K-pop star Rain to hold first concert in Japan

SEOUL - South Korean pop icon Rain will visit Japan next month for his first concert tour after being released from military service, his agency said Tuesday.

The "2013 Rain Zepp Tour: Story of Rain" will begin with performances in Nagoya on November 14-15, Rain's management agency Cube DC said. The tour marking the 11th anniversary of Rain's debut will also take him to Fukuoka, Osaka and Tokyo, it said.

The 31-year-old K-pop star was released after completing 21 months of mandatory military service in July.

Rain, whose real name is Jung Ji-Hoon, is one of the biggest names in the world of K-pop, which commands a huge following in South Korea, across much of Asia and beyond.

In January, he was confined to barracks for a week after he sneaked out to meet TV drama star Kim Tae-Hee while on official duty.

Military service is taken extremely seriously in South Korea, which remains technically at war with North Korea because their 1950-53 conflict ended with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty.

Apart from those with physical disabilities, exemptions are rare and anyone refusing to serve - for moral or religious reasons - faces an automatic jail term.

Celebrities are frequently caught attempting to evade military service for fear they might be forgotten by their fans while in uniform.