The JYJ Magazine: The Story of 1000 Days Translations Parts 1 thru 4 + JYJ Magazine No.2 Link

Link To a PDF Version of JYJ The Magazine No. 2

Download LinkMediafire

A sincere Thank You to who took on the enormous task of translating both of these magazines.

As this marvelous journey of JYJ’s has been shared and unfolded before us all, I felt that it deserved a special page of its own instead of slowly fading from sight as other posts pushed it down.

Please take the time to truly read this narrative. The mix of emotions that our Boys have experienced will tear your heart to pieces.

Jaejoong, Yoochun, Junsu–We love you here at JYJFantalk. :) <333 Momma Cha

[2nd Anni Project] JYJ Magazine: The Story Of 1000 Days Translations Part 1

Part 1. First Meeting

1. That Summer that Was So Cold

Without saying much, they awaited the time when people would eventually know what it was they had wanted, and what it was they were trying to say. Although they did not know when that time would come, they were certain that it couldn’t be “like this, right now” forever.

In the end, they went in search of ‘happiness’ and ‘dreams’. Their footsteps were heavy with a fear of the uncertain future. But they felt that they could overcome the heavy footsteps and the fear for true happiness and their dreams.

With that, they became one through the name “JYJ”.

Stories Hidden In Their Hearts

In the summer of 2009, Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu made the decision to give up everything though they were at the top of their game. In the end,  popularity and money were not important. If popularity and money were everything, they would not have been able to take that big step with heavy and fearful hearts. They did not hope for anything other than happiness and their dreams. As long as each of them had the other two by his side, that in itself was the best source of strength and comfort.

At the time, some people in the industry and the public made speculations about JYJ and attacked them. But they couldn’t do anything but stay silent. The flood of criticism and the ridiculous rumors ripped them apart. But they didn’t respond to such rumors. That was because they knew that reacting would be nothing but ‘Spitting on their own faces’ in this situation.

“I’m sure that SM Entertainment, our agency at that time, were hurt too, but when I look back on what happened, I think we were hurt more by the whole thing. There were times when I thought, ‘What’s the use of saying things that will do nothing but hurt each other’. Though there were a lot of rumors surrounding us, we kept it locked in our hearts and repeated to ourselves, ‘This too shall pass.’ I felt like when time had passed, people and the world would come to see what the truth was.” (Park Yoochun)

Kim Junsu’s thoughts did not differ much from Park Yoochun’s.

“We were frustrated. But (C-JeS CEO Baek) Chang Joo told us that we needed to hold back and endure to overcome our situation, that things would get worse if we responded to every little thing. We held back and tried to find comfort in his words that if we responded, something small that would have passed quickly if we had stayed put, would drag on and hurt us for a long time. Though it was a very trying time for us, we could do nothing but hold back. That was the only thing we could do.”

Those trying times were hard for the oldest member Kim Jaejoong, as well. But he decided to keep it all buried in his heart.

“We knew that this was a fight that we could possibly lose, but we hoped that people would understand our truth and sincerity when time had passed. At the time, we had no one to speak for us, and we could do nothing but silently stand our ground. Because speaking up would lead to misunderstandings. We couldn’t express ourselves because even denying things would make us look like cowards.”

The summer of 2009, which was too painful to let slide by, leaves a bitter taste in the members’ mouths. Things are supposed to get easier with time no matter what it is, but deep sighs still continue to escape their mouths.

The Truth Will Always Prevail

The members claimed that the difference in opinions regarding the cosmetic company was the beginning of their dispute, as the rumors had stated, but the crux of the matter was elsewhere.

Kim Jaejoong explained the situation at the time.

“It’s true that we decided to pursue the (cosmetic company) enterprise, like it’s been widely publicized. It came up because we wanted to make an investment and earn profit from it. Because the income of each member was taken care of separately, there were discrepancies. We discussed the enterprise with our company, but they unilaterally forbade us to and treated us like children. They said things like ‘Legal issues will come up,’ and ‘It will restrict your CF opportunities.’ We told them we wouldn’t do it because the we felt that our conflict would deepen if we left it at that situation.”

But the essence of the conflict wouldn’t simmer down that easily. The pre-existing conflicts that had been growing for a long time had already taken root.

“Even we could figure out how much we should be earning. Since the number of CFs we shot and the sales count of our albums were a well-known fact, all we needed to do was punch some numbers in and we’d know. But our income didn’t change that much compared to what it had been before. We couldn’t find a way to bring it up because they told us that though our sales had increased, our costs had increased as well. The biggest issue was our 13-year contract period. If we were to fulfill all 13 years of our contract, even excluding the years we would spend completing our military service duties, we’d be over 35 years old. We were so physically and mentally drained during our activities that our wish was to get  just two hours of sleep. This was the case every day, so much so that we didn’t even have time to meet our friends. People told us that our sacrifice was something expected because we were stars, and that we were lucky that we were earning money and fame in the process. It’s true. They say that in order to gain something, you have to lose something else. But what choice can you make when you can do nothing but lose everything?” (Kim Junsu)

Yes. They were certain that the essence of the conflict was the problem in the system. The various environments and systems that surrounded them had begun to approach them like an impassable obstacle. Could they have found true happiness in such a system?

 Looking back on the situation, Park Yoochun said, “We opened up our hearts and gave them our honest opinion about the various things we would like to see changed in the company’s system. Though they listened to what we had to say, they did nothing about it. Our reality didn’t change much from what it had been. We already knew too much to just let it go and keep going. We believed that we couldn’t be with them any longer, even if it meant that we couldn’t be active as singers anymore.”

Though SM Entertainment seemed like a big, strong fence of safety to others, it was all superficial for JYJ. Thinking back to those times, Kim Jaejoong and Park Yoochun emptied their glasses of wine in one go. As Kim Junsu doesn’t drink, he could do nothing to quell his emotions but down his glass of iced coffee.

Letting Go Of Everything For The Future

The three members’ recollections continued.

The moment they realized that they’d had enough and it was time to break away, they decided to let go of everything. At that time, their group TVXQ had already made their mark as true top stars, attracting 500,000 fans to their Japanese tour and standing on stage at Tokyo Dome, the stage of dreams. TVXQ had become a role model for singers in Asia and the idols of their fans.

Though they were breaking new records and rewriting history every day, the three members made up their minds and acted. They collectively said, “We expressed our desire to leave the company when we were at the peak of our popularity. We think that’s why our announcement left such a great impact,” and “If we had said that we wanted to leave the company when we weren’t very popular, it might have seemed like we were coming up with excuses. But we believed that by leaving when we were at the top, it would be better understood by the world and by the masses that we were hurting inside. We believed that when kids who look like they have everything they could have, ever said that they did not have a choice, others would realize ‘There must be a reason for it,’ and try to understand us.”

The media of Korea, as well as Japan, was immediately focused on their every move. It was expected that they would receive such attention from the masses and the media because they had been rewriting the history of Hallyu at the time.

Kim Junsu said, “I was scared at how focused the media were on our situation. I was scared to leave my house, even though I had done nothing wrong. The news on TV would show blurred pictures of our parents. The amount of stress I felt increased by the day because it felt like we were being treated like felons. Even my hair started falling out.”

Making this decision and putting it into action meant not being able to keep the promise of, “Let the five of us (members of TVXQ) never separate.” This is the greatest regret of many of their fans. But the people who had to endure a greater sorrow and pain than that were the members themselves. They tried to comfort themselves with the thought that their paths had divided into different directions because they had different goals in life.

It was a decision the members made for their future, no matter how uncertain it was. They would not be easily swayed from their choice. There were many who pretended to be on ‘their side’ to get them to divulge their thoughts, and there were those who tried to pit the members against each other. Through these ordeals, the bond between the three members strengthened and they depended on each other. There were large-scale entertainment agencies who tried to reel them in with down payments of hundreds of millions of Won. But they were not swayed. They couldn’t be swayed.

At the time, they had “a strong resolve and confidence to move forward, even if we couldn’t keep doing what we do.” They didn’t rush into things because they could walk down a different path if they had to, even if it meant, “Going to the countryside and growing enough vegetables in a small plot of land to feed ourselves every day.” Though they didn’t know it, the anxiety and fear they had been feeling was slowly subsiding.

The Members By Their Side Was The Only Source Of Comfort

The fight had just begun. That summer was hotter than any other; but for them, that summer was colder than the freezing winter.

The preconceptions and misconceptions of the people around them were particularly hurtful. When everyone was struggling, even the words, “Hang in there!” weren’t enough to comfort each other.

“Could the words ‘hang in there’ actually help someone who is having such a hard time that he thinks he might die? But the fact that the other members were standing by my side, silent but solid, put my heart at ease.” (Park Yoochun)

Kim Junsu had an exceptionally hard time because of how depressed he was. “I managed to hang on because of the members. The three of us meeting and talking helped to lighten the weight on my chest. I was able to hang on because we were suffering together.”

Kim Jaejoong said, “Even if we ended up having to live on the streets because the penalty for the breach of contract was too hefty a sum, I felt like I could pull through as long as the members were by my side. We had been betrayed by the people who we had sincerely trusted, and I found that I had noone to trust but my members.”

As they faced these circumstances, their friendship became stronger. They also learned to be thankful for the little things they had not noticed before. And they finally realised what a fortunate and happy thing it was to be able to stand on stage.

Meeting The One Person Who Was There For Us

At the point when they had nothing, and everything was like  a blank sheet of paper, there was a ray of hope. They met with CEO Baek Chang Joo through one of Kim Junsu’s acquaintances.

Even without any place they could rely on, they did not trust and follow CEO Baek right from the start. Park Yoochun and Kim Jaejoong kept their distance from him for a period of time even after meeting him. Because they had been betrayed by too many of the people they trusted within that time, and because they had been hurt so much going against the system of their ex-agency and unjust situations, it was only understandable that they would not trust anyone so easily.

For Park Yoochun, it was like this for six months.  ”There were other companies that offered us large amounts in down payment fees, but money wasn’t what we were after. The most important thing to us was carrying out our activities freely. The first time we met Chang Joo was during a meeting with our lawyers over the contract matters. Looking quite shabby, he sat there without a word. We exchanged greetings and that was it. For six months after that, I did not have any contact with him personally other than for work related matters.” He kept his distance from CEO Baek because he did not know this person.

Kim Jaejoong said, “To be honest, many people had said things about Chang Joo  that were not that good, and that made me more uneasy. Additionally, he did not look like someone who knew music. Thinking back now, at that time my mind was filled with thoughts like ‘How do we trust this person and work with him?’”

Time passed like that. CEO Baek walked down his path silently but steadily. It was not as if he did not feel the members’ lack of trust towards him. However, just as he has been doing thus far, CEO Baek was working step by step to fulfill his promises, which were more of a monologue, that he had made to the members.

First, he put his energy into the preliminary injunction for the JYJ members to have activities freely.  Seeing him work so hard, the members slowly began to open their hearts to him.

“Seeing Chang Joo’s actions, we slowly began to trust him. Seeing him work hard under difficult circumstances in order to see through with his promises, we became more certain that this person was reliable. We decided that rather than money, we wanted to work with a company that could guarantee us freedom. And someone who could ensure all this was CEO Baek.” (Kim Junsu)

In Kim Jaejoong’s eyes, CEO Baek was “someone who leaves his own matters for the last, and works only for our good”.

“Everyone wanted to attract us with money, but no one tried to take the time and effort to interact with us. I received many phone calls from people around me scolding Chang Joo, but at some point I began to believe he was not the person they made him out to be. The only one to sacrifice everything for us was Chang Joo . This one person is also the one beside us now.”

CEO Baek was addressed by them as “older brother” and he began fulfilling the role of an older brother without reservations.

“Chang Joo sold his assets, and forked out his own money to allow JYJ to make a comeback. He supported us despite the possibility of failure, in what could be considered our reckless attempts. In fact, we only knew all this later on. He is always someone who doesn’t say much, but works hard silently.” (Kim Jaejoong)

Through this process, the members were gradually able to put down their heavy burden, and became to trust CEO Baek even more as someone who would not lie to them. With an older brother that was willing to fight for them, they were finally able to freely focus on making their music, as they had hoped for. Their trust for CEO Baek translated into their passion for making music.

A New Beginning With Nothing But Faith and Passion

The three members stood at the starting line once more. Though their new company wasn’t perfect, they now had a small niche to call their own. Because this was the first time they’d done something like this, they went in with a mindset of starting from scratch. They had no office or a company name. As for coworkers, they only had CEO Baek.

“At the time, we really had nothing. And now look at how big our company has grown. We’ve got more coworkers, and they all work in a systematic structure. To be honest, we clashed a lot with Chang Joo at first. But the more we talked, the more he tried to listen to our opinions and see eye to eye with us.” (Kim Jaejoong)

“Because I had left in search of happiness, I felt no animosity towards our former company. When we made the decision to start anew with Chang Joo, he told us that he’d guarantee a certain amount of profit for us. We all laughed at that. But those unbelievable words became a reality for us. I’m grateful for the company policy and mindset that puts us ahead of any kind of profit. No matter what decision was being made, the company chooses a long-run investment that will benefit us rather than a short-run profit, and they always keep us in their consideration.” (Kim Junsu)

“You have to have a lot of bullets to fight, but that wasn’t the case for us in the beginning. Each company has its pros and cons, but here, when we tell them about something that needs to be fixed, it gets done. I really like that. We try to adjust and yield to each other. To be honest, Chang Joo yields more to us than we do to him. I really like how the company feels like a family as well. This is something that I really wanted. I meet with the people who work at our company for a drink, and we share stories with each other.” (Park Yoochun)

The three members are not currently signed on to an exclusive contract with CEO Baek Chang Joo’s C-JeS Entertainment. There is no exclusive contract and there is no down payment. The reason why such a thing is possible is because they all believe in trying to understand each other, and resolving any issues that come up by talking about it.

“There are times when Chang Joo makes a mistake, because he’s a human being. But because the company feels like a family, we talk to each other a lot. I was planning on sending my younger brother Yoohwan to a different entertainment agency. I thought it would be too much of a burden for Chang Joo because Yoohwan’s my younger brother. But I liked the family-like atmosphere of the company, so Yoohwan ended up joining me here. What I’m most sorry about is the fact that Chang Joo has to carry the burden of our weight. If he hadn’t taken us in, he could be working in a comfortable and great environment…. He doesn’t usually cry in front of others, but I’ve seen his tears.” (Park Yoochun)

Venturing Back Into The World With A Big Smile…

The trying ordeals that they survived became a new ray of hope for them.

In October, 2009, the courts sided with the three members on their exclusive contract nullification injunction against SM Entertainment. Soon after, SM Entertainment’s lawsuit for compensation and to verify the validity of their exclusive contract was dismissed.

Their joy was indescribable. Though they may have put their hearts at ease with the phrase, “Even if we can’t perform anymore, it’s okay,” they had never been able to let go and laugh freely. The courts’ decision allowed them to open their arms and take a deep breath. They had nothing to fear as the legitimacy of their actions had been recognized.

When they had received news of their win, Kim Junsu was taking a shower. Hearing the news of their lawsuit victory from CEO Baek Chang Joo, Kim Jaejoong called out “Junsu!” in a loud voice.

“I could tell ‘Ah! We won,’ just from Jaejoong’s voice. I could never find the words to describe the joy I felt then. I left the shower on and cried a lot. My father didn’t use to smoke, but he started smoking a lot when the lawsuit began. He said that he’d stop when the lawsuit was over, and he really did.”

With the joy that made them feel like they had everything in the world, they stepped forward and faced their new challenge.


2. [C-JeS’s insight] We wanted to give JYJ ‘Happiness’

Children Who Were Hopeless Because They Were So Innocent

“They were like immature children. Children who had run away from home with no plans for what came next, who knew nothing about how the world really ran. On one hand, they seemed so kind and innocent, but on the other hand, they looked so much like a hopeless cause.”

This is how CEO Baek Chang Joo remembers his first meeting with the three members in the summer of 2009. Though he had already made the decision to leave the entertainment industry, CEO Baek heard of JYJ’s situation from his younger brother and felt a strange sense of responsibility for them. He felt the need to carefully go through the contract that the three members had signed with SM Entertainment, and the first member he met with was Kim Junsu. Listening to the singer’s story, CEO Baek felt the need to help him out of his unfortunate situation.

“I didn’t feel a sense of trepidation about it because it was a request from my younger brother, not a business proposal. When I heard the stories of the members, I didn’t feel as though it (leaving SM Entertainment) would be impossible. I got the feeling that they were ‘innocent guys’ when I was talking to them, and that’s when I made the decision that I needed to help them out.”

Regarding the situation right after CEO Baek decided to join hands with them, he reminisced, “Because the members felt uneasy about their uncertain future, I was in the position of having to provide them with a sense of trust. They believed that there was no one who would be on their side. They felt betrayed by the people they had placed their trust in, so the most important thing was to give them a good enough reason to trust me.”

However, CEO Baek didn’t make sugar-coated, empty promises to the members to gain their trust. He believed that if he opened up and talked to them, they would be able to feel his sincerity. And he believed it would be better to prove himself with his actions rather than with words.

Children who had been hurt by others, they were shaken and unable to trust at first

CEO Baek didn’t necessarily have to take on such a dangerous and difficult endeavor, taking on a tough battle with SM Entertainment and taking on the management of JYJ, which was uncertain at the time. The members did not easily open up to him or give him their trust. But CEO Baek followed his heart, and kept moving forward with no conditions attached to his actions.

Kim Junsu, who had been the link that connected CEO Baek Chang Joo and JYJ, was the first to open up and give the man his trust. On the other hand, Kim Jaejoong and Park Yoochun were still on the fence about it. CEO Baek was swept up in rumors because of what had happened in a lawsuit between him and Kwon Sang Woo, and SM Entertainment was shedding light on CEO Baek’s past to change the members’ decision to leave.

But CEO Baek was not deterred by this. He was neither the kind of person to speak before he acted, nor the kind of person to try to win the good graces of the members with empty promises. No matter what the members were thinking, CEO Baek continued to carry out the work he needed to do. Many months passed in that unstable state. But the members finally began to place their trust in CEO Baek Chang Joo.

“Later, they apologized (for not being able to trust me from the start). The members put me through quite a lot of stress. haha! But I was someone who had already made the decision to be with JYJ. In my opinion, it would have been ridiculous to give up on my decision just because the members weren’t willing to open up to me.”

Something we couldn’t have dreamed of taking on if we hadn’t been hurt

Taking on SM Entertainment, one of Korea’s largest entertainment agencies, in a fight may have been an impossible endeavor from the beginning. But the reason why CEO Baek was able to take on such an impossible fight was because he, like the members of JYJ, was carrying ‘scars from other

“If I had not been hurt, if I hadn’t experienced all of those hardships, I wouldn’t have been able to stay by their side. I, like them, had nothing to lose. I believed that if it went well, it would be a good thing, but even if it didn’t go well, I had nothing to lose.”

Regarding the opinion people had that CEO Baek was trying to gain something from working with JYJ, he laughed and said, “I went in with zero expectations. We didn’t even have the capacity or time to be pushing buttons on a calculator. Because I had gone in with no expectations of gaining anything.”

CEO Baek didn’t create his company with the thought that he was going to make money through JYJ. “We need to get through this difficulty,” was the first thought that consumed him, and he was determined to “Overcome this difficult situation.”

But because a corporate body was needed to go ahead with their plans, C-JeS Entertainment was created. There is no special meaning behind ‘C-JeS’. I wanted a name that would be easy to say and remember, so I played around with the letters of the alphabet and came up with this name.

CEO Baek Chang Joo continued to comfort the members and help them heal their scars. When the members opened up to him, he said to them, “You have to forget how popular you were in the past. Think of this as a new beginning. If you don’t have that have kind of mindset, it will be difficult for us to work together.” He didn’t forget to emphasize, “We can do nothing but prove people wrong with our results. Don’t be shaken by the rumors that are flying around and only believe in what you see and hear for yourselves.” The members’ trust for CEO Baek deepened, and their bond of sympathy was strengthened as well.

 Their new resolution and challenge had already begun.


Part 2. Challenges and Courage

3. JYJ’s frightening yet exhilarating first official activities

Pushing the difficult times to the back of their minds, Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu officially began activities. They spread their wings and showed of each of their strengths through their respective activities. Although they were having activities separately  they lived up to their name and were outstanding.

After filing the injunction for their exclusive contract with SM Entertainment to be nullified, JYJ’s first public activity was Kim Junsu’s appearance in the musical “Mozart”. Following that, Kim Jaejoong acted in Japan’s Fuji TV’s drama “Hard To Say I Love You”, while Park Yoochun starred in KBS2 TV’s “Sungkyunkwan Scandal”. JYJ took its first step.

“Since it is not an easy situation for JYJ to be releasing an album, let’s find a clue through other activities,” said CEO Baek. Additionally, as the members had the strength of popularity overseas at that time, there were also thoughts of beginning activities overseas.

“But if you want to carry out activities overseas, it is dependent on the situation locally. At that time, they were unable to secure their position through the name of JYJ. It was also because of that that the idea of having individual activities came up.”

CEO Baek assessed the abilities and talents of each members. All the members possess exceptional talent both as singers or as a group when it came to singing or dancing. However, just as they needed to carry out activities individually, it was necessary to find a different stage where they could best showcase their abilities and talents. In the end, Kim Jaejoong and Park Yoochun were to become actors, while Kim Junsu was to become a musical singer, where they could showcase their best abilities  The stages that were found for them were a dramas and movies (Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun) and musicals (Kim Junsu).

In particular, CEO Baek thought of the musical as , “A good proposal which could allow Kim Junsu to sing under those circumstances, when it was realistically difficult to release an album.” Kim Junsu’s stage was a huge success as expected. Following that, Park Yoochun also received many offers for musicals, but CEO Baek thought “It would not be suitable for the trio to be doing individual activities in overlapping fields”, so he chose dramas. Initially, Kim Jaejoong was to begin his activities with movies, but things did not go as planned, and so he acted in dramas as well. Special consideration was also given to the fact that Park Yoochun and Kim Jaejoong have different styles as actors,  both with their unique image, and hence their characters would not overlap.

However, even as they took on new challenges, the barriers did not disappear. Fortunately, Kim Junsu did not face much obstacles going into musicals. It was a time when there had been close to no other idol singers who had gone into musicals. Even so, the restrictions and pressures from external parties still existed. But Kim Junsu still managed to get a firm footing.

Kim Junsu’s success had significant implications on the remaining two members. It was good motivation, and gave them desire and confidence. However, as expected, there were huge walls standing in the way of Kim Jaejoong’s and Park Yoochun’s paths as actors. On came the voices of drama producers and broadcasters to prevent them from appearing in dramas. These oppositions and pressures even came from other actors and related staff, hindering their actions. Faced with these obstacles, CEO Baek ended up spending long periods of time to gain the trust of producers and actors, and overcame these difficulties. As expected, the members gave their all and began to showcase their skills and talents.

As mentioned, the first opening into JYJ’s official activities, was created by Kim Junsu.


4. Kim Junsu, On Meeting “Mozart”

Worry, depression, burden, concern, uneasiness…

These were the emotions running through  Kim Junsu’s mind when he received the invitation to participate in the Musical “Mozart” in 2009. These complicated emotions couldn’t be expressed in one word, especially since he received this proposal at a time when he was still unsure of whether or not they would be able to continue with group activities. A time when all the members’ activities as singers was on hold. It was a situation where, should he decide to stand on the stage of “Mozart”, he would be the first among the members to face the world.

Kim Junsu recalled, “Personally, that was a time when I was emotionally fragile.” He has always been one who enjoys challenges, but he was unable to take on the new field which he had never been exposed to before without taking a moment to hesitate. He was also uneasy about standing out there in front of his fans.

“I became depressed because all I could think about was how I would be looked upon by people. People in the musical industry probably felt territorial and also had preconceptions about idol singers… It was the hardest thing to have to stand in front of people through a new genre when it was in itself not easy for me to carry out activities as singer.”

Two months passed with these depressing thoughts and worries. Concerns such as, “Even actors who have been acting in musicals for more than 10 years may not necessarily get to play lead roles. It wouldn’t be seen as a good thing for an idol singer to come in and play the lead role straight away, right?” were also large.

But the production team of “Mozart” kept up with their persuasions, convincing CEO Baek that Kim Junsu had the ability. They did not give up even when Kim Junsu rejected their invitation to meet, and sent him a DVD of a “Mozart” performance.

A Song That Speaks For My Heart

One of the songs that was included in the DVD touched Kim Junsu’s heart. The complicated issues that plagued his mind also seemed clear to him in an instant. The song was ‘Why Can’t You Love Me?’ Perhaps Kim Junsu was reminded of the time when he first came into contact with the song, as he begins singing without accompaniment while sitting on the sofa during the interview. We are suddenly enveloped by Kim Junsu’s melodious voice.

