Editorials

Top 10 Most Influential Asians of 2008

How did we rank them?
We considered many factors to judge whether a certain person belonged on our list. We looked at personality, visibility, wealth, their ability to influence

others, and their activities in 2008 to decide who would make our list. So let’s start with number 10.



10) Tila Tequila
Tila Tequila (real name Tila Nguyen) is a Vietnamese model, singer, and aspiring actress who’s claim to fame is that she has a lot of friends (on Myspace).

Originally a playboy model, Tequila has also graced the pages of Maxim, Stuff, Time, and Penthouse. In 2007 she created her reality TV show, A Shot at

Love with Tila Tequila, which renewed for a second season in 2008.

Why she made our list?
The story of Tila Tequila is the story of a young woman burdened by many troubles who ambitiously aspired to become one of the most renowned figures in the

world. Although she may be more infamous than famous, it is clear that her name is wide-spread and that she has thousands of fans across the world. The fact

is that she has a lot of influence, especially on the young teenage girl population. Her badass, tomboy attitude may be one of the top reasons she has gained

such fame. She can only get more popular at this point since she is set to be featured on yet another reality TV show that features her life.



9) Jet Li
Jet Li is one of the rising action stars in the Hollywood universe. As a young man, Li won several kung fu competitions and began his film career at the age

of 17 with Shaolin Temple. He is one of the few action stars in Hollywood that has proven that he can really fight. In 2008, Li was seen in two major

Hollywood productions, The Mummy 3 and Forbidden Kingdom.

Why he made our list?
Jet Li has turned the tables on Hollywood action films. His films are typical of the Hollywood blockbuster: guns, car chases, and explosions, yet he also

adds in the traditional Chinese martial arts to every movie he’s in. The end result is pure entertainment that is unparalleled in the Hollywood action scene.

More recently, Li has shown that he is not just an action star, but he is a good dramatic film actor as well. His ability to entertain audiences, to innovate

American’s lackluster action movie genre, and his high visibility in 2008 is the reason he made our list.



8) Lee Soo Man
Lee Soo Man is one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in South Korea. He founded SM Entertainment in 1995, and his company since then shot to the top of the

Korean entertainment industry. SM Entertainment is the talent agency behind BoA, HOT, TVXQ, SES, and Shinhwa. SM Entertainment entertainers are also widely

popular in Japan (which has a more active entertainment industry) and are beginning to rise to popularity in other Asian countries.

Why he made our list?

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Lee Soo Man is one of the most innovative businessmen in the industry. His strategy to market his Korean singers and bands in other markets has proven to be

very successful. With auditions held every year in the United States, his goal to create international stars has succeeded well. His activities have helped

to popularize Asians in the media of many nations, which makes him one of the forerunners in the area of Asian interests.



7) Se7en
Se7en is one of the most popular Korean entertainers to date. With a combination of a great singing voice, natural charm, good looks, and amazing dance

skills, Se7en has become a beloved household name in South Korea. In 2008 he has begun to coordinate with many top American entertainers such as Three 6

Mafia, Fabolous, and Amerie.

Why he made our list?

Ok this one was put here as a joke. We ranked seven as number seven because, well, you probably understand. However, 2008 was a great year for Se7en, since

he has started to be actively promoted in the United States. Although his album has not been released yet, his US debut may finally close the gap between the

Asian and Western music markets. He has actively been pursuing the US market and his success may be a great boost to Asian popularity and the Asian

visibility in the Western markets.



6) Rain
Rain is one of the top stars of the Korean entertainment industry. He is known for his great dance moves and his smooth singing voice. Having been originally

signed to Park Jin Young’s JYP label, Rain later created his own company J. Tune Entertainment. In 2004, after exploding on the K-pop scene, Rain was signed

to play a role in a drama series entitled Full House, which illustrated his great acting talent as well. Since then, he has had some minor roles in

Hollywood films such as Speed Racer and Ninja Assassin.

Why he made our list?
Rain has quickly reached high levels of popularity despite only being in the entertainment industry for a few short years. He had a hard time getting signed

to an agency in his early days but once Park Jin Young saw his potential, Rain became a money-generating machine. His drama debut in Full House further

cemented his popularity amongst the South Korean crowd, and his role (along with Song Hye Kyo) in that drama may be one of the top reasons South Korean

dramas are so popular in other parts of Asia and the United States. He has also been named on Time’s “100 Most Influential People Who Shape Our World ” and

People’s list of “Most Beautiful People” in 2007.

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Editorials

Top 10 Most Influential Asians of 2008



5) Utada Hikaru
Utada Hikaru is one of the top-selling Japanese singers of all time. Her albums have all reached number one on the Japanese charts. Uniquely, she is one of

the few Japanese stars who has a great command of the English language. Many in the United States may recognize her name because of her work on the Kingdom

Hearts game soundtrack. Although she has not been incredibly popular in the United States, she is one of the most recognizable names in Asia.

