Korean movie star Lee Joon-gi was discharged from the military Thursday after completing his two-year mandatory service.
Lee, 30, who served in a publicity unit for the military, was greeted by hearty cheers from some 1,000 devoted foreign and Korean fans who braved freezing temperatures in front of the defense ministry headquarters in central Seoul.
"I was able to make the past two years in my life as precious as a jewel through military service," Lee said to his fans. "I learned lots of values long-forgotten in my life while in the Army.
"I'll play the role of a cultural preacher with the attitude I got from the military, while working diligently as an actor in the future, " he added.
Most of the foreign fans gathered to see Lee were Japanese, with some also from China and Taiwan and one displaying a sign from Seattle.
The star left the scene after cutting a cake prepared in celebration of his discharge.
An official meeting between Lee and his fans is scheduled to be held in Seoul later in the afternoon. About 1,500 fans are expected to attend the event, according to Lee's entertainment agency.
Lee rose to fame with the lead role in "King and the Clown," a local box-office hit in 2005 that also gained popularity overseas under the title "The Royal Jester." He later appeared on many TV dramas including SBS's "Iljimae," MBC's "Time between Dog and Wolf" and SBS's "My Girl."
Lee is anticipated to make a comeback soon with a lead role in a television soap drama. (Yonhap)