Yunho’s Interview in Arena Homme Plus

Now, (he has) returned.
U-Know Yunho has returned. Returning from the army and, also as a cover model. In the period between the 2014 March issue and the 2017 June issue, he has at times, filled it up, and at times, reduced it.

U-Know Yunho’s lines have widened. Of course, this could be a preconception. This is because he has broken through what Korean society had thought the army symbolised. Perhaps it could also not be a preconception. This is because one changes according to what one experiences. No matter what significance there is, the army is a strange environment. Like the whisky in an oak barrel, you are affected by your environment. In there, you mature and your character is changed. As compared to previously, he could look at the camera with a slightly different density. This difference is subtle yet at times, clear. These are aspects that play a part in contributing to the preconception as well as that difference. U-Know Yunho is clearly aware of this about himself. In that space, that period of time, has made him stronger. He said. “The army was my turning point.” It looks like the feeling that his lines have widened, is not just a feeling after all.

Q. This is the first photoshoot since you’ve been discharged. It is the first sight of you being handsomely unveiled to the public being dressed up.
That’s why I’m more nervous. At first, it would be okay if I had slept well and then presented myself with a good appearance but because I would be greeting (the public) through this photoshoot, which is my first in a long while, since I’ve been discharged, I was so excited I could not sleep well. I want to fill at least one cut with the feeling of a Jung Yunho that has grown for the approximate past 2 years, of an atmosphere that has changed.

Q. You have taken countless photos before, but this time’s your first in a long while. You are probably nervous about whether you can express yourself well in front of the camera like before. Is there any particular emotion you want to pay attention to?
Last time I had the desire to show others (what I had). However, having returned from the army, I have learnt how to put things down. The feeling of being a little more mature? In that time, it was Jung Yunho, the kid that was “working hard”. I tried to change that. I think a more natural and leisurely side of me has emerged. It feels odd.

Q. When looking at the photos from before, it looks like your lines have widened. Of course, it could be also just be a preconception of “(you have) come back from the army)”.
Rather than just merely having come back from the army, it was more of that the 2 years of time had been an opportunity to do a lot of thinking. When I was questioning myself, you realise some things. It could be because of those times that it seems this way.

Q. What were the kind of questions that you mainly thought about?
The first question was what can I do as the person, Jung Yunho, not as TVXQ’s U-Know Yunho? While thinking about “What am I?”, I started to put things down (i.e. not take things so seriously). Nowadays, there’s a joking expression that is just between me, my friends and staff. “You still take care of me, what am I?” Haha. In the past, if I was the one who had been leading many things, now, I have started to believe that if we do it together, there is more synergy. This really cannot be overlooked. Before long, this synergy will explode.

Q. Is this a realisation that you gained from living a communal life in the army? Let’s talk about army life properly.
I really had a very enjoyable army life. Truly, it was so much fun. I think those memories will last for a long time. When I was discharged, the friends who lived with me, genuinely cried. When I saw them like that, I felt like ah, my army life was not that bad. The experience of the army will only be once in my life. Starting from the bottom, I rose rank by rank, you could say as it was like a little society, I enjoyed myself to the fullest. Of course, there were tough parts. As I had gone into the army late, I had to live with young mates that were a zodiac sign behind me {t/n: 12 years}. No matter how you look at it, it is a condition where it may not be easy to get along well with them. However, in that as well, I felt I had to show a charm that is just mine, and felt that this is what it is to be an Artist. No matter what one’s position is, if you’re an okay person, you would know how to get through it. As such, I think, this is where Jung Yunho and U-know Yunho meet.

Q. Did you find the two points where these two existences meet in the army?
I have done everything that I could do. When I was being discharged, the guys wrote and gave many letters to me. As men to men, those times (in the army) were hot. The words of unconditional support were very nice. Such support will become a considerable weapon in my life, in the future.

Q. What is it you did that made (the soldiers) shed tears and write letters?
Firstly, I strove to do all I could do. I slept less than the rest. Being in one place, as people could be watching me, I thought since I’d have to do it, let’s do it properly. I would go ahead of the rest to do it. Outside, as I am in a profession where I would be in the spotlight, there would be many staff members to do things for me, but inside (the army), I would be the first to do so.

Q. You spent a large part of your life being taken care of by others. Didn’t the separation (difference) feel huge when you went into the army for the first time?
I had already left this behind. As I wanted to make the army a turning point, I made a promise with myself. Right after I went, I thought about when I was a trainee. It was like I had returned to being a novice. That’s why I did things before anyone else. Firstly, I wanted to be able to break the biases that people had. As I saw it, they are not fans and could be men who would be assessing (me) as a man, so I thought I had to show them through my actions. As such, I became very liked by my (army) seniors and got a lot of help from my juniors. I am thankful to many people.

