Bae Yong-joon wins grand prize at Japan’s hallyu awards

Bae Yong-joon, as known as "Yonsama" in Japan for his huge popularity among Korean drama fans, received the grand prize at the Korean Entertainment 10th Anniversary Awards in Japan on Saturday, his agency KEYEAST said Sunday.

Bae also won the best actor award in the category of Korean drama.

At the ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the airing of "Winter Sonata" ― a KBS TV show that fueled the "Bae Yong-joon syndrome" in Japan ― Bae expressed gratitude.

"This is a meaningful event, being able to share it with my fellow entertainers," he said. "They have so much talent that makes the future of hallyu (the Korean pop culture wave) so bright."

Bae debuted as a KBS TV actor in 1994 and rose to stardom with his gentle and intelligent image. He became a pan-Asian star, especially in Japan, after appearing in "Winter Sonata" in 2002. Since then, he has worked as a cultural ambassador promoting Korean culture in Japan.

Meanwhile, actress Yoon Eun-hye, leading actress in popular TV dramas "Coffee Prince," "I Miss You" and others, took the best actress award.

The organizers of the event, which aired live on TBS and DATV, surveyed a total of 120,000 K-pop fans and announced TVQX and KARA as Japan's favourite singers for male and female groups, respectively.

Singer Kim Hyun-joong, who has been under Bae's wing since joining Bae's agency in 2010, won the best male solo artist award while IU won the female solo artist award.

"I will strive to become a better artist in singing, dancing and acting in order to contribute to hallyu," Kim said as he presented his latest tracks, "Your Song" and "Unbreakable."