JYJ, comprised of members Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun, and Kim Junsu, began 2012 by continuing to take the necessary steps to reach their growing international fan base.
Since 2010, with the release of their 1st worldwide album, The Beginning, JYJ have progressively advanced towards the international stage. In January 2012, fans all over the world excitedly anticipated the additional concerts in Chile and Peru that would conclude JYJ’s 2011-2012 World Tour. The concerts were met with a hot response in South America, with 6,000 fans meeting JYJ in a sold out show in Peru and close to 5,000 fans flocking to see the group in Chile. JYJ’s World Tour gathered more than 200,000 fans worldwide.
With JYJ being the first Korean artist to hold a concert in South America, the ground-breaking concerts gave a clear signal that JYJ would continue to take their music internationally, meeting their fans under the uniting force of music, “a language,” JYJ emphasized, “without borders.”
Also in early January, JYJ broadened the channels of communication with their fans worldwide through the opening of their official JYJ Facebook and YouTube pages. Regular updates about each member’s activities as well as behind-the-scenes photos and news about JYJ through Facebook and YouTube have increased the group’s accessibility to fans, both domestic and international, that are unable to see JYJ through the regular promotional channels in South Korea.
In February, despite film distributor CGV’s one-sided decision to cancel the screening of JYJ’s daily documentary “The Day”, Lotte Cinema picked up the movie and agreed to screen it. Although it eventually was only released in 19 theaters, “The Day” dominated the box office the first weekend of its release, drawing 24,000 fans in just 4 days.
JYJ further proved their popularity on the international stage by performing for the First Ladies of the World at the Blue House in March. First Ladies from Gabon, Nigeria, South Africa, Malaysia, Vietnam, Switzerland, Singapore, Italy, India, Indonesia, China, Chile, The Philippines, countries in the United Nations, the European Union and more enjoyed JYJ’s exclusive performance of “Be My Girl” and “In Heaven” for them. A few First Ladies especially waited until the end of the event in order to take a photo with JYJ.
JYJ’s role as cultural ambassadors continued in 2012 when they were chosen as the Goodwill Ambassadors for KBEE 2012 (Korea Brand and Entertainment Expo) in Osaka. JYJ once again proved their overseas popularity when more than 20,000 applications were received from the Japanese fans to be invited to the opening ceremony when only 500 were accepted.
One of the major events of 2012 that held special meaning for JYJ and their fans was the 2012 JYJ Membership Week. The event, held from June 28 to July 1, included fan meetings, exhibitions displaying JYJ’s previous works and costumes, movie theater screening of “The Day”, trick-art, and other entertainment. The event gathered around 15,000 Korean fans and 7,000 Japanese fans.
JYJ fans that attended the event were touched that it was run without any expectation of profit, despite JYJ and C-JeS Entertainment’s investment of KRW 3.7 billion into the festivities. Everything in the venue and all of the activities were provided free of charge. An official from the airport said that it “drew the largest number of foreigners to the country for just one event.”
JYJ spent the most of 2012, aside from preparing for future group activities, pursuing solo projects.
Kim Jaejoong started off the year with fanmeeting event in Turkey. He also attended a state dinner with the president of Korea and Turkey as a delegate after recieving an invitation to hold the fanmeeting and be a guest at the banquet in Turkey’s Presidential Palace.
Kim Jaejoong’s visit to Turkey further demonstrated his international popularity and effectiveness as cultural ambassador when a spokesperson for Turkey’s Korean Cultural Center said, “There is a greater symbolic meaning to [the invitation] since Kim Jaejoong is a Hallyu Star representative who is popular among young Turks.”
Kim Jaejoong held a fan meeting in Taiwan in March, following the immense popularity of his first Korean drama, “Protect the Boss”, when it aired in Taiwan. He displayed his immense popularity in Taiwan when 2500 tickets were sold out within minutes, causing the servers to crash. During the fanmeeting there was no need for an interpretor as fans, having taken an interest in the Korean language due to Kim Jaejoong, often understood and reacted to his words immediately without translation.
Kim Jaejoong challenged himself in the hot summer months of 2012 by simultaneously filming his first historical drama, “Time Slip Dr. Jin”, and his first movie, “Jackal is Coming” also known as “Code Name: Jackal”. Although faced with a grueling filming schedule between the two projects, Kim Jaejoong impressed the actors and crew on both sets with his consistent professionalism and contribution to the amicable atmosphere at the filming site.
