. We will remember him by watching his movies and other past works,” said the Shanghai resident, who shelled out 1,980 Macau patacas ($255) for her ticket.

“The two years of military service will help build his endurance,” said Ivy Tang, an 18-year-old university student from the southern Chinese city Guangzhou who traveled to Macau with about 60 fellow members of a Rain discussion group on the Chinese search engine Baidu.

16 responses to “05.14.11 [Washingtonpost] South Korean Star Rain Talks About Music & Movies, But Not His Looming 2-Year Military Service

  1. speakingmymind May 15, 2011 at 3:14 am

    I still think he should focus some attention on his US fans and coming to the US. Either for film or music, that is my only problem with Asian stars, especially music ones. Their music breaks boundaries, it crosses borders (all music does). Loads of my friends are fans of Rain’s (MBLAQ, B2ST, 2NE1, Big Bang, ect) and we all want more, we want the same ability that Asian fans have, of being able to walk into a store (be it a specialty store) and picking up some magazine with them inside, or being able to pick up their CD’s in-store, any merchandise, in-store, in person. Some of us, most of us, will never have the chance to see these people live. Yes, America no longer dominates anymore, but the industry is still one of the best and hardest to get into. Its why you hear a P.Diddy song playing during a Rain CF for a phone, it’s why you hear our artists on their shows, being talked about by their MC’s. No one in America, save for the small handful of American’s who follow Asian stars, and the Asian population that is here, know who any of these people are. Hell I have Korean friends that have no idea who MBLAQ, Big Bang, Rain, Lee Hyori, Kara, 4minute, ect even are. They’ve often told me I’m more Korean then they are and I’m a California girl, born and raised of Scottish/Irish bloodlines, there isn’t a drop of Asian blood in me. And that speaks volumes to me. My American friends who live overseas know who our up and coming artists are. Music is universal, the heartbeat of the human race. It is the one thing we can all speak. Share it with the world, take it everywhere. You have fans around the world, make it just a little easier for all of us to support you and make you the best you can be. -breathes- Sorry I just had to get that off my chest.

  2. pluie625 May 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    @speakingmymind….. very well said, and I agree, we want and need more of Rain and other Asian artists here in North America (US and Canada)

  3. busybee1982 May 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    @speakingmymind….i hear what your saying. but i think it’s a shame that fans don’t share information with each other so everyone can be informed. it’s not the artist’s fault that their products are not in the US market. they can’t demand that. do you know that there was a demonstration recently in Paris, by Kpop lovers that demanded their country include more kpop music and films? their government listened. do you know that the Korean industry has just had a major merger of it’s biggest talent agencies and formed the UNA (6 agencies in all), United Asia Management with the mission of of establishing an International Talent Agency? all these things are happening because here in the US, even though many chose kpop/hallyu entertaiment it has yet to be included in advertisments on regular tv. did you know that right now JYJ is on a US tour that includes quite a few US states? no? why? because mainstream media is not advertising it. it can be seen on Asian media. the info. about the merger and the Paris demo. can be found on CloudUSA blogspot. the concert info about JYJ can be found by watching Asian tv stations. sometime ago Jax came up with an idea to develop a Rainlisting directory for fans. it was to provide Clouds/fans a vehicle to learn from each other and stay informed. regardless where we are located. there is different news on different sites that would probably help a lot of us better understand what is happening with Rain and as far as kpop is concerned.

  4. busybee1982 May 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    the other thing is i don’t really think the US has a full scope of how many of our population like and watch not just kpop but other entertainment outside of the US entertainment. since Direct TV and the Internet have picked up, masses of people use these mediums to get their assorted entertainment.
    lastly, the reason that US artist are dominate is because they mass market into other countries via tv, shows etc. we don’t get that here or we get very little unless we have sallelite tv. SOMEONE CONTROLS WHAT COMES on and what comes in mainstream media in the US and how much just like they control what goes out. as for the PDiddy music and the cf. that has been changed and now includes a song composed and sang by Rain. i can’t say that was the official or whether it was fan made. i do know that if it had been official PDiddy would have had to be paid. as far as some Koreans and Asians not knowing these artist, i can agree cause many have been Americanized and no longer or have never been in touch with their home country (according to numerous documentaries on Asian Tv). i work with an Asian who never even taught her children their native tongue and many documentaries attest that. it’s frustrating to be sure, but for me learning more about why it is the way it is sorta helps.

