Tuesday, November 03, 2009

[Trans]“Reporter, Hur, do you have been seeing someone these days?”

source: Quilt by suehan
[O2 Cover Story]Artist, Bae Yong Joon’s Today
2009-10-30 19:42



“Reporter, Hur, do you have been seeing someone these days?”
Bae Yong Joon asked me.
Seven years with Yonsama, waiting for the second “Love Song’

Seven years with Yonsama, winter is approaching, so we can sing the second “Love Song’.

‘Does he really have a close relationship with Bae Yong Joon?’

On the day we went to meet BYJ, one of the reporters gave a tip with a smile that some reporters who accompanied with me bet if I am close to him. I shook my head and responded by saying, “I just know him.”

I frequently saw that the word, “close’ was abused in the social life. I hate more when it is misused than abused. That’s why, I chose the expression, “I just know him.’ that might be suitable to define my relationship with him.

On the last day of September, there was a commemorative event of the Japanese version of ‘Journey to discover the beauty of Korea’ that was held at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. Reporters including me were waiting for him at the waiting room in the back. He showed up with a stage costume. I made eye contact with him when he was looking around the reporters and we waved our hands a little. The reporter next to me said,

“I think you’re really close to Bae Yong Joon.”.

We wave our hands to someone we know. After the group interview, he showed his respects to each reporter who came to Japan. Ironically, I was the last.


BYJ has become lonely as the times goes by. We shouldn’t consider his joke, “I need a wife,’ lightly.

Our conversation continued for about 7 minutes. After that, I hurried to get on the bus for the reporters, and a certain junior reporter asked me quietly about the conversation I had with BYJ. He was worried that if he did not find out about our conversation he would get in serious trouble. (suehan: he wanted to be update with BYJ current events)

I could easily imagine that he told himself, “He is mean.” even though he was nodding as a courtesy when I responded, “We didn’t talk about important matters.” But, actually we didn’t talk about anything which was enough to be “news”. I was in trouble.

From the average actor to a very special one.., his last 7 years.

“I heard about how you’ve been.’ (BYJ)

Did he want to hear my ‘personal issues’, neither “I’m fine.” nor “Not much.”? It has been one and half year since I encountered him at the health club in Seoul.

One year and six months has passed like it was one day. Meanwhile, he wrote a book and I worked for the new company. Separate with popularity, the chronicle of human beings is this much unproductive. He and I just exchanged a reserved smile.

I showed my respect by saying, “I’m enjoying reading your book.” Before I came to Tokyo, his management company sent his book to me. He nodded when I added that I wasn’t just saying so as a courtesy, but I was really reading his book.

The last 7 years was the length of time of ‘Hallyu’ that was initiated by the drama, “Winter Love Song’, and the period that BYJ and I have ‘known’ each other.

And, now I come to think about these 7 years, there were quite some changes for me, as an entertainment reporter.

We can’t pile blocks against the gossips of entertainers and it is somewhat our destiny as the reporters. Who and who became lovers and it’s true that it put in turmoil if they’re getting marry. We are always prepared to write a letter of explanation if we miss prominent news until the day we write the letter of resignation.

I think that the gossip war is still effective and it might strangle my neck harder as the days go, but I can confess that I could breathe a little because of BYJ.

It’s possible to explain the reason with one line. Because he is an entertainer who can be featured at 9 O’clock news without any incidents.


Seventy copies of the first edition of his book, ‘Journey to discover the beauty of Korea’, which he wrote sold out in Korea and Japan combined.

BYJ said, “I need a wife.”

He said it like a joke at the interview with reporters.

“The one I need now is a wife.”

Actually, the wit that he copied from the apartment CF in which he appeared a while ago broke down the awkward atmosphere with the reporters in a second because he is famous for declining interviews.

After the interview, I felt the complicated changes from his face expression when I faced with him separately. I thought it might come from the despondency, or the emptiness, or the cross of both feelings.

‘Journey to discover the beauty of Korea’ is his first book which he made by himself, not allowing someone to use him. Someone who had experienced the feeling when he climbed up at the goal regardless of the height of the mountain can realize that the happiness of the accomplishments remains just for a moment and discover that he is not able to take care of himself which resulted from the indescribable despondency.

He might be indulged in the mood after he released his stress that had pressed him until he carried out the publication event in front of the forty-thousand audiences.

He said, “I’m sick.” and asked me, “Are you seeing someone now?”

Actor asked the reporter? It looked like the relationship of the host and guest was reversed. He asked me about my acquaintance of the opposite sex in the conversation he shared with me. He might have sensed the same emptiness from me. Actually, everybody interprets the other side with ‘empathy’.

