Korean superstar Rain (whose real name is Jung Ji-hoon) entered the military yesterday afternoon to start his mandatory two-year service.
Around 1,000 people, including fans, friends and the press, gathered in front of the Uijeongbu 306 Reserve Battalion in Gyeonggi, where the star will start his service.
Upon arriving at the site at around 11 a.m., the Hallyu (Korean Wave) star said to his fans, "Thank you for giving me so much love over the last 10 years".
Looking a bit teary-eyed, he gave a firm salute to his fans before entering the Raining camp.
Rain will serve as an active-duty soldier in the Uijeongbu battalion and will undergo basic tRaining there for five weeks. After the tRaining period, the star will be informed of where he will be stationed for the duration of his service.
Rain is recognized as one of the most globally influential celebrities to come out of Korea. In 2006, Time magazine featured him as one of the "100 most influential people who shape our world" in an article on its Web site.
The 29-year-old made his debut in 2002 with the album "Bad Guy" and has since released seven albums and 19 singles. His musical career took off with the overwhelming success of the song "Ways to Avoid the Sun", the title track from his second album.
After finding success as a singer, Rain then went on to pursue acting. After a few small parts, he starred in the popular TV drama "Sang Doo! Let's go to school!" in 2003, for which he received critical acclaim and achieved commercial success. In the same year, he won the KBS best new actor award for his role in the series.
He would later go on to star in other TV dramas including "Full House" in 2004, starring opposite actress Song Hye-gyo, as well as "A Love to Kill" in 2005. It was "Full House" that boosted Rain's popularity in other Asian countries, including in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, making him a household name in this part of the world.
He then ventured in to the U.S. market, with roles in the Hollywood films "Speed Racer" and "Ninja Assassin".
On Sunday, the singer wrapped up his last cross-country tour before starting his military service at the Gymnastics Stadium in Olympic Park, eastern Seoul. The two-day concert attracted more than 20,000 fans.
By Cho Jae-eun [[email protected]]
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