  5. patricnlove May 16, 2011 at 12:17 am

    I agree with both of u, Rain’s American fans want him to spend more time with us in the U.S. I remember he said before he will move to the U.S. after the military, I was happy reading that but according to this, he changed his mind(?). It’s true that (very) slowly Asian artists are getting more play in the U.S. I have Comcast on demand and in the music section, the genre includes a K-pop section and music videos of Big Bang, Ri Hori, 2NE, 2PM, 4PM, Wonder Girls, ect.( BUT for some reason not Rain 😦 ….) . It not a level playing field, however, as the general Korean audience know who artists like PDitty, 50cent, Janet Jackson are but the general American audience do not know who those famous Kpop singers and bands are. That’s all just moving too slow for me.

  6. BiAlamode May 16, 2011 at 1:43 am

    “Now America is no longer dominant”………….damn Homie. You know when people are being quoted and their comments are picked up over several news sources, the tone and intent of the comments can sometimes be ‘lost in translation’. However, I can say American me doesn’t really appreciate The Tone of this statement. That being said, the playing field will be level when the “regions” (East and West) can mass market across the board as Busybee has touched on (IMO). If the effort to break into the U.S. market is no longer a goal for Ji-Hoon, then when his true intentions become more clear it will help me personally decide where to concentrate my efforts more fully, as far as he is concerned.

    When I speak to the tone of this article, who’s to say who’s country is dominant? Stock markets, Political Pundits, Government Officials? As far as everybody/anybody is concerned their own country is the “Shiznit” so if these are indeed Ji-Hoon’s words, I’m not surprised at the pride he obviously has in his country. However, the tone of this piece “not cool” especially to the many American fans that Very Recently helped vote ALL WEEK LONG for him to win that TIME 100 poll. A win that he felt important enough to fly all the way over here to participate in a gala event with our non dominant country’s most powerful and influential people. Also not cool, to the many American fans that recently added to the numbers at The Cloud (Official) fan site. The tone set in this article “feels like” a slap in the face…………..may not have been intended to be that, but it feels like that. Maybe Ji-Hoon doesn’t really know himself just how many U.S. fans he has. Maybe he’s under the impression that mostly his Asian fans voted for him in that poll. This needs to be corrected. He needs to be informed, truly and fully.

    Personally and this is my honest to goodness, gut feeling. The “powers that be” who manage his career have seen Rain’s “numbers”. They have seen the Western increase in his numbers, but someone is downplaying his Western popularity increase…….me thinks. He is their Biggest megastar entertainer and they want to keep him right there in Asia. Somebody doesn’t want him to cross over and become all “Americanized”. It would take an Asian celeb of Ji-Hoon’s caliber to open the door a little further for Asian artists in this country so that there can be more widespread mainstream success in the U.S. But maybe Asian artists feel like “I don’t need to do that.” Maybe there is concerted effort being made to discourage them from crossing over? Who the hell knows. Either way, it would be good to get a clearer, non-contradictory interview from Ji-Hoon in the near future.

  7. nhu y May 16, 2011 at 2:38 am

    I absolutely believe RAIN
    BI cloud always supported him always to side with
    nothing could be his step port

  8. busybee1982 May 16, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    @BiAlamode….i think it would be more helpful to fans if they can view the translated yt vid (by Scorpiola, she has done two), of exactly what Rain said during the press conference. thank goodness for her. Rain turned down an offer to be interviewed by the Associated Press and so what is printed here is just their wording and view point.(i have to ask myself were they a little perturbed having to wait 2 1/2 hours for Rain and on top of that have their interview requests turned down?) and although at the bottom of this article it states not to redistribute, re-write etc, the article has been copied and posted in Atlanta and Malaysia (so far). but i’d encourage fans to see the translated vid of what he really says. he did not say that his future career is in Asia. he just didn’t say that.
    while doing so keep in mind that JB’s (American music lovers-who are Asians) and Clouds (Asian music lovers-who are a combination of cultures), crowded the airport to greet both of them which clearly shows a balance in both west and east influence. (that’s just how i see it)

  9. busybee1982 May 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    @patricnlove….i have the same carrier and you are so right….it almost appears to be a black-out on Rain’s music. on Korean Showbiz every now and then something is reported about Rain, but no way is he given exposure here like the others. sometimes, i feel as though they are pushing these other artists down my throat and most times i mute the channel.