“You never hear what I have to say / I don’t understand why my father left / I can’t become someone else / I would rather be myself than live the life my father hopes for me….”

When he stops singing, Kim Junsu even said, “The lyrics fit my emotions so well that it shocked me. The father in the musical said, ‘My son has never been like you’’ and left heartlessly. He did not love him for who he was.” Kim Junsu was certain that he would be able to express his feelings through this song.

In this way, it turned out that the one thing needed to change Kim Junsu’s mind was music.

“As an celebrity, I showed off glamorous, happy and good sides of myself, but there was also a feeling of loneliness that was hidden. Just as it is not easy for a celebrity to become close to other people, I have been hurt by people who approached me only for my popularity or money or reputation. In the end, the people who were once by my side left me when the lawsuit with our ex-agency began.”

The song “Gold Star”, which is sung by the Baroness in the musical, also  struck a chord with Kim Junsu. It is a song that depicts the conflict between the Baroness, who wants to lead the genius Mozart towards a bigger world, and his father who is against this.

“Even when I was leaving SM Entertainment, I acknowledged that it is really the best in the business. But after leaving it and seeing the world, I’ve learned that I need to be the best . ‘Gold Star’ turned out to be telling my story.”

There were many other mountains to climb. The process right up till the moment he stood on stage was not an easy one. Kim Junsu clearly recalls the first day he walked into the practice studio for ‘Mozart’. At that point he was regretting it slightly, “Should I just not do it? Maybe I rushed into this.” He had those thoughts as the practice studio was a gathering of professionals who were all outstanding singers. Kim Junsu had never lost out when it came to vocal ability, and had always been said to be the best singer in the music industry. But it was different with musicals. Musical actors such as Seo Beom Suk and Min Young Ki could sing with their voices resounding even without microphones. Kim Junsu’s mind was filled with the thought, “If I do not want to fall behind them, then I need to give it my all and sing.”

The ‘strength’ he had gained while on stage as the top star of Asia began to rise from within him. Once he started the engine up, it started running at high speeds almost immediately. His experiences became his ‘know-how’. Kim Junsu said, “I knew that even if I tried to vocalize like the others did, I would always fall behind the people who had been doing it for years, so I utilized my own unique voice to sing in ‘Mozart’, reminding myself to think of why the director had chosen me for the role.”

The Taste Of Happiness After Hardships

Kim Junsu’s difficult decision created a new record. ‘Mozart’ opened its curtains in January, 2010 and rewrote the history of Korean musicals, with Kim Junsu at the center of such a historical moment. A total of 20 shows with 3,000 seats each at the Sejong Cultural Center in Seoul. All 60,000 seats for Kim Junsu’s shows were sold out in 10 minutes. This was a new record for the fastest sell-out of tickets in the musical industry. The media covered the records Kim Junsu was breaking every day. He, himself, was astounded by the response as well.

“I worried about basically everything. Will people come see me though I’m all alone? 130,000 Won for a ticket is pretty pricey, will I be able to fill 600,000 seats? How will I show my face if I can’t sell tickets?”

The first time Kim Junsu stood on stage after breaking such records, Kim Junsu felt as though his heart was going to burst out of his chest. “It was more nerve-wracking than when I was making my debut as a member of TVXQ.” He had to lead an entire three-hour show by himself when he could feel the gazes of everyone sitting in the theater.

“It felt like they were watching me, thinking ‘Let’s see how well you can really do.’”

His lips dried out with nerves. But the first show was a great success.

After the curtain call, Kim Junsu sat on stage and he cried. Park Yoochun and Kim Jaejoong, who had watched from the audience, cried together with him. Park Yoochun was full of praise, “If Mozart had been alive, he would have been just like the way you presented him on stage.”

“‘Mozart’ is more than just any musical. I saw hope for the first time. Even in the future, ‘Mozart’ will always be the best musical to me.”


5. Kim Jaejoong, on becoming an actor in Japan

Kicking off his acting career in Japan instead of Korea was an unusual choice. But with his signature determination of “I’ll work hard at whatever I’m given the opportunity to try out,” Kim Jaejoong headed for Japan.

Kim Jaejoong’s first acting job since becoming a member of JYJ was ‘Hard to say I love you’, the FujiTV drama that aired in April, 2010. The drama featured top Japanese stars such as Eita, Ueno Juri, Seki Megumi, and Tamayama Tetsuji and depicted the life of five young people in Shibuya, Tokyo who met through Twitter and become friends by working through their individual issues together.

In the drama, Kim Jaejoong plays the role of Park Seonsu, who introduces himself as a Korean doctor to his friends but is actually a medical equipment salesman who worries about his sales performance. He is a character who suffers from the hardships of life but is determined to keep his dreams alive.

Because this was his first acting role since becoming a member of JYJ, many showed interest in the drama, both in Korea and Japan. Looking back, Kim Jaejoong said, “I was flooded with voices of both anticipation and concern, but I wasn’t in the position to actually take notice of what they were saying. I had so much work to do because it was my first drama in Japan, and the script was entirely in Japanese.”

My signature sociability is my strength

Kim Jaejoong gained much from the two months he spent in Japan filming for ‘Hard to say I love you’. Used to living together with the other members, Kim Jaejoong brought up his happy memories as he said, “I spent some time alone and enjoyed my freedom.”

“Of course, I had a manager with me, but my lifestyle changed drastically from what it had been before. Should I compare it to the joy a person with lots of siblings feels when they get a room for themselves? Though I was nervous about living alone, I was so happy at first. Before, when I needed something while we were in Japan, our managers would buy everything for us so I never had to leave the house. But while we were filming ‘Hard to say I love you’, I went out to eat and acted like a normal Japanese native. Rubbing elbows with Japanese people made everything so fun and new. My Japanese improved greatly in two months and it felt like I had gone studying abroad in Japan for a year.”

Working alongside his Japanese co-workers was an invaluable experience. Though the Japanese drama production site was a foreign place for Kim Jaejoong, his signature sociability had him becoming friends with his coworkers in no time. When asked what the secret behind his sociability was, Kim Jaejoong smiled shyly and said, “All I did was tweak the way I spoke in Japanese a little.”

“When I first went on location, I could feel that people didn’t find me very approachable. So I lightened the tone of my voice and the staff and fellow actors began seeing me as a bright and cute person. Because of this, I was able to quickly dissipate the awkwardness that could have followed me around for a long time.”

His hard work must have worked. During an interview, his fellow ‘Hard to say I love you’ costar Ueno Juri explained her first impression of Kim Jaejoong and stated, “I thought he was a serious person who didn’t smile a lot, but I found that he’s actually very cute.” She applauded Kim Jaejoong for his professionalism as she added, “Though he was a rookie actor, he was very meticulous in looking over and memorizing his Korean and Japanese lines, and he was always so considerate and thoughtful on set.”

Tamayama Tetsuji praised Kim Jaejoong for the hard work and energy he showed on set. He talked about Kim Jaejoong’s unexpected personality as he stated, “It was have been ten times harder for him than a regular Japanese actor, but he always had a smile on his face. He’s a hard worker, and he’s very charming.”

Enjoying the experience, that’s what acting is all about!

The 11-episode ‘Hard to say I love you’ recorded an average viewership of 11.2% and captivated Japanese viewers. When asked whether he felt disappointed by the viewership of his first Japanese drama, Kim Jaejoong gave his reply with a face full of determination.

“Though it would have been nice if the viewership was higher, I’m still a rookie actor. If I was greedy about getting great results from the very beginning, I would have done what I was best at. I’m satisfied with what I did, enjoying the experience of acting and receiving great energy from on set.”

Though this may be difficult for people who have seen Kim Jaejoong’s natural acting abilities to believe, he took off running without getting any acting lessons. To put it another way, Kim Jaejoong is a ‘on-the-spot learner’.

Kim Jaejoong confessed, “I learn the most about acting when I’m on location.” He added, “Though it would be best if I went into the role with lots of practice and a complete character analysis, that wasn’t the case most of the time. But strangely, I could memorize lines better and really get into my role when I got on set, probably because I was so nervous.”

As expected from someone whose skills shine on set, it didn’t take long for Kim Jaejoong to adapt to the Japanese filming system. Unlike the Korean system, in which one scene is shot numerous times, scenes are shot only once or twice in Japan with numerous cameras rolling at the same time. Because of this, if an actor goes in unprepared, his shortcomings are directly reflected in his work.

Stating, “Though I was unfamiliar with the system that was slightly different from the Korean system at first, I got used to it and I found it to be very reasonable,” Kim Jaejoong stated that he realized the charms of acting and gained confidence through his new challenge in Japan.

*We were unable to include stills from ‘Hard to say I love you’ due to reasons given by the Japanese drama production company.


6. Park Yoochun, on achieving is acting dream at SungKyunKwan

Park Yoochun’s appearance as an actor came through his meeting with the drama “SungKyunKwan Scandal” in August, 2010. Perhaps the fans would have wanted Yoochun to appear in a romance drama that would showcase his handsome looks and tall stature. However, Yoochun’s first pick was a period drama, and there was a lot of doubt surrounding this decision.

“When I decided to pick a period drama to debut as an actor, I felt a bit doubtful myself. I heard many people ask, “Can he really do it?” and so I too, thought a lot about “Is it necessary to start off with a period drama?” After a discussion with (Baek) Chang Joo, I decided “it doesn’t matter if my first drama is a period piece or a modern piece, as long as it is a good drama”  and gained confidence.

“I’ll do whatever I want to do, but will give it all of my passion”

Stepping out onto this path, truthfully, he should have been preparing himself for “SungKyunKwan Scandal.” However, this wasn’t a simple shift in mindset. He spent a lot of effort familiarizing himself with the traditional tone and pronunciation, and analyzed many roles, taking a thorough approach in getting ready to act. He recorded his practices on his Ipod, repeatedly listening and trying out different accents, working his hardest.

“Everyone has a different style of character analysis. The director and staff may have their own expectations on how the character of Lee Seon Joon should be portrayed, so eventually I discarded the opinions of others and played the role in the way that I wanted. When I first started practicing, the vocal tone was very high, and it became lower gradually. I think that allowing myself to play the role in a way I wanted was a big help. Since I’m the one acting, if I did it in a way that other people wanted me to, then it wouldn’t be me anymore. This is different from accepting advice from others.

This is how I created the character of Lee Seon Joon.

It was in this drama that he had his first kiss scene. “Although some viewers might wish that the scene where he kisses the female lead Park Min Young lightly on the lips was more intense, like how it was in the book, I felt that this was as much as Lee Seon Joon could do in terms of expressing himself.” He jokingly added that actually Park Yoochun, like the fans, had wished for a more passionate kiss scene as well.

“A kiss scene isn’t any different from any other scene. Although there are many staff on set, but I don’t think much about the fact that they are looking at me while shooting, and I did not feel nervous. Before the scene, I could smell peppermint in her breath and I all I did was think, “Oh! She brushed her teeth!” (laughs)” The kiss scene was wrapped up naturally, and fortunately, without many NGs.

Becoming a strong actor with great skills!

Although he has never taken formal acting lessons, Park Yoochun, who has matured with every drama, has coolly shed the stereotypical doubt that comes with being an “singer-turned-actor.”

“I guess I’m naturally talented? (Laughs) I’m kidding. I trained with co-star Kim Kap Soo. He taught me many techniques, such as how to enunciate similar words such as “horse” and “speech” (T/N : Both pronounced as “mal” in Korean” ) differently, as well as practicing in front of the mirror. I didn’t take any other vocalization classes. Although these classes can be very helpful, but perhaps it’s because I have been working from a young age and the experience has been quite a big help towards my acting. Pulling from my experiences and putting it into my acting gives me a great boost of confidence.”

Just like a self-fulfilling prophecy, the combination of the gentle words from the surrounding people and confidence is the recipe for a successful drama. In this drama, the contributions of Park Min Young, Song Joong Ki and Yoo Ah In are not to be neglected as well. “Excluding activities with the members of JYJ, this was the first time I was working with friends of the same age. I’m really happy that I managed to get along well with Park Min Young, Song Joong Ki and Yoo Ah In,” he recounted.

At the end of that year, he received the greatest gift – the KBS drama best rookie actor award. Although he had swept numerous awards as part of a group, this was his first time receiving a rookie award as an actor so it was especially meaningful.”

“I really didn’t expect it, but when they called my name, I was shocked, happy and grateful. Images of my parents as well as the staff that worked hard alongside myself appeared one by one. Furthermore, I was able to do a celebratory performance with the rest of my JYJ members so I was very happy. After the awards show, we all went out for grilled cow intestines, it was truly an unforgettable way to spend the last day of December.


7. JYJ’s tears, an unexpected hardship

Though it wasn’t an easy road, it felt as though all JYJ needed to do was look ahead and keep running. But hardships crashed upon them like strong waves slapping against a rocky shore. A harder and more perilous road lay ahead of them.

In the summer of 2010, the  three members began their Japanese Dome tour. They ended their tour in success up till their final performance in Tokyo Dome, attracting approximately 100,000 fans to their shows. They could have never imagined that their Tokyo Dome performance would be their last in Japan. But the large-scale Japanese entertainment agency AVEX decided to unilaterally suspend all of JYJ’s activities.

Their tears did not stop flowing when they stood on stage in Tokyo Dome. Sorrow, gratitude for the fans, and the gratefulness for being able to be with each other hit them all at once. Kim Jaejoong expressed it as, “Feeling like everything that had built up in our hearts were resolved.”

“I was so sorry to our fans. I was even more sorry that we couldn’t tell them that the five of us couldn’t be together anymore. When I was walking towards our fans, the tears wouldn’t stop flowing from my eyes. I still can’t forget that moment. My singing was filled with my gratitude and apologies, but I never knew that would be our last concert…. The reason why I tweeted often in Japanese was because there were so many fans in Japan who were waiting for us. I feel so bad that I can’t even ask them to wait for us anymore , but I’m always longing to meet them again.”

Park Yoochun added, “That was our first concert as a three-membered group. Our fans’ cheers rang out as soon as we stepped on stage. We were so touched that we were crying, so I don’t really remember how well we actually sang. My sorrow grew with their cheers, and it was driving me crazy. I was so touched by the mere fact that we were able to stand on stage and grab a microphone again. I could have never imagined that that would be our last concert in Japan. I still get upset and angry when I think about it.”

To them, their Japanese Dome tour was a stage full of nothing but hope.

Kim Junsu said, “At first, we were so thankful that AVEX chose to work with us, and we were so happy that we could start singing again. Never would I have believed that another obstacle would appear and end our Japanese activities. It was a second betrayal. When I look back on those times, I think they were harder to bear than the situation we face now. It hurt to know that unfairly, we were the only group who couldn’t perform in Japan while all the rookie singers were pursuing activities there. I want to stand on stage in Tokyo Dome again. We’ve worked so hard to get there… but I hate the reality that it’s become a stage we can no longer stand on.”

Their positive energy shone through their hardships

Though they were met with a crippling hardship, they couldn’t just sit around and lament the reality they didn’t want to accept. The members collected their thoughts, brushed away their anger and sorrow and got back up again.

Kim Jaejoong said, “Our future didn’t seem bleak because I had my members by my side. We always said to each other, ‘If this doesn’t work out, let’s move to the countryside and become farmers.’ There were so many restrictions and obstacles in our way, and they’re still there, but we have our own fenced-off safe area. We have each other, and we’re not alone. That’s why I’m not afraid.”

The members’ positive mindset shone through in the difficult situations they faced. The more limitations and obstacles that faced them, the more they tried to smile and be stronger. Though they had been talking non-stop about what had happened to them, they stopped to sigh and then smiled. They shone brightest when they were together and they gained a new sense of hope, so every obstacle that came in their way was nothing but a small pebble to them. Taking a moment to think about it, Kim Jaejoong maturely stated, “People who have nothing to fear have nothing to be scared of. People who have a lot to lose, struggle harder to not lose everything.” Though they were met with many obstacles since splitting from their former agency, never have they regretted their decision.

Saying, “Never! Not once! Have we regretted this,” the members can say that at this moment, they are happy.

Don’t invite JYJ?!

Whenever they crossed a mountain of obstacles, there was another one waiting right behind it. No matter how much they climbed, the mountains never seemed to end. Even when they were walking on flat plains, they were met with gravelly fields.

In October, 2010, SM Entertainment told Warner Music, the company that distributed JYJ’s worldwide album, “You can’t release JYJ’s album because they are signed under SM Entertainment.” The Korean Federation of Pop Culture and Art Industry (KFPCAI) sent an official notice to various broadcasting companies that stated, “Please refrain from inviting JYJ to your programs as they are harmful to the Hallyu Wave.” Though the courts had already made the verdict to guarantee JYJ with the right to freely pursue any and all activities, it seemed that reality hadn’t gotten the memo yet. Not many places stepped up to work with JYJ. Even if some companies did take the first step, JYJ were usually met with an unexpected notice of cancellation.

A cable channel stated that it would air a documentary detailing JYJ’s daily lives and even aired preview videos, but notified JYJ three days before the airing date that their program was deemed ‘unsuitable for airing’. A large-scale multiplex signed a contract with JYJ after 40 days of consultations that they would screen JYJ’s documentary film, but this too was cancelled.

They received unfair treatment from KBS, one of Korea’s major broadcasting companies. JYJ were set to appear in KBS’ ‘Jeju for the 7 Natural Wonders of the World Special Broadcast’ in July, 2011. However, KBS unilaterally cancelled their appearance. The members of JYJ had already received the cue sheet for the show. JYJ had already worked hard as the ambassadors for Jeju Island’s bid to become one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, but they were being told that they would not be able to appear on the program.

KBS Jeju stated, “If JYJ appear on the program, it may not be able to air,” and gave a ‘doubtful’ excuse that JYJ were less popular than the other participants such as Girls’ Generation and f(x). The members could do nothing but laugh in disbelief. “Well, I guess we have nothing to say if they believe that we’re less popular. Hahaha!”

This wasn’t the end. In 2010, they weren’t able to release six tracks of compositions as a CD, so they had to change it into a book (JYJ Music Essay). JYJ wasted a whole year trying to find a distribution company for their album ‘In Heaven’ that was released in 2011. Though they were able to finally release their album, online music distribution sites notified them one week before their agreed-upon distribution date that they couldn’t hold their end of the agreement, placing yet another obstacles in front of JYJ.

Though ‘In Heaven’ sold over 350,000 copies, they were left out of music charts on various major broadcasting companies, and the members were unable to make televised appearances. JYJ were omitted from music awards as well for no reason, though many give awards out depending on each artistes’ album sales. JYJ were met with cancellation after cancellation every day.

But the members refused to be weighed down by their situation. They didn’t just sit around and lament the unfair situation they faced. Because they had already expected the obstacles that had been thrown their way.

Overcoming hardships and maturing

“I found myself not watching music programs anymore. Because watching them hurt. I was upset, but voicing that wasn’t going to change anything. All I wanted to do was look ahead and keep running. Though it may sound like a foolish thought, I believed that these restrictions would disappear one day. We couldn’t possibly live in these dynamics forever, right? Haha! I believe that the hardships we’ve overcome have helped me mature and grow.” (Kim Jaejoong)

Growth and maturity were born through the strong friendship the members shared. Talking about the times when they were faced with the many obstacles that blocked their way, Kim Junsu said, “We promised each other that we wouldn’t slack off. At times, we felt like we couldn’t do it anymore and voiced our weariness. But we thought, ‘We have our fans who are watching over us,’ and promised each other once more that we wouldn’t give up.”

Giving each other these promises again and again when faced with an obstacle, the members found the determination to overcome all of their hardships. But their refusal to give in wasn’t an act of petulant immaturity. Their competitive spirit of ‘Do whatever you want to us. Let’s see who wins in the end.’ Their refusal turned into passion and fueled their competitive streak.

“It’s like being in a game of tug-of-war. Though it tires us out, I want to be strong and keep pulling till the end.” (Kim Junsu)

They decided to start breaking down the high walls that blocked their way ahead. But they know they shouldn’t wear themselves out. “Though there are many obstacles in our way, everything’s okay. There are times when I get angry, but as long as we don’t wear ourselves out, there will be nothing but victories on our side.” (Park Yoochun) Because they have the promises and resolutions they made to themselves, they never shed tears in front of others. They didn’t show others their wounded hearts. Only when it was just the three of them did they shed the tears they had been holding back, and talk about the feelings they had locked deep inside their hearts.

But now, they don’t cry anymore. Because they still have so much distance to cover on their chosen path.


8. [C-JeS’s insight] We, who talk of yet another challenge

Restriction on their Japanese activities

Even after JYJ filed their exclusive contract invalidity injunction against SM Entertainment, they gained a lot of popularity in Japan as a unit of TVXQ. On September 8th, 2010, JYJ released their first mini-album ‘The…’ as a unit of TVXQ and sold 140,000 copies in their first week, topping the Oricon weekly album charts. Their DVD that was released on the same day also sold close to 120,00 copies, topping the DVD charts as well.

However, Avex suddenly announced the suspension of JYJ’s activities through a notice on their homepage in the later months of 2010 and shocked the domestic K-pop industry and Hallyu fans alike. CEO Baek Chang Joo said, “It was ridiculous.” The incident taught him that the Japanese entertainment industry is very different from the Korean industry. So he decided to not rush and take it slow. He meticulously examined the contract JYJ signed with their Japanese agency. What caught his eye were the unilaterally unfair clauses, such as the ridiculously low royalties. He came to the conclusion that the working practices of the Japanese management industry that runs on annual or monthly salaries meant that the Japanese activities of Hallyu stars didn’t necessarily translate into profit.

“I saw that many singers other than JYJ also had unfair contracts (in terms of royalties). It was a structure in which singers received very few royalties even when they were bringing in sales of 100 or 200 billion Won. It was a structure that made it hard for singers to make money on their albums.”

But CEO Baek Chang Joo and the members weren’t discouraged. They believed that they could find a different route in other fields, such as acting rather than singing.

A crisis becomes an opportunity

When JYJ learned that they could no longer stand on stage in Japan, they began to be seen as ‘Singers who are difficult to see.’ Their image improved greatly as they became honorary ambassadors for various global public organizations and domestic state events, beginning with the G20 Summit in Seoul in September, 2010, and going on to UNAIDS, the Daegu IAAF World Championships and the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit. Thanks to this, JYJ were able to appeal to the advertisement market as ‘singers with a rare quality’.

“There was something we gained from the restrictions placed on our activities. Crises can become an opportunity, and a positive mindset can make the impossible possible. Our way out was blocked, but we did our best and reaped in better rewards.”

They found an exit for each and every restriction and obstacle that blocked them but always thought of what would be ‘The best road to take’ for them.

Stating, “We always had to look at things in the long-run,” CEO Baek acted as expected of an entertainment businessman and didn’t limit JYJ to one location, whether it was Korea or Japan. CEO Baek always carried the mindset of, “Look at everything in the long-run, and look at the big picture,” and began focusing his attention on a bigger market. The global market! And he came to the decision that English was the best way for the members to communicate with their global fanbase.

Just like ‘The Beginning’, the title of JYJ’s worldwide album that was released on October 12th, 2010, this change in attitude signaled a new beginning for JYJ.

Source : [The JYJ magazine: The story of 1000 days]

Translated & Shared by :

[2nd Anni Project] JYJ Magazine: The Story Of 1000 Days Translations Part 2

Part 3. A Continuous Voyage

9. [C-JeS’s insight] Putting the restrictions behind us and voyaging to a new world

Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu released their worldwide album <The Beginning> on the 12th of October, 2010. This was their first album since the creation of JYJ. The album, in which all the tracks are sung in English, was a collaboration with people such as Kanye West and Rodney Jerkins, a producer famous for his work with Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. JYJ began performing with the world as their stage with this album.

JYJ’s ‘worldwide move’ was inevitable. Leaving TVXQ and creating JYJ made it difficult for Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu to hold any domestic activities, but this paradoxically became an opportunity for them to take on the world. CEO Baek Chang Joo broadened his vision and looked to a bigger stage. Stating, “I believed that English would be the best way to communicate with the world as a whole,” he also added, “We thought of releasing the album overseas and importing it into the Korean market.”

CEO Baek explained his ideas to the members, and they followed him without any objections.

“In Korea, most idols are faced with limitations on their activities when they pass the age of thirty. When JYJ was first created, we made sure to look ten years into their future. I believe that an entertainment agency needs to become a partner to celebrities and stay with them for a long time. I told the members that even if they started pursuing individual activities, the growth of each member would result in the growth of JYJ eventually, and the members began to understand what I had meant after time had passed.”

10. ‘The Beginning’ towards the world

They say that there’s always a way out. Though ‘The Beginning’ was created amidst difficult circumstances, it was the album that connected JYJ with the world.

