In 2009, the boys of Big Bang and TVXQ / DBSK / Tohoshinki focused solely on the Japanese market as they released albums in Japan but none in Korea. Both groups had successful campaigns in Japan as TVXQ won numerous awards and held concerts at the Tokyo Dome while Big Bang won newcomer / rookie awards. Because of their success overseas, both groups will be awarded with the title of Cultural Ambassadors by the Cultural Tourism Board, the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange (KOFICE). The translated article by sshutingg @ OneTVXQ.com:
Both five-member groups Dong Bang Shin Ki and Big Bang received the exceptional recognition of being "Cultural Ambassadors." The private organization from the Cultural Tourism Board, the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange (KOFICE) stated, "Due to the contributions they have made in the development of the cultural aspect through popular music, we have decided to appoint/award them as 'Cultural Ambassadors' as a form of recognition." They have produced the most number of successful album records even in such a difficult period of time in the music industry, and have been energetically involved in both local and overseas activities; these are the main reasons behind this award. A representative from KOFICE said, "This honor was awarded based on those who have contributed to the cultural industry on a yearly basis. Every year, this award has been given to those working in the cultural field, but this year is an exception as it has been given to idol groups." They added, "As both Dong Bang Shin Ki and Big Bang are busy with their schedules, the official announcement will be made later in January."Congratulations to both groups and I hope 2010 is even more successful than 2009 for both groups.