2010/12/15 Reporter An Min Jeong
On the 14th, about 45,000 people gathered at the Tokyo Dome for the charity event, “Smile Project.”. I truly and clearly experienced Yonsama’s power there.
The Smile Project brought 3 hours of continuous free appearances from Asian stars including those from Korea (Bae Yong Joon, Kim Hyun Joong and Hwan Hee), Japan (Gackt, Komuro Desuya, and Nakata Hidetosi), and Taiwan (Vaness Wu and Jeong Won Chang). This project brought a tremendous audience together for those 3 hours. The principle reason why this was possible was Yonsama Bae Yong Joon.
First, let me explain the details about planning the event. “Smile Project” was produced as one of DATV’s projects. DATV is a cable channel that specializes in Asian entertainment in Japan. The program conveys the message, “Help the Asian Children in need.” The event gives appearing stars the opportunity to donate their favorite items for auction; the profits for those items are mostly donated.
But, even though it is a special program, it’s not easy for the cable channel to bring foreign stars to one place at one time. Moreover, It’s impossible to explain the amount of influence that Yonsama has over the entertainment industry to bring these international top stars together (they came for free).
Nonetheless, the Tokyo Dome, which has capacity for 45,000, was totally full; tickets ranged between 7,200 – 8,400 Yen. This is an amazing feat considering major broadcast companies have difficulty selling out tickets..
The ticket price wasn’t cheap compared to that of concerts performed by SMAP or Arashi’s; their ticket prices range between 6,000 – 7,000 Yen. It was hard to find any empty seats and most of the audience are Yonsama fans. Although he only visited Japan; he has the influence to be able to bring massive amounts of people to Tokyo Dome. It was “Yonsama’s power”.
The guests from each country had a special relationship with Bae Yong Joon.
First off, Bae Yong Joon, Kim Hyun Joong, and Hwan Hee, who participated as the representatives of Korea, work for the same agency, “Keyeast”. There is a high possibility that they participated after hearing the news of the good deed that the representative of Korea was doing.
Gackt held concerts often, and released his album in Korea. He is fluent in Korean. It has been known that he had a relationship with Bae Yong Joon since Bae Yong Joon was getting spotlight as a Hallyu star. A soccer hero, Nakata Hidetosi who appeared in the event surprisingly also has a relationship with Bae Yong Joon beginning at the world charity event that took place years ago.
Even the content of the event considerably focused on Bae Yong Joon. Approximately one hour before the grand finale, including nearly 30 minutes of individual stage time, was given to Bae Yong Joon compared to that of about 10 minutes for other artists.
His fans shouted, “We can’t see Yonsama.” when Japanese MCs sat for the talk show. The MCs calmed the fans down by saying, “I’m sorry. We won’t sit. We’ll move around for the talk show. Is that fair for you?”
When Bae Yong Joon untied his tie for the auction of the stars’ favorite items, a woman MC who misunderstood said, “Ah.. It’s still warm. Is it okay to touch it? Please be careful.” I felt Bae Yong Joon’s power again.
Someone criticizes Bae Yong Joon, who visits Japan about once a year, by saying, “He is cocky. He is pretentious. He is commercial.” But he became a person who is greatly influential rather than just an actor or entertainer. His movements and statements have a great spreading power which forces him to maintain a certain personality at all times.
But, if not Bae Yong Joon, who will be able to hold a great event where Asian stars from Korea, Japan, and Taiwan come to? Who will be able to convey this message, “There are many suffering children in Asian more than we expected”, to people willing to fill Tokyo Dome? His influence and power was much greater than the average people expected; it was beyond imagination.
The event started at 6:00 pm and ended after 9:30 pm.
Among the 45,000 fans coming out in waves, this reporter met two women, one was in her late seventies and the other was in her eighties, and they said, “We came here to meet Yonsama via airplane from Fukuoka this morning. We had to spend about several hundred thousand Yens for each of his events, but we’ve never regretted it. I lived a long life to meet Yonsama. Even my family is helping my fan activity a lot.”
On the way back after the interview, the woman in her eighties saw my name card and said, “Are you a Korean? I like to talk to Koreans. That’s why Yonsama is great. Because of him, I have come to like Korea and Koreans.” Looking at her bright smile, I felt Yosama’s power all over my body again”.