  10. pluie625 May 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    @busybee1982…speaking of advertisements and JYJ…yes, JYJ will have a concert here also in Vancouver on the 20th of May (i think) but there’s no ads and I’ve only known about it thru my friend in LA.

    @BiAlamode…good point you got there.

  11. speakingmymind May 18, 2011 at 2:29 am

    @pluie625 – Even in specialty stores it’s still very hard to find them. Most of the places around here are Japanese and Chinese, I have yet to find somewhere Korean, that sells Korean merchandise, other then food and little trinkets. If they can have access to our celebrities then we deserve access to theirs.

  12. speakingmymind May 18, 2011 at 2:29 am

    @busybee1982 – I hear you, even now with being part of Clouds, A+ (MBLAQ) and other groups, its very hard to get information out of people these days, and you have to work SOOO hard to get them to even talk to you. I remember back in the day with our boybands (BSB, NSYNC, ect) how easily it was to meet fans and make friends with them. I think we here in America should do what they did in Paris, get petitions online and get them to the major record companies here that deal with the Asian market like Sony, I know MBLAQ is on the Sony Asia label for their Japan release. I’m all for the idea Jax has and I’ll help in any way possible. The US media market is too…boring for lack of a better term, we’ve moved onto other markets, be in Asian or British because I believe we are all tired of reality shows and cookie cutter music. Every time we get an artist that is unique and stands out they do ok for a year or so then we never hear from them again, and it gets old. It gets old watching the same things on different channels, I’ve actually gone back to watching the Disney channel and cartoons because I’m so tired of reality show this, reality show that. I haven’t listened to local radio in at least 4 years. Music is my life and I get it from my friends or by looking at artists similar to those I already listen to. Its very frustrating when there’s so much talent out there but we are so controlled by what we see and hear and our media isn’t willing to share the spotlight with other talented people and nations. It irks me, which is why I’ve sorted started to boycott it all.

  13. speakingmymind May 18, 2011 at 2:29 am

    @patricnlove – Him moving here would be a huge step for him, leaving behind everything that’s familiar and comforting to move to a foreign country. The man can hardly speak or understand the English language. Asking him to move here is a little extreme, but he could lease a place here, maybe not in a major city where it would be so overwhelming but somewhere quiet and small until he felt comfortable. And it would give him the chance to branch out here. Maybe he should open a J.Tune camp over here and work with American artists. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think Rain and Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, ect could make so sick beats. Rain’s already got the talent and Timbaland and Justin are at the top of their games. If he could take a track like Hip Song, translate it into English, not the formal English it would be, but the club/slang English, that’s a track that would be played in clubs. Especially if he stuck Timbaland on it. That would just be sick.

  14. speakingmymind May 18, 2011 at 2:30 am

    @BiAlamode – He’d be stupid to not break over here. If he wants to claim World Star status, then he needs to be a World Star. As it stands he’s only an Asian superstar, nothing more. Michael Jackson was a World Star, The Beatles were a World Star. I love Rain and support his decision but I will always call him out on that. Do not claim what isn’t yours, and starring in one movie, that didn’t even do that well (IMO I adore Ninja Assassin, but I love those kinda movies anyway, and I loved Speed Racer, but I also love the Fast and Furious series as well, something about fast cars) doesn’t make you a World Star. When American film makers come to you, take it. If the team behind NA wants to do a sequel, do it. Keep putting your face in our face and we will start to remember you. To say he doesn’t know how many fans he has here, can go both ways. Voting was open around the world for the Time 100 Poll, and it would be easy to track the IP addresses of the voters and get a general idea of where everyone was at the time. I think because he doesn’t get a massive greeting at the airport when he arrives that he may be blind to the fact that each state has a fair share of his fans, and we’re growing. I have a K-Pop mix CD that never leaves my car, I subject my friends to it all the time, I subject the drivers of nearby cars on the road to it. Needless to say I have gotten some weird looks and had an altercation about the lyrics (some black dude thought Rain was saying the N word in Hip Song) but I’m like my own little K-Pop street team lol. After watching so many shows and interview with other K-Pop stars, most of them do want to come here. I think they all know that to be the best means breaking here. Yes, Ji Hoon is the one to do it, he’s Korea’s Michael Jackson. If he could have just one hit song here, the doors would be flung open. Maybe it’s time to get to Twitter, he checks his, flood his Twitter, start Twitter trends like #BringRainToAmerica get him to notice us. Hell I’ll postpone my trip to Korea for two years just to be there when he gets back and I’ll drag his Asian ass back to the states, sit him in front of my computer so he can see whats going on.