Kim Jaejoong said, “None of the distribution companies wanted anything to do with us, so we weren’t in the state to be releasing an album in Korea. That’s why we went global. It naturally gave us more opportunities to meet with our fans all over the world.” Park Yoochun added, “The worldwide album was more of a symbolic statement than a bid for more ‘activities’. It was to declare ourselves as JYJ, and show everyone that we were still going strong.” Kim Junsu confessed that it was ‘an inevitable choice’ as he stated, “If we had been able to release an album in Korea, we would have never thought about releasing a worldwide album.”

Their choice led to ‘a big success’. The worldwide album gave them the opportunity to perform in the US, South America and Europe. Kim Jaejoong emphasized that their choice had been a successful one as he stated, “When we were a part of TVXQ, our many overseas fans would sing along to our Korean lyrics. But I don’t think they understood what those lyrics actually meant. All the lyrics of ‘The Beginning’ were in English, so we were able to appeal to a wide audience. We gained a lot of fans who had started off with, ‘Maybe I should give this a try?’” Kim Junsu placed a special emphasis on their choice as he added, “We were able to tour the US and South America because of our worldwide album. Not only was our worldwide album a stepping stone for JYJ’s activities, but it also determined the direction of our activities after it as well.” He also stated, “We were the first to release an album through an American distribution company. We did something that we could never have done as TVXQ.”

Their worldwide album received high praise for its top-quality work with Rodney Jerkins and Kanye West. Kim Junsu said, “It felt like we were a fledgling team making a big break.” Park Yoochun looked back on the first time he held their album in his hands as he stated, “I received the mastering CD for the first time during our showcase. I was in awe, but the first thought that crossed my mind was ‘We’ve finally done it, after all we’ve been through, we’ve worked so hard for this.’”

‘The Beginning’ scored high album sales overseas and gave JYJ the opportunity to tour in the US and South America, but JYJ faced many issues in the process of creating an album in the US. They faced a language barrier.

Even Park Yoochun, who is fluent in English from his time living overseas, had issues getting used to the slang Black people used, and Kim Junsu and Kim Jaejoong suffered even more as they had to focus on their English pronunciation, on top of their singing. Kim Junsu said, “It was the first time we were recording an album with an American staff, so we suffered quite a bit from getting used to the unfamiliar environment and culture. And we had to worry about our English on top of that, so the job required double the time and effort it would normally need.” Park Yoochun reminisced, “Though there were issues such as the different recording system, we were determined to take on our new beginning and work hard.”


11. Standing on a domestic stage for the first time in 2 years

October 12th, 2010, the day they released ‘The Beginning’. JYJ held their first worldwide showcase ‘JYJ Worldwide Showcase in Seoul’ at the Korea University Hwajung Gymnasium in Anam-dong, Seoul. This was their first official activity as JYJ since submitting their exclusive contract suspension injunction against SM Entertainment. Thinking back to those times, the three members said, “We were really nervous.”

The anxiety could truly be felt from leader Kim Jaejoong’s words.

“It had been so long since we’d danced on stage so we were very nervous. Though the concert venue was smaller than most stages we’d been on, we couldn’t shake off the anxiety that filled us. It’s actually more comfortable to perform in a big venue because you can’t really see the fans faces that well. When you’re in a small venue, you can see everyone’s faces in the audience and it makes you nervous. It felt like our debut performance had.”

Kim Junsu and Park Yoochun felt an equal amount of anxiety as well. They were so nervous that they couldn’t even remember how the performance had gone. Kim Junsu said, “I can’t remember a single thing about performing that day. I only started thinking about how we’d done after I got off the stage.” Park Yoochun also smiled as he added, “It felt unfamiliar to be performing in such a small venue for the first time in a while. We have always performed with large-scale, extravagant systems but that wasn’t the case for our first showcase. It felt like we were doing everything for the first time.” But even amidst the anxiety, they pulled off an amazing performance. Looking back on that day, the members were unable to hide the emotions bubbling up from within them as they said, “When we were on stage, so many thoughts crossed through our mind as we looked into our fans’ eyes.”

The regrettable first showcase… and hope

What filled the members with more anxiety during their first showcase was how sorry they were to their fans. They were sorry to their fans for having to part ways with the two members of TVXQ, regardless of the process that took place.

They had to explain the situation that took place a year prior to their showcase in whatever words they could. But they couldn’t spend all their time on stage talking about it. The feeling didn’t subside and the hopelessness they felt made their hearts ache.

Leader Kim Jaejoong said, “Stories about our emotions, what we felt for our fans, in that past year couldn’t help but come up during the showcase. Because this was the first time we were meeting our fans as JYJ, we couldn’t help but talk about it. But we couldn’t just end it all with just ‘We’re sorry,’ ‘Please wait for us,’ and ‘Please support us.’”

Though they were filled with so much anxiety during the showcase that they couldn’t remember how their performance went, the members were overflowing with energy and the will to keep going. The members of JYJ were celebrating their fifth anniversary since their debut, and their vocal talent, performance, and stage presence were better than ever. Kim Jaejoong said, “I felt like we were still alive and kicking,” while Kim Junsu said, “I was proud that we could stand on stage again, that our fans were still waiting for our music, and that we could start again.” Park Yoochun reminisced and said, “The thought that crossed my mind was, ‘I knew we could do it.’ It was a proud moment for us to showcase JYJ’s music.”

It was a stage that showed just how alive the three members still were. Kim Jaejoong said, “Even just being able to stand in front of our fans and sing made it a meaningful performance. Because there were a lot of great songs in our worldwide album, we wanted to prepare a top-quality performance to showcase them. Though it must have been strange listening to us sing in English, our fans were so happy and grateful to see us on stage again.”

The tears they shed during the showcase were tears of gratitude for their fans.

The highlight of the showcase

After completing their Seoul performance in success, JYJ travelled across seven countries through nine cities (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China (Shanghai), USA (New York, Las Vegas, LA)) to meet with their fans all over the world. Though their Asian fans had met them often when they were still a part of TVXQ, this was the first time JYJ were meeting their American fans.

The US sticks in the members’ mind the most because they were almost unable to hold their showcases because of visa issues. At the time, JYJ prepared all the necessary documents and applied for a visa for their US performance, but were rejected. JYJ had already paid for additional costs covering advertisements, business tickets and hotels, and most of all, they had a promise to keep with their fans, so they had to make the showcase happen no matter what. When told by their lawyer that they would be able to obtain a visa if they performed for free, JYJ opened their showcase up for free and ended up being able to perform.

Though the Hawaii showcase that was set to be held on November 10th, 2010 had to be cancelled because of Hawaiian visa issues and Park Yoochun’s health problems, JYJ’s New York, Las Vegas and LA showcases were held for free on the 12th, 14th and 19th of November respectively. Park Yoochun described the situation as, “Though we might face losses by holding these showcases, we were certain that we would gain something from it no matter what. We had worked so hard to make this album, and we couldn’t decide where we could and couldn’t hold concerts just because of money.”

The visa issue became another push for them to work harder. Because of it, they held a free performance and were met with an unusual situation. People who weren’t their fans were also coming to their concerts. The pressure the members felt intensified, and they all did their best to create a better performance. Kim Jaejoong said, “Singers do well if they’re stimulated. That stimulant was the knowledge that there were people in the crowd who had never seen us perform before. We worked harder because they had taken an interest in us, and we ended our performances in success.” Kim Junsu thought of the lessons he learned from those times as he said, “Being able to sing in the US, and releasing a worldwide album. These things would have felt so obvious in the past but now, we’re grateful to be able to do them.”

Especially when they heard that they would not be able to perform in the US because of visa issues, JYJ couldn’t help but think ‘Why do these things keep happening to us?’ This made them feel even more proud of their successful New York performance than if nothing had gone wrong. 7,000 people flocked to a venue that usually holds 3,000, proving just how successful they were. He was immersed in memories as he said, “It was amazing. I heard that there were 3,000 people who couldn’t get into the venue.”

From a successful showcase to a successful world tour

The success from their worldwide showcase gave them a sense of confidence that carried to their world tour. Their world tour kicked off as soon as their worldwide showcase ended and gave JYJ a new sense of confidence and hope. It was a true world tour, branching out from Asia to North and South America, and Europe. JYJ were the first K-pop singers to hold a solo concert in South America and Europe. Keeping this achievement in their hearts, JYJ received the cheers and applause of people they were meeting for the first time and saw new hope ahead of them.

After their world tour, JYJ could see that they had become more mature and developed people. What especially grew was their musical capabilities as they studied what music they should perform on stage and started to write and produce their own music.

Kim Junsu said, “Getting involved in our albums and concerts naturally led to us studying more about music. Writing our own songs helped us gain a deeper knowledge of music in general.” Kim Jaejoong also stated, “I think my music skills have improved greatly since starting to work on songs to perform on stage. I’ve gained so much.” The outcome of their hard work also got them thinking about what they should do to supplement their weaknesses. Park Yoochun seemed a little disappointed as he said, “Holding concerts showed us where we were lacking. We still haven’t covered those areas of weakness yet. We still haven’t taken a step forward from the feeling of lacking that we felt as musicians,” but he believed that just being able to recognize the problems had them on the right track.

Holding activities was a form of studying for them. And the studying they did taught them again and again the importance of growing as musicians. With this lesson in mind, the members settled their troubled minds and became a source of strength for each other. Kim Jaejoong said, “The happiest moments in my life are when I stand on stage. Whenever we finished a performance, we would get together and give each other strength, comforting each other and telling each other to do better next time.”

Seoul, the highlight of the world tour, though it was successful, the painful first step forward

JYJ’s world tour kicked off at the Seoul Jamshil Stadium on November 27th, 2010. But they were met with various issues caused by the weather. They had spent hundreds of millions of Won covering the top of the stadium to make a roof with special stage sets to create a dome-style performance area, but it all broke down because of the weather. It had been hard to rent the venue and having to perform in an outdoor stage caused unspeakable suffering for everyone.

When the subject was brought up, Kim Junsu shook his head and gave an unidentifiable smile as he said, “I was so happy, but it took such a toll on us.” He also added, “We spent 800 million Won on creating a dome-style roof for the stadium. It was so that we could raise the temperature of the venue by 2 degrees and better the quality of our sound system. But it suddenly hailed and our efforts were wasted. We had created four different performances with the dome in mind, but we couldn’t show them to our fans. During our rehearsal, we watched the roof of the stadium rip and fall to the floor and we thought, ‘Even the skies are blocking our path.’ The three of us just sat there for 30 minutes and stared into space, unable to say a word. It was a stage we had prepared with better conditions, and a better sound system in mind. It was unbelievable. And they said that the day of our concert was the coldest day of the year. Some of our outfits were made out of mesh material. We had to cover the microphones with our clothes before we could hold them. But no matter how difficult everything seemed, we had to do it. We never thought about canceling because this was a promise we had made with our fans. The opinion that we should probably cancel the concert did make it’s way around on the day of the concert, but we were adamant about going through with it. So we sang louder and worked harder. We were so thankful and grateful for all the fans who showed up that day.”

Kim Jaejoong remembers that day as, “The day I felt most sorry to our fans since making my debut as a singer.” He also remembers it as the day to reflect upon his faults and weaknesses as the fault of certain staff members negatively affected the surrounding environment and quality of the concert. But Kim Jaejoong found another meaning behind the concert. The miserable experiences of that day made him reflect on himself and start dreaming about taking on the position of directing a concert himself. “What’s most important about a concert is that no one gets hurt, none of the participants show discomfort and the singers should be able to sing comfortably without any disturbances. I believed that I would be able to create such a concert.”

The concert, which Kim Jaejoong believed hadn’t been as good as what they had initially planned,  gave Kim Jaejoong the determination to work harder and present his fans with a performance that rivaled and surpassed those of his days as TVXQ. It also got him to reaffirm his affection for his company for doing all the necessary preparations for the concert.

“I didn’t know at the time, but now that I look back, I’m proud of our company for being able to rent such a large venue and plan our concert.”

Park Yoochun also revisited his painful memories as he added, “That was the most difficult performance I’ve ever done in my life.”

“At the time, we thought that even the heavens were not willing to help us out. Even our staff had given up. But when we saw our fans cheering for us, despite the cold weather, on the first day’s concert, something warm bubbled up in my chest. Watching us all together felt like watching a drama. I gained strength from that moment and did my best to give our fans even a greater performance the next day.”

Even in the worst of conditions, they pulled through and gained invaluable experiences. Park Yoochun said, “Though it wasn’t the most satisfactory concert that we’ve ever done, it was a priceless experience because we all worked together to make it happen. It’s a stage that was created through the suffering and hard work of everyone.”

An endless stream of ordeals, a chance to grow stronger

For every historical and meaningful step they took, JYJ were faced with difficulties to overcome. The American leg of their worldwide showcase almost didn’t happen because of visa issues, and they ended up using hundreds of millions of Won to cover the costs. During the Seoul leg of their world tour, hundreds of millions of Won of special stage equipment fell apart, causing financial and mental harm on the members. Regarding this stream of ordeals, Kim Junsu said, “Our life felt like a drama, but it was a chance for us to grow stronger.”

“Sometimes I wonder, why does everything have to be so hard for us, no matter what we do. We spent 900 million Won in a day to cover the costs of our free showcases in the US. Sometimes, I’d think it was like being in a drama. Though we would look at our fans and tell ourselves to be strong, try again and keep going, too many things were crumbling down around us. But now that I look back on those times, those ordeals and difficulties pushed us to keep moving, and they were what have brought us to where we are today. Because going through those ordeals has made us stronger.”

Kim Junsu also expressed his gratitude for his fellow members as he said, “For every step we take as JYJ, I see more hope for the future. The last four years as a member of JYJ have been filled with difficult and poor situations. But we still did our best and worked hard. I believe that our results were pretty good. Yoochun became a top actor through his dramas and many people gave me positive reviews on my musicals. Jaejoong can top the charts in most of Asia. Sometimes, I think, ‘It was only possible because it was the three of us,’ and ‘We only got this far because it was us.’ It wouldn’t have been possible without the trust we had in each other. It wouldn’t have worked to be lone wolves. We always did our best because of the thought that, ‘If I fail, it may hurt the team’.”

“We were prepared for things to be a hit and miss. Rather than focusing on the problems, we focused more on making sure that it never happened again, and that we learned from our mistakes. That’s what helped us grow.” (Kim Jaejoong)

“We were able to grow individually because of those difficult times. We were able to learn more about the world from talking to Chang Joo. If we were still with our former company, we’d still be celebrities with no sociality and people who couldn’t do anything.” (Park Yoochun)

And with this hard work and effort, they are dreaming of new music to pursue.

Park Yoochun expressed the group’s plans to focus on their musical activities as he said, “Till 2012, we mainly focused on our individual activities, but from 2013, we’re going to invest our time and effort into our music.” He also added, “I like small-scale concerts. It’s something I’d like to do. If we were able to make a permanent niche for ourselves in the music industry through small-scale performances before we fulfill our military service requirements, I think it won’t be hard for us to return to music after we finish serving our time in the military.”


12. Kim Junsu, On Opening The Curtains Of ‘Tears Of Heaven’

Towards the end of 2010, Kim Junsu was surprised when he heard about the proposal to act in the original musical, ‘Tears Of Heaven’, from CEO Baek Chang Joo. Even actors with a lot of experience tread carefully when it comes to original musicals. CEO Baek had asked what he thought about returning the popularity and love he received through ‘Mozart’ through an original musical.

Perhaps he was reminded of the conversation they had at that time, Kim Junsu burst into laughter. It’s easier said than done. Haha! I’m the one doing the musical. Repaying the popularity? I would really like to do that too. But still, I’m the one who’s going to stand on stage. (How could I do) an original musical!”

He laughed it off at first, but there were words he could not forget.

“Returning the love you received.”

Thus, he could not simply continue laughing it off. When times were difficult, he chose ‘Mozart’ after much consideration. And succeeded. Then there was ‘Tears of Heaven’. The first production which he took on with the heart of wanting to give back to the fans.

The first performance, which became the ‘textbook’ for the production

He first began by listening to the music from ‘Tears Of Heaven’. Famous songs composed by Frank Wildhorn, the composer of ‘Jekyll & Hyde’. The maturity of the compositions did not fail to move Kim Junsu’s heart. In particular, ‘Can You Hear Me’ stuck.

“If I were to take on ‘Tears Of Heaven’, perhaps the musical industry would look upon me more positively. And I would be the one performing for the first time ever, the songs I sing and my performance would probably become a guide for others. Because of this, I felt both a sense of responsibility and anticipation at the same time.”

Kim Junsu decided to give it a shot once again. It was an opportunity for him to leave his footprints engraved in ‘Tears Of Heaven’. However, nothing in this world is that easy. Unlike ‘Mozart’, whose production was at a high stage of completion, ‘Tears Of Heaven’ had amendments made right up till the actual day of the performance. The title of ‘worldwide premiere’ became a source of pressure for him. “The content kept getting changed during rehearsals. We were told to come early on the day of the performance, and upon arriving, (we were told that) there were even changes to the lyrics. Even midway through the performance, changes were still being made to the ending scene. (laughs) We just had to keep on experimenting.”

However, he was able to adapt quickly to the situation, and that gave him confidence when it came to musicals. His acting and ad-lib abilities also improved. There were times on stage when he had to act and improvise by himself for as long as 5 minutes. His skills improved greatly when practicing in actual situations. His fellow musical actors were the first to acknowledge this when he stood on the stage of the National Theatre of Korea in February 2011. Kim Junsu said, “When I hear people say that they watched ‘Tears Of Heaven’ again after watching my performance, it feels like the best compliment.”

‘Ticket power’ that surprised  the Musical industry

His ‘ticket power’ continued even with ‘Tears Of Heaven’. The ticketing was divided into three rounds. The first round saw 10,000 seat sell out in just 5 minutes, the second round saw 13,000 seats sell out in just 3 and a half minutes, and the third round saw 4,500 seats sell out in a mere 2 and a half minutes. It was a record that was possible only because it was Kim Junsu.

The production team was taken aback by the response towards ‘Tears Of Heaven’, which was much greater than expected. They secured a large venue, and had three rounds of ticketing, but there was an audience of over 30,000. There were also many request from overseas fans who wanted to get a hold of tickets. In the end, 3,000 seats were added to Kim Junsu’s performance dates, and even those sold out within a minute. There is no other musical actor that can be pitted against Kim Junsu when it comes to ‘ticket power’.

His skills improved, and he received positive feedback for his success in musicals.

The public watched keen-eyed as he took on his second musical, following the success with ‘Mozart’. Above all, Kim Junsu found those comments that compared him to senior actor, Jo Seung Woo, the hardest to stomach. He said, “I really disliked it, and it gave me a lot of stress.”

“I thought, ‘Seung Woo is a veteran when it comes to acting in musicals, how could I possibly be compared with him? Musical fans already dislike idol singers even without (such comments), how much more are they going to dislike me after this?’ Geez!”

It was also baffling to be asked questions about being compared to Jo Seung Woo everywhere he went. Each time that happened, Kim Junsu would simply say, “I will continue doing musicals in the future.”

As he endured all this and stood on stage, the media also gradually began to focus on Kim Junsu’s abilities. The media was the first to acknowledge Kim Junsu’s abilities, crediting him for the success with ‘Tears Of Heaven’, despite it being an original musical that was being performed for the first time.  The press commented on the reasons for the success of ‘Tears Of Heaven’ and said, “On the contrary, it would be odd if this production did not succeed considering Kim Junsu is in it.” “Kim Junsu’s emotions are the highlight of this production.” “Kim Junsu’s charming emotional acting is outstanding.”

Praise from the media aside, Kim Junsu spoke about his gratitude for the many things that he has gained from this production.

“While taking on the production ‘Tears Of Heaven’, I learnt a lot about musicals. Given that it is an original musical, we had to go through a lot of trial-and-error, but at the same time it also broadened my perspective. I came to understand the details involved in the performance, the music and the stage, and that became a great source of strength for me as a (musical) actor. This is why I think this production was a good choice. It was the first time I tried melodramatic acting, and I felt that it really fits well with the genre of musicals. The love between a couple cannot be expressed (solely) through lines from a script and songs. While performing ‘Tears Of Heaven’, I lived immersed in a murky love. I also cried a lot. I heard that Yoochun also cried watching the performance.”


13. Park Yoochun, on meeting Song Yoo Hyun of ‘Miss Ripley’

With the success that Park Yoochun gained through ‘SungKyunKwan Scandal’, he next appeared in a traditional romance drama, and the MBC drama of May 2011, ‘Miss Ripley’, became his stage.

When talking about ‘Miss Ripley’, the first phrase that comes to his mind is “sense of burden.” Somehow, this sense of burden had gradually increased due to pressure and anxiousness.

As this was the 2nd drama, after he had made his entrance into the acting scene after ‘SungKyunKwan Scandal’, Park Yoochun found himself constantly shuffling between the thoughts of “I have to do well” and “I have to surpass myself.” Also, he found it difficult to blend his own personality into that of the perfect man Song Yoo Hyun. “The pressure of having to excel in everything including languages, sports and the piano created a great sense of burden. I am imperfect, but had to play a perfect man so it was really difficult. I constantly wondered if I could portray Song Yoo Hyun the way the producers wanted me to, so initially, I thought a lot about how I should be playing this character.”

Pushing the sense of burden aside, and once again heading in passionately

External environmental factors, such as the pouring rain that put an end to all filming schedules, took a toll on Park Yoochun. If he were to really pick that to the bone, the toll came from the ‘expectations he placed on himself’.

“Due to the success of the first project, I had a sense of greed, of wanting to do even better, and this created a lot of pressure on myself. I can say this now because it was in the past, I don’t understand why I had put so much pressure on myself then. Furthermore, there were so many senior actors present, it would be a lie to say that I was not discouraged at first. Moreover, there were many environmental factors that affected the balance of emotions on set. It wasn’t because the shooting hours were long and they often had us working overnight, but we had great anticipation for this project that kept falling short and the sadness as a result of this made it tiring.”

But through working with his seniors as an actor, he was able to gain a valuable lesson.

“To be able to work with seniors like Jang Yong (who plays Yoo Hyun’s father) and Choi Myung-Gil (who plays Yoo Hyun’s stepmother), made me very happy. Initially they felt a little scary, but it wasn’t like that at all. It was at that time that I started to feel like I was truly acting. After the end of the shoot, they would approach me first and even suggested that we have a meal together, and I was truly thankful,” he said, expressing his gratitude.

He did not forget the fans as well. “The power of the fans was great as well. Unlike ‘SungKyunKwan Scandal’, probably because ‘Miss Ripley’ is a modern day drama, there was less of an immediate reaction as compared to ‘SungKyunKwan Scandal’. But after every episode, fans would upload their sincere thoughts online, and show their support.”

What ‘Miss Ripley’ Had Left Behind

Through ‘Miss Ripley’, Park Yoochun managed to show a mature side of himself as an actor. When analyzing his character (to the writer), he said, “Although he has many scenes, it still feels like I never truly managed to express all of Yoo Hyun’s true emotions. Looking at it, he had somehow become a passive character, when in fact, when observing the role, it can be seen that he has more of an active personality. The decision to take over his father’s business was an active one as well, so when he found out that the woman he loves and was lying to him, he should have taken a more active role in trying to resolve this.”

Also, when asked to pick his most memorable scene, he chose “The scene where Yoo Hyun tells Jang Miri that he had known about her lies from a long time ago, but was only pretending not to know,” and explained that, “Even though that scene had about 7-8 pages of lines, it was especially easy to memorize, and to the audiences it was a great scene, probably because it managed to address many questions that the audiences would have had.”

Through this drama, Park Yoochun also nurtured the ability to grasp the essence of a scene.

“Now, when reading a script, it feels like the key scenes just pop out for me. I will first think about the scenes that need practice and checking, and also know that I need to set the right mood and emotion beforehand.”

Another hot issue from ‘Miss Ripley’ was the fact that Park Yoochun had sung for the OST, ‘An Empty Space Left For You’. When it was released, the song swept the OST charts, and became the most popular OST in Asia. “Junsu likes this song as well, for both the lyrics and the tune. He likes the lyrics and melody so much that he’ll sometimes sing it for me. I play the piano instrumental for him when he does that.”

The decision to appear in this drama, and the preparation for this drama had been difficult, but looking back, Park Yoochun treats everything as great memories while not forgetting the lessons he had learnt through the hardships, and once again gives us a radiant smile.


