SEOUL – More than 100 people, mostly Japanese women, gathered outside a hotel in Seoul where a wedding ceremony for South Korean actor Bae Yong-joon and actress Park Soo-jin took place Monday.
Avid fans of Bae started arriving early in the morning despite rainy weather, hoping for a glimpse of the 42-year-old actor, whose wedding was to be a closed-door event.
The crowd cheered as a car carrying Bae entered the venue shortly after 1 p.m. But some let out a sigh after it passed as the actor was barely visible to many of the fans.
Yukari Ando, a 39-year-old housewife from Nagoya, was one of the fans who showed up.
“I have been a fan of ‘Yon-sama’ for 12 years,” she said, using Bae’s nickname in Japan.
Ando said she flew to Seoul with her three daughters, including one who grew up “kissing Bae’s face on the screen” of their TV.
Kazuko Yamamoto, a 67-year-old woman from Tokyo who has been a fan of Bae since watching him in the TV drama “Winter Sonata,” said that “he is like family so I am happy that he is finally getting married.”
She smiled as she spoke of her appreciation for his 29-year-old bride.
Bae helped spark the Korean cultural wave in Asia and other parts of the world with his starring role in “Winter Sonata,” which first aired on South Korean TV in 2002.
He further endeared himself to the Japanese public by donating $900,000 to relief efforts following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.