Translator’s Note: This interview was taken by Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, (T/N: shimbun meaning newspaper) which is widely regarded for its journalism as the most respected daily newspaper in Japan.
[Prepare the time to always answer the various requests from the audiences at the concert. The conversation with the fans became enjoyable = Osaka-jo Hall, C-JeS Entertainment credit]
Kim Junsu of the South Korean artist group ‘JYJ’ in December held, going to become his last before enlisting, solo concert ‘BALLAD MUSICAL CONCERT vol.5’ (T/N: in the source the concert title was written like this) in Saitama and Osaka. In total around 60,000 people were mobilised and during the tour he greeted his 30th birthday as well. Junsu, who went from an idol to an adult artist and added an year to his age, talked about his celebrity activities of till now and his thoughts before his military enlistment.
In February you will be enlisting into the military, this past one year with what thoughts have you been (doing your) activities?
In the remaining 1 year, formed a clear plan and worked with it. It was an extremely hectic and busy days as compared to usual. When I go to military, my activities as a singer and musical actor would be suspended for a while. Feelings of wanting to securely organise the last of the 7 years (as JYJ) and to adorn the ‘Crowning glory’, came about working hard exhausting my utmost best.
If I do proper activities till the end then the 2 years while enlisting, I also had this thought that wouldn’t then the fans wait for me. As I still have one more month, I will work hard securely till the end.
Debuted in South Korea and Japan as ‘Tohoshinki’ member in your teens, big group in Asia. In your twenties, on one hand you withdrew from the group and on the other broadened the width of your activities with solo activities and appearing in musicals. Was the 12 years of celebrity activities [feels] like a blink of an eye?
It wasn’t like a blink of an eye. The activities of the time of ‘Tohoshinki’ were like a blink of an eye but the activities after that were challenging towards new things or overcoming things, there was a lot of pressure. (Circling the celebrity activities) there were various trials as well. To the point of thinking were there any other celebrities in their twenties who experienced through that. However, from overcoming each one, you can feel that no matter what comes you are endowed with the power to overcome it. In that meaning it also made me think, ‘it was a good experience’.
[The last stage in Japan before military enlistment. Let us hear his singing voice filled with various thoughts = Osaka-jo Hall, C-JeS Entertainment credit]
Changed your agency and with the three formed a new [group] ‘JYJ’, believe that there were various barriers in South Korea as well as Japan. ‘I can’t endure any more’, (ever) thought of it as well?
There is, there is. Because I am a human being as well. Honestly there were many times when I thought of giving up.
Even with that you continued your activities, what was the ‘driving force’?
That is well, the existence of everyone of the fans. Because everyone was there, I definitely did not want to loose to the various obstacles. Even when my heart wavered, from the power and courage I received from the fans, power sprang out again.
These 7 years your television appearance was close to none, on the other hand you’ve continued activities to connect with your fans directly in lives or musicals. Was there any change to your attitude in music or activities?
Having the opportunities to appear on television decreased is sad but in exchange it has become so that I make by matching the whole of the performance in the live. Even at the time of composing music, I have come about composing while thinking about the performance I can do onstage. I believe hasn’t that change had a good influence on my performances.
A few years ago I began standing on stage of musical and so have broaden my ways of expression. I believe by mixing the musical performance into the stage of a live, I was able to show a stage of even more charms. I believe that hasn’t such a stage in itself become my ‘signature’.
This time’s concert is also composed with focus on musical and just before enlistment you will be appearing in the musical ‘Death note’ as well right.
To me right now musical is really important. After the period of resting from activities, to once again having to stand on stage was in musical. Once again I sang was in musical as well and received an award was in musical as well. In the award ceremony I appeared on television in a long time as well. It made me think, ‘it’s good that I didn’t give up,’ and I received a new life, a new dream. That’s why for ‘the Last’ activity before enlisting I wanted it to be a musical.
To put into words the charm that can not be known from singer and idol activities would be?
Musical, be it standing on stage for 20 or 30 times, each is totally different. Everything is ‘Live’. That is totally fascinating. For example, watching a movie even after 10 years is the same but the same musical can not be seen a second time.