14. Kim Jaejoong, on meeting Mu Won and debuting as an actor in Korea

With the success of his Japanese drama ‘Hard To Say I Love You’, the public was curious to see what Kim Jaejoong would pick for his next drama. And though Kim Jaejoong’s meeting with Cha Mu Won of ‘Protect the Boss’ was unexpected, it was also fate. In the SBS drama ‘Protect the Boss’, which began airing in August, 2011, Kim Jaejoong played the role of Director Cha Mu Won, the ‘prince of finance’ and a genius recognized by the Davos Forum. ‘Protect the Boss’ depicted the story of a ‘Taming an Unruly Chaebol Project’ by the newbie secretary Noh Eun Seol (Choi Kang Hee) against her foul-tempered chaebol boss Cha Ji Heon (Ji Sung). It was a romantic comedy that brought together PD Sohn Jung Hyun of ‘Lovers in Paris’ and ‘Temptation of the Angels’, and screenwriter Kwon Gi Young of ‘Crazy in Love’.

Gaining happiness and people from ‘Protect the Boss’

Before being cast in this drama, Kim Jaejoong was preparing for a movie appearance. He had been preparing to play a character with a Busan dialect, but had to change everything about his tone and speech for the role of Cha Mu Won.

But Kim Jaejoong is someone who works better ‘on set’. Senior actor Ahn Nae Sang became his acting coach, and Kim Jaejoong began to show his true potential once he hit the set of ‘Protect the Boss’.

“I read through the script and I thought it was so funny. The script of ‘Protect the Boss’ was so good that anyone who read it said, ‘It will have viewership ratings of over 20% for sure.’ It was a project with unique characters and great episodes, and the project gave me great friends to keep.”

The charm of acting that he felt in ‘Hard to say I love you’ was felt even more deeply through ‘Protect the Boss’. “If I kept acting but never improved, I probably wouldn’t have felt any fun in acting. But I liked to act the more I did it, and I could feel my acting skills increasing bit by bit. The praises that people gave me on set pushed me to work harder.”

But at times, the excessive affection he got from others shook Kim Jaejoong’s acting core. Many acting seniors didn’t hold back in their acting advice for Kim Jaejoong. But there’s the saying that there exists too much of a good thing. At times, he would be lost in wondering, ‘What is the right way of acting.’ Whenever this happened, the person who steadied Kim Jaejoong was the camera director. Kim Jaejoong expressed his gratitude and stated, “The director told me, ‘Don’t listen to everything other people say and do what you think is right.’ He said that the acting I had initially believed was right for me was what I needed to pursue. His words helped me out so much.” Thanks to him, Kim Jaejoong was able to successfully immerse himself into his role.

Right around when Kim Jaejoong made his appearance in ‘Protect the Boss’, a ‘Director craze’ was raging through televised dramas. Handsome and talented ‘Director’ characters were grabbing the hearts of women everywhere. Fellow member Park Yoochun stood in the center of that craze as Director Song Yoo Hyun of the MBC drama ‘Miss Ripley’.

When asked who he thought was more charming between ‘Director Cha’ and ‘Director Song’, Kim Jaejoong chose his own character ‘Director Cha’ without any hesitation. “I once shared an idea with Yoochun that it would be fun if we shot a cameo scene with the two directors together. Though both have their own charms, I think that viewers cheered for ‘Director Cha’ of ‘Protect the Boss’ more than they did for ‘Director Song’. Yoochun once said in a fanmeet that ‘Director Song’ was a charming man who was perfect in every way, except for his taste in women.”

While appearing in ‘Protect the Boss’, Kim Jaejoong also worked on the OST. Having already been recognized for his talents as a singer-songwriter through JYJ’s album, Kim Jaejoong received a lot of love for the song ‘I’ll Protect You’, the theme song of Cha Ji Heon and Noh Eun Seol’s romance that he wrote the lyrics for. Though it wasn’t easy for him to juggle acting and working on the OST at the same time, Kim Jaejoong said, “I thought of the main characters when I wrote the lyrics and sang the song, and I think that helped bring out my emotions more.”

The popularity of ‘Director Cha’ spreads from Korea to Japan

Looking back on the time he spent filming for ‘Protect the Boss’, Kim Jaejoong referred to the ‘atmosphere on set’ a lot. It showed just how great the atmosphere and teamwork was. “I became very close with the main characters, director, screenwriter and staff while filming this drama. We often went out for meals together. If our team bought lunch, then Ji Sung’s team would buy dinner, and Kang Hee’s team would buy snacks… Like this, we became a family and this led to a great atmosphere.”

The actors’ friendship continued even after the end of the drama. “After the drama ended, I made a special appearance on Kang Hee’s radio show, and I went to the premiere of Ji Sung’s latest movie to show my support for him. At times, we all get together at a bar and ask each other how they’ve been doing. We even meet up at the end of the year to celebrate together. It was Ji Hae’s birthday then, so we held a surprise birthday party for her with a cake and presents. We sang her the birthday song and she was so moved that she started crying. Everyone was so amazed at us because they’d never seen lead actors from a drama getting along so well, even after the end of the drama.”

Kim Jaejoong became especially close with Ji Sung and said, “At first, I found Ji Sung difficult to approach but we quickly became friends during the drama MT. Even now, he’s a great mentor and friend. He’s funny and enjoys drinking, so we go drinking together and talk a lot. We both hate people who are conceited. ‘Let’s go hiking.’ ‘Let’s go biking.’ We say this to each other often, but we’ve never actually gone through with our plans.”

Just like how their friendship still stands strong, the drama ‘Protect the Boss’ was popular both in Korea and in Japan. The drama has been aired multiple times on different channels and Kim Jaejoong’s ‘Protect the Boss Special DVD’ ranked third on the Oricon Charts and first on the DVD charts, proving just how popular he is in Japan.


Part 4 Dreaming Yet Another Dream

15. [C-JeS’s insight] The traces and achievements of JYJ’s world tour

From the Fall of 2011 to the Spring of 2012, JYJ held a true world tour. It was a world tour that took them across the main continents, from Asia to North and South America, and Europe, to meet their fans. In the process, JYJ created a new record for the becoming the first Korean singers to hold a solo concert in Europe and South America.

Not only does JYJ’s world tour have such ‘historical’ meaning, but it also allowed them to become pioneers of K-pop. South America was an area that others couldn’t easily go to because of time and cost issues. But JYJ toured the South American region and performed. Only after their South American leg did other K-pop singers hold concerts there as well.

“Europe and South America. It was quite hard to hold concerts in countries that others didn’t perform in. Not only did we not have any concert-related data to work off of, but we had no idea how many fans would actually come either. If we were to hold a concert in China, we would be able to hire local agents to estimate the number of fans who would come, but because there hadn’t been any K-pop concerts held in South America, we had no way of estimating at all. We weren’t in a position to receive help from others either. It might have seemed impossible to others. So we went out and did field surveys ourselves. We believe that if we hadn’t shown others that holding a concert in that region was possible, other singers couldn’t have dreamed of going there. We were the pioneers. We were the ones who reached out to all the continents.”

Like CEO Baek Chang Joo said, C-JeS Entertainment, which was in charge of planning JYJ’s world tour, had no help from any outside sources and took control of everything about the world tour, from start to finish.

“There’s a difference between seeing your favorite singer on an online video and seeing them in person. We wanted the fans to meet JYJ in person. And there are some people who just go to famous overseas singers’ concerts, even if they aren’t fans. They go to these concerts and become fans. It was important for us to go and show them who we were and what we could do. Even if there were only 3,000 people who would be coming now, we knew that in the long run that number would increase. Because we tried it first, other companies and other singers followed us. That’s what was most rewarding.”

Like this, JYJ’s world tour looked to the long run, even if there weren’t many fans or profit in the short run, and left an important trace in South America.

“It was when we visited Chile. The first time we went, 1,000 fans greeted us at the airport but the second time we went, 3,000 people were there. Though there weren’t as many fans in Brazil as there were in Chile or Peru, we still went there. We believe that if we keep going back once or twice, the number of fans will keep increasing. If we had only been focusing on getting money from the concerts, it would have been a place we should have never gone to.”

These efforts by C-JeS Entertainment won the local fans over. When C-JeS Entertainment began planning their second South America performances, agents in the region agreed to work with them without a moment of hesitation.

But wouldn’t it be right to earn a certain amount of profit so as to create a possibility for reinvestments in the next concerts?

“It was a concert we could have never done if we were in it for the money. We have to look at it in the long run. For JYJ, if the trust they placed in their work is broken, they can’t work. We believed that it couldn’t end with one concert, we have to keep visiting the fans again and again. The process of preparing for our second concerts in South America was much easier than the first time.”

Did the members have no worries of going to South America, the opposite side of the globe?

CEO Baek Chang Joo emphasized, “We didn’t have any alternatives. I think if we were actually given a choice, it would have been harder for us. Because we only had one path that we could take, we were able to put all our efforts into making it happen.”


16. Traversing the globe and finding new hope

For JYJ, their European tour was a new challenge and an adventure. Though they were already quite famous overseas during their days as members of TVXQ, it wasn’t easy for them to hold a concert in Europe. It wasn’t only because of the obstacles that surrounded a European concert. It was also because of the external influences that blocked their path, even when they were pursuing overseas performances. But nothing could hold down JYJ’s passion. They overcame all the obstacles that seemed impossible to face and stood on stage in Barcelona, Spain on October 29th, 2011.

It’s true that they were still on the fence about the possibilities of success of their European concerts, up to the moment they stood on stage.

Kim Junsu said, “We knew we were quite popular overseas, but we honestly didn’t really know just how popular we were because we’d never visited these countries. We wanted to hold concerts in the UK and France, but we were blocked by unseen forces. We didn’t even know if our concert in Spain would take place. But we were determined to go, and that we had to go, no matter what.”

They were no longer afraid of taking on a challenge anymore. Most of all, they thought of the local fans who were waiting for them. The Palau San Jordi stadium was overflowing with the passion of 3,000 fans from all over Europe. The members reciprocated their fans’ cheers with a better performance than ever. Europe is the place where dedicated fans gathered to create a solid fanbase for JYJ. Kim Jaejoong reminisced about the cheers of JYJ’s fans as he said, “The concert went well and we worked hard. When we sincerely work hard, the fans and the audience are able to feel that.”

The European tour gives them another goal

Through their interaction with their European fans, JYJ became more mature. Park Yoochun said, “We were so happy to receive the cheers and support of our fans, but we never let it get to our heads. All we thought about was ending the concert well, no, actually just being able to perform, because we had gone with a challenge to fulfill. So we were very solemn about it all.”

On November 6th, JYJ met with 3,000 fans in Berlin, Germany and held another concert. The members all said, “We found new hope there.” Kim Junsu looked back on their Europe tour and said, “We were so surprised that more people came to our concert than we’d expected, but what surprised us most was that the audience was singing along with us in Korean. They helped us see hope in our desperate situation. We began to really buckle down and get back on our feet.”

The title of ‘First Korean singers to hold a Europe Tour’ led to a bigger goal, and a new purpose for them. Their goal was “to keep doing better.” Because they had overcome so many difficulties and obstacles, such an obvious goal struck a chord in them.

Kim Jaejoong looked back on the difficulties of JYJ’s concerts as he said, “When we were preparing for our Europe Tour, we were so grateful to even have promoters who were willing to join us,” and stated that such difficulties helped shape a more positive outlook. Because of this, he added, “I’ve learned to live a more humble and hard-working life.”

Park Yoochun said, “It reminded me of when we first started promoting in Japan. It made us realize once more just how precious the stage is. I think that our Spain performance was the one that showcased the best teamwork we’d shown in a long time. We worked hard and promised that we’d meet 10,000 fans the next time we went back. We found a new goal for JYJ to take on.”

A welcome from passionate South American fans

The South American leg of JYJ’s tour in Chile and Peru in March, 2012 are still remembered by the members as a very special experience.

South American fans passionately greeted the artistes who had flown in from halfway across the world. The presence of fans who met them with such an explosive response in the South American region, which had always been deemed to be too far, shocked everyone. The concerts in Santiago, Chile on March 9th, and in Lima, Peru on the 11th attracted a total of 3,000 and 6,000 fans respectively.

Park Yoochun looked back and said, “I was amazed by the forward expressions of affection by our South American fans,” and “They enjoyed the concert like it was a club, not a concert.” Kim Jaejoong said, “I was amazed by their passion. When Chile’s first lady visited Korea, she told us, ‘Do you know how popular you are in Chile?’ We finally understood what she meant. We worked hard and it drew the applause of our fans, and this gave us the ability to communicate with the people who already had a taste of our music.”

The Peru concert, which was the last stop in JYJ’s year-long world tour, was said to have drawn more fans than the concert of world star Justin Bieber. Fans from South American countries that JYJ couldn’t visit held protests to express their wish for JYJ to perform in their countries.

An unforgettable happening, that perilous moment

CEO Baek Chang Joo and the members of JYJ remember a happening that could have ended very badly on their to Santiago, Chile for their South American performance. At the time, they had flown from Seoul to LA, USA and were waiting for their connecting flight to Santiago, Chile. They were only able to board the plane eight hours after their scheduled departure time, and these eight hours were spent sitting on uncomfortable airport chairs. The plane sped along the runway and was about to take off when it suddenly hit the runway and started shaking.

Smoke starting rising from the plane’s engines and began seeping into the back of the seats, sparking an alarm that the plane might explode. One of the flight attendants saw that there was something wrong with the engine and alerted the captain, who decided to land the plane back on the runway rather than keep going. The analysis that had the plane taken off and continued, it would have blown up in the sky, still makes the members’ hearts skip a beat.

The plane in question was a South American airline vehicle that had flown from Santiago to LA, and was returning to Santiago. It had already been delayed because it had required repairs after a bird strike (Caused by a bird flying into the engine, and is a main cause of airplane accidents) on the runway. However, it seemed like the repairs were not completed properly as they rushed to check the engine and prepare for the next flight.

CEO Baek Chang Joo sighed as he said, “If they plane had risen a little higher in its ascent, we might have all died. Thankfully, the plane landed back on the runway as soon as the wheels lifted off of it.”

Though it’s something that they can look back on as just another memory, it was a dizzying moment that had them paralyzed in fear.

After the end of their South American tour…

After going through such a perilous journey to reach Chile and Peru, JYJ’s South American fans greeted them with cheers of love that rivaled that of fans from any other part of the world. For JYJ, the way to repay the fans for their cheers and shouts was, “Not tiring down, and doing the best that we can” (Kim Junsu), and “Working harder” (Park Yoochun). After finishing their Peru concert, three of them stayed up all night making these promises to each other.

Kim Jaejoong looked back and said, “We talked a lot about what had gone wrong during the tour and how our sound system had been like. We also talked about our feelings too. And through that, we fostered hope and were determined to do better.” They also shared their thoughts about the time they had spent together. Kim Junsu stated, “We spent the last three years to the fullest of our capabilities. We told ourselves to be proud and congratulate each other for one day of what we had achieved.”

Park Yoochun said, “We still feel a sense of pride about the fact that we were the first Korean singers to hold a tour in Europe and South America,” and “We didn’t have high expectations for ourselves. All we wished for was to end our concerts without any accidents. We didn’t really find the title of ‘the first’ to be that important.” He also added, “It was great to stay up all night talking to the other members, who I hadn’t seen often because of all our individual activities. I can still remember us thanking each other and promising to work harder and do better after the world tour was over.”

When JYJ became the first Korean artistes to successfully hold concerts in Chile and Peru, broadcasting companies and idol groups fought to get there as well. Regarding this, Kim Junsu said, “There were times when I felt ambiguous about the fact that we had been the ones who had suffered, but others were the ones who were gaining from it. But it also made me feel a sense of responsibility. A responsibility that we would succeed in things that others hesitated over. Because being able to do that is one of our many capabilities.” The South American leg of their tour became a precious stage for JYJ, as it gave them such confidence.

17. The records of giving, the meaning of giving
(T/N : this part is done in JPGs because it makes more sense with pictures!)

Source : [The JYJ magazine: The story of 1000 days]

Translated & Shared by :


[2nd Anni Project] JYJ Magazine: The Story Of 1000 Days Translations Part 3

Part 5. Our Growth

18. [C-JeS’s insight] JYJ’s 1000 Days, a time of change and development

The past 1000 days that Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun and Kim Jaejoong have spent as members of JYJ have been a time of change and development.While preparing their worldwide album, they grew from vocalists to singer-songwriters. And during their world tour, they were faced with loneliness as they walked down a path that had never been touched before. But they were proud to have become pioneers in K-Pop and it gave them the opportunity to grow even more as artistes. The person who brought about this change and development in JYJ was CEO Baek Chang Joo. CEO Baek didn’t hold back on his encouragement and support for JYJ as they wrote songs for their album.

“When we were preparing their album, I told the members, ‘You all know how to write songs. Make your own music.’ The members looked perplexed and asked, ‘Why don’t we get songs from other composers?’ but they ended up writing their own songs for their album. The best thing to come out of this process was the members’ confidence in themselves. The confidence that they will be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want to do it. Though there are worries that they might be caged in themselves if they only sing songs that they have written, what matters is that JYJ were able to grow through this process and they are still continuing to grow. The members are all talented. My role is to help them discover and use those talents to be better at what they do.”

CEO Baek’s aspiration is, “To continue with JYJ’s world tours,” and “To make JYJ a long-running group.”

“When I’m asked what my goal is, I always say, ‘To survive’. I don’t know exactly till when, but I believe that ‘surviving till the end’ is very important. It’s not that the strong are the ones who survive, but that those who survive are strong. The members often forget this fact. Whenever they do, I tell them this. Nothing in life is ever accomplished easily. Though the members already know this, there are times when they forget after a while. So whenever they believe that the worst is over, I tell them not to forget why they started all this and say, ‘Nothing is accomplished just like that.’ Though they don’t have to always think about their ‘days as a tadpole’, they need to never forget what kind of situation we’re in. Just because one is doing well now, doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to keep doing well in the future.”


19. The first Korean album ‘In Heaven’, the one we’d been waiting for

Like how Spring returns to even stolen fields, like how there can be difficulties but not failure, the members overcame various adversities and grew as people.

If it is said that they had met with their fans all over the world through their worldwide album, then on September 27th, 2011, they showed their gratitude for the domestic fans who had waited so long for them through their first Korean album ‘In Heaven’. With the support of the fans who had been waiting for that moment, 300,000 copies of the album were pre-ordered before the release date, and over 30,000 copies were officially sold on the first day of its release. At various record stores, a separate counter had to be set up for JYJ’s albums and all the reserved albums were sold out on the day of the release.

The special edition of ‘In Heaven’, which was released on the 21st of November, also sold over 300,000 copies in pre-orders. But there was another reason why this album was in the spotlight. It gave JYJ the opportunity to be recognized as musicians who could compose, write lyrics and produce music instead of just singers who sang what was given to them. ‘In Heaven’ is an album that was filled with compositions by the members and showcase JYJ’s harmonies to the fullest.

Each song that Kim Jaejoong composed or wrote lyrics for, such as the title song ‘In Heaven’, ‘Get Out’, ‘Boy’s Letter’, ‘Nine’ and ‘Pierrot’, all have a special happening tied to them.

‘Nine’ is a song that he wrote for his fans as he looked back on his nine years as a singer. ‘Pierrot’ was written while thinking about the moment JYJ escaped from the fetters of adversity, and ‘Boy’s Letter’ depicted the story JYJ wanted to tell to their female counterpart. ‘In Heaven’ was created with Kim Jaejoong’s friend, the late Park Yong Ha,  in mind. ‘Get Out’ was a collaboration with Park Yoochun and the song was created quickly as the two worked so well together.

The reason why they had no choice but to write their own songs

To be honest, they hadn’t been planning on composing and writing their own lyrics from the beginning. CEO Baek came up with the idea because there were no composers who were willing to give JYJ any songs. At CEO Baek’s request of, “Why don’t you guys try making your own music?” the members started taking an interest in composing and writing lyrics.

“There were outside influences that blocked composers from being able to give their work to other singers if they gave any songs to us. So we naturally began composing and writing our own lyrics. Our greed and interest for music grew, which led to our skills increasing and bettering the quality ofour album.” (Kim Jaejoong)

Filling their new album with their own compositions made the members even more nervous than before. And because this was an album they had put together to become closer with their domestic fans, that anxiety grew even stronger.

Park Yoochun said, “We were even more nervous than when we were preparing our worldwide album. I felt satisfied about being able to share my story with our fans by creating our own music and producing it. This fact makes me work harder when I’m writing new music.” That satisfaction led to self-gratitude for the members.

Kim Junsu smiled and said, “I’m so grateful and thankful that all of us are able to write music. I was proud of us for being able to make something work, even when there was no definite path. Though it was hard when we were actually in the process of creating the album, the results made me so proud.”

They know what each other is thinking, just by looking at each other

JYJ is undeniably a group with greater synergy when they are together. They are able to communicate, even without any words, and they didn’t waste any time unnecessarily when they were working on their album.

Park Yoochun said, “Whenever we see each other for the first time in a while, we talk, no matter how tired we are. I’m sure you’re all curious as to what kind of things the three of us could possibly talk about,  and even we think it’s strange that no matter how long we talk, we never tire of it.” Through this process, they were able to draw inspirations for their songs, and opened their ears up to each other more. They say that they are able to know which member wrote which song in what style, just by hearing one verse.

 Though there are times when their opinions don’t match or they bicker, they all say that it never happens when they’re working on their music.

“Though we are all greedy about our musical aspirations, we make concessions to each other. We write songs with each other in mind, and we give each other advice on our respective parts.” (Park Yoochun)

Their feeling of being together only strengthened through their music and became the leading force in creating such a high quality album.

Kim Jaejoong boasted, “Even just being next to them makes me feel great, so how amazing is it that I get to work with them on something I love? We give each other advice on each other’s music and come up with new ideas together. We direct each other and write songs for each other. How could we not be happy when we created an album with such affection and care?”

This is what brought each members’ musical preferences together. Saying, “Jaejoong likes medium tempo songs while Yoochun likes melodious ballads,” Kim Junsu also added, “I prefer hard dance tracks. Even the fact that we each like different genres becomes an advantage for us. If we bring all these together, we’re able to create a new side for ourselves.”

Their unique personalities create a synergy effect

While working on ‘In Heaven’, Kim Jaejoong was able to accentuate each member’s unique color. But Kim Junsu and Park Yoochun said, “Jaejoong’s songs are so difficult.” The two of them would shuffle around and huff in exasperation.

Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu came together to say, “Because Jaejoong works on his compositions at home and uses a low voice when creating a guide, but he also writes his song in a high key. We feel like we’re going to die. When we ask him to bring the key down because it’s so high, he says, ‘Yoochun, Junsu! You can do it!’ Hearing that, we go right back into recording the music. That’s how our team works.”

“They’re songs that I know we’re capable of singing. Our songs have to be appealing to the general public, and give people goosebumps when we sing them at concerts. TVXQ’s biggest strength was our perfect harmony, and I believe that JYJ have to continue that identity. Yoochun and Junsu sometimes grumble and say, ‘You’re songs at too high.’ Junsu said, ‘Even when I got on stage to perform tens of times in a musical, my throat would never be sore. But it is when I sing your songs.’ Hahaha! Before I go into the recording booth, I praise them and convince them that, ‘You guys can do it.’” (Kim Jaejoong)

In the recording booth, the laughter that comes from their praises and conversations never seems to end. Though they are more serious than ever when they’re working on new music, they throw praise after praise at each other, right up till the moment they start working.

To quote the members, they ‘go crazy with self-admiration’. When they use to work on songs for TVXQ albums, they would do nothing but record the songs. One person would be recording their part while the others were taking a break. Though they were tired, all they had to do was sing what composers had given them. But this isn’t the case any more  Even when they’ve just recorded a guide, they encourage each other with praises like ‘It’s great,’ and ‘You’re a genius.’ When they’re recording, they become producers for each other, and for JYJ, this is when they are the happiest they’ve ever been.

This is also the biggest reason why JYJ are able to ‘happily work on music that they love’.


 20. Kim Jaejoong, on falling head over heels for directing

The first performance of JYJ’s World Tour, which was held at the Jamshil Complex Stadium in Seoul on November 27th, 2010, was the most painful concert for Kim Jaejoong, but it was also the performance that gave him the opportunity to work as a director. Calling that day, “The day I felt most sorry to our fans since our debut,” Kim Jaejoong looked back and said, “It was a time of deep self-reflection for me.” He also said, “I really want to create a concert where both the performing singer and the fans who come to watch can enjoy the whole show comfortably.”

Becoming Director Kim!

JYJ’s Asia Tour, which began on April 4th, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand, was Kim Jaejoong’s debut stage as the ‘general manager’. For over a month, Kim Jaejoong was responsible for designing every aspect for JYJ’s concerts such as lights, sound system, stage and videos. “When we were preparing a concert in Korea, we were low on directing manpower. So I ran around as much as I could and worked to look at every nook and cranny. Like how they say that you see as much as you know, I believed that the more I ran around and worked hard, the more perfect our stage would be.”

His perception of the stage has changed greatly due to his transformation from a singer to a director. Kim Jaejoong said, “When you get on stage as a singer, all you saw was the stage and your props, but when you look at the stage as a director, you see everything.”