Q. What you said in an interview before you enlisted into the army, left an impression on me. Although TVXQ’s U-Know Yunho has grown a lot, the person, Jung Yunho stopped at his high school days. The time in the army was a time for a man called Jung Yunho to expedite his growth, it could have been an opportunity for the two to be able to strike a balance.
Although I still feel that U-Know Yunho’s more mature, now I guess (the two) are able to be merged. In the past, the difference was really large but now, even if so, what Jung Yunho has experienced has increased. Therefore, I want to tell this to the juniors. There is worth in going to the army.

Q. But you know, even if that is so, if you think about it, you would not want to go.

That’s not the case, think I really had a good time there. When I look at myself, I can hold my head up higher. I gained a lot by going. I left behind the industry and could experience for myself what the public had interest in and thought about. The public do not need anything else, whatever they see (the first time), whether their impression is good or bad, that is most important. During that period, I felt that the things I had held onto before, were out of desire. So that created a chance for me to change myself. To go back to the basics to think again about what is good would make it even better. While carrying out activities during that period, there had been various (such) points. Their starting points were similar. Although it had been tough at the time, it was also a chance to develop. (In this way), the army has also become yet another point for me.

Q. It could have felt strange for you to see other people’s stages on TV while you were in the army. Next time, if you were to be in such a place again, there would probably also be such vagueness and fear.
I think of that as my shadow. More than anything else, firstly, I wanted to stand on stage. When the opportunity arose, I wanted to perform until my heart’s content. I think when I felt uneasy, I really did start to be uneasy. So, just have fun. What am I able to do — that was how I thought about things. The most important thing was that it was a chance for me to reflect on myself. To go to that place (i.e. the stage), what must I strive to do again. People do not have time to look back at their shadows. But in the army, I had the time to do so. In this way, it was that I had the leisure to do so.

Q. As your discharge date neared, there is really the feeling of having become a superhero. The confidence that you can do anything.
I had already been discussing work a lot with the managers one month before my discharge. As I neared my discharge date, I was a little scared. So I asked them to help me with this and that. As my discharge approached, my thoughts were mixed on the kind of impact I had to give as U-Know Yunho. Should I first do what I am best at doing? Or show a new side? Or should I show my unique side through varieties and such? I thought about it a lot. There is a range of activities I will be doing. Before Changminnie comes out, it is a time in which Jung Yunho can be shown. Whatever I show, after that, it would be as what U-Know Yunho would show. So from the day after my discharge, I asked for my schedule to begin. (i.e. started work)

Q. Right away? Wasn’t it very unrealistic?
I was really anxious (to start). In the army, I had played all that I could play, thought sufficiently about what I could think about. As the environment and culture changes, one has adapt right away in order to innovate new things. To me, playing is thinking. Planning fun things and accumulating ideas as well. From now, it is important for me to show a color that is my own.

Q. Are there activities that we would never have expected and can look forward to?

I want to show the creative side of myself a lot more. For instance, after my discharge, I started making treasures that are just for me. Like those that are done in collaboration with brands, like things that you can wear on shoes or clothes, I started making things that are just my own. That is a new hobby I have. Using the sewing machine by myself, haha. Although I cannot draw well, I also tried it according to how I want. In stylist terms, it’s called having sense.

Q. I recall that in previous interviews, you talked about things that you had wanted to do. As a TVXQ member, even if there is a certain direction in music that you may have wanted to do, because of it, you would have to hold back. So now, is this (a time) where you no longer have to?
For things related to TVXQ, my other half, Changminnie, has to be able to agree. Even then, I think it has become more freer than before. We can do weighty, and also funky and funny music. Rather than living an “obvious” life, I am good at saying “let’s live a FUN life” {t/n: 뻔 ppeon sounds like fun} I want to live that way. It is the thought of doing my best in a way that does not harm TVXQ. Changmin probably feels the same as well. During my breaks, I really was in touch with Changminnie a lot. It seems we talked more while in the army than we have in 10 years. Haha. In the past, as I was the hyung, it was me that contacted him first mostly. After going to the army, it was Changmin. Seeing this, I feel that Changmin has matured, TVXQ has now become stronger. While respecting each other, like hatching from an egg, a new color is being put on for TVXQ, for Jung Yunho.

Q. What kind of new color would you want?
It would be nice to have a rainbow. A rainbow’s colors are seen in layers. For everyone who sees it, each one notices a different color. Some people will see red, some people will see blue. It is not me who determines what will be seen, but I want each person to be able to feel diverse colors from me.

Q. In order to raise this rainbow, what would be your first activity?
There will be a solo stage at SMTOWN. New songs will be done. I don’t know if it would go into an album but anyway, as it is the first time that I will be showing it (in public), I will try to make it a little powerful. I will prepare a stage where one can see an upgraded U-Know Yunho. As Changminnie won’t be present either, I feel like I will receive more critical eyes (i.e. attention on his performance), however, I have confidence. I hope people will watch before making judgements.

Translation: snxy

 Category: Media News

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