[trans] Yunho's Arena Homme+ Interview - Part 1
We Don't Know
Idols are the icons of the present age. Countless youths pursue and follow that light. Perhaps, one can say that idols are the type of existence / presence which fills the void created by this society's thirst. U-Know Yunho has reigned at the zenith of the idol world for approximately 10 years. We asked him about the past 10 years and the future 10 years ahead. And then the dreams of an infinitely positive youth came pouring out. Although they (his dreams) didn't extend all the way to world peace, his positivity was to the extent of achieving world peace.
Feature Editor Kim Jong Hoon, Fashion Editor Sung Beom Soo, Choi Tae Kyung
"I like those things." "So, in that case, shall we start?" "Is everything ok?" Just like rallying chants, U-Know Yunho shouted out the same intermittently throughout the photoshoot. Then just like that, the calm subdued air started circulating. And we really also got the feeling that it (this interview) will probably turn out well just like the rallying cries. This is evidently the nature of the person called U-Know Yunho. Some people are solemn. And some people are sharp. Even if one doesn't particularly say this out (ie draw attention to this point), if one is together with him at the photoshoot venue, one can feel his energy. Although different people have their respective charms, from the perspective of someone working, it is great to deal with vibrant people. When people meet with other people, they are both influencing and being influenced by one another. Although we were together for barely a few over hours, this was sufficient time for us to give to and to receive from him. U-Know Yunho contributed something cool to the photoshoot venue. Something like one's whole body being revitalized after drinking a cold beer after an exercise workout, something penetrating through everything. He is overflowing with resolve and self-confidence. He knows who he is, and also what he can do. Is this the bearing of an idol who has been through the rigours for 10 years? If not, is this the nature of one man who has stood at the zenith for 10 years? No matter which answer it is, if one has continued on for 10 years, that itself is the truth. He speaks about his dreams. In usual circumstances, we should be going "Ah, that is your dream", but strangely in this case, there is persuasiveness in his words. He dreams a dream of reaching the zenith of the significance of being called an idol in the idol empire, Korea. We don't know anything about what kind of idol he will become in the future.
Q: Looking at the time when you are doing the photoshoot, your personality is really cool / easy-going.
Yunho: When I am working, I am kind of like that. If the work has to be done, it would be good to smile while doing it, wouldn't it?
Q: Let's smile while doing the interview then. First and foremost, if you had to self-evaluate the 10th anniversary album?
Yunho: First, when listening to the 10th anniversary album, I thought of it as a challenge. In the past, our title tracks were all performance-based. This time around, we came out with a swing feel for the first time. While trying to remove the intensity, although the visual type of music is important too, I wanted to show to the masses the audio type of music too. I wanted to say, "Wasn't it an album which allows one to be able to feel that we are able to go on for an even longer time?" In that sense, I want to give more than 70 points (for this album).
Q: If there are people who feel a thirst whenever an album is to be released, there will also be people who are afraid.
Yunho: I am not afraid of change. I am the type of person who creates change and looks forward and run. I don't get nervous while making the album and right up till before standing on the stage, but once I stand on the stage, I suddenly get nervous. Because the people are watching and passing judgment. However, I enjoy and revel in that nervousness. During those moments, I feel that I am living. I am the type who relieves my stress on the stage.
Q: For sure, as the period of being active gets longer, the things which you guys can show to everybody have all been shown, it is going to get burdensome.
Yunho: No matter what, because we don't just release albums in Korea, but we also release albums of a different feel overseas, we are different from other usual singers and our concepts are exhausted two or three times more. Because speaking of TVXQ, people will have anticipation such as, "Won't they be showing some performance which is different?", there is pressure. However, there needs to be those type of pressure so that we can develop motivation and drive. Starting from that point, there is a difference in thinking. Things will develop according to one's beliefs and one's thinking. This time around, when I went, "Let's create and show something which will floor everyone", I changed into something of a little kid, a little mischievous kid. I want to try doing this, or doing that. I also try talking about the items which I write in my notebook in my spare time.
Q: My life as a reporter has also been about 10 years. During this time, I have thought about wanting to stop doing this, or even about wanting to try other things. Because I am also human.