He also had the difficult job of juggling the roles of a singer and a director at the same time.

For a more perfect performance, he would send Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu on stage by themselves during rehearsals till right before the actual concert so he could focus on everything on stage. Kim Jaejoong smiled as he said, “I was so focused on my role as a director that I was unprepared to go on stage as a singer, and the other members complained about that.” But the other members gave their utmost trust to Kim Jaejoong’s directing abilities.

Park Yoochun showed his pride in Kim Jaejoong as he said, “I believed that if I could trust what was going on because it was Jaejoong. He’s always been interested in directing, so he’s always had the nickname ‘Director Kim’ and now he’s finally made it a reality.” Kim Junsu laughed and said, “He’s stood on stage as a singer so many times that he created a performance that perfectly understood that perspective. Because of this, he created a really enjoyable concert.”

How is Director Kim Jaejoong different from Singer Kim Jaejoong? Kim Jaejoong confessed that he would get angry at his staff members by saying, “I found myself getting more sensitive and snap at people.” He asked for their understanding as he added, “I think I got more edgy and sensitive because even the smallest things can affect the entire stage. But I got angry as a director so that we could all smile after the concert. Because if we don’t hold a good performance, no one smiles.”

Expanding his experiences as a director

‘Director Kim Jaejoong”s directing abilities were proved once more during Sohn Yeon Jae’s first gala show ‘LG Whisen Rhythmic All Stars 2011′ at the Korea University Hwajung Gymnasium on the 11th and 12th of June, 2011. He took on everything from the music selection and production, to the stage effects, choreography and costumes. He worked extremely hard on the concert, even working on the event during JYJ’s World Tour through e-mails.

At the time, Sohn Yeon Jae performed a ribbon performance to Lady Gaga’s ‘Born this Way’ and drew much attention for her sexy, mature and provocative transformation. She also danced and performed to Girls’ Generation’s ‘Hoot’ with her seniors, catching the attention of everyone there.

On having to prepare a gala show, which was completely different from a concert, Kim Jaejoong said, “I think it was harder for Yeon Jae because this wasn’t the gymnastics that she was used to. Because dancing and doing gymnastics is entirely different. I’ve never worked so hard on teaching someone, and I’m so grateful that Yeon Jae was such a quick learner.”

The performance became an opportunity for him to get to know Sohn Yeon Jae. “While I was directing the performance, she would call me ‘Director’ but now she calls me ‘Oppa(Older brother)’. When I saw ‘Infinite Challenge’, I saw that she draws definite lines between ‘Oppa (Older brother’, ‘Ahjussi (Old man)’ and ‘Samchon (Uncle)’ and I’m a ‘Oppa (Older brother)’ to her. (laughter)”

Jaejoong’s note – The 007 Directing Plan for the Gala Show

Kim Jaejoong’s gala show directing role rivaled that of a 007 operation. This is because Kim Jaejoong was in the US for his World Tour when a series of conferences were held for the gala show’s concert and Sohn Yeon Jae had returned to Korea to rehearse.

Before leaving for his World Tour, Kim Jaejoong completed most of the preparations for the music, costume concepts and choreography and when he was in the US, he received the results of his work and gave feedback through e-mails. Photos of the stage setting and costume fitting sessions, as well as videos of choreography rehearsals came to him through a stream of e-mails. After thoroughly checking through all the results, Kim Jaejoong would send replies with advice on what needed to be added on what needed to be changed to the choreography. He even gave his advice on the smaller things, such as the color, material and cutting methods of the costumes.

He didn’t hold back on his advice for Sohn Yeon Jae as a mentor. She couldn’t help but feel extremely pressured. Not only was she standing on stage as the main act at a young age, but she also had to perform with the Top 10 gymnasts of Russia and Ukraine.

Kim Jaejoong continuously coached her on controlling her mind and gave her the strength to stay focused.

He didn’t forget to send her e-mails and text messages that said, “When you stand on stage, you are the star and you are the best. You’re doing so well. So many people are going to be so happy when they see you perform.”

With the day of the concert approaching, Kim Jaejoong became more focused on the details of the show. He checked everything from Sohn Yeon Jae’s entrance to her every move during the choreography till the very end, as well as the movements of all the dancers who would stand on stage with Sohn Yeon Jae.

Though the day of the gala show had come, Kim Jaejoong had to direct the performance through a video call because he was occupied with his World Tour concert in Busan. After checking every moment in the final rehearsal, he shouted his words of encouragement to Sohn Yeon Jae and ended his role as a director for the gala show. The show began during the rehearsal of JYJ’s World Tour performance. Kim Jaejoong couldn’t hide his pride when he watched the performance he had directed on TV.

Though the performance has ended, Kim Jaejoong and Sohn Yeon Jae have kept their mentor-mentee relationship and continue to support each other. It would be great to see the two people stay in touch as a global artiste and athlete.


21. Kim Jaejoong, on being recognized as an actor in ‘Dr. Jin’

If ‘Protect the Boss’ was the production that allowed Kim Jaejoong to successfully slot the first button into the right hole as an actor in Korea, his second drama ‘Dr. Jin’ helped him grow another level as an actor.

He appeared in the MBC weekend drama ‘Dr. Jin’ that began airing in May, 2012 as Joseon’s greatest officer ‘Kim Kyung Tak’, who came from a military family and excelled in martial arts. He was a character who was not only competitive and proud, but also simple-hearted and head over heels for a woman he had loved from a young age. Kim Kyung Tak ended up locked in a fateful competition with Jin Hyuk (Song Seung Hun), a doctor who fell in a ‘time slip’ from the 21st Century.

Dominating historical dramas with a single loving gaze

Maybe it’s because of his city-boy looks, but in the beginning, there were many worries and concerns over his appearance in a historical drama. From worries that he wouldn’t fit his historical outfits because of his sharp Western features to concerns that his voice wouldn’t fit a historical dialect, various voices of concern and worry put a lot of pressure on him. Kim Jaejoong himself was not confident about acting in a historical drama with a fantasy twist. He was in the process of deciding whether or not he’d be appearing in the movie ‘Jackal is Coming’, so the decision was not easy.

“To be honest, I felt very pressured about appearing in a historical drama. And because Kim Kyung Tak had a heavy image, I felt that people may not see a difference between him and the other characters I had played. But I made the decision to take on a new challenge.”

As soon as the first two episodes of the drama aired, all worries and concerns surrounding Kim Jaejoong disappeared. Kim Jaejoong was praised for his ability to successfully take on the antiquated style and intonations of historical dialect, something that even veteran actors find difficult. However, nothing was easy from the start for Kim Jaejoong. The critiques he received for his vocalization in the beginning gave Kim Jaejoong a hard time.

“Since becoming a singer, I started talking in a higher tone to hit the high notes more easily. But I had to drop my voice lower for the historical drama. It wasn’t easy to change my breathing to change the way I sounded. Our audio director was the one who uncovered a path for me. ‘Don’t work too hard on making your voice louder, deeper or more easily heard.’ Because it was his job to catch every sound I made, even breathy murmurs, he told me to not get stressed out about it. From then on, I began to interpret historical dialect in my own way.”

He also stated that Lee Bum Soo’s advice of “Don’t try to pour too many things into your words. Let your gaze do the talking,” helped him a lot. His ability to convey the pain of a concubine’s son and the soft and comforting love he had for Hong Young Rae (Park Min Young) stole the hearts of the drama’s viewers as he showed a charm that differed from his days as Cha Mu Won in ‘Protect the Boss’.

‘Crazy for Kyung Tak’ became a phrase used often amongst drama lovers, and Kyung Tak’s lines became hot topics on online community threads. During the press conference that was held while filming for the drama, his seniors came together to praise Kim Jaejoong on his sincerity and potential as an actor.

The best meal ever from the ‘Jaejoong Food Van’

But the pressure Kim Jaejoong felt increase as ‘Dr. Jin’ came to an end. Emotional scenes increased as Kim Kyung Tak’s reality became harsher and harder. Having to put all his energy in his acting in more and more scenes had Kim Jaejoong in physical pain often.

With the filming schedule for ‘Jackal is Coming’ overlapping with the drama, the physical strain on his body increased. But Kim Jaejoong was able to rely on Kim Eung Soo, who played his father in the drama, and Jin Ihan.

There was one time when having to wear a topknot for over 20 hours affected his work in ‘Jackal is Coming’. Kim Jaejoong smiled and said, “When you watch the movie, you may be able to catch the marks on my head in some of the scenes from wearing a topknot. Because I had to wear a topknot for such a long time, the marks were quite deep. I had to start filming for the movie even before those marks could disappear.” It was a happening that showed just how hard it was for him to juggle two productions in completely different genres.

He was able to overcome the 36 degrees weather thanks to the affectionate ‘tribute’ from his fans. Kim Jaejoong looked proud as he said, “When you work in a drama, you see many actors’ fans sending gifts to those on set, but I can proudly say that our fans are a level above everyone else.”

A food van sent by his fans appeared on set for both productions Kim Jaejoong was appearing in. It was not a normal food van, but a high-quality food van with dishes that could be found in a seafood restaurant.

Kim Jaejoong laughed out loud as he said, “When the fans of other actors were handing out towels, our fans would hand out paper bags filled with towels, t-shirts, electrical fans, regular fans, snacks and nutritional supplements. One actor even said, ‘I’ve never lost when I had my fans’ gifts compared to anyone else’s on set, but Jaejoong, I’ve definitely lost to you.’ Inside, I was extremely proud.”

The fans’ gifts were aided by Kim Jaejoong’s frequent ‘lobbying’ to steal the hearts of the staff members, and it was none other than an ‘ice cream’ lobby. He said, “It was really hot, so no snack could beat ice cream. Ice cream isn’t that expensive so I was able to make a lot of people happy at a low cost.”

A ‘rediscovery’ of Kim Jaejoong

Never forgetting his gratitude for his fans, Kim Jaejoong invited 1,500 fans to the set of his drama on July 22nd. He moved them all to Yonsei University’s auditorium and conversed with them. Kim Jaejoong looked back on his unforgettable summer memories as he said, “I was able to successfully film the drama in a difficult environment thanks to the love and support I received from Korean, apanese and worldwide fans.”

Though it was a drama that started with many worries and concerns, Kim Jaejoong overcame all of his difficulties with talent and hard work, and when the drama was over, he was praised as ‘the actor who perfected the tragic character of Kim Kyung Tak’ and his work was called ‘The rediscovery of Kim Jaejoong.’

“When I first started the drama, I was afraid of it all because of the same reasons, but by the end, I realized that Kyung Tak has given me so much. I watch the final episode of ‘Dr. Jin’ often, and I’m still so deeply invested in Kyung Tak that tears will flow from my eyes whenever that scene comes up. His efforts to do his best in his promised world and protect the people around him reminds me of myself. That’s why he’s so appealing to me.”


22. Park Yoochun, on returning with ‘Rooftop Prince’

“Miss Ripley” was not the only challenge, and Park Yoochun, who had been maturing as an actor, embarked on a new challenge in March of 2012, showing comedic acting with SBS’s “Rooftop Prince.”

Park Yoochun, who made his debut in the acting word in a period drama, played the fantasy period character with a comical side,  “Lee Gak”. Through Lee Gak, Park Yoochun managed to shine with his true worth. With just 3 dramas, he cemented his position as an actor, and his reputation as a “lead-character grade actor” spread. Park Yoochun did not have any greed, but simply aimed to “enjoy the moment”, and managed to immerse himself in the character.

“I totally let myself go. I only thought about Lee Gak, and that’s why I managed to act out the role. I didn’t think about how to make myself look cool, and simply focused on (the character of) Lee Gak. In fact, some scenes had to be edited because the expressions had been too realistic.”

On set, he didn’t back away as well. If there were any questions, he would ask around for answers to his questions on acting. “When appearing on this drama, I managed to get into character very naturally. I used to get nervous, but not anymore. If I don’t know how I should be expressing the scene, I would just go ahead and ask others.” It’s almost as if it was only through “Rooftop Prince” that he became a true actor.

A set that taught me about the joys of acting

As he was injecting life into the character of Lee Gak, he also felt passion towards acting, and managed to bring even more to the role. Even though he faced a lot of difficulties during the shoot, but because he had tasted the true joys of acting, he revelled in it.  “In the drama ‘The Greatest Love’, Cha Seung Won had a line about ‘overcoming’, and I felt that this was actually not part of the script. I was really curious about how he had come up with that line. I feel like I can only act if I get into character, and immerse myself into the role. It was only then that I realised that this is probably what Cha Seung Won did as well. Previously, it was only about reading the script, but now I can inject a bit more meaning into the lines, and this makes acting more enjoyable..

The good working relationship he had with the co-actors helped as well. If shooting was delayed, he would go for steamboat and drinks with his co-actors. When shooting with Jung Suk Won, Lee Min Ho and Choi Moon Shik, he could not help but laugh. He recollected, “When shooting with the trio, they would be well prepared and all I had to do was to get into character and do my part. We got along very well so I enjoyed the shooting a lot.”

Abandoning his stereotype?

Park Yoochun, who dabbled with various genres such as period dramas, melodrama and comedy, challenged melodramas once again. In the MBC drama “I Miss You” which started on 7 November 2012, he played the role of the manly “Han Jung Woo”. Just by looking at the cast list, there was already a great amount of anticipation from the audiences. He would once again transform with this drama.

“After Rooftop Prince ended, I wondered about how it would be if I abandoned all preconceived images (of myself), and Han Jung Woo appeared. After looking at a summary of the plot, I was touched, and felt that this character could give me an 180 degree transformation, and an opportunity for a change in image had finally come. Even though I felt touched and pressured at the same time, but it was so different from previous characters that I have played so I was quite confident that I could play the role well.”

The issues Park Yoochun faces with acting are now more concrete. He happened to read an interview with the actress Jeon Do Yeon, and this ignited his passion for acting.

“In the interview with Jeon Do Yeon, she spoke about Ha Jeong Woo, saying that she ‘was surprised that he managed to cement his place as an actor so quickly.’ This was a line that had a variety of meanings.  How am I different from Ha Jeong Woo, and why he is able to adapt to acting so quickly? When I see someone who is good at acting, I can only be envious. What should I do to act that well, and what should I do to take control of the right emotions… I’m really envious, he’s really cool. I feel that as an actor, you will shine brighter if you don’t pass up on any opportunities to grow. Even if you’ve stagnated for a while, just shake off the dust and push yourself forward, and you will be able to stand in front of the audiences as a better actor.”

Although he is very strict with himself as “actor Park Yoochun,” he is definitely one of the acting talents that everyone is talking about. In fact, he was also sought after to play several high profile, popular characters.

“When a role that I didn’t pick succeeds, I would think to myself ‘That was definitely not a role that was suitable for me.’ ‘If I were the one playing the role, then it wouldn’t be as successful as it is now.’ This is what I tell myself. Of course, I would be determined to find an even better role as well.”

How many points does he give to his acting skills?

Then how does Park Yoochun rate himself on his acting in his various fateful drama productions?

For ‘SungKyunKwan Scandal’, he gives himself 60 points (out of 100) for his role as Lee Seon Joon. He’s really hard on himself. Saying that his popularity at the time wasn’t just because of him, but more because of the actors who appeared in the drama with him, Park Yoochun explained, “Lee Seon Joon was a character who received more help from Song Joong Ki, Yoo Ah In and Park Min Young than from my own acting skills, so I don’t give myself high marks for him.”

Song Yoo Hyun of ‘Miss Ripley’ received an even lower score of 30 points. He didn’t give himself high marks because it was a melodrama that required a lot of emotions, and because there were many difficulties during the filming process. Park Yoochun looked back on the experience and said, “My desire preceded my lacking preparation so I didn’t enjoy the process and my acting ended up being very bad.”

For Lee Gak in ‘Rooftop Prince’, he gave himself a much better score of 80 points because he really got into his role and enjoyed the filming process. He says that he had a great feeling about the show after the first filming schedule.

Now there is Han Jung Woo of ‘I Miss You’. His expected marks are 90 points. With a serious expression, Park Yoochun said, “In the past, I would also tell myself ‘I have to do well,’ but now, I can feel the need to do well in every part of my body,” and expressed his wishes and desire through his clasped hands. His face showed the acute sensibility of a true actor.


23. Park Yoochun, on his four-country Asia tour, “They love Actor Park Yoochun!”

After ending ‘Rooftop Prince’, Park Yoochun embarked on an Asia Tour. It wasn’t with Kim Jaejoong and Kim Junsu. He met with his overseas fans by himself. Though he was modest in his explanation as he said, “I felt pressured and ambiguous about meeting our overseas fans as an actor and not a singer. It felt like the time wasn’t right yet,” the response he received from his Asia Tour was explosive.

Regarding the fans who sent him their undying support, he said, “They love seeing me both sing and act. I talked a lot about both my music and my acting during the Asia Tour. Now, I want to show them the music I’ve been working on. I’m planning on pursuing solo activities next year.”

To Park Yoochun, who wants to show his overseas fans various sides of himself, overseas activities such as tours in Asia, Europe and South America, are like a form of vacation for him. Other than the time he spent going out to taste the famous food of the region, he would stay inside and watch dramas or read comic books. Of course, it was to help him with his acting.

Park Yoochun was able to feel the love of his fans deep in his heart during his Asia Tour. He was able to find out what aspects of his acting his fans loved most, and what scenes were most popular. He also received a lot of support from his fans. Not only this, but he built friendships with his fans by making them food and playing games with them.

“To be honest, we get flustered as well when we come face to face with fans. But when we meet a fan who’s red in the face and so nervous that she doesn’t know what to do, I find myself reaching out for a handshake and thanking them for their support. All of these moments are like vitamins to me.”

Alcohol can’t be forgotten when reminiscing about the tour. After successfully completing his Asia Tour, he went through 50 bottles of liquor with his staff members to commemorate the event.

A time of taking a break and being deeply moved

He would sometimes go to the pool with his manager, who had been in the Marines. As a lover of water, Park Yoochun would always go to the pool, no matter what hotel he was in. He would shake off the pressure he’d feel from holding a tour, and re-energize himself in the water.

“I swam a lot during the tour. My manager used to be in the Marines, and my bodyguards were really good swimmers as well. It’s not that I’m a great swimmer, I just like water. When I get to a hotel, there isn’t that much to do so I usually listen to music, write or sleep, but I got addicted to swimming during this tour. Because every hotel has a pool, I learned how to swim in the butterfly form, and I had so much fun with all the freestyle and backstroke races we had. It felt like all of the stress I felt disappeared in an instant.”

For him, ‘airport fashion’ has always been a point of pressure. Though he wants to dress comfortably because his flights are so long, he can’t because there are so many eyes watching him. Though he tries to hide his face with sunglasses, his fans capture his every move with cameras. Park Yoochun made an honest confession as he said, “These days, I always prepare in advance.” It’s a moment that shows just how human he is.

Looking back on his Asia Tour that had him greeting his fans as an actor and not a singer, Park Yoochun sent his fans a message of heartfelt gratitude and love. “To be honest, I’m not very good at conveying the gratitude I feel for my fans. But I didn’t hold back on this fanmeet tour because I was filled with so much gratitude and love. We cooked together, I fed them, and we played games with rubber hammers. Time flew by as we talked about things related to my dramas that our fans were curious about. I was very sad about the short amount of time I had with them, and I returned to Korea with that much gratitude in my heart. On top of the fact that our overseas fans are physically separated from us, they don’t have many opportunities to see us on broadcasted shows, so I always feel so bad about that. That’s why this was such a more meaningful and precious time for me. I saw these fans and naturally pushed myself that I needed to work harder and do better because that was all I could do for them.”


24. Kim Junsu, on meeting ‘Death’ by fate in ‘Elisabeth’

In February of 2012, fans were surprised to see Kim Junsu choose ‘Elisabeth’ as his third musical. It was because he had been chosen for the role of ‘Tod (Death)’, a character with a smaller role. With ‘Mozart!’ and ‘Tears of Heaven’ becoming a huge hit, Kim Junsu rose to the status of a top star in the musical industry. Above all, his ticket power was beyond imagination. But Kim Junsu had chosen ‘Elisabeth’, a musical with a female main character. This was unexpected.

His choice was met with polar responses. The fans began voicing their disapproval. Kim Junsu looked back and said, “They went crazy over the fact that I had taken on the role of ‘Death’, a character with a small role.”

But this time, Kim Junsu pushed for his decision. His conviction was immense. He gained confidence through his first two musicals, and now he was big on, “Doing what I want to do.” It would have been an impossible choice if he wasn’t talented. He didn’t want his greed to override everything else. He just liked being on stage. On one hand, the realistic thought of, “I can’t always be the main character,” crossed his mind. So he was the one who came up with the idea. Without his talents, confidence and ability to keep an eye on the market, it would have been impossible.

The results came back as a success! The success of ‘Elisabeth’ was already foreshadowed by the show’s ticket sales. With three months to go before the curtains rose, Kim Junsu’s shows sold out in 10 minutes. The media couldn’t hide their surprise as they reported, “Is legendary ticket power has been proved yet again.”

The strict self-regulations hidden behind his awards

Through this production, Kim Junsu was able to solidify his position in the musical industry in only three years. He proved his position as ‘the one to beat’ through the awards he won.

Kim Junsu received the ‘Award for the Best Male Lead’ at ‘the 18th Korean Musical Awards’ ceremony on October 29th, 2012. This was a success achieved in only three years since beginning his career as a musical actor, and this was the first time that an idol singer had won that award.

“What convinced me to appear in ‘Elisabeth’ was Composer Sylvester Levay’s music. I was drawn to the role of ‘Death’. He’s a transcendental presence, and he isn’t human. I fell in love with the song ‘The Shadows Lengthened’. Haha! (He suddenly starts singing) The lengthening shadows / Humans could never see them….”

Composer Sylvester Levay didn’t hide his praise for Kim Junsu’s talents.

“I was so surprised by Kim Junsu’s ability to take control of the production through his role as ‘Death’. Being scary, dark and animalistic at times as he stayed near Elisabeth, he was perfect in his ability to take hold of the production with his charisma.”

‘Elisabeth’ brought a lot of change to Kim Junsu’s daily life as an individual. He lost weight through a diet regime. During the 4-hour long interview, Kim Junsu never deviated from his low-calorie Americano coffee. His diet had still not ended.

“‘Death’ has to look extremely cold but sexy at the same time. Before rehearsals, I looked at myself in the mirror and I didn’t look sexy at all. Haha! I thought that I would be too embarrassed to focus on my acting in that state. So I worked out, reduced my calorie intake and lost 6kg. Look. Even now, I’m drinking nothing but my Americano coffee. (laughter)”

Stealing the hearts of musical fans

Kim Junsu composed his solo album’s title song ‘TARANTALLEGRA’ while performing on stage. ‘Elisabeth’ is the reason why the dance track uses the timpani, trumpets and string instruments, which are usually reserved for musicals.

This was around the time that he began to forge a deeper relationship with Jo Seung Woo. He’s the person who boasted the strongest ticket power in the industry until Kim Junsu appeared. With the appearance of Kim Junsu, they became a chain of mountains that couldn’t be passed. Though the world sees Jo Seung Woo and Kim Junsu as competitors, they see themselves as close friends who have made the promise to, “Appear in a musical together one day.” Though they differ in age and experience, they are friends who support and encourage each other.

Kim Junsu, who revealed that he promised Jo Seung Woo that they would appear in a musical together, laughed and said, “If we stood on stage together, I’m pretty sure not even the Sejong Arts Center could hold us, right?” Though it’s quite a confident statement to make, it’s a pride that isn’t misplaced.

Ironically, Kim Junsu won over the most musical fans through ‘Elisabeth’, the production his fans had been against. “I’ve gained a lot of musical fans. There are a lot of fans who say that they were fans of other musical actors, but have now come to my side. Haha!”

The ‘Elisabeth’ OST that Kim Junsu participated in topped the yearly sales charts for musical albums (Hanteo Charts) in just three days. Kim Junsu’s power not only covered ticket sales, but album sales as well. Kim Junsu received the Popularity Award at ‘The Musical Awards’ for three consecutive years for his musicals from ‘Mozart!’ to ‘Elisabeth’. He has proven just how amazing his ticket power is. The women who worked with Kim Junsu were also chosen for the Popularity Award every year as well.

A ‘Kim Junsu Rule’ has appeared amongst musical actors that says, ‘If you work with Kim Junsu, you’ll receive the Popularity Award.’

“Yoon Gong Joo, who worked with me on ‘Tears of Heaven’, received the Popularity Award and I saw her sobbing and saying how grateful she was. Because a Popularity Award proves your ticket power. It was a great moment for her as a musical actress, and it was one of my proudest moments as a musical actor.”

The unforgettable ecstasy from standing on stage

Of course, not every day was filled with laughter. Having to take responsibility for every performance, there were moments when Kim Junsu would sweat nervously.

