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Exo fans are still stunned after two of the group’s Chinese members filed separate lawsuits against SM Entertainment to nullify the validity of their contracts.

And some industry insiders are concerned that one of the most popular K-pop bands will soon see an exodus of its Chinese members, prompted by the departure of Luhan and Kris.

Most recently, Luhan filed a lawsuit Oct. 10 against SM, while another Chinese member, Kris, did the same in May.

There are four Chinese members left, along with six remaining Korean members.

Luhan reportedly cited unfair distribution of income among group members, tight schedules and infringement of privacy as his reasons for submitting a lawsuit against SM to the Seoul Central District Court. When Kris sued the agency, he put forward similar reasons.

Whether Korean or not, boy and girl group members often announce their departure when their act’s popularity is at its peak.

Fans and critics see this as the ugly side of Korean show business and its incubation system, the long process trainees at entertainment agencies go through, but some see the stars who attempt to leave their groups as people who “eat and run” - a newly coined expression in Korean - after gaining sought-after popularity.

Often shortened as meoktwi, the practice has negative connotations, referring to people who are driven by their own interests.

But in a column published Tuesday by online news agency Media Today, culture critic Kim Heon-sik publicly blamed SM for failing in its trainee system. The company is the country’s largest entertainment agency that is home to musicians like Girls’ Generation and Super Junior.

“Korea’s idol incubation system is a time-consuming process and also requires trainees to sacrifice [to become a star], but is it right to train [Chinese idols] in the same way as Korean members?” Kim asked.

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K-pop trio JYJ successfully finished their Asia tour last month. Starting in Seoul, the trio then traveled to Hong Kong, Beijing, Chengdu, Taipei, Shanghai and Bangkok, attracting more than 100,000 fans.

The group is currently preparing for its tour of Japan in November and December, according to C-JeS Entertainment.

JYJ will hold concerts in Tokyo, Osaka and other major cities on its tour, “Ichigo Ichie,” or “Once in a Lifetime” in Japanese.

The group will also release its first digital single in Japan. The trio has yet to release an official album in Japan, though their Korean albums and hits have topped the Oricon music charts sans any promotion there.

Last month’s tour marked the first time Kim Jae-joong, Park Yoo-chun and Kim Jun-su have come together to perform as JYJ. Before then, the three entertainers were busy working on solo projects. Aside from performing as JYJ, the three work in musicals, on television and in film.

JoongAng Daily

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Kim Woo Bin has been selected as the model of Italian cosmetics brand ‘Bottega Verde.’

Showing his unique and charming sides through his hit projects Friend 2 and The Heirs, Kim Woo Bin has become one of the most sought after stars in the world of commercials.

Director Kim Ki Jung (promotional team of Belport) stated, “Kim Woo Bin has been selected as the model since his chic but innocent charms go well with premium naturalistic brand Bottega Verde. As it’s a brand that may seem foreign to many consumers, we will be implementing aggressive marketing by through model Kim Woo Bin and commercials.”

Bottega Verde is an Italian naturalistic cosmetic brand making its debut in Korea and it will be available for purchase through retail store Belport.

MWAVE

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Autumn is often dubbed the season of ballads, and K-pop vocal quartet 2AM, well-known for sad songs like “Can’t Let You Go Even if I Die,” plans to re-enter the entertainment scene next month.

JYP Entertainment said yesterday that the boy group will release a mini-album with a title track written by famed singer-songwriter Cho Kyu-man. Cho created “I Will Give You All,” an all-time favorite ballad of many Koreans.

Although the four-member group released the mini-album “Nocturne” about a year ago, it did so without any promotions because each member was tied up with their own schedules.

When the previous mini-album was released, Lee Chang-min was performing for Homme, a duo group, Jo Kwon was acting in a musical and the other two members, Jinwoon and Seulong, were on separate TV dramas.

JoongAng Daily

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It has been rumored that girl group 2NE1 will disband, but YG Entertainment said yesterday that this is groundless.

“It’s not true at all,” said a YG spokesperson.

The rumor began as Minzy, the youngest member of the group, changed her Instagram URL on Thursday from “minzy21mz” to “minzy_mz” and her profile from “official 2NE1 minzy” to “official minzy.”

Super-sensitive fans of 2NE1 thought the changes could signal something.

“The SNS is run by Minzy and the changes can’t be translated as the group’s breakup,” the spokesperson added.

After the breakup rumor, however, Minzy changed her profile and URL back to what they used to be and turned her Instagram to private.

“2NE1 is currently staying at Macau for their official schedule and they will come back with good music,” said the spokesperson.

