Korean Wave Fakery: Phony Japanese Fans Paid to Greet Jang Geun-suk
South Korean actor Jang Geun-suk visited Japan this week. Media reports about his visit emphasized the fact that about 800 fans gathered to greet him on his arrival at Haneda Airport. Even Jang was surprised by the overwhelming evidence of his popularity in Japan:
“I was honestly worried that there might be an accident within the crowd because there were so many people there to greet me,” he said, expressing concern for the fans present.
“Honestly, it’s pretty scary. It just happened so fast; I gained a lot of fans in such a short amount of time,” he said about his new popularity in Japan.
800 fans at the airport is pretty impressive when you compare it to the greetings that other international stars have received. When Lady Gaga arrived at Narita Airport a couple weeks ago, about 200 fans were there to greet her. Johnny Depp, who is enormously popular in Japan, was greeted by a mere 400 fans when he visited Japan earlier this year.The secret of the Jang’s huge fan gathering was revealed when a photograph of a flier found its way onto the internet
It is recruiting women to participate in the greeting event at Haneda Airport. A reward of 2,000 yen (about $25) was offered to each “fan” who attended the event.
According to an article on Livedoor, there were some diehard fans who showed up out of genuine excitement. Many others, however, were paid. Some people found out about it through the fliers, while others were veteran members of event mailing lists. People who replied to the 2,000 yen job offer were driven to the airport on two special buses. While on the buses, the phony fans were given Jang Geun-suk merchandise to wave around when the media filmed them.
One participant said the buses carried about 80 paid fans to the airport. Combined with the legitimate fans, there probably weren’t much more than 100 people gathered for the event. One of the event promoters walked around declaring that 800 fans had come to greet Jang, and the media didn’t bother to verify the claim.