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May 1, 2017

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Japanese fans hop plane to Seoul for chance to meet K-pop boy band idols

SEOUL -- Thousands of Japanese fans flocked to South Korea Friday to see an exhibition dedicated to boy band JYJ and meet members of the K-pop group who have taken Asia by storm.

JYJ has invited 7,000 Japanese and 15,000 South Korean fans to an exhibition center in southern Seoul featuring performance costumes, trophies, film footage, pictures and favorite items of each member.

Holograms of the three band members were placed to guide fans and explain the show.

"This event was organized for the fans ... I hope they create many good memories here with us," said member Hero Jae-joong at the show launch Thursday.

The group, which is also winning a fan base as far away as Latin America, will personally meet the Japanese fans on Saturday and South Korean fans Sunday.

According to the band's publicist, the Japanese fans paid an average 50,000 yen (US$630) for a three-day tour to South Korea after winning a draw held among 15,000 JYJ fans in their country.

"JYJ doesn't visit Japan often so I came here myself to see them," said Saori Oka, 22, who flew in from Fukuoka.

"Of course I plan to come next year and I'm thankful such an event is being held to show the items, photos and footage of all three members."

Naoko Kikuchi brought her daughter with her from Kanagawa.

"It's fun and touching to see all the members here ... If I get chosen in the draw again next year, then I will definitely come back to see them," the 40-year-old told AFP.

JYJ began performing as part of the five-member group TVXQ, which debuted in 2003 and sold more than eight million records at home and abroad. It held sellout concerts in countries like China, Thailand and Malaysia.

But TVXQ broke up in 2009 amid legal disputes with its agency.

Three of them — Hero, Micky Yoo-chun and Xiah Jun-su — went on to form JYJ and released their first album "The Beginning" in October 2010.

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