JoongAng Daily

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Boy group Super Junior will release a special edition album titled “This is Love” on Oct. 27. The album is an updated version of its seventh record, “Mamacita,” which was released in July.

The new mini-album will include three new tracks as well as 10 tracks from the previous work, including a newly arranged version of “Mamacita,” its title track.

The new record goes on sale on Oct. 27, but will already be available on Thursday at major music portals.

“Along with three new songs, a new music video will be shown to the public,” said a spokesperson from SM Entertainment, Super Junior’s agency.

This mini-album is the full Super Junior lineup’s first move after Sungmin, one of its members, announced Wednesday his plan to marry musical actress Kim Sa-eun.

The two got to know each other when they performed in the musical “Three Musketeers.” They will tie the knot in December.

After releasing the mini-album, Super Junior will participate in “SM Town Live World Tour” in Shanghai, China, on Nov. 18.

JoongAng Daily

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Korean Wave actor Jang Keun-suk has paid off the taxes he allegedly evaded, according to No Cut News, a local online news agency. But Tree J Company, Jang’s agency, released a statement yesterday correcting the news website.

“It is true that Jang was probed [by the national tax agency],” said the agency, “but he didn’t pay additional taxes at all.”

The news agency ran an exclusive story about Jang’s tax evasion yesterday and said the amount of taxes Jang hadn’t paid wasn’t that high and that the National Tax Service did not find evidence that he had intentionally avoided taxes.

The 27-year-old actor, who appeared in hit drama series “Pretty Man” (2013), is especially popular in Japan.

Meanwhile, the national tax agency found out that some other Korean entertainers working overseas evaded taxes, while investigating a man surnamed H who runs an entertainment agency that helps Korean entertainers advance into the Chinese show business.

Using multiple bank accounts with borrowed names, H turned out to be evading taxes. The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office discovered that he is affiliated with some celebrities who also evaded taxes.

JoongAng Daily

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The film "My Love My Bride" got off to a good start, attracting more than 600,000 viewers in just four days after its release last Thursday.

It is a remake of the 1990 romantic comedy directed by Lee Myung-se, starring Park Joong-hoon and the late actress Choi Jin-sil.

The new version stars Cho Jung-seok and Shin Min-a, who play the leading couple

The remake cleverly mixed the original's cartoon-like fun with today's changed views of relationships and marriage.

The husband, who was an employee at a publishing company in the original, is now a community service center official who dreams of becoming a poet, and the wife, who used to be a full-time homemaker, is now an instructor at an art academy.

Shin said the film was a challenge for her, and it seems to have paid off.

"I've usually played dreamy characters that don't seem to exist in reality, but now I'm over 30 and I really wanted to play a realistic, ordinary woman. So I decided to take the role as soon as I read the script," said Shin. "Still I was nervous and worried because the original was a very popular and memorable film. I tried my best and all the staff worked really hard. I am so happy that the movie is receiving good response."

Cho said the film has increased his interest in getting married.

"I hope people feel the aura that only couples have watching our film. They go through all odds together and still walk together holding hands," Cho said. "I want to get married even more after filming. I want a woman who has natural charm and is faithful."

Chosun Ilbo

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The first trial of two female accomplices who allegedly blackmailed Korean Wave actor Lee Byung-hun for 5 billion won ($4.8 million) was held yesterday at Seoul Central District Court.

Model Lee Ji-yeon, 25, and Da-hee, 20, a member of the girl group GLAM, are being accused of threatening to release a video clip of Lee in August in which he is allegedly drinking alcohol and using lewd language.

During the trial, Ji-yeon’s lawyer defended the model by asserting, “[The ladies] didn’t approach Lee for money - Lee and Ji-yeon were in a romantic relationship.”

He added that Lee stopped dating the model when she refused to have sex with him.

“It is also not true that these girls asked Lee to buy them a house,” said the lawyer. “As Lee asked Ji-yeon to sleep with him, he told her he would find her a place where she could live.”

The lawyer added that Da-hee was not aware that selling the video clip for money was illegal.

Meanwhile, the court summoned actor Lee and another man surnamed Seok who introduced Ji-yeon to Lee over dinner. Seok is known to work for an adult entertainment establishment.

The next trial will be held on Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.

Lee, who has appeared in numerous hit films such as “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” (2013) and “Masquerade” (2012), married actress Lee Min-jung last year.


JoongAg Daily

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Actor couple Eugene and Ki Tae-young are expecting their first child after three years of marriage.

The couple's agencies said on Wednesday that Eugene is 13 weeks pregnant and that they are thrilled about the news.

They started dating in 2010 after appearing in the 2009 MBC drama "Seeking Love" together as a couple, and married in July 2011.  


Chosun Ilbo

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