Sportress of Blogitude


Hey, Jong Tae-Se, There’s No Crying In Soccer! Oh, There Is? Carry On Then

As he does before every match when North Korea’s national anthem is played, forward Jong Tae-Se openly wept prior to his homeland’s match against mighty Brazil. And there were more tears after North Korea battled the Brazilians valiantly, but still came up short, losing 2-1.

What is interesting about Jong Tae-Se is that he wasn’t even born in North Korea – he is what is called a “zainichi,” an ethnic Korean who lives in Japan. From STV:

Born in Nagoya to a South Korean father and North Korean mother, he was brought up in a North Korean enclave in the Japanese city and had a North Korean education and upbringing.

But that doesn’t prevent him from letting the waterworks flow whenever he hears his country’s anthem. At the same time, he is not what many would consider a stereotypical North Korean. He is often referred to as North Korea’s Wayne Rooney.

The star still takes his iPod, Nintendo and flash clothes with him when he travels for away games with the national side, though never into North Korea for home matches. But rather than turning the heads of his less well-off comrades, he is the one who has had his eyes opened. He admits to being impressed by their indifference to material gains and their commitment to their side.

Video of Jong Tae-Se’s emotional response after the jump.

Are you surprised by his tears, people? Strong North Korean soccer players also cry…strong North Korean soccer players also cry.

Jong Tae-Se: World Cup 2010’s cult hero [STV]