Thousands of excited fans stormed their way into Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium in Seoul on Tuesday. The lucky fans, who were selected through random drawings, turned up for the crowning event of the group’s annual “Membership Week” to bid Park Yoo-chun a farewell for his enlistment Thursday. The event, which had been scheduled for two hours, went overtime by an extra two hours.
Sporting an “Inside Out” theme from the homonymous animated film, the event kicked off with the members singing the soundtrack of the film with modified lyrics. The members then walked up to the center of the stage and touched the magic balls made of “core memories” through which the group’s most memorable memories were screened on the supersized onstage screens. The memories, which reflected fans’ comments on the group’s Facebook page, included the times the versatile members won awards as well as when they topped local music charts. Park Yoo-chun burst into laughter when an old cringe-worthy ad was projected on the screen.
Along with special guest emcee Boom, the duo left fans in stitches while playing games including a hilarious “palm-pushing game” and “Pepero game,” where the two ate a stick cookie from opposing ends to make it as tiny as possible. As part of the penalty for the loser, the duo respectively tried playing a man who finally confesses his love, and a man who drops tears in the agony of parting. Park impressed fans as he shed tears in a split second.
Some of the fans were moved to tears when the two sang their hit tracks together.
What’s more heartwarming were Jae-joong’s surprise handwritten letters through which Kim sent his regards to his fans and the two remaining members. “My brothers, I love you so much. Let’s stay happy together,” wrote Kim, showing off the love toward his well-beloved friends.
The tearful event came to a grand finale with the duo’s special thanks to the fans.
“I’ve been saying this repeatedly, but I would like to thank you again. For me, it’s a heart-throbbing blessing to be able to spend every moment filled with your love and support,” said Park with equanimity, expressing hope for the three to come together on stage as an integral whole.
“Your support brought us here today. We’re much obliged to you for everything you have done for us,” Kim added.
“I’m set to serve my mandatory military duty starting from Thursday. It was the most precious moment in my life when the three of us (JYJ members) were together onstage. Please wait for the day of reunion.”
Fans with intense wistfulness called out his name, calling out, “We’ll be waiting, see you again in two years.” Some of them broke down and burst out sobbing when they sang the group’s doleful track “The Boy’s Letter” in return, pledging their genuine and abiding love for the trio.
“I couldn’t sleep last night. I was so excited to see them so close,” said Ko Mi-soo, a devoted fan of the group, adding she couldn’t get a wink of sleep until 9 a.m. after the heart-throbbing event. She further explained that the fans are in deep sorrow as there would be a long hiatus until all three members can get together as a whole.
The ongoing “Membership Week” held at Seoul Arts Museum in Buam-dong also encompasses an exhibition that showcases behind-the-scene photos of the JYJ members during drama shoots, track recordings and more.
Park is set to serve his two-year duty as a public service worker and will be stationed at a public office, substituting for the mandatory 21-month service term at a military camp due to his asthma.
By Ko Ji-seon (email@example.com)
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