Kim Hyun Joong has not forgotten his Japanese fans while he is busy pursuing his acting career. Before he starred in the historical drama "Inspiring Generation," he released his third Japanese single "Tonight."
And now that the drama is successfully behind him, he has released his newest Japanese EP "Hot Sun."
The song was written by Steven Lee who is responsible for some of Kim Hyun Joong's hits, "Break Down," Lucky Guy" and "Unbreakable."
Japanese fans responded enthusiastically to the single sending it to the top of the Oricon Music Chart and giving the singer top honors on the popular "Music Show."
Kim first became known in Japan as a member of the band SS501, but since leaving the band in 2009, he has enjoyed a successful solo career there.
He received expert help in marketing himself to a Japanese audience. Bae Yong Joon, the actor who became a household word in Japan following his successful Hallyu drama "Winter Sonata," now runs the KeyEast agency. KeyEast manages Kim Hyun Joong's solo career in Japan.
Kim has also seen considerable success as an actor in Japan because he starred in the k-drama remake of Japan's best-selling shojo manga, "Boys Over Flowers." He followed that role by playing Baek Seung Jo in "Playful Kiss," another k-drama based on a Japanese manga.
Japanese fans also appreciate the actor's attempts to speak their language. The singer-turned actor learned Japanese, while living in Japan in 2006.
In a 2010 interview with cable station DATV the singer discussed his time of living in Japan. He felt that the people of Japan warmly welcomed him and the fellow members of SS501. He said that their warm welcome only made him want to work harder. Learning the language took a while but with the help of friends, he picked up a few phrases at a time.
When he arrived in Japan this June for his most recent tour, about 1,000 fans were waiting at the airport. He held fan meetings at locations that included Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. He spoke about "Inspiring Generation," which will soon air in Japan on DATV. He discussed his character Shin Jung Tae and even sang some of the soundtrack.
The actor has made an effort in the past few years to distance himself from his earlier flower boy image and with his latest drama succeeded in conveying a macho street fighter. His "Unbreakable Album" art also went for a very macho image with leather and tattoos but the "Hot Sun" cover has a more androgynous look. Fans in Japan approve.
What do you think of the album art?