Sept 22, 2006

Top artists from seven Asian countries, including Arashi, Koda Kumi, Kelly Chan, and Sunnan, held a news conference September 21 at the Damyang Resort in South Jeolla Province.

The artists visited Korea to perform at the 3rd Asia Song Festival on September 22 at the Gwangju World Cup Stadium.

The eight groups of artists who attended the news conference said they were happy to represent their respective countries in Korea.

The Japanese idol group Arashi, which visited Korea for the first time back in July and was welcomed by some 2,000 Korean fans at the airport, said it was honored to participate in the festival and surprised to find so many fans in Korea. The band decided to give its first concert in Korea in November. Asked about the secret of its popularity, the band said no secret existed because it hadn’t even known about the existence of so many of its fans in Korea.

All five members of Arashi greeted reporters and fans in Korean. Sho Sakurai said in fluent Korean, "Hello. Nice to meet you. I’m Sho Sakurai. We’re the first Japanese group to represent our country at the festival in Korea.”

Hong Kong actress/singer Kelly Chan pronounced her name in Korean when greeting journalists. Chan, who has represented Hong Kong at the Asia Song Festival for two years in a row, said that among all Korean artists, she would want to perform with Rain.

Koda Kumi, a sexy icon in Japan, said the performances of Japanese artists at the festival will serve as an opportunity to publicize Japanese culture to Korean people through songs, and that no national boundaries exist when it comes to music. Asked to reveal the secret of her sexiness, she said she probably emerged as a sex symbol after she lost some weight through a diet and began wearing trendy clothes that emphasized her slim waist.

Of the 12 teams from 10 countries that will participate in the festival this year, four teams did not attend the news conference.

Some 50 reporters from 25 foreign media outlets, including Hong Kong’s TVB, Channel V and Shanghai TV, attended the news conference.

The Asia Song Festival was launched in 2004 by the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange to promote music exchange in Asia. The first festival was held in Seoul and the second in Busan.

Source: KBS Global