Interview by An Sang Ho.
When I met TVXQ!’s U-Know Yunho who would be enlisting in the military then, I was most curious not about TVXQ! nor U-Know Yunho, but the 31-year-old Jung Yunho. He will be the first person to meet when U-Know Yunho passes the guardhouse with a short haircut.
Today’s shooting has three concepts: the youth of Jung Yunho, the artist U-Know Yunho, and U-Know Yunho from TVXQ!. Which one do you like most? As it seems, you are most enthusiastic when you were taking an appearance of a youth. You also have several suggestions this time around.
Right. We made an afterimage when light penetrates through a water bottle. I like that kind of sentiment – it is not fixed. After all, that afterimage is the lingering imagery of my youth. That being said, I think I felt good because I felt like I’m looking back at the past.
I wanted to see the inner side of Jung Yunho, not the U-Know Yunho from TVXQ!. I wanted to show the appearance of Jung Yunho before the enlistment to the people.
Oh, that is brilliant. Isn’t that scary?
Not to the extend of scariness. What does the name Jung Yunho mean?
It’s my Chinese name that gives its meaning. The nation name of Jung, Yun as in “trust”, and Ho as in “broad”. Always climb broad and wider. It means to be trustful to others, and understand and embrace people. Since I’m the eldest in the family, it relates to that meaning. On top of that, I’m the first born for 27 generations. The first born of the 27th generation in the ‘Jin Ju Jung Hwang Chong Jang Gong’ (T/N: This is the Korean classification of surnames) group. In elementary school, I was the school president. I was also the vice president and member of the student council. From a very young age, I was in the front in whatever I do. However, I did not like that role.
But, if you repeat that role as a leader, do you not feel accustomed to it?
Jung Yunho was always lonely. Thinking separately, Jung Yunho was a lonely child although he was more pure and childlike than others. He doesn’t know how to express that kind of heart to other people. He tries to solve his complex with imagination, if there’s anything. He tries until something becomes perfect if a purpose or a job is given to him, even if he is not sufficient [to do so]. On the other hand, as U-Know Yunho, it was different. He is always at ease and thinks he is the best. The passion is the same, but different way to receive and understand.
If I spent a good time in my 20s as U-Know Yunho, the beginning of 30s is the enlistment as Jung Yunho. Fans would feel this as a hiatus period of U-Know Yunho, but to me, this will be an opportunity to grow as a person as Jung Yunho.
How come two ways can exist in one person?
I have lived like that so far. In order to stand on stage, I live as U-Know Yunho. The stage is the only place I can release my stress. It is a place I can disclose all the stories that I could never tell anyone. Or should I say, I transform completely. I release everything that I feel like. For example, dancing. There is a certain choreography and we practise countless times. But when I’m on stage, I break the frames and come out without knowing. Whereas, Jung Yunho is quite conservative and childlike. (laughs) Of course, U-Know Yunho and Jung Yunho started from the same values.
Since you debuted when you were young, did Jung Yunho and U-Know Yunho disentangle as time goes on?
That is not the case. It is true that I received much love in the beginning, but it was not all that smooth. There were unexpected crises at times. As I lived like that, there were moments when my ego was crushed. I could only repeat questions like, “Did I change?” As usual, the most easy and unencumbered answer was to acknowledge myself as “the way I am”. I’m a singer and the audience responds to me on stage. I also respond in return. In this way, I like the moment where a singer and the audience unite as one. But the life as Jung Yunho is a different issue. I’m still young, but one day I should be responsible for somebody and become a breadwinner. I should have viewed towards people and society, and learn to escape from a dazzling fantasy. Above all, I need a shelter where U-Know Yunho can return one day. A sort of base camp. This job [being a singer] receives spotlight, so I can be taken away without knowing. If so, I can lose everything.
It started from a caution to protect yourself. I like U-Know Yunho, too.
But regardless to how much I like the appearance of U-Know Yunho, my basic nature is Jung Yunho. I shouldn’t lose that. When I work in this industry, it is easy to lose that. I really hate to be so.
Looking back at past interviews, you once said that the inner side of Jung Yunho “seems to be stopped after high school graduation.”
Just as I said. Living half of life with the name U-Know Yunho, I gained a lot and spread my leadership as I grow as Jung Yunho. How could I ever travel to that many countries as a Gwangju countryman? Thanks to the knowledge I’ve gained, I built up my career. I do not think I grew much as Jung Yunho in the meantime. I think my characters change according to what kind of surrounding I am in.
You are quite bright while filming.
Right. As you saw in a film, I’m really joyful. But, actually, I’m not. When I’m alone, I’m serious and I think a lot. My personality wants to organize future plans and work perfectly. At the same time, I also value receiving the emotion as it is. I think people should be warm and I’m too honest. When I see Jung Yunho as U-Know Yunho, I can see. I grew little by little, living as U-Know Yunho. Of course, both of them are myself. But they collide all the time. For a simple example, some artists do not know how to get a certified copy of a resident registration from the village office. Managers tend to always help these artists. I do not want to become like that. I try to do these ordinary parts by myself. They are very trivial, but I think I should keep learning to win through life by myself.
Um, you have quite a lot of worries.
Maybe it’s because this is the time of my life turning from 20s to 30s? Above all, I think a lot about ‘I will be a nicer person if I recognize things that I did not know as a member of the society and fill those up little by little.’ If I spent a good time in my 20s as U-Know Yunho, the beginning of 30s is the enlistment of Jung Yunho. Fans would feel this as a hiatus period of U-Know Yunho, but to me, this will be an opportunity to grow as a person as Jung Yunho. I think, in that way, U-Know Yunho in the 20s can meet the Jung Yunho who stopped at his 10s. I actually thought like that since high school. The plan for the future was there for the 30-year-old. (laughs)
I want us to be in a present progressive ‘ing’, not ‘end’.
So I said so. I will be a monster after entering the military. I will definitely come back like that.
That is why you continue to dance and sing even after being opposed by the family. What was the teenage Jung Yunho in his 20s wanted?
When I was a teenager, I dreamt ridiculous dreams. I wanted to be a judicial officer. I had too much sense of justice, so I wanted to live as a judicial officer. But, inadvertently, I fell into dancing and singing, and I suffered ups and downs. Should I call it an instant luck? It feels all fell into the right place.
Say something to your readers who will wait for your return. They would love to hear it.
At the last concert, I said “I will return well” and told them to say “Come back well.” But now I feel like I’m speaking as Jung Yunho, not as U-Know Yunho. Because of you, this really trivial child could dream with you and see many things together. So, I want to dream differently now. I will return with a grown, more fruitful and brighter appearance. I want you to grow with me. I want us to be in a present progressive ‘ing’, not ‘end’. So I said so. I will be a monster after entering the military. I will definitely come back like that.
※ More detailed contents are available in the August 2015 Vol. 22 issue of The Celebrity.
Photos / Pyo Gi-Sik (The Celebrity)
Translation by / Judith (All About Cassiopeia)
Originally published at The Celebrity here.