Full Interview January Issue of AERA Magazine released on 12/25/2017 in #2 on Amazon Books.
Person in Focus (on the magazine cover)
Yunho : I always realize how huge the Tokyo Dome is while running around.
During their live tours, Yunho goes to the gym for training and thanks to that he looks totally fit.
Changmin has only 9% body fat. “Perhaps because of that, I feel always cold.”
Gorgeous flowers on the red back sheet.
“Wow, it is amazing. This is Ninagawa-san!” Yunho smiled friendly. During the photoshoot, instead of staying in the dressing room, Yunho chatted with our staffs and looked at the issue of AERA where Masahiko Kondo is on the cover and said,
“What will I be doing when I turn 50? A racing car driver? No, that is impossible.”
He made a joke about himself.
On the other hand, Changmin stayed mostly quiet and just him being in the studio, his aura made the atmosphere comforting and warm. But once he was on interview, he spoke his heart out and he was making a bit of sarcastic remarks. He finished talking, he looked down and smiled shyly. It is Changmin’s charm point to have these different characters.
After two years of hiatus, they declared to resume their activity in August this year. Right now, They are on the Five Dome Tour in Japan. They run around for three and half hours in the venue from one end to the other without missing any corners, just to convey their feelings, “We want to show our gratitude to all our fans who had been waiting for us.” “My physical ability…” Changmin started to say something but stopped and shook his head. “I will be thirty years old pretty soon. My bones and intestines will be thirty years old too. I can’t fight with time passing. I had to admit that.” To such Changmin, Yunho who turned thirty before him said, “Well, your physical ability may be declined to some extent, but you can cover the loss of physical ability by your passion.”
Sam of TRF has directed stage of Tohoshinki for a long time but this time, Sam took some of Yunho’s ideas, who is interested in directing stage as well. “I study by watching stages in Las Vegas and also reading design collection. I wish to integrate my now and then sensibility/sensitivity and personality in order to create my unique, ‘only one’ stage.”
Do you have any practical idea?
“Well, I will tell you when I have a practical plan. It is my policy that I do not share with anyone until I knew that I can do it (laugh).”
This is the place where we should be. The phrase, “O-ka-e-ri”, deeply touched our hearts.
Interviewed by Mieko Sakai (MS)
MS: You are in the middle of the live tour after two years of hiatus. How do you feel after seeing the red ocean created by your fans with pen lights for the first time after the hiatus?
Changmin: I still cannot really believe that I am seeing this red ocean in front of me that I could only see it in my dreams during the two years. Of course, I am deeply moved. Wow, I really am finally back on stage. Something like that.. it is hard to explain. I feel that, “this is the place where we should be.” I am really happy.
Yunho: Before this tour, I was worried about whether our fans have been waited for us or what if they are disappointed in seeing us now. But once I saw the way they looked at us on stage, I felt, “Ah, we are fine.” When our fans remembered the promise that we made two years ago and greeted us, “O-ka-e-ri”, I was truly happy.
MS: You are on stage for the first time in a while, how are the two of you getting along?
Yunho: Yes! I think that it is easier than before. (to Changmin) right?
Changmin: Yes, I agree. I think the two years of hiatus is not too serious. That is because we have the history of 10 years being together every day. But of course, there is some change when compared to us two years ago. I feel that we understand/feel each other at a much deeper level. If I can use a bottle of wine as a reference, our relationship has aged/matured for two years. Well, I guess I tried to be cool a bit too hard 🙂
MS: The new song, “Reboot” (meaning restart) released on December 20 is really suited to you.
Yunho: I think that it is a dance number to appeal our performance that is the signature of us to the maximum. The A melody sounds confident and noble and the melody line/verse turns to a different line at chorus. It is an interesting song.
Changmin: Everything, recording and shooting MV, went smoothly. A lot of CG were used in this MV and I was really impressed while MV shooting, “wow, the modern CG technology is amazing!”
Yunho: I was amused and laughed a bit. Because a falcon appeared in the MV. It is so cool.
MS: In the lyrics, there is a line “I will select/choose and decide future by myself.”. How do the two of you plan to create the future of Tohoshinki and the future of yourselves?
Yunho: I talk about this issue a lot with Changmin. Well, there is a path that we have taken together while sweating hard. We wish to create a new path leading to our future together with our fans who have supported us, while taking time and interacting each other.
Changmin: About myself, instead of focusing on future, I wish that I could slow down and take one day at a time, and in that way, ultimately, I will be taken to my future. It is not like to give up easily, like “Okay, this is enough.”, but I do my best every day. Well, I am speaking something vague here.
Yunho: I think it is okay not to be 100%. If we do our best one day at a time, then eventually all these hard work of one day combined together and we are living in full. Sorry, I may sound arrogant.
MS: I assume that previously you made plans based on some “period of time” in the immediate future and until the end of the period, you completed this and that. From now on, unless you make the “period of time” yourselves, you need to be on the “never-ending journey”. How do you make plans for TOHOSHINKI, solo activities for Yunho and Changmin?
Yunho: I think about things and my life in 10 years span at a time. People say that the trends of fashion makes a circuit of 10 years. We celebrated our 10th anniversary since our debut in Japan in 2015. This is the same year when we halted our activities. And at that time, I thought about how I should be in the next 10 years and I took notes.
MS: What did you write there?
Yunho: “I will continue to be TOHOSHINKI” and “I will do my best to make everyone feels that it is a good thing for them to continue to love TOHOSHINKI.” I wrote these things down.”
Changmin: Since I was little, I am not the type who makes a specific plan or sets a time limit to do something. Depending on the moment, I like to do things that I am interested in or I focus to do things that I need to do immediately.
MS: Well then, what are you interested in now?
Changmin: Speaking of work, of course, I am interested in live concert. How can I perform the best to make all our fans happy? In private, I wish to cultivate myself to acquire wider knowledge. It is not because that I want to show off that I am knowledgeable but rather I wish to be someone who is highly intelligent but the person does not need to tell you that he is smart or show you proof of his achievements or being arrogant. His brilliance and common sense speak himself. So in these days, I read books in a wide range of genres, such as cooking, philosophy, and essays.
MS: I heard that you are a bookworm to begin with.
Changmin: In old days, I forced myself to read books. But during these two years, I learned that reading makes me happy. It has become my routine to read books. The next book that I plan to read is “Elegance of Language” by Lee Ki-Joo. It is about that language is an important factor to reveal one’s dignity. It is shibui (note).
Yunho: Wow, its really shibui.
Note: Shibui from Oxford dictionary
The author James Michener defines shibui as ‘acerbic good taste’, and indeed it comes from the word shibushi, which means a sour or astringent taste, and is still employed as an adjective to describe the taste of sour fruit or bitter tea. Shibui could be used to describe something that is old-fashioned but appealing (although probably not to a teenage girl). This word can also be used to describe a scowling face or miser-like behavior, but in an aesthetic sense it refers to something that is charming precisely because it is understated and low key.
MS: Which book is your most favorite, Yunho-san?
Yunho: What? Me? I am the type to learn not from a book but from my experience (laugh). Of course, I study too. I study about design and directing stage. In the past, when I saw the Rainbow Bridge, I just thought, “The night view is beautiful. Ah, I am in Japan now.”, but these days, “There are people who are working in this beautiful night view.” “The shape of that building is interesting.” Something like that, I could catch many things in my eyes, and sometimes I am surprised by myself having such ability.
MS: Do you mean that you have matured?
Yunho: No, it is just like “Oh, you noticed it, Yunho” that is all (laugh).
Changmin: Yes, he has still a long way to go (laugh).
Translation by beriko0214