If I could express my feelings it was as though they could be cut by a knife. In front of me was the man who had skin as white as snow and I wondered if it was just as cold as well. However his large eyes had a sense of ambiguity, as though they contained a mystery. I found myself becoming increasingly curious; who was this man, what kind of person was he?
This cool facade was the image of Kim Jaejoong that could be publicly seen. However when you talked to him it was a different story; the feeling around him was very relaxed and friendly, his warmth reminding you of how misleading appearances could be.
Journalists who had met Kim Jaejoong before said that he was a very emotional man. A man who was pleasantly sweet and even had never-ending laughter. They also talked about his unstoppable talent. How he was hidden like a dark horse among the entertainment field. And I can agree that whether talking about music or any other art, the title of “Dark Horse” fits him well.
Though he has faced many circumstances that can be referred to as “unfair” [Kim Jaejoong] has maintained a true and humane aspect about him. He said he often causes worry to his management company because of his frank nature. But because of his honesty he is able to circumvent his perfect outward appearance and show reporters his true, human side.
♦ A Man Like Doenjang [T/N: Deonjang is a Korean fermented soy bean paste]
The funny thing is, Kim Jaejoong is familiar with the impression his cold outward appearance leaves.
“Although you may only be able to see the outward appearance at first, it’s just as important to look carefully at the inner appearance as well. This is like the case of a person who can grow more charming each day. I feel like I’m just like deonjang; at first it makes the room smell terrible and no one would want to eat it. However, once the deonjang matures for a long time, people start to see it as something that is comforting”.
This Deonjang-like man Kim Jaejoong made his first film debut last month in the movie “Jackal is Coming”. More than just box office results, this movie became a source of personal satisfaction for him.
“There are two things that I was very glad about. First is that the character I was able to play was very good. And secondly, it is very rare to get an offer of a leading role for your first film, so it was a great joy to be able to get this type of experience”
The character of Choi Hyun, being a top star, was something that could feel very relatable and comfortable. The character went through a variety of obstacles including being kidnapped by a killer and even dealing with a sasaeng fan. Though the movie was different from reality, it was also very similar in some ways.
Here is a funny episode Kim Jaejoong told about the premiere.
“For the VIP premiere, I invited Seol Woondo and Tae JinAh songsaengnims (T/N: Seol Woondo and Tae JinAh are both famous trot singers). However, the whole time they were laughing that such a famous movie star invited them and not No Hunah or Ju YoungPil (T/N: other trot singers). Afterwards, Seol Woondo seongsaengnim came up to me and told me to proudly tell [other singers] that ‘I asked Seol Woondo and Tae JinAh to come out and see me’. Haha”
♦ I Would Die Without JYJ
As an actor Kim Jaejoong had not only been in movies but also dramas such as “Protect the Boss” and “Dr. Jin”. As a member of JYJ, he has also received a great amount of love for his musical talents. However there are always some complaints when a singer transitions to the occupation of an actor.
“As a singer, you can suffer and work hard for 3 months in order to produce something that is 3 minutes long. And then you repeat the process. And for a drama you can work a whole year in order to see results. Though they both require hard work, I think there is a different sort of satisfaction that you receive from producing music than the satisfaction you can feel from acting.”
Kim Jaejoong is known to have a very close relationship with his fellow JYJ members. Sometimes it seems like Kim Junsu and Park Yoochun are more like family to him.
“It sometimes feels like a crisis of identity (laughs). [Our relationship] is just really beautiful. It’s something like…without them I would die? Who could dream of having friends that you could experience all the joys and hardships with as you work towards the same dream. We are like partners who have been together for a long time, they’ve become more precious than brothers to me.”
Though he mentioned his members with much affection, Kim Jaejoong has actually suffered through many tough times as a singer. Events concerning sasaeng fans being one of the best examples. However he has never thought about giving up.
“It’s hard for me to think that I want to quit or give up. To give up means letting go of something that I truly love. It can get difficult to live this sort of life, but even when it is hard, you have to be able to sort through the hard things. Right now, my life is very good. But when I feel it’s too hard, I look at how others are hurting too and think my life is very good in comparison.”
♦ Single or Not?
An amazing fact about Kim Jaejoong is that many of his fans are girls who are still middle or high school students.
“I still have lots of fans who started following me when they were young girls at the time of my debut. However the funny thing is, now because of dramas, I find myself surprisingly once again having fans who are middle or high school students. I was really surprised to know that and I felt a bit reminiscent. Nevertheless you always feel worried about being able to stay interesting to them.”
Kim Jaejoong was born in Janurary of 1986, which makes him 28 years old right now. So of course at this age he will be thinking about dating or marrying.
“Right now, I am not dating. I don’t think I can. But the fans can be very funny” Kim Jaejoong said “some of them tell me that it’s okay to date but not to get married. However I don’t think I can be a bachelor forever. Because I am the only son of the family…”
I could tell that Kim Jaejoong was getting a little stressed while talking about marriage. So instead I asked him more about his acting, wondering which senior were the most influential to him.
“Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu sunbaes? (laugh). I was joking. The senior who truly helped and influenced me a lot is JiSung hyung. He aided me a lot during my first Korean drama. Every time I am looking at a new drama he will tell me “When you are thinking about taking a new drama, remember to let me see the script”, and then he will look over it. This hyung really puts in a lot of effort to help provide me with good advice and recommendations”
Kim Jaejoong truly regards JiSung as a mentor to him. Also, they have recently met together in the audience of the VIP premiere for “My PS Partner”.
Jaejoong told me “Hyung was worried that I would have no time to come to his premiere. Because hyung was too busy filming so he missed the ‘Jackal’ premiere, he thought it might be a similar situation”. But, as expected, Jaejoong was able to attend the premiere of JiSung’s movie.
He appeared in the theatre and watched the movie with a bright face, one that underneath it hides a playful and warm heart of a person who makes you want to meet him again and again.