Yunho: This is not a lie, but I don't know the word called "quitting". I am the type of personality who, once I start something, I will see it through till the end. If I have decided to do something, I will do it for a long time, and I thought to myself, "Let;s become a person who has the ability to influence other people". Just singing and dancing on stage are not everything. I want to convey my messages or mood to the other party and I carry with me a mindset that it would be great if we can together dream the things I dreamed and carried along till now. It was perhaps during the 2nd album, I thought, "Let's create and show this type of sharing stage together."
Q: If it was during the 2nd album, you certainly felt this fast and continued on steadily.
Yunho: There was a day when I felt sick and thought, should I just do a passable job on stage, but that would have been all conveyed to the audience. At that time, I felt this (the above thoughts). And there was another day when a male audience member gave me a letter. He was a young Japanese audience member, and he wrote, "I want to become like hyung someday, I want to give hope to people like hyung". Those words struck close to my heart. He was someone from a different country, but it is a difficult thing for all men to express their respect for other men...
Q: You must have felt overwhelmed.
Yunho: It seems like I stored those words in my heart and then continued on (with those words within). And so, I changed bit by bit. I am of the view that the secret key to having 850,000 people come and watch our concert last year is because we came along till now with that kind of mindset and posture. Is there any other work which I will be able to like even more than this type of work? I don't have confidence about that. Because what I can do well at and what I can enjoy myself at is this job, I thought that I have to continue doing this. Because Michael Jackson was also like that.
Q: You are very clear about what you want and don't want.
Yunho: The relationships between people contain many little forms of affection. Once you speak about your goals or act in that way, from that time onwards, you will proceed in that direction.
Q: When you started, you were labelled as an idol. 10 years have passed, but now you are still labelled an idol. Is that a good or a bad thing?
Yunho: It seems like this is dependent on how one looks at it. I possess self-pride / confidence. There are no idols who have created so many records like us. Although there are many idols who do well. I see the really difficult thing as that of breaking our own records ourselves. Also, it is great that we are still able to become the idols of the children who carry with them the significance of idols. Because we can no longer be like that in the future, isn't it? Because it is only now in this present age that people call me an idol, I really am thankful for that. I'm also happy because it seems like I still look young. Haha.
Q: How about the musical aspect?
Yunho: Actually, it isn't that we are not doing other types of music because Changminnie and I don't want to do other types of music. There is a time for everything. Because if we show everything at one go, the day when we are not able to show anything more will come faster, so we have to look at the situation. I think that it is only right that we show everybody things only at a good opportunity and a good time. It is great no matter how people label us. If someone calls me an idol, I go "Oh, I am an idol", and if someone calls me an "artiste", I go "Oh, artiste", and if someone says that it is as if we are performing a show, I think of myself as "someone who shows everybody a show". According to my own way, I live my life thinking of myself as a comedy actor.
Q: Because you speak in such a cool manner, my head just naturally nods along. Strangely, there is some form of attractive power in your words. If you say "let's do something" in that tone, it seems like no matter who it is, they will follow along.
Yunho: Recently, I have let go of the things I need to put down, and have set out to more definitively catch hold of what I need to grasp. And so, I have started to show everybody my own unique colour. If I am going to give off an influential impact, let's do it in an interesting / fun manner. And if there is a need to speak out about my thoughts, I will really not yield and let's just say it out. Instead, I definitely have to take up the responsibility.
Q: What aspect have you let go of?
Yunho: In the past, I was the "really" passionate type of kid. I worked hard at everything. I was overflowing with fighting spirit... And because I was so full of vigour, the relationships in getting along with people was a little... because there are also situations and times when there is no need for such vigour, aren't there? Therefore, when other people could not keep up with that vigour, I gradually developed the ability to let go. Shall I put it across as me having gained experience?
Q: At your age, recognizing those situations yourself and adapting yourself to them are really amazing things.