  15. speakingmymind May 18, 2011 at 2:30 am

    @busybee1982 – I cannot understand why he turned down AP, it’s AP they would have been his foot in door right there, his chance to say what he wanted to say to his American fans and the American Public. I mean the fact that he’s sold out his shows in Vegas and I believe in New York should say enough to him. I agree that it seems like his managers have stuck blinders on him and only show him what they want to show him. I think the Korean Pop Culture is making way for new and upcoming talent, Rain is leaving for two years, they don’t want to loose that fanbase, so they seem to be doing what we do here. When Britney washed out there was a new Britney. The Disney Channel is the best example. Once one star (Miley) is past her prime there will be another, they crank them out like over sugared lollipops that we are just supposed to take and like.

  16. busybee1982 May 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    @speakingmymind…..you sound as frustrated as i feel….but, i can not comfortably blame Rain for not being more visible here in the US. he tried and look what happened. cancellations that were not his fault, court battles claiming and besmirching his character which in the end was not his fault. since 2006 article after article that is printed about him, never ever telling the full and true scope of his success. why should what he has accomplished be eliminated just because he comes to the US to perform? seems that his accomplishment would add intrigue about him. but no, the US does not want to take the chance of re-directing the population to what’s happening in the Asian entertainment world. as for him turning down the AP, why should he treat them any different than any other news outlet? especially since the media has not been kind to him here. he may not even trust the US media to fair and balance about him any more. i would be. People mag. (placing some one else’s pic over his name for SR): at the premier (putting his character’s name on the marquee instead of his), which Korean news media had to bring to the promoters attention: TMZ article, stating that he was best known for lawsuits in the US, without even giving specific facts as to what really happened in LA via fan accounts and those to the situation: the whole name issue court proceedings by some little know group who replicates the Beatles songs causing his tour management to cancel all of the tour dates. Internet movie sites naming Naomi Harris instead of Rain as the star in NA. the latest being Time mag. itself with that pitiful little blurb of 56 words. i don’t know about Rain but if it were me, no, i wouldn’t give another opportunity to anyone to snub me or tell untruths about me. i wouldn’t care who it is. look the world didn’t start with the US and it won’t end with the US. i’ve said this before…we are only 308mil. of the 6+ bil population. so how do our number equate to establishing someones world status? we all love our various countries, but we do need to be realistic when saying to come here equates to being or having global status. Rain does have global status which includes the US which is apart of the rest of the world. Discovery Channel’s doc about him; aired in 130 different countries (except the US, why?-again shut out.); Speed Racer shown in theaters worldwide; NA shown in theaters worldwide (now some say this film didn’t do well, but they only based that on early figures cause in fact this film did very well when it was all said and done) and how about the fact that Rain’s songs have been translated into (at my last count), 10 different languages. to me that is world status. lastly, how did it come to be that Rain performed in NY and Las Vegas? MTV World sponsored him and presenting him to the US audience. Las Vegas extended an invitation to him to come and perform (at the end of his concert you can clearly hear him “thanking Ceaser’s Place for inviting me”. and finally, in light of everything that has happened to him here, i can certainly see and understand why he would be and should be very cautious when dealing with the press here. who knows, they may include the whole 2006-7 nonsense in their articles again. he surely can’t chance that.

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