The difference with ‘singer’ is that acting, singing, expressions, everything is needed right. In musicals, the lyrics become the script and you sing with feelings. The actors while exchanging various emotions, together go (about) making it (T/N: making the story/musical). The time when singing while exchanging emotions is really enjoyable. And in the last the sound of the applause received from the audience, that is really amazing!
During concert several times you have talking about, ‘I want act in a musical in Japan as well’.
Umm, I really want to do it. Some day in Japan, together with the Japanese actors, in Japanese, I want to do a musical. I’m not sure if it will become reality of not but the performances that I have done in South Korea till now, ‘Dracula’, ‘Elizabeth’, be it those is okay as well and I want to challenge in a new thing as well.
After the enlistment has ended with what form do you want to appear in front of your fans?
(Distancing from activities) I am worried. However, even if when I return from my enlistment and the fans in front of my eyes are no longer (there), till now the love that I received from everyone was an unbelievable ‘miracle’ is what I think and thus I have only feelings of gratitude. A few years ago I thought that ‘I may be finished now’. Thus, till now having continued doing activities like this was a miracle and I am only grateful towards that. When I return, I believe I want to with those feelings I want to again work hard.
During the enlistment while thinking about the feelings I received from everyone inside my heart, acquiring the composure as a single human, I want to return back. And when I return it would be good if I challenge into a further more new genre.
As the Korean artist Junsu, can you once again put into words about the meaning of activities in Japan and/or the existence of the fans?
Japan to me is like a second home country as it’s a county that has given me lots of love and ardent support, after a while when I come to Japan they always give me the same warm reception, it is a place like a home town which shows unchanging love. That’s why I can not do even if i’m thankful.
I am a foreign singer right. That’s why in Japan especially if you do not appear on television, the hearts of the fans becomes estranged. In reality in these 7 years such a thing happened and it is obvious. However, undeterred by that too within the 7 years the fans have supported with all they’ve got. Regarding that I can not find the words but……. in various meanings I am grateful.
Till now the half of my singing life was in Japan. The time in which I’ve matured till now, the time I spent with the Japanese fans, it was in the memories of Japan.
Truly, Thank you very much.
[Personally planned a style of reenacting the musical program with the accompaniment of an orchestra. The result of having done the trial and error on [making] his own stage = Osaka-jo Hall, C-JeS Entertainment credit]
Kim Junsu, born in 1986 in South Korea. In 2004 debuted in the celebrity world in South Korea and Japan as a member of ‘Tohoshinki’. In 2010 with Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun, the three changed their agency and [started] activities as a new [group] ‘JYJ’. In the same year, began his activities as a musical actor with ‘Mozart’, in 2012 received the award for the Best Male Lead in the ‘Korea Musical Awards’. From January 3rd to 26th he is appearing in the musical ‘Death note’ in Seoul.
During the interview, Junsu said the words, “these 7 years” several times.
Separating from the two members and ‘Tohoshinki’, changing the agency and did his activities, of these 7 years, the harshness of this journey is indicated.
In reality, he experienced several lawsuits concerning activities as a celebrity and after changing agencies, he confronted, ‘adverse wind’ such as the rapid decrease of television appearances.
In South Korea in 2015, with the proposal of the Members of the National Parliament who viewed, the ‘circumstance’ of JYJ not being able to appear on television music programs, as a problem, the stipulation of prohibiting the broadcast company from stopping the appearance of particular artists was incorporated into the Broadcast Act.
In “these 7 years” in the substitute of being unable to appear on television, Junsu and JYJ what they poured in their energy was in the live etc., in the venue of the ‘Live’ they delivered their words directly to the fans. It was not the period of Internet, as much as the television appearance decreases the popularity becomes in danger as well, it was such the usual state of things in the world of show business. With just that, the form of in various (ways) talking about the gratitude towards the fans during the interview was impressive.
In the greetings of the last concert, he said this to the audience, “when I was about to give up, every time who grasped our hands was everyone. If everyone was not here we couldn’t do anything. Thanks to everyone I was truly happy.” Continued to savour the contradicting two, the difficulty of having to continue living in a complicated world called the celebrity world and the enjoyment, perhaps it was a special “7 years”. ([Writer:] Nami Hamada)