Speaking of BYJ as a human being [Interview part ②]
Source: Maeil Economy Star Today, Reporter Cho Eun Yong
Translated into English : gaulsan
* This article contains most part of the interview BYJ had with Korean press after completing both events. Some part are introduced in other articles, and some are not.
He looked tired. He has been working so hard for a long time. Sepsis caused his body temperature to go up as high as 40'C , but he couldn't rest properly due to the events planned ahead. While leaning on medicines he was taking, he flew to Japan and finished two large events that was held on September 29th and 30th. On 30th, He had a meeting with Mrs. Miyuki, the wife of Japanese Prime Minister and discussed on cultural exchange. Now the name BYJ came to means more than an actor who played the leading role in WLS. It is natural that every step he leads has huge impact on cultural industry and the way Japanese understand Korea. Is it because of such position? BYJ was prudent enough to ask reporters to use the term "Asian wave" instead of "Korean wave". However, once the dialogue came to his personal life, he often joked and led the interview in a pleasure manner.
Q : How did you feel when you started WLS again after 7 years?
A : I hesitated a lot when I heard that they were making an animation of WLS. I am sorry to say that I was not interested in doing the same work again. However, once I started to read the script at home, I suddenly felt that 'I want to fall in love'. As the drama shook my emotion in such a short time, I came to admit that WLS was a good drama, and I felt my desire to act the emotion once more. So I replied that I will do the voice. Of course I have changed during the past 7 years, but I thought I could go back to that moment, and I am trying to do so when I am working on this project.
Q : What has changed after you became a Hallyu star since 2002?
A : As I've lived this way since I made my debut, there was not much change. There is one thing did change, though. When I go out of my house, the travel agencies bring people to the pIaces where I go. Of course I don't go to inappropriate pIaces from the start, but I often feel sorry that my freedom is restricted.
Q : It is very hard to behave well as a public figure in Korea. Did you ever experience the clash between BYJ that people expect and BYJ as you desire?
A : I think that's a task that I should carry on for the rest of my life.
I also think that the stage where you stand is up to how much you find yourself, and how much you train yourself.
Q : Some people say that there is a discrepancy between your popularity in Korea and Japan. How do you think about that?
A : I have plenty of Family in Korea. People might think like you because Korean Family had less chance to unite in one pIace. In fact, I shed tears in the event on 30th because of Korean Famly. I felt painful when I thought that I've done nothing for them, and they still come here in Japan to support me. During the event of both days, there were many moments that I nearly cried but I managed to hold my tears, but I couldn't hold it any more when I saw their eyes.
Q : It was interesting to see you speak Japanese and write a postcard in Japanese.
A : In fact, I wanted to talk in Japanese. However, after suffering with fever, I couldn't do as I've wanted because my memory seemed to be wiped out. I am constantly studying Japanese and English.-- It doesn't mean that I am planning to go to Hollywood, or I want to become a certain type of actor. I am just doing my best.
Q : In the event for Animation WLS, you made an interesting response when Lee Yong Yu, who played the role of a child called you 'uncle'. Are you actually sensitive to that name? (laugh)
A : Really, I don't care of such name. Yong Yu is now 12 and it is natural for her to call me uncle. I responded so to make the audience happy. You reporters liked it and wrote about it, too, didn't you? (laugh) Anyway, I am not afraid of getting old. On the contrary, I wanted to get older since I was in my twenties. I wanted to see my future. That age is a hard period to everyone, isn't it? Going through all that, now I can see what I couldn't see before, and I can think in the way I couldn't. I am happy that I am getting better little by little.
Q : You bought Digital Adventure, a Japanese corporation. Why?
A : That's the decision of the company, not mine. I once was interested in business, but now I am really not interested in it. I've concluded that business is not my way because I can't afford the constraints that it brings me. There are many things that I want to do instead. I don't know how long I will stay as an actor. After that, I would like to become a farmer, then a photographer, and then a ceramic artist.
Q : The information about BYJ as a natural human being is very limited. Can you tell us about your everyday life?
A : I don't attempt to be a mystical being. It is the reporters who gave me such image, not me. Basically, I was very shy since I was a little boy, and usually stayed at home reading books. I still stay at home if I don't have work to do outside. I wake up at 7-8 o'clock in the morning. If I stayed up late last night, I wake up at 10-11 o'clock. Then I drink a cup of tea and exercise for about an hour. After taking a shower, I read books or do other things. As I've bought lots of wine after I've become interested in winery, there are many wine boxes in my house. I piled them up and made a bookshelf. I wanted to put a photo of that bookshelf in my book, but I was short of time. Behind that bookshelf, there is a workpIace for lacquer painting and a spin for ceramic art. I practice both arts there.
