February 08, 2012 07:34
Pop star and actor Ryu Si-won set a new record in Japan just before Christmas by becoming the first Korean Wave star to hold his 100th concert in the island country. Known as "prince" among his Japanese fans, the 40-year-old lit up Saitama Super Arena on Dec. 21.
His achievement comes eight years after he released his first album in Japan, and seven years after he put on his first concert there. Around 900,000 people have attended his concerts there to date.
The Chosun Ilbo met Ryu on Friday and asked him about the significance of the new milestone.
"Back when we were putting together my debut concert there in 2005, I never imagined that one day I would hit the number 100," he said. "It is very fulfilling, and I believe that all my hard work made it possible and really paid off. But most of all I would like to thank my fans."
Acknowledging that his singing skill still leaves something to be desired, Ryu attributed his enduring appeal to his showmanship and status in Japan as a multi-talented celebrity.
"A drama back in 2004 in which I appeared as a singer who has to hide his identity was aired [by Japanese broadcaster NHK], and that gave me my first break in Japan," he said.
"Unlike in Korea, I was greeted not as a singer or an actor, but as an all-round entertainer. And whether it is in Korea or in Japan, not all singers can sing well. If you have the looks and have what it takes to be an entertainer, the fans will be drawn to you."
When asked what sets his concerts apart from those of other singers, Ryu said, "I try my best to connect with my fans, from the comments I make on-stage to my dance moves. Each concert lasts between three and five hours and I sing up to 30 songs. Elaborate stages are set up in order to make up for my weaknesses in singing or dancing.
"The most important thing is to talk about a variety of topics. Some people may think that talking too much could destroy that aura of mystery that stars have, but I believe it's more important for me to communicate with my fans than to appear aloof and mysterious."
Ryu said the birth of his daughter last year changed his outlook on life and made him happier and more settled.
"From about three years ago until I got married [in 2010], I was really stressed out. I even felt depressed and wondered if I should go to live in another country," he said.
"But all of that disappeared after my child was born. Everything I do now plays second fiddle to my daughter. She has caused me to change my goals and direction in life."
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