Yunho: My luck is good. Shall I say, I have luck with people? The manager-hyung who goes around together with us, and I, the both of us are known to other as "Pabo(fool)-1 and Pabo 2". I really like the word called "pabo" (fool). This is something I heard, while climbing up a mountain, if there is an even taller mountain beside this mountain, you have to come down this mountain and then climb that mountain again. Because the mountains are developed that way. You can't leap over from mountain to mountain. Looking at what is called "life", just like those other mountains, when other goals arise, we have to come back down and then climb back up again. Those people who think a lot will think about various factors from the time they start climbing. Is there any shoulder road, will I be able to climb up, if I can't climb up, what do I do? etc etc. For pabos (fools), they just climb up. And from that alone, they will naturally arrive at the top and accomplish it. In that way, I have quite a strong side of me which is like a boy. I am of the view that I have to keep dreaming dreams. And with that meaning / significance, that is why I say my luck is good. Because I am still able to dream dreams till now.
Q: Leaving aside music, that seems to mean that you have set out various types of plans.
Yunho: At the end of the day, I want to create a school. Because my situation was that I climbed up in a more difficult way compared to other trainees, so I want to present many opportunities to the children. Also, although there are arts schools in Korea, there are not many places which teach stuff about how to support celebrities. I want to build a school which allows one to be able to learn those things. That is my final dream. On a personal level, I want to retire as an artiste when I become one year older than Michael Jackson. In the future, actor-wise, I want to continue as an actor, and I also want to direct. In the future, I also want to produce concerts, and because I also invent as a hobby, I will also continue doing that.
Yunho: When I was around 20 or 21, there was an occasion when I said on broadcast that I was going to carry out inventions. The result of that will be released in early March. Although I don't know if it will work out or not, I have passed it to the patent agent and it is currently in the works. It isn't anything on a grand scale, but is a small invention. Something like making a cup in a different way. In my usual life, I will think a lot about this and that. For instance, can't we load cars on the KTX (Korea's rail)? And, isn't there any way to generate electrical power through a rotating carpark? These type of thoughts. Why aren't we pushing forward with these? Even if it could fail, why can't we try? I think in this way. Because even if it does not work out, it becomes an experience too. For me, once I set my mind to do something, I will do it till it works out.
Q: If you say you will do it, you really do it!
Yunho: From the time when I was young, I had that side of me. At the start, people all said that I was crazy. Because there didn't exist anything which has been successfully accomplished before. Now that time has passed, about half of half has been accomplished. At the start, I also made donations secretly. But somehow people got wind of it in some way, and that has also become a source of strength for me. In that way, my dreams are able to be concretized. Dreaming dreams is difficult, but it is actually the first step which is difficult right, but if you create the opportunity for yourself, you will be able to do it.
Q: There is a feel that you are causing the positive sides of idols to be expanding in an extreme manner.
Yunho: Now, I have come to stand from the viewpoint of a senior. As I became a senior, I also developed a sense of responsibility. I want to become an example for those numerous idol juniors out there who make music similar to ours, that in the future when they get older, they are also able to do other stuff. In order to do that, as seniors, we have to create and lay a good road for them. Amongst the words which I dislike, one of them is "in the past". Things which came out well in the past, once you give applause to that, the story ends there. It is really important to continue on down the road. I want to tell this to the juniors. Because we also had a lot of incidents and accidents ourselves. But through those incidents, we were able to be more long-sighted. I want to say this to the juniors, "I did this in this way. Therefore, you can do it in an even better way." I want to become those type of senior.
Q: Isn't that too optimistic a thing to say?
Yunho: ah, is that so?
Q: To the extent that there are many positive sides of us, the negative sides will also follow like a shadow. Don't you have sides like that?
Yunho: At times, I will get lonely , and also come to have a lot of thoughts. Even to me, there is evidently also negative sides of myself. The me within myself is someone who is really strong / intense. Because of that, if i create reasons within me whereby I can't be anything but positive, this heals the negative sides of me. Reporters are also people who have influential impact, aren't they? In accordance with what type of articles is written, this can also give a different kind of energy to people. Therefore, I am of the view that no matter what kind of person one turns out to be, they have to give people good energy. If one thinks in a good way and gives off good things, good energy will also be developed. Especially for creatures called men, once they say something, they will instinctively do as they say. Therefore, I will make people say it out. When I meet juniors, I will still ask them what their dreams are. "What is your dream?" In this way, this will make people honest / genuine even if for a short while and will make them think.