The Order of Cultural Merit is awarded to those who have achieved an outstanding performance and greatly contributed to Korea’s media and art scene.
The 87-year-old TV personality has hosted the show for 26 years since 1988. He is known for his eloquence in emceeing and witty comments, which have helped the show stand out as a widely loved TV program.
The Nationwide Singing Contest takes place all across the country and in overseas cities where many ethnic Koreans live, such as Tokyo, New York, Shenyang and Qingdao. The show was also shot in Pyongyang in 2003, in celebration of the 58th anniversary of the National Liberation Day of Korea.
The show has been aired more than 1,700 times and has featured more than 30,000 participants on stage, according to the show’s broadcaster KBS.
The previous winners of Cultural Merit include conductor Chung Myung-hun, artist Paik Nam-june, movie directors Kim Ki-duk and Park Chan-wook, singer Psy and actor Choi Min-sik.
By Kim Da-sol, Intern Reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org)