Up to 30,000 Japanese women will head to Jeju to catch a glimpse of Korean Wave star Bae Yong-joon, affectionately known as Yonsama in Japan. That is because on Sept. 5, shooting of “Taewangsasingi,”a story of the Grand King Gwanggaeto (375~413) of the Koguryo Kingdom, starts.
JAM Tour, which organizes exclusive tours to the shooting location, says it has been looking for customers from Japan and has already gathered some 5,000 female admirers of everyone’s favorite son-in-law. “Even though we explain that actually getting to see Bae Yong-joon shoot a scene won’t be easy, people are lining up to book,” a staffer says. Jam Tour coordinated the dates to match up with shooting times for the drama, and some 1,000 in batches of 200 are expected to visit the set in September alone. By the time filming wraps up next February, some 30,000 are expected to have taken the tour.
Agreeing to ban camcorders or cameras so as not to interfere with the filming, the company was awarded sole rights for the tours after six months of negotiations. A 63,000-pyeong (1 pyeong = 3.3m) set that includes a school for nobles and a royal palace and reproductions of the residences of aristocrats in Jeju city is about 75 percent finished.
Over 100 Japanese reporters crowded the set of ‘April Snow’ with top Korean heartthrob Bae Yong-joon in Samcheok city, Gangwon Province on March 17, 2005.
And already it has become the top tourist destination for Japanese women visiting the island. During the last six months, 31,240 Japanese women have visited Jeju, a 55 percent increase over the 21,000 that visited in the same period last year. Even though the public is not allowed on the entire construction site, 100-150 people can be seen standing around taking pictures every day.
The 24-episode series, which is chock-full of top stars, also features Choi Min-soo, Jung Jin-young, Park Sang-won and Moon So-ri. It will air starting in March next year.