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Korean Cheerleaders Arrive In Japan

Posted November. 11, 2005 07:51,   


“We should win the gold in cheerleading, too,” says Kim Soon Hee (26), a participant in this year’s Konami Cup Asian Series 2005 baseball competition. But she isn’t a ball player. She has been cheerleading for Samsung Lions since 1999.

Kim and her three cheerleading squad mates were invited to Tokyo with their travel expenses fully paid for by the organizing body of Konami Cup, which hopes to introduce the cheerleading culture of Korea to the Japanese public.

Landing in Tokyo prior to the arrival of Korean delegates, Kim and her colleagues have been enjoying the attention of Japanese media, doing interviews with five major Japanese newspapers and appearing on TV shows. On Thursday, her team showed a great cheerleading on a stage in the match between Samsung and Japan Lotte.

Since late October, Kim has been working hard to perfect her moves and choreography; her practice sessions would often stretch through midnight. She also brought with her some uniquely Korean cheering elements such as colored towels and blowup hammers. Her cheering routines would be based upon Korean pop hits that are now popular in Japan.

Kim remembers Yi Seung-yop’s advice; “Lotte fans in Japan are no less fanatical than the ones we have in Busan. So show them all you’ve got.”

Kim has a sister who is also a cheerleader. Last year, Kim accompanied Samsung manager Sun Dong-ryol to his debut match in Taiwan and met with huge reactions from Taiwanese, rightfully taking the role of the introducing Korean cheering culture to the world.

“Representing my country to the world is a nerve-wracking but rewarding job. I will do my best,” she said.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com