“Time Slip Dr. Jin” began airing in May with Kim Jaejoong’s character, Kim Kyung Tak, immediately earning the pity of the viewers through his unrequited love of Hong Young Rae, played by Park Min Young, and his star-crossed friendship with Yong Rae’s brother, Young Hwi, played by Jin Yi Han.
At the time, fellow actor Lee Bum Soo remarked, “He sincerely wants to express the scenes that he is given. To concentrate on reaching his goal, he watches the actor’s acting and reacts to it. I think this is how actors learn from each other. I want to give Kim Jaejoong a high score in acting.” Jaejoong’s hard work was acknowledged at the end of year at the 2012 MBC Drama Awards, where he received the Best New Male Actor through his role as Kim Kyung Tak in “Time Slip Dr. Jin”.
In October, Jaejoong walked on red carpet as a movie actor for the first time while promoting “Jackal is Coming” also known as “Code Name: Jackal” with his co-star, Song Ji Hyo, at the Busan International Film Festival.
After filming ended for “Time Slip Dr. Jin” and “Jackal is Coming” also known as “Code Name: Jackal”, Kim Jaejoong embarked on his first Asia Fan Meeting Tour, greeting a total of 17,500 fans in China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. He shared stories about his experiences during filming, played games, shook hands, took group photos, and even personally prepared food for his fans, making new memories and strengthening his bond with his fans across Asia.
Near the end of December, C-JeS announced Kim Jaejoong would release his first solo mini album the following month. The news made JYJ fans even more eager to start 2013 with new music and more activities from Kim Jaejoong. Titled “I” the mini-album has since swept the Hanteo Charts and the MV to his title track “Mine” has exceeded 1.3 million views on YouTube.
Kim Junsu pursued his passion for music through his participation in “Elizabeth” the musical, the release of his first solo album, Tarantallegra, and headlining his first world tour as a solo artist.
Kim Junsu started his solo activities in February by starring in his third musical, “Elizabeth”, until taking his final bow as Death on May 2. The role of Death, a transcendent character that falls in love with Queen Elizabeth, led Kim Junsu to his first Best Actor award at the 18th Annual Korean Musical Awards.
Kim Junsu’s performance gained praises from the director of the musical, Kim Moon Jung and the composer, Sylvester Levay. Director Kim praised him as a genius who knew how to interact with the audience and actors so that he could deliver a great performance. In addition, Mr. Levay praised Junsu’s performance as “perfect and satisfying.” Further displaying his “ticket power” in the musical industry, tickets for all 32 plays were sold out in just ten minutes after the sales began.
Kim Junsu cast his spell on the world with his 1st solo album titled Tarantallegra in May, releasing his jaw-dropping music video, and following that with news that he would embark on his first Asia Tour. Kim Junsu is well known for his vocal abilities and he continued to garner interest in his album when it was revealed that he self-composed most of the songs on the tracklist. When pre-orders for the album began on Synnara, the largest online music market site in Korea, the servers crashed immediately due to the overwhelming response and interest for Tarantallegra.
The “Tarantallegra” music video was centered around the concept of “Unequalled” and Kim Junsu made sure not to disappoint his fans. He released a powerful MV that refused to conform to the mainstream K-Pop aesthetic and formula. The dance was specially choreographed by Jeri Slaughter who also previously worked with JYJ for their World Tour. Fellow member, Kim Jaejoong also contributed to the album’s production as it became known that “No Gain” was written and composed by him.
The Asia Tour concluded at the end of August after his shows in Seoul, Bangkok, Jakarta, Taipei, Shanghai, and Hong Kong before officially kicking off his world tour in New York City. From New York he moved on to L.A., Mexico, Brazil, and Chile, before finally concluding his tour with a final stop in Germany, having drawn 53,800 fans in total across four continents in 12 cities.
Before beginning his world tour in New York City the singer released “Uncommitted” along with an MV to accompany the single. Working with Sony Producer Bruce “Automatic” Vanderveer and a prominent music video director in the U.S., Marc Klasfeld, Kim Junsu continued to prove his status as a world star with the release of “Uncommitted”.
But Kim Junsu didn’t stop there. Later in the year he sang “Love is Like A Snowflake” for the OST of popular drama “Nice Guy” and gave a Christmas gift to his fans by releasing “Thank U For” on Christmas Eve. Junsu spent the end of the year doing what he does best: performing live. World star Kim Junsu welcomed 2013 with three sold-out Ballad and Musical Concerts, gathering a total of 21,000 fans in Seoul from Dec 29-31.
