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Military part of Korean heartthrobs’ life

Lee Teuk

Publication Date : 16-11-2012

 

October, November and December will be both a cruel and anticipated period for fans of celebrities who have left or will be returning to showbiz due to their mandatory military service.

As military service is regarded as an opportunity to be recognised for their masculinity, stars gladly take their duties and freshly start their careers.

Welcome back

Movie star Kang Dong-won is scheduled to complete his alternative military service at the Seoul Health and Environment Institute on Monday. Kang, who starred in many box office hits such as Temptation of the Wolves, Duelist and Secret Reunion, began his service in November 2010.

Kang constantly appeared on TV since advertisements he filmed before his draft are still on air. But industry insiders said his fans may have to wait a while to see Kang in films or dramas.

“Kang is known to ponder in project selection. His agents said they have already received offers but Kang has yet to decide on anything,” an observer said.

Hyun Bin, the antagonist of the 2011 small-screen smash hit Secret Garden, is also ready to re-embark on the entertainment scene. Slated to be discharged on December 6 after 21 months of service at the Marine Corps., he has already moved to establish an agency for himself. Local news outlets reported that the actor will start his own management firm with actress Shin Min-a.

Hyun managed to gain ample publicity after working as the face of numerous Marine events such as promotional marathons, a photo album and film release as well as concerts. “Hyun is already receiving endorsements and film offers but is in no rush. He has managed to keep himself in the limelight even in the barrack, and he will pick the ones that suit him perfectly,” a news outlet reported.

Lee Teuk, leader of boy band Super Junior, entered military training camp on October 30. Though he was qualified for the alternative service due to severe injury he had from a traffic accident in 2007, Lee insisted on serving in the military and treated his backache, which garnered him heavy praise from the public.

Musical star Kim Mu-yeol and Lee Je-hoon, hero of the hit movie, Architecture 101, also started their lives as soldiers recently. “I have always thought about the military service and I feel relieved now,” he said as he entered the training camp in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province, on October 25.

Acknowledged as responsible men

For a long time, celebrities daunted the military draft fearing that being two years away from the media limelight would make their career grind to a halt. There have been slews of draft-dodging scandals involving such anxious entertainers.

But there was a change in attitudes after top-class celebrities made a soft landing to their old jobs after the discharge and even obtained a positive image of “responsible” and “manly.” Stars such as former H.O.T. singer Tony Ahn, actors Lee Dong-wook and Cheong Jeong-myeong as well as many others have proven that military service could open doors to a new level of careers with a brand new image, and more male celebrities are willing to serve the military without fear.

“Military service is an extremely sensitive issue among Koreans. If you try to dodge it you won’t get away with it but if you complete it with dignity, you are adding males to your fan base,” a showbiz critic said.

 

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