After winning both of their cases against SM Entertainment (Korea) and avex Entertainment (Japan) respectively, JYJ will release a magazine in February celebrating their first 1000 days since they stood up for fairness and became JYJ.
JYJ has had a hard road to create, but they continue to stand up like men and unashamedly cut their own path despite not having the backing of a big, totalitarian entertainment agency.
Over the course of their fight, they have been blocked in their own country by the Korean entertainment mill from appearing on television to promote any of their projects. Not too many Korean entertainers which are still part of that system have publicly shown support for JYJ either.
Ironically, their Korean and Japanese entertainment show blackout has caused a skyrocketing rise in their international notoriety. More and more people have become interested in Korea, Korean dramas, Korean music and the Korean language.
For example, they were the first Korean solo act to hold sold out concerts in Chile and Peru, shutting down traffic and bringing out thousands of fans to the airport and the concert venues. As you already know, Korean is not the native language of Chile or Peru, nor were the attendees of their concerts solely Korean. Why is that? Its because JYJ’s international appeal is consistently increasing.
In their statement about the magazine, JYJ spoke about being able to grow and learn from the hardships they’ve experience over their first 1000 days:
“We had some hard times over the last 1000 days, but we can also say we were genuinely happy. We tried hard and also met unexpected hardships, but we were able to grow that much more and learn from it. We want to share the 1000 day story where we were happy from the moment of waking up in the morning until going to sleep at night every day.”
CJeS, the agency working with JYJ, also released a statement concerning the magazine:
“To celebrate the 1000th day since JYJ came to be, we will be releasing the interview magazine in both Korea and Japan. We will be telling the story of their worldwide English album, the world tour, and the music and dramas they worked for with their individual activities since the birth of JYJ.”
Included in CJeS’s statement was a sentence that every artist who is still signed with a huge agency should hear:
“JYJ fought a lengthy legal battle against their unfair contract for 3 years. They’ve earned their freedom and in turn created a better environment for their hoobaes.”
(“hoobae” is korean, meaning “junior colleagues” or those who will come in after you. “Dongsaeng” is also used in a less formal setting)
Did you read that? THAT’S how people change the atmosphere around them. All of the entertainers who criticized JYJ by telling them to be “grateful” for being treated like cattle need to takes notes on how to deal with oppression.
Two years ago I wrote a blog post titled “Stand up or Shut the F ck Up: Criticism from SM Artists towards Junsu”. Super Junior’s Shindong and Sungmin came under fire for allegedly telling Junsu he was showing “ingratitude” towards SM. SM’s darling, BoA, also got called out for retweeting a criticism of Junsu.
Somebody named Shim Jaewon (I still don’t care about who the hell that is) wrote the following in criticism of Junsu, according to translated reports:
“I can’t just hold back any longer.. Hey, little brother, that’s not right at all.. Who do you think you are pointing fingers at? Don’t act like you’re so upset. Who’s the real one that’s hurt in here ? So ungrateful, how could you do this?”
And of course my response was that if “big brother” would’ve had the balls to stand up to SM before now, then maybe “little brother” (JYJ) wouldn’t have to be the ones suffering through this now. Somebody had to say it. Shim Jaewon is on SM’s payroll as a “performance director”; just so you know where he’s coming from.
Many other “hyungs” and “noonas” have been under SM’s boot-heels years before now. But unlike JYJ, they either couldn’t, didn’t, or never even thought of putting their livelihoods on the line to improve the system.
That remains as true today as it did 2 years ago. JYJ’s struggle didn’t only help their situation, but has already helped to improve the situation for dozens of known artists and thousands of unknowns who want to pursue a career in entertainment.
Among other things, restrictions have been enacted to help eradicate multi year “slave” contracts, and SM has been investigated by the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) for their questionable business practices.
The KFTC set new standards between all entertainers and their management companies as a result. New rules include new protections regarding profit sharing, and better disclosure of financial records regarding the money generated by the entertainer.
Management companies cannot force an artist to appear on entertainment shows free of charge anymore. They are also not supposed to go over 45 days without paying an entertainer for their work.
These new rules would NOT have happened without JYJ speaking out and sparking new investigations into South Korea’s antiquated system.
Certain entertainers who criticized JYJ, while being the beneficiaries of JYJ’s struggles, shouldn’t have turned their venom towards the group for telling the truth.
Those naysayers should have either stood up like men/women and fought to change the current circumstances, or they should have shut their damn mouths.
Their hateful words towards JYJ were akin to criticizing the slaves who escaped, instead of criticizing the “massa” (and the system which supports him) for legally being able to control their actions and whip their asses, figuratively, whenever “massa” saw fit.
JYJ fought, worked extra hard and built something from scratch which belongs only to them.
CJeS statement about JYJ’s 1000 day magazine included: “They talked about how they felt about being limited on their activities, and also about how hard they worked in other areas instead of giving up.”
JYJ’s struggle may not be over if cowards in the South Korean entertainment media continue to look for any excuse not to allow JYJ to promote their projects.
But its clear that JYJ has a vision, goals, plans and the courage to try to make their lives better. Their hoobae’s and some of their so-called “hyungs” have benefited from their struggle. And we have all become better for supporting their efforts.