Star Lee Hyo-ri Stirring Interest in Japan

Japan's Fuji TV network is showing extraordinary interest in sexy Korean star Lee Hyo-ri. Most of the Korean celebrities who are popular in Japan are men, such as Bae Yong-joon, Lee Byung-hun, Song Seung-hun and Kwon Sang-woo.

Only a few female Korean stars are well-known there, including Choi Ji-woo and BoA. Because most of the Japanese fans fueling the "Korean wave" are female, it has mostly been men who have surfed the wave to popularity in Japan.

Fuji TV, however, has decided to air Lee Hyo-ri's musical drama "If in Love Like Them" on its cable channel and will closely watch how she does. The network has invited Lee to Japan to help promote the show, and is prepared to give her the VIP treatment.

During her stay in Japan, Lee will be provided with the same high-end hotel and services afforded to top-level foreign celebrities. Fuji TV will also film her five-day trip, from arrival to departure. Lee's management agency said, "When Lee visited Japan in the past, she had some private time for shopping and other things, but that doesn't seem possible this time. This kind of exceptional treatment shows Fuji TV's expectation for Lee."

The controversial drama "If in Love Like Them" was the talk of the town here when it aired on Seoul Broadcasting System.

Fuji will broadcast the show on its CS TV channel for two weeks from June 17. Lee is also scheduled to appear as a special guest at an SG Wannabe concert at the Tokyo International Forum on June 3.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 16, 2007 07:41 KST