Rain (Jung Ji-Hoon), one of the most successful and admired performers in Asia, yesterday received the 2008 Korea Image Stepping Stone Award, which is given annually by the Corea Image Communication Institute.
The awards ceremony was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand InterContinental Hotel in southern Seoul, during which the heartthrob singer/actor gave a mini concert. According to the CICI, a private institute which focuses on strategies for enhancing Korea`s brand image, Rain was given the award for promoting a positive image of Korea via popular music.
"The event is meaningful because it reaffirms the importance of promoting Korea`s image, and impresses upon the expatriates in Korea a positive image," said Choi Jung-wha, president of the CICI.
The ceremony began with her opening address, which was followed by congratulatory remarks by National Assembly Speaker Lim Chae-jung, U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, Prime Minister-designate Han Seung-Soo, and Park Jin, a lawmaker from the Grand National Party.
Following the presentation of the award, maestro Chung Myung-whun, one of last year`s awardees, gave a performance of chamber music, together with violinist Dennis Kim, cellist Song Young-hoon, and violist Hung-Wei Huang.
During the event, figure skater Kim Yu-na and swimmer Park Tae-Hwan received the Korea Image Budding Youth Award.
Rain began his singing career with the release of his first solo album, "Bad Guy," in 2002, a huge success that was followed by other popular albums. He emerged as a worldwide star when Korean pop music became hugely popular in Asia and other regions a few years ago.
He launched his acting career by starring in the Korean television drama "Full House" in 2004 and then the movie "I`m a Cyborg and That`s Okay" in 2006. Recently making a contract with the William Morris Agency, a more than 100-year-old New York-based major talent agency, the 26-year-old star has clinched a leading role in "Ninja Assassin," which will be produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowski Brothers, and be directed by James McTeigue, who made "V for Vendetta".
By Lee Yong-sung