|Hyun Bin sheds a tear while talking to fans and reporters ahead of entering the Marine Corps in Pohang, South Korea on March 7, 2011. [Lee Ki-bum/Asia Economic Daily]|
Thousands of fans and journalists from across Asia gathered on Monday in an attempt to catch a glimpse of actor Hyun Bin entering the military as part of fulfilling the two-year duty required of all Korean men.
A total of some 1,500 local and foreign reporters, as well as fans from countries including Korea, Japan and Taiwan and turned up at the training center for Korea's Marine Corps early on Monday after having arrived in the city of Pohang by cars, buses, trains and planes.
Fans held up placards and banners congratulating the actor on joining the Marine Corps or saying they will wait for the day of his discharge.
Then after hours of waiting, they cheered and screamed when Hyun Bin appeared in front of the public a little after 1:30 p.m. to bid his fans goodbye.
"From last year to early this year, I've received close to an unbearable amount of interest and love.... I don't know how I will repay you for this," the actor started by saying. "But I'll be spending some personal time for the next two years which I will spend well and repay you when I come back."
He then took off his hat to reveal his shaven hair and picked up the mic once again to address his fans but stopped abruptly mid-way, unable to continue his sentence from being choked with tears.
He instead bowed to the crowd on his knees, waved to them one last time and wiped a tear from his cheek as he turned around to enter the training grounds.
After seven weeks of training, Hyun Bin will serve in the Marine Corps for 21 months which is reputed as being the toughest branch of the armed forces.
Hyun Bin, 28, had been one of the most sought-after actors in Korea after starring in smash hit SBS TV series "Secret Garden" which ended its two-month run in mid-January.
He was lauded by viewers and critics for his portrayal of a fussy and hard-to-please department store owner who ends up falling in love with stunt woman Gil La-im (Ha Ji-won) in the 20-part fantasy romance drama about a man and woman's souls occasionally get switched.
He first rose to fame after starring in smash hit series "My Name is Kim Sam-soon" alongside actress Kim Suna in 2005 and has also starred in other dramas including “World’s Within” (KBS, 2008) and "Friend, Our Legend" (MBC, 2009).
He also released two films last month including "Late Autumn" which stars Chinese actress Tang Wei and a romantic drama flick titled "Come Rain, Come Shine" co-starring Korean actress Lim Soo-jung, both which were invited to this year's Berlin International Film Festival.
|Hyun Bin's Japanese fans hold up a banner saying, 'We love you Hyun Bin, Kim Tae-pyung. We will wait in Japan until the day you return'in front of the Marine Corps' training center in Pohang, South Korea on March 7, 2011. [Lee Ki-bum/Asia Economic Daily]|
※ Any copying, republication or redistribution of 10Asia's content is expressly prohibited without prior consent of 10Asia. Copyright infringement is subject to criminal and civil penalties.
Jessica Kim jesskim@
<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>