Park Yoochun greeted television audiences in 2012 through lead roles in two dramas, delighting viewers with his comedic acting in “Rooftop Prince” and pulling at their heartstrings in the melodrama “I Miss You”.
After concluding JYJ’s World Tour in South America, Park Yoochun appeared in SBS’s “Rooftop Prince” from March to May. In June, “Rooftop Prince” made headlines for having over 77 million views and more than 110,000 comments left by fans of the drama on Youku, the largest video-sharing site in China. The drama received much love from both domestic and international drama fans alike, cementing Park Yoochun’s international popularity as an actor.
In August, Park Yoochun won the Outstanding Korean Actor and the People’s Choice Award (Korea) at the 2012 Seoul International Drama Awards, dedicating the awards to his late father who unfortunately passed in March of that year.
Despite his busy schedule, Park Yoochun, made time to personally interact with his fans across Asia through his 1st Asia Fan Meeting Tour. Meeting his fans in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Taiwan, and finishing his tour in Thailand. Tickets to each event were sold out from the beginning to the end of his tour, which drew a total of 17,000 fans across Asia.
Park Yoochun’s 2nd drama project in 2012, “I Miss You”, began airing in November and soon drew tears from TV viewers through its heartbreaking storyline and exceptional cast. Acting as Han Jungwoo, a detective who could not forget his first love after 14 years, Park Yoochun stole audience’s hearts for the second time in 2012.
At the year-end drama awards Park Yoochun was recognized for his hard work and undeniable talent. He took home 4 awards from the 2012 SBS Drama Awards including Excellence Actor Award (Drama Special), Netizen Popularity Award, Top 10 Stars, and Best Couple (with “Rooftop Prince” co-star Han Ji Min). The Excellence Actor Award (mini series) at the MBC Drama Awards also went to Park Yoochun for his role in “I Miss You”.
Aside from his fan meeting tour and drama projects, Park Yoochun made time to support charitable causes. A series of video tutorials with Park Yoochun demonstrating how to knit hats for Save the Children’s Newborn Hat Knitting Campaign motivated the public to share their warmth with others during the coldest months of the year.
In the last days of 2012, Standard Chartered Bank officially announced their appointment of Park Yoochun as the advertising model and honorary ambassador of their Good Library Project. The project asks for people to lend their voices in reading books and movies that will be recorded for blind people. It will continue into the spring of 2013 when a lucky applicant will get a chance to record a film commentary and audio book with him.
Richard Hill, the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank said, “We chose Park Yoochun because his soft voice and smile went well with the project.” Park Yoochun’s kind and gentle image is suited to many different projects and his fans anticipate more charitable endorsements in the future.
On November 28, 2012 the legal battle between SM Entertainment and JYJ that began in 2009 ended in mutual agreement. After 3 years and 4 months, the two parties agreed to withdraw all lawsuits against each other and agreed to not interfere in any of each other’s activities in the future. It is a fact that JYJ’s broadcast restrictions for the last 3 years have been due to their ongoing legal dispute with SM. The major broadcast stations have used the dispute to justify not allowing JYJ to appear on music and variety shows.
In the past, SM has been accused and found guilty of interfering with JYJ’s Korean activities by acting in collusion with third parties such as the Korean Federation of Pop Culture and Art Industry (KFPCAI). SM has long been suspected of applying “back-door pressure” on the broadcasting companies to restrict JYJ’s broadcast activities, a suspicion that has only grown as fans have yet to see JYJ appear on any music or variety shows following the end of the legal proceedings.
Nevertheless, the end to the long legal battle with SM was a positive step for JYJ and the more recent news concerning JYJ winning their legal cases against former Japanese management company, AVEX, made fans hopeful that JYJ would be able to resume activities in Japan. AVEX was ordered by Tokyo District Court on January 18, 2013 to pay 6.6 billion Yen (approx. 7.8 billion Won) to C-JeS Entertainment as compensation for damages as well as 1 million Yen (1.1 million Won) for defaming C-JeS’s CEO.
2012 was a year where the individual talents of JYJ shined the brightest. Now, fans of JYJ all over the world are eagerly awaiting JYJ’s group activities in 2013, as the members have mentioned preparing for a new JYJ album and looking forward to standing on stage together again.