S. Korean correspondent wins Radio Tampa Asia Award.
''I always had conflicting thoughts and concerns within myself about whether my work on Japanese mass culture had worth,'' he said.
Lee said, however, that change came about when his book ''J.J is Coming,'' which he said was ''like a commentary on Japanese mass culture'' and a culmination of his past 10 years in Japan, became a best seller in South Korea after it was published in August 1998.
The book, written in Korean, consists of about 70 articles that ran in The Daily Sports Seoul, including, ''The cutest boy in Japan-IZAM,'' ''The news revolution,'' ''Why I am so enthusiastic about Japanese comics,'' and ''Lessons that can be learned from Pokemon.'' A Japanese publishing firm involved in Lee's works said it is considering translating the book into Japanese. Some of the articles have already been translated into Japanese for the Radio Tampa prize panel. The 41-year-old Lee said that more than from a business point of view, he felt happy that the book became a best seller because it made him feel that South Koreans approved of the book.
''I feel very happy in receiving the award today, as I feel as if my last 10 years in Japan have been approved not only by South Koreans but also by Japanese people,'' he said.
Having been encouraged by receiving the award, Lee said he hopes to work even harder from now on for him to become a ''go-between of culture'' between Japan and South Korea.
Radio Tampa said it selected Lee's book as it not only introduces aspects of Japan such as trends, show business and the media from Lee's own perspective but also provides a cultural theory of a high standard.
The book, which was particularly popular with the younger generation in South Korea, has the potential to change the long-standing image of Japanese culture and could also provide a good stimulus to Japanese-South Korean relations, the company said.
''J.J'' -- the name of a magazine popular with young Japanese women -- stands for Japan and Japanese culture, Lee said.
Lee also received 1 million yen in prize money.
The Radio Tampa Asia Award was established in 1984 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Radio Tampa and help contribute to mutual understanding in the Asia-Pacific region.