|Actor So Ji-sub [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]|
Actor So Ji-sub, one of South Korea's most popular heartthrobs, will now set out to woo the hearts of fans in Japan -- on their mobile phones. Starting October 20, he will play the lead role in drama “I am GHOST”, set to air on Japan’s mobile-exclusive broadcaster BEE TV. "Ghost", a five-minute 24-episode action drama to be aired every Thursday and Sunday, is about a killer and high-school girl on escape. The title was derived from the nickname “Ghost” of So's character as the killer. The script was written by Hirata Kenya, who won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film this year with “La Maison en Petits Cubes”, and directed by Sonoda Toshiro, known for making music videos for GLAY. Co-star Tanimura Mitsuki is a newcomer to the screen but the voice behind character Kazuma Ikezawa in animation film “Summer Wars”, currently playing in theaters in Korea. “Since we had no lines, I was worried whether our emotions would be delivered just through our motions,” So was quoted as saying in a recent interview with Japanese daily newspaper Sankei Sports. As much as he is a mysterious killer whose nickname is “Ghost”, So speaks no lines, not even a single word in the drama.
In fact, this is not the first Japanese drama that So has appeared in. Last year, he played a supporting role in film “Gegege No Kitaro 2”, which starred Japanese pop idol Wentz Eiji. But since the movie was based on a popular comic with a monster as the main character, he too appeared as a monster and had little success making his face properly known to the Japanese audience. Even so, thanks to the success of Korean drama “I’m Sorry, I Love You”, So is recognized amongst some Hallyu fans in Japan. "Sorry" received attention when it became known that its theme song “Snow Flower”, sung by Park Hyo-shin, was a remake of Japanese pop singer Nakashima Mika’s hit song.
Launched in May, mobile broadcaster Bee TV, a joint venture between Japan’s mega entertainment agency Avex and mobile company NTT Docomo, already has about 700,000 members as of September 2009. Thus, should “Ghost” become a hit, So will get the opportunity to increase the number of younger Japanese fans who spend most of their days using their mobile phones. Moreover, Japanese magazines have been in a race to publish their interviews with the actor with film “Sophie’s Revenge” -- starring So and Zhang Ziyi -- opening in Japan next January. When one looks up So Ji-sub on Yahoo! Japan, relevant search words such as ‘So Ji-sub's girlfriend’ and ‘So Ji-sub dating’ pop up alongside ‘Korean actor So Ji-sub’. That is how much publicity the actor is getting. Taking advantage of the trend, Bee TV on September 20 released “So Ji-sub’s SONICK WORLD”, a video blog containing the everyday life of the actor and behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the set. In addition, there will be a preview at the Tokyo International Forum on October 13, which will be attended by So, other cast members and crew. Will “Soganji” catch the hearts of Japanese fans after “Yonsama” and “Byunsama”? Seems like it’s only a matter of time.