I’d never heard of Lee Jun Ki until today, but I gather some of his fans now wish they could say the same thing.
Hawaii is a hotbed of J-Pop and K-Pop fandom, a fact that has no doubt fueled some of the success of the Hawaii International Film Festival. For this year’s Spring Festival, HIFF proudly announced that Korean megastar Lee Jun Ki would attend to receive its “Rising Star” award. While his name may not ring bells for Americans, suffice it to say that he’s bigger than big in Asia. Indeed, when his HIFF participation was announced, travel firm JTB unveiled a special tour package for fans to fly in from Japan to see him.
Well, Lee Jun Ki himself flew in to Hawaii today, an occasion that energized a gaggle of both local and international fans. Several had taken the day off to greet him. They flocked to the Honolulu International Airport bearing signs, lei, and big smiles. KITV was on hand as well to document the grand arrival. As the hours passed, anticipation grew, and just about every traveler that turned the corner — including Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman — generated a gasp or cheer.
But when Lee Jun Ki finally appeared, he disappeared just as quickly, as his burly security team barreled roughly through the crowd and out the door with the Korean star tucked safely within. There were no happy sighs, no pictures, no hugs or kisses or flower lei draped over his delicate little neck. Just the sounds of a black limousine tearing away, cruelly deflating the hopes and hospitality of a crowd of (mostly) women.
KITV’s evening news anchor Pamela Young, a K-drama fan of the highest order, couldn’t hide her disappointment. She noted Lee Jun Ki’s fans were immensely disappointed, and that some of them were frustrated to the point of suggesting a boycott of the star. Her “Mixed Plate” report can be seen below the fold.
Obviously, someone on Lee Jun Ki’s publicity team fumbled his arrival. I imagine he is usually overwhelmed by the mad crunch of rabid fans in Tokyo or Shanghai, so security is a fair concern. But if there’s any place where visitors should relish their arrival and warm welcome, it’s Hawaii. It’d be a pity if the fans he abandoned at the airport give up on him… but then again, I doubt he’d really miss them.