There was a happening that took place during his ‘Elisabeth’ performance. As if he still hadn’t forgotten the adrenaline he had felt at that moment, Kim Junsu’s voice got higher. He even shook his head a few times. He had forgotten his lyrics while performing on stage. It was something he could have never dreamed of as a perfectionist. But he was already on stage.

“I really hated having to start the song, knowing that I would get the lyrics wrong. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my singing, so I can never forgive myself when I get my lyrics wrong. And that’s what happened.”

Like so, Kim Junsu has been building on his experiences as a musical actor and is slowly getting to enjoy it all.

“I really like musicals because they gave me an opportunity to stand on stage again. Because it’s a perfect genre that mixes singing, dancing and acting, I feel a sense of ecstasy whenever I stand on stage. The biggest strength for me as a musical actor is the curtain call after every show, and I’m so happy when the audience gets on their feet and applaud us for our performance. It pushes me to work harder.”

He also emphasized, “It’s still hard for me to define what musicals are to me, so I don’t think I could say that it’s entirely mine. But I think I’m in the process of slowly getting to know musicals. What’s important is that I want to, and will continue to appear in musicals.”


25. Kim Junsu, Facing The World As XIA With His First Solo Album In 9 Years

Still, nothing was easy for them. The walls in their path still seemed as high.

“Although I dreamed, fulfilling it was easier said than done.”

He wanted to release a solo album, but it was a situation where their broadcasting activities were being restricted. The only way to appear on broadcast, was by acting in dramas. Members Park Yoochun and Kim Jaejoong were both starring in dramas, and gaining recognition little by little.

While performing overseas, Kim Junsu observed the fans’ responses. He got the feeling that, since he was not appearing on TV, he was gradually being forgotten. After much consideration, Kim Junsu decided to open the door to dramas. The agency found some dramas that were suitable for Kim Junsu, and they could begin filming as soon as he made a decision. But when he actually received the synopsis of the dramas, he began having mixed feelings.

Kim Junsu, who was performing in the musical ‘Elizabeth’ at that time, sat across from CEO Baek in the practice studio, neither saying a word for 30 minutes. Kim Junsu was the one to break the silence. This is the conversation they had then.

Kim Junsu: “Hyung, is it still possible to release a solo album now?”

Ceo Baek: “It’s possible anytime.”

Then there was another 30 minutes of silence.

Kim Junsu: “Should I release a solo album?”

CEO Baek: “I would like for you to make music. I only went to look for dramas since you said you wanted to do it.”

Throughout the hour of silence, there was only one thought on Kim Junsu’s mind.

“The one thing I’m good at and am confident in is music isn’t it? Even if I can’t appear on broadcasts, there should be someone who would like to listen to my music at least once right? If I were to act in dramas, who would look forward to my acting?”

Kim Junsu stopped pondering over it, and decided to go with releasing a solo album.

“I was not able to appear on TV for 3 years. I felt the difference when we had performances overseas, but since there’s Youtube now, I told myself not to fret over it. The situation wasn’t as desolate as before, so I decided to believe in “me”.

The Name He Found Again, A Name He Missed Greatly, XIA

Kim Junsu released his first solo album since debut,“XIA Tarantallegra”, in May 2012, and found the name “XIA” again. It is a representation of the musicality that he has gradually accumulated since his debut in 2004. Kim Junsu was insistent on “XIA”, because he saw it as a name that best represents him as a person. Along with “Tarantallegra”, which is also the name of a spell that makes people dance, encapsulating the charm of this album. There was a total of 12 songs in the album. Kim Junsu personally composed or wrote lyrics for 8 of the songs, including the title track “Tarantallegra”. His faith in himself saw him through in the end.

New records were being set right from the release of the album. The pre-orders prior to release exceeded 100,000 copies, setting the highest record for a solo album in 2012 (Gaon charts), ranked top 10 on America’s Billboard world charts, ranked 1st on the German Asian music charts. The records continued to be set.

“Although the broadcast activities were being restricted, the response towards the album internationally was very good. It was particularly surprising that ‘Tarantallegra’ could rank first on a German chart, but it seems it could have been the effect of JYJ being the first korean artiste to hold a concert in Berlin.”

The response to the music video was also huge. With their broadcast promotional activities being blocked, the music video was the only way to let people know the song.

Kim Junsu set expectations for himself. The choreography for “Tarantallegra”  was handled by Jeri Slaughter, who choreographs for Christina Aguilera. In addition, the music video for “Uncommitted”, an English song produced for the world tour, was also of a high quality. “Let’s film it again, let’s film it more dramatically, let’s film it more provocatively,” were the requests that Kim Junsu constantly raised.

Although it was edited out in the final music video, Kim Junsu also tried playing a dual role for a kiss scene. A scene where Kim Junsu, dressed in a female outfit, kisses the real Kim Junsu. The person who was the most satisfied with his acting (in that scene), was Kim Junsu himself. He was pleased as he said, “I am holding onto the footage. I think I look better in a woman’s outfit than actual women do.”

A Bigger Stage Is Calling Out To XIA

Kim Junsu held a world tour which began in Seoul, then went round Asia, North and South America, and Europe. As expected, it was a succession of “sold-outs”. His “ticket power” as evident from musicals, was once again proven through his solo concerts, and internationally at that. It began with all 17,000 tickets for the Seoul concert, held on 19 and 20 May at the Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium, selling out within just 5 minutes. At that time, the server of the presale site stalled. There were also several fans who fainted watching Kim Junsu’s performance, and ambulances had to be called for. Both Kim Junsu’s and his fans’ were exploding with energy.

“During every performance, I would tell myself that ‘I am the best.’ If I didn’t do that, I think I would have been unable to deal with the nervousness. No matter what, I always stood on stage with the thought ‘Just believe in myself’’.”

With his ‘self-hypnosis’, Kim Junsu began in Seoul, and toured Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong. The concerts were sell-out after sell-out.! Asia was immersed in ‘Xia Time’. The response was overwhelming. ‘Love calls’ also came pouring in from Europe and America. He once again began pondering, as to whether he should step out onto a bigger stage. A world tour that was difficult even with the members; he was worried about the fact that he would have to stand on that stage alone. At that point in time, he thought of the fans, the fans all over the world who were waiting. With that, Kim Junsu boarded a flight to New York, America, where the first stop of his world tour would be.

“Following New York, we held a concert in LA. Seeing the blue-eyed fans dance along and sing along with me in Korean, wow…the feeling at the time! As expected, the satisfaction I got from the result was as big as the worries that I had had.”

A Journey To Repay The Love From The Fans

The world tour was intense. The concerts in America were closely followed by performances in Mexico, Brazil and Chile. Over 5000 fans came for the South American concerts. Kim Junsu crossed over 17,000km for the North and South American concerts, but he did not find it tiring at all, as he got his energy from the fans. Kim Junsu gave a thumbs-up as he said, “As expected, it’s South America”, expressing his gratitude for the fans.

“I saw with my own eyes, that my fans loved me more than I knew. Being halfway across the globe, when is the next time the South American fans will be able to see me perform…It’s just hearts filled with passion. I saw the fans’ hearts.”

At the end of the concert in Mexico, Kim Junsu teared up. His tears flowed out without him realising. “They were tears of gratitude, and tears of regret. The reason why I could keep up the same level of energy anywhere in the world is because of the strength of the fans.”

And then there was the final stop in Germany. Kim Junsu used only his own abilities to travel through the world, bringing passionate energy in its purest form to the fans. It was a final performance with passion that only he could bring.


Part 6 JYJ, according to JYJ

26. Kim Jaejoong, According To Kim Jaejoong

“A compassionate person, with a warm heart.” (Park Yoochun)

“A perfectionist when it comes to work, but the best at taking care of the people around him.” (Kim Junsu)

That is Kim Jaejoong in the eyes of members Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu, with whom he has been like brothers with for close to 10 years. Both said in unison that they were envious of Kim Jaejoong’s vast interpersonal relationships.

Kim Junsu said, “When we were in Japan, there was a man I had never seen before sleeping on a bed in our room. When I asked who it was, Jaejoong said that he had seen the man drinking sadly by himself at a pub, so he had a drink with him and took him in for the night. Although it was shocking, it is something that happens often with Jaejoong. When it comes to work he is extremely conscientious and a perfectionist,  but over drinks, he is someone who is very open and becomes friends with everyone.” Kim Junsu also mentioned that he respected the way Kim Jaejoong meticulously took care of those around him.

“When you start getting to know new people, it becomes difficult to take care of the people you knew before as well. But he manages to show his concern for everyone. Sometimes it’s to the extent that I begin to wonder if he has a clone who is helping him send all these messages. Haha.”

When drunk and in high spirits, acting cute is just the basics!

In that case, what is “Kim Jaejoong” like in the eyes of Kim Jaejoong?

When being asked to comment on himself, Kim Jaejoong was shy and hesitated for a while before commenting, “He’s a decent guy, but his character is a little exhausting.” He then went on to say while laughing, “I don’t know how to say no to people. It’s getting better these days, but I go out of the way to accommodate others, so much so that I’m losing a few years of my life.”

He also added that since he puts himself in the other party’s shoes so often, that when he is with the other party, it becomes easy to grasp what the person is thinking, or how the person sees him.

When told of the comment made by the people around him such as Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu that he “is overly considerate to the people around him”, Kim Jaejoong’s reply was,” I like people, and I like taking care of people, but it is difficult if you were to do that intentionally. Though I do want to be remembered as a good person, but relationships are always relative. Should the relationship with someone turn sour, I would sever ties even if we used to be very close.” He showed a surprisingly strict side of him when it comes to his views on interpersonal relationships.

Kim Jaejoong who “likes people”, is also known among the people around him for being good at acting cute. In particular, the extent to which he acts cute increases dramatically once he has a drink. Kim Jaejoong said, “Usually don’t express myself that much because I find it cheesy, but when I drink, I often tell them members I love them, and even kiss them. Especially since all of us have spent more time doing solo activities, and haven’t been able to spend as much time together, I have come to realise how precious they are to me. In October we attended the appointment ceremony as ambassadors of the Korea-Japan Exchange Exhibition, then when to have lunch at a shop serving pig intestine sausage stew, and ended up taking for over three hours,” showing his special affection for his members.

Airport Fashion? “I’m the founder”

Kim Jaejoong is known for being a representative fashionista in the entertainment industry.

In particular, “airport fashion”, that is popular among artistes, can be said to have begun with Kim Jaejoong and the JYJ members. The photos taken of the members as they appeared casually at the airports while carrying out their overseas activities gathered a fair bit of attention, and that gradually became known as “airport fashion”.

Kim Jaejoong’s fashion sense also led to the opinion that he must be quite a shopper. In response to this, he said, “I actually haven’t done much shopping in 3 years. Since the fans usually give us a lot of clothes, there isn’t much need for me to shop for clothes.”

In that case where exactly does he spend his allowance? Kim Jaejoong made a surprising revelation, “I guess it would be alcohol,” showing his love for alcohol.

“Recently I’ve fallen for the appeal of whiskey and I’m enjoying it a lot. How much I drink depends on the occasion and the atmosphere, it depends on who i am with. I am reminded of when I went to Busan for the Busan International Film Festival this year. I smelt the salty air of the Busan sea as a “side dish” while drinking. Busan is a side-dish for drinking haha!”

Kim Jaejoong, who usually takes interest in cooking, chose cuttlefish and radish stew, a stew to cure hangovers, as the dish he is most confident of, which is fitting considering how much he likes alcohol. He shyly said, “Actually all you need to do is to buy the ingredients and put them in…  Put radish, dropwort and garland chrysanthemum, then put the cuttlefish on top of that then boil it, and you have your hangover stew. I’m also good at cooking seafood stew and pepper paste pasta. Perhaps if there’s the opportunity in future, I’d like to venture into the food business.”

Kim Jaejoong is also interested in interior designing. He has such a good sense of interior designing that he designed the home that he recently moved into himself. For Kim Jaejoong, his house is both a sanctuary and a playground, because it is where he can put down everything else.

 When I shifted houses, I wanted a home with different themes for each space, like a boutique hotel. The atmosphere of the master bedroom and the smaller bedroom is completely different, and my room, the room with the bed, is designed the most like me. I am the type to buy my interior display pieces by myself. I like interior designing so much its to the extent that if I were to walk along a street and see an item that I think looks good, I would go in a look around on the spot.”

Best groom, “I want to have three children”

A guy who likes people and alcohol, fashion and cooking, and is even interested in interior designing. Wouldn’t he make a perfect husband? When the 27-year-old Kim Jaejoong was asked about the topic of marriage, his expression was one of embarrassment, as he said, “I have been put in a spot many times by my mother who keeps asking me to hurry up and get married.”

When he was in his early 20s, Kim Jaejoong did actually think that he wanted to get married when he was 27, which is his age now. But of course, as he reached his mid-twenties, he concluded that it would be impossible to get married by 27. He said, “Right now I’m thinking perhaps I should (get married) in my early-thirties. Because getting married isn’t something that I can do simply because I want to. Actually I feel apologetic to my parents. My mother will be turning 70 soon. Since I have many sisters, she has only been a maternal grandmother. Perhaps it’s because of that, and also that she’s turning thirty, but she’s been having more thoughts about wanting a daughter-in-law,” expressing his apologetic feelings.

“I want to have three children. I hope to have the daughters as the first and second children, and a son as the third. I think the youngest son would be the most lovable. I want to be a dad who lives young as much as I can. I want to accompany them to school, and spend a lot of time playing with them like a dad that’s like a friend.”

For Kim Jaejoong, who has 8 sisters, family is a very special entity.

He said, “For me, family is what it is, family.” He did not use fanciful words to express what family means to him, but his love for his family could be deeply felt.

A man who is as human as fermented soybean paste

Kim Jaejoong, who is known for liking people and taking good care of others, treats everyone nicely. He could simply carry on without knowing, but he is concerned with the sadness and happiness that the people around him face.

“I quickly become close to people even if it is my first time meeting them. Looking at that person’s life, I want to know more, because I believe that even with ordinary people, everyone has their own charm. I think the process of mingling with people is in itself healing.”

This means that anyone could meet Hallyu star Kim Jaejoong at a bar and end up exchanging life stories.

“Actually I am not the conscious of the fact that I’m a star, and I don’t hide in corners either. I like humble eateries of road-side stalls. I am someone who is rather down-to-earth, and the first thing I go and eat after returning for overseas activities is Kimchi stew. I’ve also heard that fans say that I am someone who resembles fermented soybean paste haha!” 

To him, he has another family – Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu, who are also colleagues and friends to him. Kim Jaejoong made cheeky judgements(?) about these guys.

“Yoochun is a cool guy with a good memory, Junsu is a guy who pretends to be cool and has a bad memory.”

Explaining further, he said that Park Yoochun is usually very easy-going, but you will later come to realise that he remembers even the little details and takes it all to heart. And Kim Junsu pretends to be easy-going, but actually cannot remember situations well.

“Recently, I have been acting cute more although I am the older brother. While having solo activities, there aren’t many occasions when we get to meet one another, I am trying to get closer to them. And Yoochun and Junsu are really amazing. I am very grateful for them and they make me proud. There are times when I really respect them.”

Kim Jaejoong said that the present, when he is with the members, is the happiest moment of his 27 years.

“If I were to choose a point in my life when it was the hardest, it would be when I was a child. I really had to overcome a lot. But now, with Yoochun and Junsu, I am living the happiest moment of my life. I think that is the most important.”


27. Park Yoochun, According To Park Yoochun

Park Yoochun takes a level-headed view when it comes to the “human Park Yoochun”.

He starts out by saying “He’s the worst”, then continues, “Both my character and my actions are careless. I am stubborn and self-centered, and get lonely easily, so there always needs to be people around me. I am someone who needs help.” This was how he rated himself. Even in response to a question asking him to praise himself at this point, his response was, “Being able to survive till now in this field with no particular strengths, being able to continue continue doing my thing, I think it’s rather commendable.”

He said that it was because of the help he received from the people around him, that their is anything about him to be praised at all. “Just because you want to do well does not mean you will be able to do well. If I were alone, I would not be able to accomplish anything. I do not have the confidence of being able to live like that again should I be reborn. I am someone who has been able to make it only because I have been fortunate enough to meet the right people.”

No such thing as setbacks!

Park Yoochun gets particularly emotional at the word “family”. For his working mother and younger brother, he had to step out into the harsh world since he was in his first year of middle school. During his days in elementary school, he was a mischievous child who was obsessed with sports just like most of his peers. He spoke of how he once received acupuncture treatment for a ligament injury he sustained from Taekwondo, and ended up liking acupuncture so much he would feign illness and go to the oriental medicine clinic. He also got angry as a child when the price of the drinks at the stationery shop in front of his school went up. His voice broke, and he underwent puberty, while he was in elementary school as well. He also had painful memories of being at the receiving end of a group beating because his voice broke earlier than his seniors’.

When he was in high school, Park Yoochun took on the path of singer both for his dream and for his family. In 2004, Park Yoochun made his debut with TVXQ, while he was still a high schooler. They attained high popularity, and Park Yoochun stood on solid ground. However, he had to experience a time of hopelessness that felt like an endless tunnel, when they broke off from their ex-agency, SM Entertainment.

Following that, Park Yoochun endured hardships with Kim Jaejoong and Kim Junsu, before the grasped onto a faint gleam of hope, and began their new lives as JYJ in 2009. However, things did not go that smoothly. Someone said to them, “Isn’t the money you earned as TVXQ enough to last you your entire life?”. Park Yoochun said, “If that were the case, I would not need to take up loans.

At that time, I needed a house for my younger brother to stay with me after he returned to Korea. Because I did not have enough money, I took a loan and paid for the house with that. At that time, I got by without having my own car.”

Step by step, he took each step with passion, and that is how he became the Park Yoochun of JYJ he is today. Park Yoochun as a person is showing his various colours as he sings and dances and acts.

Filling his father’s empty space

In the midst of all that, he was struck by the biggest sadness in his life. It was an unexpected sad news. His father left this world in March of 2012 due to a chronic illness. However, Park Yoochun was unable to see his father through the last stages of his life as he was overseas. Because it overlapped with his filming for “Rooftop Prince”, he was not able to cry his heart out, nor mourn.

“I would fall into the pits of sadness the moment I thought about how there was no place for me to reply on, so I comforted myself. I felt like I was about to go mad, but even if I wanted to leave and go somewhere, I felt apologetic to the company and the members.”

Currently, Park Yoochun lives with his mother, his brother, his aunt and his cousin. His love for his mother and his brother is exceptional. Aside from being a son and an older brother, he plays the role of a husband to his mother, and the role of a father to his brother. Although there are times he dreams of leading a normal life, he still feels the sense of responsibillity from his role as the head of the family.

Park Yoochun’s mother often says “As long as no accidents happen to me, I have no worries.” Faced with the loving heart of a mother that wants the best for her son, Park Yoochun reminds himself that he wants to do ‘even’ better.

“At her words, I feel an even l more ambitious. I would like for us to live a carefree life in an even better environment. If Yoohwan could have a bigger room, if Yoohwan could have a separate dressing room…” The sense of responsibility he feels as a bother is deeply engrained in him.

The exceptional love he has for his family can also be seen from words like the following, “I want to continue working even after I return from the army, and start a family and have kids when I get older, so that my mother’s wrinkles will become fewer. I also hope that Yoohwan will find a nice girl and fall madly in love. Having a drink with him and watching him (fall in love), I think the drink then would be the best tasting ever.

“I hope my first child will be a girl!”

Park Yoochun will be turning 30 in a few years, and getting married is another of his dreams. Thinking about the future, a smile appears naturally on his face.

“I often talk to my mother about my future girlfriend and marriage. The type of daughter-in-law that my mother wants is the kind who has an air of the daughter of a rich family. Not in the sense of having materialistic wealth. Rather, it’s the sense that she would have learn better if she had grown up in a good environment. I want to get married before I turn 35. I am not particularly concerned about age gaps. That being said, I think it might be a little embarrassing if she were too young. I think someone who matches well with me when we’re together, and looks lovable would be alright. I feel like my mother has become more uneasy after my father passed away. The fear that we might leave this world without being able to experience the normal happiness that people usually experience. I want to hurry up and live happily to show her.”

The family that Park Yoochun hopes for is not that special. “Buying a bad of oranges for my wife on my way home from work. Taking the entire family out to eat on my off-days. It would be great to experience the happiness from leading an ordinary life!”

Park Yoochun, who has a blissful expression on his face while talking about his future family, hopes for his child to be a daughter. He also showed his side as a strict father. “I will allow my daughter to date, but I will have someone follow them, and keep watch so that they don’t go into motels. (laughs) As for sexual education, I think I will leave the responsibility to my wife.” With that, he even went on to talk about his future sons-in-law and daughters-in-law.

“I am not particularly concerned about the background of my daughter’s guy, as long as he loves my daughter. I hope it is someone who is truthful and honest and someone who knows how to respect the adults. And I hope he knows how to drink a little. As for my daughter-in-law, I hope she has a lovey-dovey life with my son. It would be hard on her since she’s marrying into another family, but I hope she can find the happiness and that and live happily, I hope it will be a woman who is sharp and sensible enough to share her husband’s burden. I am not sure when this will come true, but it makes me happy just talking about it.”

A guy who knows how to enjoy leisure

Park Yoochun usually enjoys spending his time watching movies or TV, but he also likes travelling, and sometimes prepares his own camping gears and leaves Seoul.

Recently, he has been obsessed with fishing.

“My father used to like fishing, so I used to follow him since I was young. When fishing at sea, it is fun to pull the fishing rod in, and then releasing it. And when freshwater fishing, there is also fun in leaving the fishing rod there and sitting silently till there is movement from the fishing rod. Both are fishing, but the feeling is different. Recently, I have also had thoughts of buying a small boat in order to go fishing at sea.”

He, who likes swimming and the sea, also enjoys the pleasures of life on a yacht sometimes. He explained that the yacht was a present for the people around him, “I felt that buying a yacht was rather extravagant, but it’s simply because I like the sea so much. When I said I was riding jet skis, the staff were also worried, but they said that after seeing how happy I was when I went to the beach, they could not find it in them to tell me to stop. It is also like this with the yacht. I like taking the people around me to eat good food, and if there are nice places I want to bring them there with me as well. When I take them out on the yacht, they forget their daily lives, and rest and have fun like children. I like just mindlessly passing time on the yacht. I also like enjoying the sea on the yacht at night. In future, if I find someone I really like, I want to go out to see with her.”

Park Yoochun also enjoys drinking and chatting with the people around him. Kim Jaejoong, Kim Junsu and the managers, are some of the people he enjoys having conversations with.

“I don’t spill my guts, but on days when I feel really annoyed, I arrange to have a drink and talk to my manager about things that I am not able to talk to my family about. Although he is younger than me, we have shed tears in front of one another, and is a friend I rely on.”

He also formed a friendship with Lee Tae Sung, whom he acted with in “Rooftop Prince”. He introduced Lee Tae Sung as such, “He is a senior and a friend who is very talented. More than anything, he is a senior who knows how to make others happy.”

Park Yoochun is known for liking alcohol and being able to hold his liquor, but his own principle is “to never drink until (he is) drunk”. “I make it a point not to get drunk because I do not like the dizzy feeling that you feel when you lie down when you are drunk. it feels like the ceiling is spinning.” He also revealed that he was fell asleep hugging a toilet bowl.

He does not hide anything, but also does not go out of his way to show off himself. This is the face of Park Yoochun, a young man of 27.


28. Kim Junsu, According To Kim Junsu 

Kim Junsu’s character is very diverse, and there are many words that can be used to describe him. Some of these include “Not naive, but innocent”, “someone who is perfectly practical”. He is honest, but “if there are things he is upset about, he will not say that he dislikes it, but rather hold it in”. He, who is like a chameleon in these ways, describes himself as “a man among men”.

“The person Kim Junsu in the eyes of the entertainer Kim Junsu… I think he’s innocent. Keke!”

Upon hearing him describe himself as innocent, the people around burst out in laughter, and Kim Junsu’s reaction became extreme. He asked over and over again, “Why? Is it not? Am I not innocent? I’m really innocent though…”

Isn’t there a woman anywhere who is polite, smart and capable? 

“Innocent guy” Kim Junsu does not like dramas, the reason being he does not find them realistic. 

“There’s no way. It is impossible for me to get emotionally involved when it comes to glamorous and splendid drama events haha!”

Kim Junsu’s character is such that he is not even able to send long mobile text messages.

“Although it’s not the case when I’m dating someone, I usually don’t really like to send text messages or make phone calls. Yoochun and Jaejoong often tell each other that they love each other, but my fingers and toes curl when I hear those sort of things,” he said while shaking his head.

This is why Kim Junsu finds it amazing every time he looks at “idealist” Park Yoochun.

