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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 5, 2010

Unofficial 'Korean Town' taking shape

By Jeff Chung

The Korean community in Hawaii has yet to open a Korean Cultural Center but it is getting closer to developing an unofficial Korean Town.

Cuzco Development U.S.A. LLC purchased a 3.5-acre parcel of land on Ke'eaumoku Street, bordered by Rycroft and Liona, for $49 million in December 2007. One of the Korean investors involved, Byun Dae-youn (also known as Byun Doo-sub), has big plans for this space and is working hard to clean up the area to attract new businesses and make Keeaumoku Plaza a destination for locals. His wife, Yang Soo-kyung, a famous singer in the '80s, lives in Hawaii with their child.

Byun is a long-time veteran of the entertainment industry in South Korea. He started Yedang Entertainment, which handles management and production of TV dramas, entertainment shows, theatrical productions and music. He has been ranked among the top 25 most influential people in the entertainment industry by a South Korean newspaper and has access to many celebrities. Remember a few months ago, when Kim Sun-ah ("My Name is Kim Sam Soon," "City Hall," "She's On Duty") and Kim Jung-eun ("Lovers in Paris," "Lovers," "On Air," "Ladies of the Palace") were in Hawaii? Well, they are some of the celebrities under his management company.

Since the purchase, Byun has invested even more into Keeaumoku Plaza, cleaning up the place, renovating and making other improvements to prepare the area for new businesses that will include up to a dozen new restaurants, a supermarket, a selection of fast-food eateries and other retail spaces. He was in the local news last November for doing construction without proper permits, but told me last week that he has gotten the permits and is now going ahead with his plans.

One of his most noticeable improvements is a Korean restaurant named Ducky's (sister to Ducky's Bungalow in Mänoa), where you have the option of having outdoor seating under a huge tree while cooking at the table. Actor Jang Dong-gun ("Good Morning President," "Friends," "Taegukki: Brotherhood of War") and actress Ko So-young were seen several times dining there.

There is another plan to create a large walkway from the Rycroft Street parking lot next to Sorabol Restaurant to the main atrium of the Keeaumoku Plaza so visitors won't have to walk around the block.

Keeaumoku Plaza is expected to be completed soon and businesses should be open by summer, when there are plans to have a big celebration with Korean celebrities. Byun recognizes the popularity of Korean dramas in Hawaii and wants to create a place where you can eat the types of foods you see in dramas.



Tonight at 7:45 p.m.: Geumja and Sanghoon are proud parents as Hyunsu launches the new car. Jungin lies to Geumja about inviting Hyunsu's co-workers home for lunch, and brings her back home to cook. Hyunsu's co-workers are surprised to find Jungin and Hyunsu are living together. Hansae crashes the party with chefs from five-star hotel restaurants. Tomorrow at 7:45 p.m.: Geumja takes Sanghoon's phone away from him and hears Hansae saying he'll pay whatever price for Junggil's old house. The two couples get into an argument over the house and decide to go back to home to settle the matter. Jungin and Hyunsu decide to go to the ski resort and wait for their parents there.



Sunday at 6:45 p.m.: Gang-ho gives Eun-nim an engagement ring, but she feels she can't marry him because of her past. Gang-ho's family insists that he bring his girlfriend over to meet the family. Chul keeps helping Nan-jeong by modeling for her. Sun-young pesters Se-hoon about who he gave the other necklace to. Se-hoon's resort project is on the rocks. Sunday at 7:45 p.m.: Gang-ho takes Eun-nim home to introduce her to his family as his girlfriend. His grandmother is vehemently against her. Eun-nim can't decide if she should accept Gang-ho's proposal or not. Se-hoon's resort project is getting deeper into trouble because he can't find any investors. Meanwhile, Sun-young keeps asking him who he gave the other necklace to.



Monday at 7:45 p.m.: Aran overhears Joo-seung telling Woo-sub that Kyung-hee was the person who killed Aran's parents. Aran drags Kyung-hee away, leaving a shocked Woo-sub behind. Jae-sung also tells Jae-hee that his mother was the person who killed her parents.


Tuesday at 7:45 p.m.: Synopsis not available. A single episode special and a new series will start the following week.



Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.: Gangjin returns home from jogging and sees that Jiwan is waiting for him in front of his place. Jiwan thanks him for helping her the other day, but Gangjin grabs her hand and asks if she really doesn't know who he is. Jiwan is shocked and asks if he still hasn't gotten over the past. Jiwan leaves his place as Gangjin watches her leave. Thursday at 7:45 p.m.: Gangjin sees the flyer Jiwan left at the bus stop and reminisces about the past. Taejun goes over to Jiwan's place and gets jealous when he sees that Gangjin renovated her place. He also gets mad when he sees the gift he gave to Jiwan is unopened. Taejun tries to talk to Jiwan when she returns home from grocery shopping. Jiwan, however, gets mad at Taejun and storms off to class.