J is for JYJ

JYJ is kind of the black sheep of the Kpop family. They were originally called TVXQ (or DBSK depending on which country you live in) and were a five member group. TVXQ debuted in 2003 and were amazingly popular in both Korea and Japan winning multiple awards and topping many charts with over 20 singles. But six years after their debut three of the members sued their entertainment company, SM Entertainment, saying that the contract was too long and that the profit distribution was unfair. Considering that the contract was 13 years long and Kpop is slightly infamous for “slave contracts” their complaints were most likely completely fair. The three members (Junsu, Jejoong and Yuchun) broke from TVXQ and SM and formed their own group, JYJ.

They debuted as JYJ in 2010 and, in my opinion, are more talented than then what is left of TVXQ. SM, however, is one of the most powerful talent agencies in South Korea so JYJ faces a lot of issues. For one, they are basically banned from appearing on any music shows, like Inkigayo. They aren’t technically banned, but shows that rely on SM letting their very popular artist make appearances on them are less likely to let JYJ appear. They also have much less advertisement then they did back when part of SM Entertainment.

One of the reasons I respect them so much is because despite this they are still very successful, both as a group and by themselves. Their return album debuted as number one on the Oricon chart. They also released a English album with the title track being produced and featuring Kanye West, Ayy Girl. It is honestly not my favorite JYJ song but the video did produce the famous “rolling down your sexy windows” dance move. If you don’t know what I am talking about check out the EYK review of the video here. Their next album was my favorite spawning my favorite JYJ song, In Heaven.

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Junsu aka Xia is my favorite of the group and has a very successful solo career. Apart from their group world tour he has done one on his own as well as an Asia tour. He is actually one of the most sexual of the Kpop artists out there. Just watch Intoxication… If he had released that in Korea it would have been banned SO fast. He also plays a large role in composing and writing many of his songs. He is also the captain of the South Korean celebrity Soccer team FC MEN, and has been in multiple live musicals.

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Jae-Joong aka Hero is the second member and probably the prettiest man I have ever seen. And no, I don’t mean handsome, I mean pretty. When doing solo music he actually has a much more rock feel then pop, as demonstrated with his single Mine. He also plays a large role in composing and writing many of his songs. He acts sometimes and my favorite role of his was the as the second male lead of the drama Protect the Boss.

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Yoochun aka Micky doesn’t really do much solo music, what he does a lot of is acting. With his first Korean acting role back in 2010, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, he won the “Rookie of the Year award”, “Netizen Award”, and “Best Couple Award”. He has been in three Korean Dramas since and continues to rake in the awards.

 

I will continue to support these guys because they are pretty darn talented and it sucks that they are thought of as less by a lot of Korean mainstream because of the fight with SM. But I am not the only one supporting them. Whatever they may lack in Korean popularity they make up for, many times over, in international popularity.

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