However, there are times when he feels happy just listening to Park Yoochun’s elaborate imaginations about life after marriage and having children. Kim Junsu has also imagined what marriage would be like. “Since I was young, marriage seemed to be the definition of happiness to me. Isn’t there a polite, smart and capable woman anywhere?”, revealing his ideal type. Is it because he is expecting too much? There was another condition, “Rather than someone who is just kind blindly, I hope it will be a woman who can lead.”

Of course, in real life, he cannot simply date as he wishes. The longest time for which he ever dated someone was 2 years. That relationship was also a unique one. They had barely met 5 times up to their 100th day anniversary. It can be said to be a “tragedy” that resulted from his busy schedule. 

“We were a couple that was close over the phone, but awkward when we met in person. You have to experience it to understand (laughs).”

Kim Junsu describes himself as someone who is “blunt”. He is someone who will speak his mind on the spot without beating around the bush. If he feels that a problem is about to arise, he would speak up on the spot and clarify the misunderstanding. If there is no affection for people, and are not proactive with everything you do, it becomes a difficult situation. This is why Kim Junsu is a guy who is so passionate.

Never-ending dilemma, soccer vs singing

Kim Junsu enjoys going on drives. When he wants to relieve stress, he  would go and see the sunset. There are tens of photos of the sunset saved in his phone. Although he does take his own, he also saves photos which he sees and likes.

He took out his mobile phone and showed us the tens of photos he has saved in his phone. His finger stops at a photo of the Alaskan aurora and he said, “This is a place that I must go and see at least once.” Kim Junsu, who likes nature a lot, prefers holiday resorts to the city. Places with many coconut trees are especially appealing to him. It is to the extent that the staff at C-Jes Entertainment call him “National Geographic”.

That being said, he does not live only looking at nature. Kim Junsu also has a love for sports. Kim Junsu, who is the captain of the soccer team “FC MEN”, expressed his love for soccer, “When playing soccer, I feel that I am living for myself.”

His soccer family includes Kim Hyun Joong, Lee Ki Kwang, Yoon Doo Jun, Im Seul Ong, Jin Woon, Seo Ji Suk and Lee Wan. As they are all artistes who have to juggle busy schedules as well, they always shout to “not get injured” before they go out for each game. However, the managers are the ones who actually feel the anxiety. Since their hearts are tied together by the fact that there is still a risk of unexpected situations where people get injured, they have become close to even the managers.

Once the topic of soccer came up, Kim Junsu’s voice became an octave higher. We asked him if he would be more envious of someone who plays soccer well, or someone who sings well. He was silent for 3 seconds after hearing that.

“Right now it’s singing. However, if I were to be reborn, it would be soccer for sure. Hahaha!”

While playing soccer, his interpersonal relationships have also been broadened. In the past, he was someone who was extremely awkward among strangers, so much so that he would barely talk to others aside from his members and the staff. After doing musicals, he started talking to the other musical actors, and with his soccer teammates after he started playing soccer, so his social circle has diversified.

“Actually, after attaining freedom and getting rid of the burdens, I feel like the world seems so happy, and it is much easier to interact with people. In the past, I only had family and my members’ contacts in my phone, but now it’s really become a lot busier. I guess it’s a good sign. Although I am still a little awkward around strangers now, but I have come to have a lot more friends than before.”

He keeps in contacts with his musical colleagues mostly through SNS, but he cohabits (?) with his soccer family. Kim Junsu mentioned that many people have the password to his home, so that it is convenient for them to go over.

“I meet with my soccer family often even when we do not have practice. I like the feeling of there being many people in my house, so I invite them over for gatherings. We play games, watch television, listen to music… Previously, there was a time when I had a table-tennis table in my house as I was obsessed with table-tennis. Now I’ve sent it to the office because it’s too big. I think it’s because I don’t drink that I get obsessed with various hobbies. There was a period of time when I was so obsessed with bowling that I would go to the bowling alley everyday.”

He had the chance to meet with more people through musicals and soccer, and naturally began to have more thoughts about interpersonal relationships.

“I guess others have various impressions of me. The opinion of the public, the opinions of the fans, and the opinions of the people around me, or my family for example. Living till this age, I have come to realise that there is never a right answer to any question. Rather than what others think of me, I think it is more important what I think about myself. As my social circle broadens, and I become more extroverted, if there is one thing I’ve learnt,it is not to look at people through tinted glasses. This is because my thoughts and my values have become broader than my social circles.”

“Of course, among the people who I consider close friends, there are some people who I feel closer to or have become closer to. The main reason for this difference, is how much the other party knows and is concerned about what my feelings and true thoughts are. Towards people who do not think deeper when it comes to me, I do not show them all of my sides, and neither do I correct the misconceptions they have about me. I am busy enough just being nice to the people who really cherish me, and showing them my true emotions.”

That’s right, he’s an innocent guy

Although Kim Junsu sorts out his interpersonal relationship as coolly as would be expected of an easy-going guy like him, his passion for the people whom he likes is overflowing. The people who are the most precious to Kim Junsu are his parents and his twin brother. In particular, he regards his father more tenderly than other families. Perhaps he was reminded of the misunderstandings that he father had suffered at that time, or the criticisms he had received due to that, Kim Junsu began to speak more slowly.

“There were many rumours that my father was doing management activities, or that he had investments in C-JeS Entertainment. It was saddening, because it wasn’t true… At first I felt wronged, but I became able to ignore it.”

When talking about his brother, who is active as an actor, his voice cheered up and sped up. “He is the kindest person among the people I know. He is someone with a lot of affection and trust for people. He is also a chatterbox that gets along well with the older aunties. ” This was how Kim Junsu described his own brother.

Of course there were also times when they disagreed. When he heard that his brother, who had been a baseball player, wanted to become an entertainer, he was against it. What made him change his mind was the confession from his brother that he “had never once been happy playing baseball”. Perhaps the two brother become artistes was fated since their birth.

Kim Junsu is someone who spreads a happy virus that brightens the days of the people around him as well. No matter what he says, he is able to make people laugh brightly. Moving quickly from telling talking about things that are mature for his age, to laughing brightly like a young man, Kim Junsu is indeed an innocent guy.


29. Everything about JYJ according to their manager

The relationship between a celebrity and their manager is often compare to ‘a needle and thread’. A manager plans and supervises all scheduled activities for his or her celebrity and they form a relationship that cannot be dissolved. This is why it would be fair to say that managers know everything about their celebrities. We asked Jang Jae Ho, who is the head of management for JYJ, on some ‘behind-the-scenes’ stories of the members.

Jang Jae Ho began working as a manager at the end of 2004. He first met and worked with CEO Baek Chang Joo during his time at entertainment agency A from 2005 to 2006 However, that entertainment agency shut down and he moved to a different agency for a while, before changing jobs under the belief that management wasn’t for him. But when CEO Baek Chang Joo created C-JeS Entertainment, Jang Jae Ho was given the offer to work with JYJ and he returned as a manager in 2010.

Regarding his first meeting with the members of JYJ, Jang Jae Ho stated, “Because they were top stars, I found myself putting some distance between us because I thought it would be hard to approach them.” Even Jang Jae Ho had the preconceptions that top stars are cocky and self-centered. But when he actually got to know the members of JYJ, he was surprised to find himself thinking of them with the affection he would give his own younger siblings.

On the day they first met, the members warmly greeted him as though they knew he’d be coming and said, “We’ve heard so much about you.” Team Manager Jang hadn’t known how to approach them, so he was grateful for the warm welcoming the members gave him, calling him ‘hyung (older brother)’.

“Though they are stars who are so popular and have so much at their disposal, they really are just like ordinary younger brothers. Younger brothers who are well-mannered, innocent and kind. They’re the people who helped break the prejudice I had against top stars. I realized that not all top stars are the same.”

The reason why he couldn’t help but love the members of JYJ 

The biggest reasons why Team Manager Jang Jae Ho couldn’t help but love the members like his own younger brothers are their ‘honesty’ and ‘manners’. They’re so mature in the fact that they always take care of those around them. And no matter what happens, they take up any and all challenges that come their way, showing off a ‘manly’ side of themselves.

There are some top stars who give their managers a hard time, refusing any and all suggestions made by the managers regarding things like future productions. But JYJ have never said, ‘No’ or ‘I won’t’ to their manager. When their opinion happens to differ from their manager’s, they give an explanation for their stance and say, ‘This is what we think.’

Team Manager Jang describe JYJ as ‘the perfect team’. This is because three people with different characteristics are able to get along and work together to create a greater synergy effect. He gave them a thumbs-up and said, “They really are the best team ever!”

“Jaejoong’s taken the role of the eldest brother while Yoochun and Junsu act as bridges, and each fulfills his role perfectly. None of them try to rely on other people and they are always talking and trying to understand each other. It may be because they’ve been together for so long, but they’re able to silently understand each other with a single expression.So sometimes, they will warmly embrace each other without a word and give each other comfort.”

Always sorry for not being able to facilitate regular activities

Team Manager Jang Jae Ho has always felt sincerely apologetic to the members when it comes to the fact that they are faced with various restrictions in appearing on broadcasted programs. Even when they’re given offers to appear on televised programs, they are constantly in a state of anxiety that it might be cancelled in an instant. He wants to get JYJ on TV for the people who love them. He’s always felt bad about not being able to facilitate regular activities for the members.

There are times when he feels a sense of regret when a production that the members of JYJ rejected does well with another actor. But both Team Manager Jang and the members have no real regrets. They just think, “I guess it wasn’t my luck to take.”

“When the members make a choice, I immediately come to the conclusion that it was the best choice. Because they’re doing what they love, and nothing they love could be bad. Of course, there are times when I feel a sense of regret when a production we missed out on does well, but we just end up thinking, ‘It just wasn’t for us.’ And then we say to ourselves, ‘We’ll greet the fans next time with an even better production.’” 

As JYJ’s manager, Team Manager Jang Jae Ho hopes that the fans will never change in their love for the members for a long time.

“I hope that many fans will continue to love the members of JYJ, even when they’re old. So that the members are never lonely.”

Team Manager Jang likes to sometimes think about what it would be like for the members of JYJ to get married, have children and bring their families together to create a bigger, happier family. He hopes that his imagination will become a reality for the members.

“The past two years have been filled with hardships, happy moments and sad moments. I hope that our future is filled only with laughter and joy. As long as the members stay healthy and can always say ‘I’m happy’, there’s nothing else I could ask for.”


30. [C-JeS’s insight] A continuous 1,000 days of adversities, we will survive

“When we crossed one mountain, we were met with yet another one. We’ve been running so fast and so hard non-stop.”

This was the comment made by CEO Baek Chang Joo, the head of C-JeS Entertainment, about the past 1,000 days working with JYJ.

“Counting it in years, this is our fourth. We’ve been running non-stop for the past 1,000 days. It’s unbelievable, to be honest. So much that when I look back on what’s happened, I almost can’t believe some of the things that have transpired.”

There were many positive successes for them as they ran hard and fast for the past 1,000 days. But CEO Baek Chang Joo hasn’t let this get to his head and faced every day with the mindset of starting fresh.

“There are still so many mountains that we have to climb over. We’re not in the position to be satisfied with what we’ve done and say, ‘We’ve done so well.’ I tell the members of JYJ over and over again to not let it get to their heads, to not get complacent and to work harder.”

CEO Baek Chang Joo took his first step in the entertainment industry when he began working as the manager for singer cum actress Eom Jung Hwa. Since then, he has worked with stars such as Koyote, Lee Dong Gun and Kwon Sang Woo.

He was met with a crushing hardship during the time he was a manager of Kwon Sang Woo. He found himself facing legal punishments after losing in a exclusive contract lawsuit. In 2010, AVEX unilaterally announced that they would halt JYJ’s Japanese activities and mentioned CEO Baek Chang Joo’s family in their reasoning, causing misunderstandings about CEO Baek to arise. But CEO Baek stayed silent amidst the rumors of his private life.

“Even just mentioning such things could have caused more confusion than necessary. I believed that I could do nothing but show them my sincerity through my work. What’s important was my work, but the rumors. I’m not the kind of person who cares about rumors. All I need to do is my work. I only gave my side of the story to my close friends. I believed that there really was no need to tidy up those rumors because I’m just someone who stands behind JYJ to support them. The truth of what happened with Kwon Sang Woo will be revealed in time. I always tell the members of JYJ, ‘No matter what, don’t get swept up by rumors and only speak when something has actually happened.’”

CEO Baek Chang Joo’s business philosophy is, ‘Don’t work to chase after money, chase after your work and money is sure to follow.’ When coming up with various activities for JYJ, he does not first look at how much profit he will gain; he considers himself as only a helping hand to JYJ.

This kind of mindset is what convinced the members of JYJ to place their trust in CEO Baek. CEO Baek and JYJ’s trusting relationship is simply explained by their ‘lack of contract’. CEO Baek took on the management of JYJ in 2009 without a separate contract between the two parties. CEO Baek and JYJ have kept the promises they made with each other in the beginning for the past 1,000 days. This would have been impossible if not for the strong sense of trust they have for each other.

“When I do my work, I think of myself as a member of JYJ, not as Baek Chang Joo. That’s why I focus more on the actual work than the potential profit. This, as well as the fact that we don’t have a written contract, is only possible because of the faith we have in each other. To be frank, contracts aren’t necessary for celebrities. The members of JYJ left SM Entertainment though they were bound by a contract. I didn’t think it would be right for me to draw up a contract with them in that situation.”

When asked about the vision of C-JeS Entertainment, CEO Baek Chang Joo smiled and said, “I don’t have any lofty aspirations. Though I don’t know where the end of this road is, our goal is to survive. There are still so many obstacles we have yet to overcome.”

Then what are JYJ to CEO Baek Chang Joo?

“They’re like my kids. Jaejoong is the oldest, Yoochun is the middle child and Junsu is the youngest. That’s what their personalities reflect. There are times when I feel like I’m their dad, and other times when I feel like I’m their mom. When I look back at our time together, they feel more like my younger siblings than my real brother does.”



31. Introducing JYJ’s family

The people who helped Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu be born again as JYJ. JYJ are eternally grateful and sorry to these people. Amidst the envy and jealously surrounding them, they reached a hand out to JYJ. Grasping on to that hand, JYJ are now experiencing a new life.

JYJ, according to the management team 

JYJ are amazing people who will always say that we managers have it the hardest and when we’re done with our work, they never forget to thank us before anything else. They are people we can always count on, having never once been late to a meeting with us. When we’re having a hard time, they are the greatest source of strength for us. They are truly amazing people who make us feel a sense of pride, deep in our hearts, when we’re working together.

“JYJ, they are true men who we can count on!”

{The management team, according to JYJ}
Jaejoong: “They are people full of sincerity and positive hope. They are the people I care for the most because they love their artistes with all their hearts.”
Yoochun: “Managers are people who deserve to be treated with respect. I hate people who look down on managers. I’m always grateful because they always sacrifice themselves to help us.”
Junsu: “I’m proud of them. They’re like family to me, working hard for us and giving up their personal lives.”

EPISODE: Most of the time, we act more like siblings than managers and celebrities. We work together all day, almost 365 days a year. But so many funny and interesting things happen to us on a daily basis. There are so many happenings that it’s almost a problem. No matter what we do, we’re happy because we’re with JYJ. We’re sure that there aren’t any other managers who go on trips with our celebrities and who fill their stomachs with delicious food every time like we do. We’ve traveled to Misari, Yangpyeong, the Western Sea, the Eastern Sea, the Southern Sea, resorts in Southeast Asia, Australia and LA. We’ve always gone together to fill our stomachs with delicious food like Korean beef, course dinners, eel, fowl, and traditional food, bought for us by JYJ in good spirits. They say that they feel happy, even just from watching us eat.

JYJ, according to their recorded music team

Each of the members have their own unique talent. Kim Jaejoong doesn’t miss out on even the smallest of emotions and is able to put that in his music. Because of this, he knows how to express even the slightest change in his music. Park Yoochun says that he admires Yoo Jae Ha and it might be because of this that he has a classical element in his take on pop music. Because of this, he’s a musician we’re eager to work with as a solo artiste, since we have yet to do that. Kim Junsu is a musician with charming vocals, something we don’t really need to explain for others to know. He’s quick in understanding music so it takes less time to work through the music and record it when we’re working with him. With all these unique characteristics put together, JYJ is a team whose energy bubbles like a volcano. The members’ individual talent and love for music comes together as an energy that complete’s JYJ’s unique color. Just like how the fans love the members’ unique and charming color, so do we.

“Musicians with a unique talent!”

The recorded music team, according to JYJ}
Jaejoong: “They are people who believed in our talents and helped make those talents shine. Then they would take a step back and pretend they didn’t have a part in that, raising us with praises.”
Yoochun: “I always feel bad because I’ve yet to release a solo album yet. When we’re working on music, they always come so prepared. I always feel happy when I’m in the recording studio because it feels comfortable and homely.”
Junsu: “They make everything we talk about come true. When I was producing for the first time, they gave me a lot of help. The only reason I was able to create 12 tracks for my album, even though I wouldn’t be performing on a broadcasted stage, was because they believed in me.”

EPISODE: This is something that happening while recording for Kim Junsu’s solo album. We looked into the booth during the recording of ‘Fever’ and it drove our tiredness away. Something that we’d never seen before as engineers was happening right in front of our eyes. Most singers stay in place when they’re recording, whether it’s a ballad or dance track. But Kim Junsu was dancing so passionately that the microphone stand was shaking. Imagine the surprise and elation we felt watching him!

JYJ, according to their Planning and Evaluation Office / Overseas Concert Business Team

Whenever we go overseas, we can feel just how popular JYJ are. Such amazing superstars have never once asked us to treat them as such, and have never acted differently from what they’re feeling on the inside. They’re undoubtedly amazing artistes when they’re working, but they’re like family members who take care of everyone when they’re not. Because our sector has no women, they treat us like their brothers outside of the stage. This is why we’re always happy when we’re with them.

“JYJ, modest superstars!”

{The planning and evaluation office / overseas concert business team, according to JYJ}
Jaejoong: “Whenever we go overseas, I can clearly see that these guys have a really hard time. It’s because of them that we’re able to greet our overseas fans.”
Yoochun: “I could understand just how hard their work was when I set off on my solo fanmeet tour. They really worked hard and prepared a lot for me. They make exact preparations for what I need to do when I’m overseas, so all I need to do is go over there and do my work happily. I feel so reassured.”
Junsu: “I could feel that they place their artistes over any potential profits. They are the people who create various contents so that we can communicate with our fans. Though our company is relatively new and there are obstacles blocking our way, we were able to successfully hold concerts overseas, thanks to their passion.”

EPISODE: There were many variables affecting our future with JYJ. Not only are their outside influences, but there are times when the forces of nature (like when hail had the roof tarp of the Jamshil Stadium fall down) startle us into silence. When we hold rushed meetings on whether or not we’ll be able to hold a concert, JYJ always say it’s alright, that we did our best and that we needed to think of the next best step forward. We felt a great sense of camaraderie when that happened. They’re not just parrot-like singers who do nothing but sing on stage, but they are artistes who look at the entire stage, themselves and the future of the company when looking for what to do next. Even if they get sick on the day of the concert, they stand on stage for their fans and pretend not to be sick at all. When they should be resting in the waiting room, they would give 100%, 200% or even more of themselves when they got on stage. Watching JYJ like this sometimes brings tears to our eyes.

JYJ, according to their PR team

Though they are always the best, they always do their best. And they will always work hard for their career. Never do they let it all get to their head, and they never have a moment of laziness. Their biggest weapon is the unlimited talent and skill that they can use whenever they need it, and their biggest strength is that they have ‘affection’ much stronger than any normal human being.

“JYJ are the best!”

{The PR team, according to JYJ}
Jaejoong: “They are people who love their artistes as much as our management team. They are also the team who probably feels the most stressed, but they’re able to control their emotions and they know best how to make what the artistes want to express a reality.They never stop working to figure out what the artiste wants, and they work to help us express ourselves to the public.”
Yoochun: “I can feel that they’re always working hard for us. They’re always working hard, so much that they may look like workaholics. Sometimes, I worry that they might be stripped empty because they’re doing such hard work for us.”
Junsu: “They help us feel even better when something good happens, and they comfort us like nothing’s wrong when something bad happens. I’m so grateful to them because they are always full of energy when they work and they sincerely care about their company and artistes.”

EPISODE: Maybe it’s because they’ve had it pretty rough… JYJ have gained the wisdom of looking at the bigger picture. They also have the strange ability to catch even the smallest lie, even if it was a white lie for someone’s good. Because of this, they like it when we talk to them and discuss things with them. JYJ are great people who will help others solve any problem as long as they are truthful. When they work, they think about things from a position lower than their actual one and they always listen to what the other person says. So even when we don’t agree on something, we all get together to create the best results. They have professionalism and a sense of humor, so no matter where we go, whether it be a media event or a photoshoot, we always hear the same thing. “How can the atmosphere in a company be this great? Everyone’s so happy. We’re so envious.”

JYJ, according to their financial team

They’re great celebrities who really are like family. We’ve spent a lot of time working in this industry, but we’ve never seen celebrities with such talent also be such great people like them before. They’re such personable celebrities who always greet us warmly whenever we see them and who buy us delicious meals whenever they come to the office.

“A single-minded devotion! I see no one but JYJ~” 

{The financial team, according to JYJ}
Jaejoong: “They’re the team who are most envious of us. They often tell us, ‘We’re sending all this money to you. We’re envious.’ Of course, they probably mean it as a joke but can you imagine how conflicted you may be if you saw all that money? (laughter) They’re the grateful people who play the role of the comforting mother in the nest that is C-JeS.”
Yoochun: “They’re warm-hearted people, just like mothers. They are grateful people who are always happy to see us when we see them at company dinners.”
Junsu: “They’re the people we do and should trust most. They look very open and comforting, and treat us just as warmly as they look. They must have a hard time keeping the company ticking, but I’m grateful that they always greet us with bright faces.”

EPISODE: When we work overtime, we always listen to JYJ’s music. If it’s right before an album’s about to be released, we beg the recorded music team to give us a demo tape. Of course, this isn’t possible due to security reasons. But we always end up disappointed, like fans would, and just listen to all of JYJ’s released songs on an infinite loop. Their songs always sound so new and good to us, no matter how many times we listen to them. We tell each other that the song sounds better today than it did yesterday. We’re the sector who talk to JYJ the most on the phone but see them in person the least, so maybe we’re venting our frustration at that by listening to their music?

JYJ, according to their advertising team

JYJ is a group of people who are able to be controllers for each other. They know more about each others’ emotions and needs than their own, so they’re always in sync. They’re at their best when they’re together, so much that we’re sure there couldn’t possibly be a better combination of people. Their teamwork is amazing.

“JYJ, amazing teamwork!” 

{The advertising team, according to JYJ}
Jaejoong: “They work hard for JYJ’s gains and image, and to keep the company going. They are the people who play a major role in our agency’s finances.”
Yoochun: “They are a grateful team who think of our image and also bring in profits for our agency. We haven’t worked with them for a long time, so we’re still in the process of getting to know each other’s styles.”
Junsu: “They are the only team who was able to get us on TV and placate our frustrations over ‘broadcasted activities’. And they are the team who got me the nickname, ‘PenzalQ Thank you!’”

EPISODE: The Tony Moly advertisement was created through ad-libs by the members. The director asked the members to be natural, so Jaejoong and Yoochun began making ad-libs with the personas they played in dramas, but Junsu was unable to come up with a sufficient ad-lib and looked lost, creating a funny scene. The scene was initially set to be the B-cut but it came out to be so amusing that it became the main advertisement. We think this natural ad-lib was possible because the members are always happy when they’re together.

JYJ, according to their US branch

JYJ is the group that proved the potential and awareness of Korean pop music all over the world. They have everything like talented sense, artistry, sophistication and vocal talents, but they’re also personable and passionate as they face the world, and it’s easy to see why people all over the world love JYJ so much. Our relationship with JYJ is more special and precious than that we’ve had with any other celebrity. We’re very proud to know that we were able to showcase their charms in the wide yet narrow US market.

“You are the true champions~!! I♥U

{The US branch, according to JYJ}
Jaejoong: “They are able to take on the work of many. They are experiencing amazing successes in their field.”
Yoochun: “They’re comfortable and friendly people. We’ve been working with them for a long time, since our worldwide album. They work so hard for us.”
Junsu: “They are the people who helped us get better opportunities in the US. Not only this, but they are the forerunners in getting JYJ’s name out in the US market. They are the people who keep us anticipated about new projects, and they are the team who continue to challenge us.”

