Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Manila Bulletin Entertainment's Top 10 Korean Entertainment Stories

MANILA, Philippines - 2012 became an exciting year for hallyu or the Korean Wave, especially for K-pop. A horse-riding dance became an Internet sensation and swept the world. A number of Korean stars visited the Philippines and a three-year old legal dispute ended through a settlement.
Here's Bulletin Entertainment's Top 10 Korean entertainment stories in 2012:
1. Psy - In just six months, Korean rapper Psy crossed over to the US music market with his viral song "Gangnam Style" that became a hit, achieved a billion views on YouTube and set three Guinness World Records. Psy became a staple on entertainment TV shows in the US, flew to different countries to perform and won a New Media award at the American Music Awards (AMA).
Our wish in 2013: We hope that his next song will become a hit as well.
(Clockwise from top left) Big Bang, Psy, Girls Generation, Wonder Girls' Sunye, JYJ and Jasmine Lee
(Photos courtesy of YG Entertainment, and Jasmine Lee's Facebook account)

2. Korean stars visit the Philippines - 2012 saw many Korean stars visiting the Philippines for concerts, album promotions and ad-related events. Last January, Super Junior's Siwon, Donghae and Eunhyuk arrived in the country to shoot a TV commercial for a friend chicken restaurant. Siwon and Donghae came back to the country in August for an event as endorsers of a Philippine clothing brand. Boy band ZE:A went to Manila also in January for a promo tour for their new CD "Exciting." On Feb. 1, 2NE1 set foot in the country for a photoshoot. Rapper Jay Park also came here in May to promote his new album "New Breed." Boy band Boyfriend was also here in July and graced the first anniversary celebration of the Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines. Big Bang held their Alive Galaxy Tour concert at the Mall of Asia last Oct. 24. Korean superstar Lee Min-ho  was in the Philippines in November as endorser of a Philippine clothing brand. Boy bands F.CUZ and A.Cian will be here this week.
Our wish in 2013: More Korean stars visiting the Philippines. Come Jan. 19, K-pop idol groups Girls' Generation, EXO, U-KISS, Infinite, Tahiti and Tasty will perform together at the Dream K-pop Fantasy Concert to be held at the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds.
3. JYJ, SM Entertainment's settlement agreement - Boy band TVXQ was rocked with controversy in 2009 when three of its members bolted from the group and sued their agency, SM Entertainment, to annul their exclusive contracts. The case dragged on for more than three years and JYJ members Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu were banned from appearing on Korean entertainment TV shows. Last November, the two sides reached a settlement where they agreed to drop all the cases they filed court and agreed not to interfere in each other's activities. Despite the agreement, JYJ members have yet to be seen on Korean music and entertainment shows.
Our wish in 2013: We hope Korean TV stations will honor the agreement, finally lift the ban and allow JYJ to perform on their shows.
4. T-ara's bullying controversy - Girl group T-ara became one of the most hated stars in Korea following the ouster of member Hwayoung. After Core Contents Media announced last July that Hwayoung would be leaving the group, fans were outraged and accused T-ara of bullying her. Videos and photos of the purported bullying were uploaded by fans online and T-ara halted their activities. In August, T-ara issued a letter of apology which confirmed that there were disagreements in the group.
Our wish in 2013: T-ara and Hwayoung to have successful careers in the coming year.
5. Wonder Girls' Sunye to get married - It was a shock to fans when JYP Entertainment announced in November that Wonder Girls' leader, Sunye,  would be getting married to her Korean-Canadian boyfriend James Park on Jan. 26 next year.  The wedding ceremony will take place at the Lotte Hotel Seoul. Sunye and Park met during a missionary work in Haiti last year. JYPE said upon her marriage, Sunye will concentrate first on her life as a wife while the other members of the Wonder Girls will focus on their individual activities.
Our wish in 2013: We wish Sunye and her husband-to-be a wonderful life as a married couple. We also wish the Wonder Girls more success.
6. Seungri's scandals in Japan and Hong Kong - Big Bang's youngest member, Seungri, became involved in two scandals in Japan and Hong Kong. In September, Japanese magazine FRIDAY ran a story that detailed Seungri's alleged sex escapade with a woman. The woman claimed that Seungri was into choking his sexual partners. Fans became incensed, saying the pictures were manipulated while others said it was okay since Seungri was a man and was old enough. In the same week, Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily published photos and video of intimate moments between Seungri and Japanese model and actress Anna Kubo in Hong Kong. The video showed Kubo pulling Seungri by the hand and hugging him. She then kissed him on the cheek. Apple Daily described them as acting like lovers. Seungri was in Hong Kong to film the Japanese drama "Kindaichi, Boy Detective: Hong Kong Murder Case."
Our wish in 2013: For Big Bang's career to continue flourishing and less (or no) scandals for any of the members.
7. Filipino-Korean actress Jasmine Lee elected in Korean Assembly - Filipino-Korean actress and multiculturalism advocate Jasmine Lee made history when she became the first naturalized Korean to be elected as proportional representative, similar to the Philippines' party-list representative, in South Korea's National Assembly during an election last April 11. She ran under the Saneuri Party. Before getting elected, Lee appeared in Korean films "Punch" and "Secret Reunion."
Our wish in 2013: With the election of Saenuri party leader Park Geun-Hye as the first female president of South Korea, we hope Jasmine Lee will be given more opportunities to work on her advocacies.
8. K-pop groups triumph in Japan - Despite the tension between South Korea and Japan over the Liancourt Rocks, a group of islets known as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan, K-pop stars continued their success in Japan, the second largest music market in the world. Girls' Generation and KARA led this year's top Korean earners in Japan, amassing 7.75 billion yen (about $91.8 or P3.76 billion) in total sales of CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs. K-pop stars continued their success in the lucrative Japanese market. Also included in music chart Oricon's top 100 earners list for 2012 are TVXQ, Big Bang, Super Junior, T-ara, 2PM, SHINee, CNBlue, FT Island, Supernova and Infinite.
Our wish in 2013: For Korean stars to continue making well in Japan and for the Liancourt Rocks issue to be resolved diplomatically.
9. Internet fuels hallyu expansion - The Korean Wave, or hallyu, continued to thrive in the Philippines and other countries, thanks to the power of the internet. Korean entertainment agencies used popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to provide information to fans. Psy's success was a product of his YouTube music video and many Korean stars have joined social networking sites to make themselves accessible to fans around the world.
Our wish in 2013: For Korean entertainment agencies to provide more content in English for the benefit of the fans. Various Korean government agencies involved in hallyu should also help in this endeavor.
10. Super Junior's Leeteuk and other stars enlist in the military - Fans became sad when Super Junior leader Leeteuk enlisted in the Korean military last Oct. 30 as part of his mandatory service as a citizen. Hundreds of fans went to Gyeonggi province to see Leeteuk for the last time. He already finished his five weeks of basic military training and will be on active duty. Other Korean stars who enlisted in the military in 2012 were SS501's Kim Kyu Jong, TRAX's Jay and Jung Mo, Mighty Mouth's Sangchu, Lee Jae Hoon, Ryu Sang Wook and Kim Moo Yul. Stars who were discharged from the military in 2012 included Kangin, Hyun Bin, Lee Jun-ki and Kang Dong-won.
Our wish in 2013: Fans to continue supporting their idols. Super Junior's Heechul and Korean pop star Rain will be discharged from the military next year.

Link to my original article on Manila Bulletin online:
Email me at sangchusan(at)

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