In hit Korean film “Miss Granny” an old lady finds herself transported back in to the body of her younger self. If that sounds surprising, then its even more so when considering that the man behind the heartwarming tale is none other than Hwang Dong-hyuk. BLOUIN ARTINFO Japan caught up with the director at the Okinawa International Movie Festival, to discuss how the film came about, what he would do if he could go back I time, and the next direction of his career.
It should have happened by now. Optimists in South Korea had expected K-Pop to invade the US even before Psy went supernova in November 2012 with Gangnam Style. But tours by the likes of the Wonder Girls, sold out shows in New York by Girls Generation and a Will.i.am collaboration with 2NE1 have all as yet failed to place K-Pop at the top of the charts – or in the popular consciousness of the American public. But now Crayon Pop, a five-piece girl group only formed in 2012 by Chrome Entertainment have achieved quite a coup. Late last week Lady Gaga announced via Twitter that the quintet will open her summer concerts in North America.
TPAM’s eclectic line-up for 2014 is exemplified in its choices for the International Showcase section, and it’s there that fast-rising multimedia artist siren eun young jung from Korea is set to present her latest work “(Off) Stage / Masterclass.” ARTINFO Japan caught up with siren eun young jung ahead of the performance to discuss her desire to develop the feminist artistic language.
Architecture and filmmaking are not the two most obvious artistic bedfellows. But for Lee Yong-joo, an architecture graduate from Yonsei University, the appeal of the latter tempted him away from his original path, and in 2009 he wrote and produced his first film, horror flick “Living Death”. A mild success, it convinced him to return to what he knew best for his next film, the nostalgic romance of “Architecture 101”. A surprise smash hit in South Korea, the story revolved around two students who meet at an introductory class on architecture in college, fall in love, but soon drift apart.
ARTINFO JAPAN caught up with Lee in Okinawa to discuss his thoughts on traditional Korean hanok, modern Korean architecture in Gangnam, and Korea’s fading architectural heritage.
A fashion design graduate with a reputation for perfection, Korean actress Kim Tae Hee has won plaudits for her roles in several high profile TV dramas, including “Stairway to Heaven”, “Iris” and “My Princess.” In an interview for ARTINFO, she reveals her top five personal favorite TV dramas from around the world.
Every so often, a vibrant new city emerges on the world scene, stepping out from its history to modernize with entrepreneurial optimism and financial clout. When that coincides with a cultural rebirth that sets it on the cutting-edge of the world’s trends, the city swirls in its own perfect storm. Think London’s Swinging Sixties, New York’s Yuppie Eighties or Bubble-era Tokyo. The rise of Seoul, capital of South Korea, has even led to a whole new flashy district south of Seoul’s Han River… Gangnam.
It’s only fitting that Korea’s attitudinal pop princess was the subject of PSY’s seduction in “Gangham Style”. Rapper-dancer Kim Hyun-a stands out from the super-clean K-Pop crowd, having controversially left one group (Wonder Girls) and then joining another, electro-pop unit 4Minute, and setting the tone for the more edgy side of K-Pop with songs. Her solo singles have been even more incendiary—the music video for “Change” was flagged for 19+ viewers for her pelvic thrusting dance moves. “Bubble Pop!”, meanwhile, placed an impressive #9 on SPIN Magazine’s “Best 20 songs of 2011.”
Girls’ Generation is performing on CBS’s “The Late Show With David Letterman” tonight, the latest inroad by K-pop into the U.S. market.
The nine-piece pop act, which already plays to packed concert venues around Asia, will sing an English-language version of their male-baiting single “The Boys,” which was co-written by Teddy Riley, famed for his work with Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown and Usher.
Last October, the four-piece girl group 2NE1 debuted in Japan with six live shows in front of 70,000 fans—the latest product of a South Korean music machine that has already surged past the point of being just another East Asian fad. While “K-pop” has gained popularity as the catch-all term for a host of glossy boy and girl bands, 2NE1, with its signature tune, “Ugly,” represents K-hop, a budding movement that backs up its slick pop sheen with true R&B talent.
Starting October 23, 2011, she becomes the first Korean to play a lead role in a Japanese TV drama, alongside Hidetoshi Nishijima, in “99 Days with a Star”. In the show, Kim Tae Hee plays Han Yoo-Na, a character seemingly based on herself. The romantic comedy on Fuji TV sees Yoo-Na, a beautiful and success actress from Korea, fall in love with her bodyguard from Japan as her career takes off in the country. Associated Press met with the lead co-stars to discuss how close to true life the possibility of such an affair could be.
It’s been two years since pop music guru Simon Cowell described her as “phenomenal” following her striking audition on “Britain’s Got Talent.” And for the most recognisable East-Asian to have appeared on the ratings juggernaut, it’s also been a long wait tinged with regret. But now Sue Son, back in Seoul and working on her own terms, is ready to step back into the limelight and prove that Korea isn’t only producing idol pop music, but that it’s a country offering genuine musical talent too.
Summersonic, held over two days in mid-August at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, attracts over 100,000 people each year and is usually headlined by major rock and R&B acts. Nine-piece group Girls Generation prepared to take to the stage as a late addition to the line-up, which ended up as one the most attended shows of the festival. The girls discussed their development and training over many years, and how it has helped them prepare for the big stage across Asia, with upcoming shows in the US ahead.
Music-lovers attending Japan’s largest music festival, Summer Sonic, have become accustomed to catching sets by the world’s biggest musicians, from headliners Jay-Z and Beyoncé to Coldplay and My Chemical Romance. This year though, a special guest closed the show in Tokyo. Girls’ Generation is the first Korean act to close the Japanese festival, and follows in the footsteps of a previous late-night special guest, Lady Gaga.
South Korean TV and movie star Kim Tae-Hee never thought she’d be so popular. Not for acting anyway. Recently she has been lauded for her fine performances not only in her homeland, but across the waters in Japan where her popularity is rising fast. But without an acting background it’s not been a smooth journey to the top, as she reveals in a rare English language interview.
The five young members of 4Minute sit dressed in tight, black leather outfits at a luxury hotel in Ebisu, Tokyo. It’s one day before their Japanese debut, but they show no signs of nerves. The group’s first concert here, at the 1,500-capacity Shibuya AX, turned out to be impressively packed to the rafters with screaming teenage girls. More notably, though, was the large number of music industry representatives also in attendance. This comes despite the fact the girls have not yet released any music in Japan.
“It has always been my dream to debut in America!” BoA announces gleefully. “Every Asian artist has that dream of Hollywood or the Billboard chart, and this is the perfect time to go to America.” This week, South Korean singer BoA becomes the latest Asian star to attempt to make it in the West with the release of her self-titled all-English language album. Having debuted in her homeland aged just 13, the 22-year-old has already come far, becoming the first Korean to hit No. 1 in Japan, where her first six albums reached the top spot, as well as recording in Mandarin Chinese.