EPISODE: This is something that happened during our trip to Peru for JYJ’s South America tour. The members had to use a separate exit to get in their car because of the hundreds of fans who had gathered at the airport, and they swiftly moved to their hotel. But there were hundreds of fans waiting there already as well. Hotel guests and workers who didn’t know who JYJ were kept asking around to figure out who JYJ were, and they all said that it hadn’t been this bad, even when Justin Bieber or the Jonas Brothers had visited. What was surprising was that 90% of the fans who had gathered were Peruvians, but they were all singing JYJ’s songs from memory. They would even greet us warmly in Korean when they saw us and told us that they were JYJ fans. Seeing this proved yet again that JYJ aren’t just artistes, they are their own culture.

JYJ, according to their design team

They say that even whales dance when praised. They are grateful people who nurture our passion with great feedback and constructive criticism. They are like Harry Potter to us, giving us a wand and dreams. The charm that spills out of their photos and videos gives us high efficiency.

{The design team, according to JYJ}
Jaejoong: “They are the people ho gift us with nature. They are talented people who can make even a trash can look like a garden. They always make us look prettier and better.”
Yoochun: “When I see the photos they’ve created for us, I’m always left amazed. All I can be certain about is that they’re so talented. They have a great sense for what they do. And I’m always grateful because they work so hard.”
Junsu: “I’m so very grateful to them because they designed my first solo album just the way I wanted it.”

EPISODE: We showcased JYJ’s clothes in the ‘My Room’ corner during the ‘Membership Week’. The mannequins were the standard Korean size, but dang it, their clothes didn’t fit the mannequins. The members’ God-given bodies put the mannequins to shame, and us in a conundrum. Yet again, we saw just how different JYJ’s bodies are to ours, and we can still remember the small sense of respect we felt. Ah, we really need to stop eating so much!

JYJ, according to their MD team

When talking about JYJ, we couldn’t possibly find another word to describe them other than ‘amazing’. In the Fall of 2011, when their Japanese activities were non-existent, a flood of people gathered in overseas and domestic concert venues. Though we’ve worked in this industry for over 10 years, we’ve never felt such exhilaration. They’re truly an amazing group.

“JYJ, these amazing people!”

{The MD team, according to JYJ}
Jaejoong: They are the people who have created yet another JYJ. Thanks to them, we’re on fans and blankets. Maybe there will be spoons, or mirrors in the future… (laughter)”
Yoochun: “We were able to see the raw talent of the MD team at our ‘Membership Week’. They’re always creating new products and creating bridges between us and our fans.”
Junsu: “They are the people who approach us with new ways to communicate with our fans. We did a photoshoot for a calendar, and I think a really funny product will result from it. They’re a team with amazing ideas.”

EPISODE: For their ‘Membership Week’, JYJ were faced with a slightly awkward situation of having to dance without a background in front of many staff members for a media facade. We were worried at first, but they danced like professionals to befit the 3D effects of the final product. I don’t think we need to add that they also closely monitored their work. That’s when the thought crossed our mind that JYJ were real professionals. It’s kind of awkward meeting with JYJ at times because we’re an all-male team, but we really want to say this. J (Let’s do our best), Y (Forever), J (Till we die)… haha.

Staff members, who are like family to us

Though they aren’t official co-workers in C-JeS, they are a family who have been with JYJ for the past 1,000 days. They are the staff members! They’re like family to JYJ as they’ve always gone wherever JYJ went. Hair stylist Kang Ho from ‘Kang Ho The Red Carpet’ has been with JYJ for almost 10 years, since their debut. JYJ’s hairstyles were all completed by the hands of Kang Ho, who is like an older brother to them. Makeup artist Moon Joo Young is the amazing person who was in charge of JYJ’s first schedule! Noh Mi Young, who is in charge of styling the members on stage! Jung Hae Jin, who is in charge of dressing JYJ for their time on TV and the big screen! And the bodyguard team who always work hard for JYJ’s safety and sometimes enjoy time off with them!

“JYJ, they are true professionals!”

32. December 2011, we climbed Odae Mountain

In December of 2011, JYJ and the family of C-JeS Entertainment headed to Mt. Odae in Pyeongchang of Gangwondo. The agency’s celebrities and co-workers came together to climb the mountain ‘as one family’! It was a ‘family MT’ full of human affection with them helping each other along and taking photos together at the top of the mountain. Here are stories from their winter MT told by Team Manager Jang Jae Ho and the members of JYJ.

The Mt. Odae MT as told by Team Manager Jang Jae Ho

The Mt. Odae MT was created to strengthen the ties between everyone who had come together under C-JeS Entertainment. We skied at a resort near Mt. Odae and climbed to the top of the mountain. Going up the mountain, Jaejoong was at the front of the group, walking as fast as if he was walking on a level ground, and everyone had a hard time keeping up with him. It was especially hard for me because I had to stick right next to him. At night, we had a great time cooking meat and drinking together. We were so drunk that we couldn’t tell who was who. Haha! The whole experience made me think that we needed to go to a MT once a year, no matter how busy we get.

The Mt. Odae MT that Kim Jaejoong remembers

The members of JYJ, Song Ji Hyo, CEO Baek Chang Joo and everyone who works with us got on a minibus together, and it really did feel just like a family vacation. I became a DJ in the minibus and we stopped at an expressway service area for snacks. At one service area, we were ‘found’ by a group of students on a trip together, and our bus was surrounded by so many people that I was sure it would flip over. When we arrived at the ski resort, we were so surprised to see the bus of the same students. I tried snowboarding for the first time at the ski resort and everyone had a great time. On the second day, we all had a drink and talked about our love lives, and it was great to see that everyone felt more comfortable with each other.

The Mt. Odae MT that Park Yoochun remembers

We were originally planning on going to Mt. Seol-ak, but we ended up going to Mt. Odae because it had snowed too much. I really enjoyed snowboarding with our coworkers. Chang Joo is a great skier. When we got to our rooms, we played games with our 30 or so co-workers. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as I did then. Though we played a simple game where we split into teams and had the people who lost at a game of rock, paper, scissors take a drink, the amount of cheering that went on rivaled that of the World Cup. We shouted, argued that our side had won, fell over laughing and hugged each other. On the second day, we all shared a drink together and opened up to each other. We all had a great time. On the morning of the next day, we all met up for breakfast without washing up, and we burst out laughing at the sight of each other. I think the memories of that trip will stay with us for a long time.

The Mt. Odae MT that Kim Junsu remembers

Above all, I shared a lot of stories with our co-workers and members. It really felt like we had become a family. I still remember the happy memories of us all squished in a 25-seater minibus, so closely that our shoulders were touching, on the way to Mt. Odae. We acted just like students going on a trip together, singing and revealing each other’s secrets. The CEO personally paid for all our climbing clothes and shoes, and the outfits were so over the top that others might have mistaken us for climbers going to Mt. Everest. People who shared rooms climbing a mountain together. I think it’s a very meaningful activity. It became an opportunity for us to get to know each other better.


Part 6 JYJ, according to JYJ

33. 1000 Days, Our Fans Stayed by Our Side

There’s something special about JYJ fans. It’s because of an affection that came from a situation where just sending their passionate love to their stars wasn’t going to be enough. They had to endure unfair ordeals, they had to take sides and at times, they had to fight against an unjust reality.

The members of JYJ know of their fans’ pain more than anyone else. Kim Junsu said, “Being a JYJ fan is proof that you are doing something amazing.” Kim Jaejoong identified his fans as an absolute presence in his life as he described them as, “People who have changed me the most in my life as a celebrity.” Kim Junsu shared the same thoughts with him and said, “I’m where I am now, 100% because of the power and strength of our fans. I want to do anything and everything for them, for every day I feel they deserve from me.”

At times, fans have the ability to make their stars take action. Kim Jaejoong is of the opinion that, “Stars are created by their fans.” He stated, “There are many instances where all rumors, discord amongst the members, and reconciliations start because of the fans. The fans are a stepping stone that helps us grow and become closer with each other.”

Park Yoochun shared similar thoughts about his fans. However, he seemed cautious as he stated that at times, he worries when he faces the growing voices of his fans. “I know about their feelings for me, and I’m always grateful to have them. But there are times when I wish they could understand different situations with a more open mind. The reason why I work is for our fans, and I know very well that I receive so much love from them that it’s really not enough for me to repay them by just working hard at what I do. For me, fans are people who move me deeply just by thinking of their presence.”

Are Sasaeng fans considered to be fans as well? Regarding that dilemma

Though they are called fans, ‘sasaeng fans’ are people all of the members find difficult to accept as their fans. As soon as they heard the term ‘sasaeng fans’, the members all frowned. Their soft words became dry and rough. Park Yoochun tersely replied, “I’ve never considered sasaeng fans as our fans.” He continued to open up about his personal thoughts about them as he added, “If I ever get the opportunity, I’d like to ask them why they became sasaeng fans.” Even Kim Jaejoong, who would smile when he thought of his fans, looked subdued when he talked about ‘sasaeng fans’. “I think we’re the only celebrities who, even nine years after our debut, still suffer because of sasaeng fans. That makes me feel conflicted. I’ll be turning thirty soon, but I feel as though my life is being severely meddled with…. This really isn’t right.”

Kim Junsu shared the same thoughts as the others. “Sasaeng fans are the kind of people who purposely crash their car into ours, just so they can see our faces. Getting angry at them? I never regret it. Because they would still act the same way, even now.”

Memories with the fans 1 – ‘A Sweet Fanmeet’

JYJ met with their fans in March, 2011, approximately four months after their World Tour concert in Seoul in late-November, 2010. The fans visited the Seoul Jamshil Indoor Gymnasium in the spirit of meeting their boyfriends when they attended they fanmeet two days ahead of White Day.

The day’s event, which was planned to create unforgettable memories with the fans, was the first ever JYJ membership event. When the members appeared on stage, the 7,000 fans expressed their joy through shouts of enthusiasm.

The fanmeet was created around the themes of ‘Meeting’, ‘Quickening Heartbeats’, ‘Familiarity’ and ‘Confession’ to express JYJ’s affection and interest in their fans. There were a variety of events set up for the members to have a great time with their fans, including a team challenge with the members’ managers, a ‘ideal fan World Cup’ game to find out each members’ ideal girl, as well as a ‘Talk Time with Guests’.

JYJ performed a total of seven songs, including ‘Empty’ and ‘Be my Girl’ from JYJ’s worldwide album <The Beginning> , and ‘Found You’ from the OST of Park Yoochun’s first drama <SungKyunKwan Scandal> and was met with applause and cheers from their fans. Guest star Kim Sung Soo from COOL praised Kim Jaejoong as he stated, “Though I haven’t spent a lot of time with Jaejoong, he’s someone with a pure heart.” Park Yoochun’s younger brother Park Yoohwan elicited laughter from the audience when he replied, “Jaejoong,” to the question of which JYJ member he wanted to look like most. Actress Shin Young Suk, who performed ‘Golden Star’ from Kim Junsu’s favorite musical <Mozart!> attended the event and received a thunderous applause from the fans in attendance.

As this was an event held during the White Day season, the members of JYJ prepared candy at each exit to express their gratitude to their fans. As the event was also held right after the 3.11 earthquake in Japan, the members also spoke soft words of comfort for those affected as they stated, “The situation in Japan is dire because of the earthquake. We pray that our fans are safe.”

After the performances were over, JYJ promised to meet their fans soon and unfortunately had to say goodbye to them. The memory of the fanmeet, which was an unforgettable moment in everyone’s lives, still shine brightly in the members’ minds, two years later.

Kim Junsu shed many tears during the event. He reminisced, “We were singing ‘Fallen Leaves’ on stage and when I was singing ‘The flowers bloom’, my vision was filled with our fans. At that moment, I couldn’t stop the tears from falling.”

Kim Jaejoong said, “It felt as though we had moved from a chilling cold to a warm room. It felt as though we were really making a connection with our fans. That was the first day I’d ever felt true happiness.”

Talking about their future fanmeet plans, Park Yoochun confessed his off-the-wall wishes as he stated, “I think it would be nice to go on a vacation by train with the fans if we ever get the opportunity. I want to go to space with our fans as well. I wonder if there are JYJ fans on the moon? That would be nice.”

Memories with the fans 2 – Photo exhibition ‘Mine’

An innovative idea that no other idol star had thought of before! It was only possible because it was JYJ. JYJ’s photo exhibition ‘Mine’ in Jongro-gu’s Insa Gallery in Seoul was held for ten days from the 12th of August, 2011 and the idea itself became a great sensation.

The photo exhibition showcased photos that captured the members’ daily lives and records from JYJ’s world tour across ten cities in Canada, the US and Asia.

CEO Baek Chang Joo explained, “Because we had limitations on our broadcasted activities, we didn’t have that many opportunities to showcase the successes of our ten-city world tour. The special photo exhibition was created because of this. We believed it would be a great memory for the domestic and overseas fans.”

Kim Jaejoong didn’t hide back on his amazement at his agency’s initiative. He stated, “Because there were limitations on our domestic activities, we created a variety of events to meet with our fans. Our expo and photo exhibition were created on those grounds. I was deeply moved by the initiative of our agency to pursue such events.” He continued to add, “It can’t be ignored that our agency is a business. There needs to be a profit. A profit needs to exist so that the agency can promote its artistes. But C-JeS Entertainment worries more about what the fans want than gaining profit.” Park Yoochun also expressed his thoughts as he said, “We have to find something new for the fans before they even realize that they want something new.”

Like so, three members always keep their fans close in their hearts. For the photo exhibition, they carried a camera wherever they went for two weeks and captured their stories and daily lives through a camera lens. Kim Junsu said with determination, “There’s something I felt yet again through the photo exhibition. It’s a fact that everything we’re doing now is only possible because of our fans. Whenever there’s something we can do for our fans, we need to do it without any hesitation.” 

Memories with the fans 3 – ‘The Day’

‘The Day’ is the conclusive volume of JYJ’s story. It is a 90-minute documentary film that contained the honest confessions of the members about their daily lives, dreams and happiness. It was something new that no group could easily choose and it was a definite act of fan service. As an event that would have been hard if it hadn’t been JYJ, the event amazed those around them yet again.

But they were met with many hardships during the process of getting the documentary to the big screen.

“It’s started again.”

This was the thought that passed through Kim Junsu’s mind when he heard that the theater that had promised to screen ‘The Day’ unexpectedly cancelled their decision. He looked back on the ordeal and said, “I thought it was ridiculous that we couldn’t show a video capturing our daily lives.”

‘The Day’ was actually a documentary that was set to air on the cable channel QTV. Even when the plans to air the finished production were suddenly scrapped right before the airing date, JYJ believed that another opportunity would soon come along. Though they then turned to the cinemas for their next attempt, they were hit by reality yet again. But JYJ didn’t give up, and another opportunity came their way. Another theater made the decision to show the movie.

The results of JYJ’s determination and the fans’ patience was ‘The Day’, which was released on the 23rd of February, 2012.  The film then went on to break a new record. 110,000 people flooded the servers as soon as ticket reservations began, and the documentary became the movie with the highest rate of reservations with all the seats selling out!

At first, it was planned for 19 cinemas to screen the movie 110 times, but another extra 30 screenings were added to repay the fans for their support. ‘The Day’ attracted a total of 24,138 viewers across the first four days after its release, and beat out its rival movies to come out on top.

Representatives of the movie industry were amazed by JYJ’s ability to dominate their field. Though the film was screened in a small number of theaters, the response it received was explosive. Add the fact that each screening was sold out.

Kim Jaejoong visited the theaters every day with the other members to greet their fans. Kim Jaejoong described the elation he felt at that time as he said, “We were met with thunderous applause and cheer.” Every sold out screening made the members happier, but also increased the pressure they felt. Park Yoochun said, “I felt very pressured. And that pressure kept increasing.” It was a pressure they were sincerely grateful for, for it motivated them to keep finding ways to repay the fans for their endless love.


34. JYJ’s amazing gift, ‘Membership Week’

There was yet another thing that would have been difficult had it not been JYJ. To repay their fans for the love that was given, JYJ planned a new kind of exhibit that took a plunge and broke the cookie-cut mold of previous fanmeets. This was the ’2012 JYJ Membership Week’, which was held at SETEC in Daechi-dong, Seoul from the 28th of June till the 1st of July in 2012.

As soon as the stage was revealed, domestic and overseas entertainment representatives, as well as fans, were extremely surprised. First of all, the sheer size of the event was mind-boggling. 3,000 pyeong of space was used to hold 3 exhibitions and resembled a museum that contained anything and everything to do with JYJ.

What was most surprising that admittance into the exhibition was free. Even if JYJ wanted to repay their fans for their love, there had never been an event in which all programs were open for free. Even though it had cost 3.7 billion Won, not just 100~200 million Won, profit was not a concern for them, which was baffling to many. JYJ offered this ‘large-scale event’ and ‘amazing gift’ to 15,000 Korean fans and 7,024 Japanese fans.

Not only this, but the event broke the record for the most number of Japanese tourists entering Korea for a single event. Regardless of age, whether they were businesswomen who had taken a leave or mothers who had brought their daughters along, Japanese fans came to Korea for JYJ. The analysis was made that an economic effect of 10 billion Won was created through the event, giving JYJ the opportunity to prove yet again that “This is what a true star can do.”

With a large amount of production costs and six months of preparation invested, the event was filled with many things to see. Fans were able to see, touch and experience ‘everything about JYJ’ and said, “This is something we could have never imagined.” Seeing the fans so happy made the members feel like they had conquered the world.

Looking back on the event, the members couldn’t hold back on their excitement. Kim Junsu said, “We couldn’t have been any happier because our fans were the main focus of the event, not us,” and “It was great to hear that most of the hotels in Seoul were filled.”

The members will always be happy to have created a ‘tailored fan service’. Kim Jaejoong said, “We gifted fans who wanted to see us act with movies and dramas, and fans who wanted to hear us sing with music,” and “It felt like our fans were hungry, so we wanted to make sure they felt full.”

Park Yoochun, who was unable to appear in the first day’s events because of an eye infection, remembered the next day’s fanmeet and had a satisfied smile on his face. He said, “Like how our ‘Membership Week’ was planned naturally while talking with Chang Joo, we never really seek for something new but that’s always what we end of doing.”

And their promise to their fans

Whenever fans and stars are together, they always shine. This is what JYJ want. When talking about their fans, Kim Junsu and Park Yoochun said, We hope that the fans stay where they are, keep looking out for us and give us strength.” 

Kim Jaejoong took one step further and ‘read’ the hearts of their fans. Saying “This is what the fans must want from us,” this is the ‘Fans’ wish list’ that Kim Jaejoong predicts.

“Even if we date, we should marry when we’re older. Not to age too fast. Not to stay active in overseas markets too long but to be recognized. Never wear ‘shoe lifts’ even when taller idols make a debut.  For me to wear as many accessories as I want to when I act. For Yoochun to never get a buzz cut. For Junsu to not gain weight again.”


35. JYJ’s Wish Tree

With 2013 coming up, the three members revealed their personal ‘wish trees’. They all sincerely wished for their friendship with each other and the love from their fans to stay the way it is and never change.

(Kim Jaejoong) In the new year, I would like to be more active as a singer for our fans. I will work hard to gift our fans with music that will be pleasing to the ears. This year especially, I learned just how precious the other members are to me. I learned just how fortunate and happy I am to be with them, and to have them stay by my side. I hope for us all to be healthy this upcoming year, and I’d like for our fans to not get married. haha!

(Kim Junsu) I want to appear on broadcasted programs with the members and sing with them under the name of JYJ. I’d like for our worldwide album to be loved in many more countries than before. I’d like for all the dramas and movies Jaejoong and Yoochun appear in to do well.

(Park Yoochun) I don’t have a specific New Year’s wish, I just hope that the weather won’t be too cold in Winter. Because of the drama I’m currently appearing in, I will be spending a lot of time outside, filming till January, 2013, and I hope I’ll be able to survive the cold.


36. What 1,000 days mean for JYJ, and the next 1,000 days

The past 1,000 days spent shared with fans under the name ‘JYJ’ have not been a short amount of time for the members either. Kim Jaejoong had a sincere expression on his face as he said, “It was a time for us and our fans to grow.”

When asked whether he would describe the time as ‘turbulent’, Kim Jaejoong gave a positive response by stating, “Because it’s already done with, I’d like to remember those times as a positive memory. I’m sure that the next 1,000 days will be more ‘turbulent’ than it’s already been. Those ‘turbulent’ times may bring good times or bad times, but I’d like for it be a good kind of ‘turbulent’ future we spent together with our fans.”

The next 1,000 days that Kim Junsu envisions is more specific. Kim Junsu promised to actively pursue more activities as he said, “I’d like for the next 1,000 days to be a time for us repay our fans for all the love they’ve given us.” He continued to say, “We’ll be releasing a worldwide album in the US next year, and I’d like for us to have no regrets, whether the album succeeds or fails. Though the past 1,000 days have been hard for us, I believe that the next 1,000 days will be better for us. I’d like to experience those new moments with the members, and our fans.”

Kim Jaejoong and Park Yoochun didn’t forget to talk about the military service they must all fulfill.

Park Yoochun smiled and said, “If we keep walking calmly and surely like we’ve done till now, I think we’ll be able to live a happier live, even after we return from our military service.” Kim Jaejoong’s goal was more specific as he stated, “I’d like for us to work hard so that our fans will be able to think ‘JYJ have returned from their military service more mature than before’ when we come back. I’d like for us to show them a large spectrum of things before we go so that they won’t get bored of waiting for us.”

 The near yet far future that the members of JYJ wish to experience together with their fans already has the members dreaming with hopeful expressions on their faces.


37.  [epilogue] JYJ’s next 1000 days will be more amazing than before

It is evident what passionate men they are. On stage, JYJ’s passion resembles that of a bubbling volcano. Offstage, although JYJ are very approachable and easy-going, their hearts are full of an energy that cannot be stopped. JYJ is standing at a position that cannot be surpassed. These 1000 days that they’ve been through began with “hardship”, then “challenges”, and finally concluded with “accomplishment”. It was not an easy process. 1000 days that would have been difficult to bear even for any other top star, they made it through because they are JYJ. After these 1000 days, JYJ is steadily moving on and securing their own spot.

During the interview with the JYJ members, there were moments when they would laugh, times when they would be serious, and times when they would tear up. The reason why they were able to continue the interview, telling their stories for 4-5 hours without resting and not feeling tired, is because of how much these stories mean to them. The members, each with different characters, showed their various charms both during the interview and the photoshoot. The different characters that each member has is a reason why JYJ is able to shine so brightly.

Leader Kim Jaejoong brings with him an air of warmth wherever he goes. He has a deep affection for people, and is a guy who listens attentively to what the other party has to say, before sincerely sharing his stories. That is the reason why Kim Jaejoong is suited to be the leader of JYJ. He is someone who will not hesitate to reveal his true emotions and thoughts. Additionally, he is also a guy who has the special skill of being able to make the other party open their heart to him. He is Kim Jaejoong.

Park Yoochun is mellow. He does not get flustered even when sensitive questions are asked. He has principles which are unexpected from a star who has been at the top since his debut. Hardship makes people grow, so it is no surprise that Park Yoochun has grown into a tough guy. Park Yoochun, who carefully  takes care of others without saying much. He comes straight out of a mellow drama.

Kim Junsu is always laughing. He is a guy who is full of energy be it in his career as an artiste or in his life. His voice itself is music, would often sing during the interview as well. Being able to sit across Kim Junsu and hear Kim his voice, which can usually only be heard on stage, will be an unforgettable memory for the people who were fortunate enough to be at the scene. 

1000 days have passed for JYJ, and there are many more to come. A JYJ that we did not know of, a JYJ that we want to know more about, everything that we have to learn more about JYJ is right here.

JYJ’s never-ending story will continue in the future.

Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun, Kim Junsu! The trio of JYJ will continue to run forward with all their might.


38. Special Thanks To…

These past 1,000 days were full of happiness as we were connected through our hearts though we weren’t always together. I’d like for us to keep loving each other, even after 2,000 days or 10,000 days. Let’s stay together for a long, long time!

You were all such a great source of strength for me since I became a part of JYJ. Thank you for always believing in us and cheering us along. I hope that you keep supporting JYJ, and we’ll repay you by working hard at what we do. Thank you, and I love you.

The unending love and support you’ve given us for the past 1,000 days has taught me so much. The past 1,000 days have been so precious to me. We’ll fill the rest of our time together with great moments. Thank you so much, and I love you.

Source : [The JYJ magazine: The story of 1000 days]

Translated & Shared by :



One thought on “The JYJ Magazine: The Story of 1000 Days Translations Parts 1 thru 4 + JYJ Magazine No.2 Link

  1. As this marvelous journey of JYJ’s has been shared and unfolded before us all, I felt that it deserved a special page of its own instead of slowly fading from sight as other posts pushed it down.

    Please take the time to truly read this narrative. The mix of emotions that our Boys have experienced will tear your heart to pieces.

    Jaejoong, Yoochun, Junsu–We love you here at JYJFantalk. 🙂 <333 Momma Cha

Leave a Reply