Why she made our list?
Her activities in 2008 as well as her past history in the Japanese entertainment industry have all attributed to her position on our list. In 2008 she made

it to the top of the Japanese charts again with Heart Station, which is her 5th consecutive chart-topping album. In the past she has reached a Michael

Jackson-level of fame by selling several million copies of her albums and having incredible media visibility. She is now aiming to try again for the US

market after her 2004 English Album, Exodus.
Utada has several awards to her name including the Nihon Golden Disk “Song of the Year” award for 14 different songs (since 2000), and the Golden Disc

“Pop/Rock Album of the Year” for all her Japanese albums. She was also ranked in “Top 100 Japanese Pop Artists of All Time” by HMV in 2003, and #10 in HMV’s

“Top 30 Best Japanese Singers of All Time” in 2006.



4) Park Jin Young
Park Jin Young, most commonly known as JYP, is one of the leaders in the Korean entertainment industry. Having founded entertainers like Rain and Wonder

Girls, JYP Entertainment is quickly becoming one of the top entertainment industries in South Korean media. Unlike other executives, Park makes himself a

public figure in the Korean entertainment industry, frequently appearing on shows and even posing for modeling photos.

Why he made our list?
Right now his company is at the peak of the entertainment industry and is set to break through to the United States. Wonder Girls has quickly shot to become

the most popular girl group in South Korea despite only having debuted last year in 2007. Park Jin Young also isn’t just another man in a suit; he frequently

appears on Korean TV shows and walks with his stars on the red carpet. He has also shown that he isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself (see the opening of

Wonder Girls’ music video for Tell Me).



3) Jerry Yang
The founder of Yahoo is one of the richest people on the planet with a net worth of 2.3 Billion. Coming from Taipei, Taiwan to San Jose, California at the

age of 10, Yang knew no English. However, in just three short years, Mr. Yang mastered the language and was even placed into his school’s AP English program

later.

Yang went on to Stanford University, where he joined the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. It was also during this time that he partnered up with David Filo that he

created the first iteration of Yahoo called “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web.” This was during the very early days of the internet (1994) where people

were only just beginning to realize the profit potential that the internet provided. Later Yang’s website was renamed to “Yahoo!.” They immediately saw their

website begin to increase in popularity and began to expand. Now Yahoo is one of the most popular websites on the World Wide Web.

Why he made our list?
Although Yahoo has declined in recent years due to the popularity of Google, the website is still one of the most popular and influential websites on the

net. Yahoo news remains one of the most popular sources for news on the web. Yang is also a known philanthropist, having donated to several charities and

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most notably to his alma mater, Stanford for $75 million. Because Yahoo has become one of the major channels of information in our society, Yang is

indirectly responsible for the influence of millions of people around the world.



2) Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan is renowned world-wide as one of the most prominent Asian figures on the big screen. With a long career of over 30 years, Chan has around 100

films to his name. He is also the first to popularize the “action comedy” genre. In 2008 and late 2007, he was part of two Hollywood blockbusters, The

Forbidden Kingdom and Rush Hour 3. In Hong Kong, Chan produced a new series called The Disciple, where he tried to find a new action star

to appear in action movies produced by his production company, JCE Movies. He and his stunt crew trained each contestant to compete in different action-movie

categories such as wire-suspension, gunplay, car stunts, and many others.

Why he made our list?
Chan is one of the top innovators of the action movie genre. Having singlehandedly popularizing his “action comedy” movies, he has gone on to become one of

the greatest action stars of all time. He is also actively involved in world issues, having donated to several charities and pledging to donate half his

assets to charity upon his death. His involvement in conservation efforts, animal abuse issues, and disaster relief efforts for floods in mainland China and

the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami has demonstrated his willingness to help the world with his status as an international icon. His dedication to providing the

audience with entertainment, risking his own life, and his philanthropy is the reason he made our list of most powerful Asians of 2008.



1) Ang Lee
Ang Lee is a renowned, academy-award winning film-maker from Taiwan. His first success was 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which went on to

become one of the top grossing Asian films of all time and was nominated for three academy awards including Best Picture, Best Foreign Film, and Best

Director. The film ended up winning Best Foreign Film. Since then Ang Lee has directed a wide variety of genres ranging from superhero action movie

Hulk to homosexual drama Brokeback Mountain.

Why he made our list?
Besides being one of the people at the forefront of promoting Asian interests, Ang Lee is also one of the most talented directors of our time and one of the

only Asian directors to have won an Academy Award for his film. His 2008 movie, Lust, Caution was one of the primary reasons we included him in our

list because it blew expectations of audiences worldwide and popularized up and coming actress, Tang Wei.

Film is one of the most influential forms of media in the world, and because of this, Ang Lee has a substantial amount of influence to the world. His

storytelling abilities and his skills as a director make him one of the most potentially influential Asians in the world. Interestingly, Lee is willing to

get his hands dirty and experiment in a wide variety of genres (such as the Superhero action genre). His success in many different genres has firmly placed

him as one of the top entertainers of the century.His contributions to the entertainment industry have made him a crucial part in promoting Asians and Asian

media in Hollywood, and he may be a key player in cementing Asia as a major player in global entertainment.

So there you have it. Ten of the most influential Asian people of this year and of this generation. Tell us what you think buy submitting a comment.

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