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Thursday, November 25, 2004

. . visit to japan 25th nov . .

S Korean actor Bae Yong Joon arrives to tumultuous welcome

Bae Yong Joon arrives at Narita airport on Thursday.

Thursday, November 25, 2004 at 16:22 JST

NARITA - South Korean heartthrob actor Bae Yong Joon arrived to a huge reception at Narita airport on Thursday afternoon. The 32-year-old star - the most popular foreign celebrity in Japan this year - is here to attend the opening of an exhibition of his photos and outfits.

More than 3,500 screaming middle-aged women besieged the arrival lobby at the airport as Bae emerged shortly before 2 p.m. Several TV networks televised his arrival live. They also broadcast him boarding his plane in Seoul.

Several hundred fans had camped in the Narita terminal from 6 a.m. to get the best possible vantage spot. Around 420 police, including 70 anti-riot squad members were mobilized to control fans.

When Yon-sama, as Bae is fondly called in Japan due to his starring role in "Winter Sonata," finally appeared, the terminal was so congested that bewildered passengers arriving on other flights were held back in the customs area for about 20 minutes until the South Korean passed through the lobby.

One 52-year-old woman, who was celebrating her birthday, told a TV reporter: "This is the best birthday present I have ever had." Other fans immediately started emailing photos of Bae on their cell phones to their friends.

Only last Friday, several hundred Japanese women flew to Seoul for the day to get a glimpse of Bae at a film festival, and then flew back to Tokyo in the evening.

Bae's photo exhibit will be held on the 52nd floor of Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills from Friday until Dec 8. Included in the exhibit is his photo album, titled "The Image Vol One." The exhibition will travel throughout Japan after Tokyo.

Bae has been insured for 1 billion yen against accidents during his trip which lasts until Monday.


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