I said that I had broken up not too long ago and “It is hard a little.” He smiled a bit and said, “Let’s have a cup of tea together when we go back to Seoul.” The taste might be bitter like ‘comforting drinks’.

Come to think of it, I met him the first time at the traditional tea house in Seoul about seven years ago. It was about the time when the movie, ‘Scandal’ was released.

He liked the traditional tea at that time as well. I remembered he had Ssanghwa Tea (雙和茶) and it looked like I asked him as a joke, “Why don’t you put an egg in it?” I don’t remember if he laughed.


‘Gosireh’, the high-level Korean Traditional Restaurant which is located at Minatogu in Tokyo.

He is guilty of being rich.

He reigns as the top Hallyu Star and often is described with numbers.

From the numbers of Japanese fans who came to the airport to meet him, to the changed amounts from the seventy thousand copies of the first edition of his book, ‘Journey to discovery the beauty of Korea’, which had been sold out in Korea and Japan combined.

Add to his n*ckname, ‘Yonsama’, the media called him ‘Rich Man in Stocks.’ when the domestic entertainment industry was discussed as being on its way to becoming industrialized.

Countless news with numbers in front came out at the commemorative event which was held at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. For example, forty five thousand tickets, its flat rate of thousand Won, were almost sold out and four billion five hundred million won was collected for the entrance fee on that day.

Just like that, BYJ has been described with numbers over seven years, and many people start looking at him ‘how much/many’, not BYJ.

How much has he made so far, how much did he make this time, and how much he’ll be making in the future are the public’s main interests. So to speak, it looks like the public’s interests towards BYJ were changed to ‘how much/many’ instead of scandals.

I don’t know how much money he has. The only things I know of are Maybach, which are rare within the country, belongs to his management, he actually rides a Land Rover, and his house that most people are curious about is ‘a lease house’.


BYJ appeared at the press conference of the Japanese animation ‘Winter Love Song’ on September 29, 2009.

There is a high possibility that he might have enough money that can support 3 generations without asking him about his assets.

Greed has no limits, but there may not be any interests or feelings once he/she reaches his/her goal that is the ways of life.

He used the term, ‘empty’ for that nihility.

He said, “I’m going to get rid of furniture one by one to empty the house once I return to Seoul.” He mentioned this during the interview with the reporters, and he also added, “Sufficiency is like feeling being pressed down by something.”

Nonetheless, he is making money through his company listed in Kosdaq. He opened a high-level Korean traditional restaurant, ‘Gosireh’ under his brand at Minatogu in Tokyo and introduces Kimchee and Makgellee to overseas. Businessmen understand him for sure. Company is eventually an organism and will grow continuously, not that, it must be raised.

He may think that it’s better if he didn’t list his company in the stock market. He may concern of the stock price which restrains him to some extent and he releases his stress in his private life by saying, “I’ll reduce and get rid of everything.”

His future, it would be varied, but it’s possible to imagine.

‘Journey to discover the beauty of Korea’, so called the culture experience book, has a very special meaning to BYJ compared his works like ‘Winter Love Song’, which made today’s BYJ, the movie, ‘Scandal’ and ‘April Snow’, and the latest drama, ‘TWSSG’.

Even though it was his responsibility to choose the role, eventually BYJ in the works captured the hearts of numerous Asian fans and BYJ was created by someone.

Compared to those, so to say, this book is an UCC or his production which has a tremendous scale. ‘Journey to discover the beauty of Korea’ was planned and completed only by him. From that point, it shows the steps of ‘prosumer’ to share his feelings and enjoyment with his fans called by ‘Family’. The business aspect of it is secondary which follows his name naturally.


BYJ’s last 7 years were brilliant. What can we see from the BYJ’s 2nd term in the future?

He didn’t use the term, ‘prosumer’. But his wishes, I want to practice making ceramics and lacquer arts, those I got to know while I was writing a book, harder and ‘want to be a ceramist and lacquer artist’, will work as important evidence to BYJ’s future activities.

BYJ, the top ‘original contents’, is in the process to change ‘the core’ which calls and combines his fans more.

The originals which made him a star and shine and will continue to make him shine in the future is ‘Winter Love Song’, and everybody can imagine it.

But nothing lasts forever.
At some point time in the past which ‘passed like an arrow’, he might want to have ‘BYJ’s 2nd term’, the term is used frequently, with ‘his own things’ that can show himself.

Like everything has its own reason, the world moves by the order of the cause and effect to some extent. At this point of seeing his interests of the Korean traditional Korean foods and publication of his experience book of the traditional culture, we can imagine what kind of new BYJ will be remembered to the public after 7 years.


Reporter Hur Minnyeong during the interview.

Reporter Hur Minnyeongjustin@donga.com


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