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Rain Reports For Duty: South Korean Pop Star Starts Military Service

South Korean pop singer Rain gave a military salute to his fans today before entering the army.

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Lee Jin-man/AP

South Korean pop singer Rain gave a military salute to his fans today before entering the army.

Lee Jin-man/AP

Even this blogger isn't old enough (just barely, though) to have been around when Elvis Presley went into the Army in March, 1958.

But it's well known that was a huge deal.

Now there's this close comparison from Asia:

South Korean pop star Rain today reported for his mandatory 21-month tour of duty with his nation's army.

The Korea Times says the 29-year-old singer and actor "smiled throughout [a] farewell event thanking his fans for the love they have given him over the past 10 years. More than 1,000 people crowded near the base [in Gyeonggi Province] to see Rain on his last day as a civilian, waiting for two and a half hours for him to appear."

"Thank you for coming," said Rain (real name: Jung Ji-hoon). "I'm sorry to make such a fuss while leaving. I'll be back from my duties soon."

How big is Rain? Not only does he sell millions of songs, fill concert halls and have a budding film career, he keeps winning the reader poll in the Time 100.

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And he has a high-profile "enemy" — Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert (our apologies for Stephen's one slightly risque word).