Rain, whose real name is Jung Ji-Hoon, is a Korean actor, pop singer, and entrepreneur best known to Americans for his starring role in the film Ninja Assassin. He was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People Who Shape Our World” in 2006 and one of Time’s “Most Beautiful People” in 2007.
Though in the United States Rain’s image runs to the shirtless hunk fit for a romance novel cover, he is actually a very interesting and complex character. He was born on June 25, 1982 in Seoul and discovered as a boy that he had both a natural talent as well as an affinity for dance. He was quickly snatched up by Korea’s music industry, becoming a member of a Korean boy band called Fanclub in his teens. Being a member of a Korean boy band wasn’t anywhere near the easy life: Rain often went without meals as the label treated them essentially like indentured servants. Rain was unable to realize any financial success while in his teenage years, his misery exacerbated by the responsibility of caring for his younger sister and his ailing mother, who suffered severe diabetes that would eventually lead to her death. Rain maintained a grueling schedule of auditioning for various talent agencies while going to school and training as a dancer.
In 2002 Rain “broke out” with his first album Bad Guy. He followed with success as an actor in the Korean drama Full House. Full House brought international stardom and earned Rain an acting award. The juggernaut launched, Rain was able to sell out his first concerts as well as selling over one million copies of his first album It’s Raining in Asia. Rain went on to gain many more awards, film roles, and international success as both an actor and a pop star.
Rain has gone on to star in Speed Racer and Ninja Assassin while maintaining a busy schedule as an actor, performer, and entertainer.