Hundreds see K-Pop star Rain start military service

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 11, 2011 5:08 AM
Hundreds see K-Pop star Rain start military service

By Iktae Park

SEOUL (Reuters) - Hundreds of weeping and cheering fans from China, Japan and Malaysia gathered at a military base outside the South Korean capital of Seoul on Tuesday to bid farewell to Korean pop-star Rain as he signed up for military service.

Jung Ji-hoon, known by his stage name Rain, is part of the "Korean Wave" of drama and popular music that has taken Asia by storm over the past decade and his third album, "It's Raining," sold a million copies in Asia after its release in 2004.

"It is so sad that Mr Rain will be gone for two years," said Sachiko, a weeping Japanese fan who came to Korea for Rain's last concert and to witness his enlistment.

"I am sure all his fans back in Japan would have wanted to be here today. So we want to make sure we see him off properly."

As well as music, Rain has built a career in film and began his Hollywood career as a minor character in Wachowski Brother's "Speed Racer." He was cast as the lead actor for his second Hollywood film, "Ninja Assassin," which won him the "Biggest Badass" award from MTV.

The three-times winner of TIME magazine's annual 'TIME 100 Poll' in 2006, 2007 and 2011 will undertake 21 months of compulsory military service in the South Korean armed forces.

"Thank you for loving me so much for the past 10 years. Goodbye and I'll be back," Rain told his fans.

Korean drama heart-throb Hyun Bin, best known for his role in the drama "Secret Garden," attracted thousands of fans when he signed up for military service this year.

The 28-year-old won a sharpshooter badge and was posted to an island on the tense border with North Korea, which remains technically at war with the South after the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice.

(Editing by David Chance and Sugita Katyal)