Q : People think that BYJ has everything. What do you think you are lacking?
A : What I need is a wife, what I lack is my freedom. (laugh) As I've wrote in my book, I think one might own much in order to discard much when you go through the Moo Moon Kwan*. One day, when I was contemplating on this subject at home, I felt that the furnitures are the owner of the space, not me. That moment I thought, 'someday I should get rid of these things. I should reduce my possessions.' The time might come earlier than I expect. We don't become happier by having more, do we? I think we can stay happier when we live in a more simple way... when we feeling something is missing. Nowadays, I am exercising on discarding things. (laugh)
[* In p. 366 of 'the beauty of Korea', YJ wrote.
I once planned that if I build a Korean traditional house, I would go in with lots of books and lock the door up and study there. However, the surprising thing is, the Moo Moon Kwan requires one to go in without anything. No books, no belongings, just your body. I was disappointed. If I don't bring books, what shall I do? I felt that I have a long way to go to reach that level. I have to learn more to discard myself.]
Moo Moon Kwan, 무문관, 無門關
It is a book written in Song Dynasty(China) by a monk named Jong So(종소, 宗紹), who recorded the preaches of his master Moo Moon Hye Gae (무문혜개,無門嵆開). The full name of this book is SeonJong Moo Moon Kwan 선종무문관(禪宗無門關)
It contains 48 major themes that is important in Zen buddhsm.
The meaning of '無(none)' does not mean the opposite of '有(being, existence)'. The '無' means the absolute level of recognition that one could reach... one does not even discriminate '無‘ and '有’ if he/ she reach there. The majore theme of this book is the pursuance of that '無‘. In many cases, 무문관 also means studying hard in a temple to reach this level.]
Q : I think it's time to talk about your marriage. When do you think you will get married?
A : Once I spoke I might get married within three years. My grandmother has mistaken it as three months and asked me 3 months later 'why aren't you getting married?' Now there is only one year left. I ask people around me to help me get married and I try to make a chance, but it is hard to meet somebody because of my circumstance. Any way, I have to get married, no, I feel I need to get married and I think it would be nice to get married, but who might volunteer to be a wife of a farmer? (laugh)
Q : I've heard that Mrs Lee Hyo Jae is going to introduce you a good bride.(laugh)
A : I've learned how to do household work from Mrs. LHJ. I've thought that my future wife will like me if I learn such things, but people tell me the opposite way. They tease me that it would make me more difficult to get married. Who would marry a man who learned of keeping house from Lee Hyo Jae? That would make my wife even more tired. (laugh)
Q : Doesn't the staffs of BOF advice you about marriage?
A : Even though I am not married yet, I often advice them about married life. (laugh) I tell them that once a man gets married, one must be responsible and take one's family as his first priority. You know, some people stay late at the office even though they don't have much thing to do. They call their wife that they have work to do. I tell them to do the work in time and go home early, to watch movies and read books with their wives. I try not to make phone calls to them after 8-9pm.
Q : You've kept your long hair for quite a while and you recently cut it short. Was there any reason? I've also heard that you wanted to make a brush with your hair.
A : Yes, I feel really sorry to cut my hair. Of course it is easier to wash and dry, and it is good to save water and shampoo. I liked the feeling of tying up my hair. However, many people wanted me to cut my hair. As you know, I have to think of others. So I had my hair cut. I think people prefer my new hair style. (laugh) Oh, brushes used in lacquer painting are made of human hair. I wanted to make brushes with my hair and share them with my teacher, but I was so sick when I cut my hair that I forgot about it. There will be another chance, as my hair keeps growing.
Q : Is there any meaning with the ring that you are wearing all the time?
A : Isn't it nice? I've worn it for quite a long time, and eventually it became a part of me. When I once leave this ring at home I felt unwell that day. (laugh) Now I feel something is missing if I don't wear this ring.
Q : Do you think much about your style?
A : I just wear as I am told to. Of course I sometimes tell my opinion to my stylists, but they just don't care what I say. (laugh) They were stricter in the past. When I go abroad without them, my stylist displayed the clothes as she wanted, took pictures of them with a polaroid camera, and put the photos in my bag. She told me to wear exactly the same way. Frankly speaking, I don't like to be bothered with things I wear. I even feel embarrassed when someone buys me separate items such as one suit, or one trousers. I like them to be hung on my closet as a match so that I can wear them right away. (laugh)
Q : Tell us about what you are planning, and give some words to your fans.
A : I've opened up many part of my thoughts and the way I've changed throughout my book, but I think the most important thing is to come back as actor.
My Family would want it, and I feel I can express the change within myself through my act. I am eager to read many scenarios. It might help me stop thinking about other things. (laugh)