Truth #1: He is a good-looking idol. He is a guy you would go out with regardless of his age. He is someone so pretty that he is likely to appear in a romance comic.
Truth #2: He was a runaway teenager who has experienced almost every part-time job out in the world. He is the most four-dimensional celebrity in Korea. He is a rock mania who body would squirm at the cheesy lines he had to say in hit TV series "Boys over Flowers".
Truth #3: He is a happy-go-lucky sort of person, unpredictable and hence, we become increasingly curious. Attracted.
Kim Hyun-joong's favorite musician. The first record Kim ever bought was Seo Taiji & Boys' second album. Kim had enjoyed his studies so much up till elementary school that he would wake up at 6 A.M. everyday to study but after listening to Seo Taiji's music, he gave up on his studies to become a bassist in a rock band. That is why Kim took a one year leave during his high school days, went to a new school and ran away from home because his parents were against him pursuing music. Up to this point, it may look like he walked the typical path many rockers take on in order to achieve their dreams. But Kim worked part-time at a fried chicken restaurant and did manual labor to buy his own guitar, then worked again for about a year after running away from his house a second time. He made about a total 100 million won working part-time jobs. "I taught myself (how to live in society) by making money earlier than others", Kim said of how important he considers this time period. This is why as soon as he debuted as a member of SS501, he believed "time is money".
The five-member group Kim is a member of. He passed his audition for the group after simply being asked his height, weight and address. It may be because of this but according to member Park Jung-min-I, Kim played hard to get, not being sure of whether being a member of an idol group was the path he should take. But Kim sets his heart on becoming part of the band after looking at the numerous fans looking forward to SS501's debut. Thereafter, the whole group appears in various reality shows and pursues a music career in Japan simultaneously. But they do not care about looking pretty and have promised to never receive expensive gifts from fans, making them the idols they are yet also the guys next door with good morals. They did not gain stardom instantaneously but continue to solidify their fanbase. On a side not, SS501 stands for the 'sun' and "STAR", as well as 'five become one', but also a name intended to be typed easily on mobile phones and the computer.
A member of SS501 who says he would choose to be born as Kim Hyung-joon in his next life. He seems to be serious since he made the same remark three years ago. He also says he will appear in a drama one day like Kim Hyun-joong and gain as much stardom. Meanwhile, Kim Hyun-joong regards such a Kim Hyung-joon in an older brother like way, saying he would want to "walk around with Hyung-joon as the subordinate" if he were given a one-day break and is "happy because he always laughs at what I say". Such is the characteristic of SS501 -- they speak frankly about each member's current popularity or situation. Kim Hyung-joong in particular will say that their group "became overrated" due to the reality shows they appeared in ahead of their debut and show a sense of reality keen enough to know that it would be better that he did not help clean up the beaches in Taean after they became hit by South Korea's worst oil spill in late 2007 because people might regard it a publicity stunt. He will also say everything he wants to at his fans, telling them, "I like letters but not expensive gifts", and "I don't like them coming in front of our house". Their sense of reality may be why they can say such bold remarks on TV.
The celebrity who appeared as his make-believe wife in MBC reality show "We are Married". He spread his appeal as an unpredictable yet good-looking husband by being seemingly indifferent to everything going on around him but becoming a critic for his wife's food, being inexpressive of his emotions for his wife yet playing and singing on the piano for her at a crucial moment and enjoy hanging out with his group members while being thorough about making a living. This is when the Kim his fans knew of, started becoming known to the world. He may become prince charming in a drama and a guitarist on stage but knows exactly how much you need to buy land for tending a vegetable garden while doing music and accumulating money. This may be why his popularity only gains with his appearances on reality shows.
Guitarist of group N.E.X.T. He took part in SS501's "Unlock" and picked Kim Hyun-joong as a musician he recently considered good at playing the bass. Kim Hyun-joong also liked listening to Limp Bizkit and The Calling, making him a pretty-faced singer who is into rock music. This may be why he first thought the role of Yoon Ji-hoo in "Boys over Flowers" did not suit him. Yet he has a mindset balanced enough to know that "saying hello is not about the respect but acknowledging each other's presence. Problems start arising when people skip on this". He will also say, "I used to be mature for my age but I live like a kid now...... I don't want to become stupid so I buy my own plane tickets or rent cars myself". Whatever he says, it will be fun but to a point where it will not create any problems. That is why he is different from other idols but does not become a troublemaker.
The character Kim played from KBS TV series "Boys over Flowers". During the audition, Kim showed sides to him unbefitting for a role in a drama based on a romance comic but regardless, garnered explosive popularity. Kim said he thought he resembled Yoon in the sense that he "sleeps a lot, doesn't laugh much and cares a lot about his life although he seems not to". Hence, Kim analyzed Yoon as a character who "knows everything but pretends to be indifferent about life and seems slightly bothered by everything but is warmhearted". Through Kim, Yoon was born as a mild-mannered yet masculine and at times, considerate person. Of course, his acting was awkward to the point he had trouble in expressing the various emotions his character felt. But the collaboration of his facial expressions, way of speech and his unrealistic looks in which the real Kim was reflected, provided a unique sense of appeal which can only be explained by the term 'presence'. Kim gained the character Yoon, a content which can maximize the appeal inherent within his real self and shot him onto stardom. Yet, he became acknowledged for the character and not his ability. Whether it be music or acting, his next 'leap' will come when he actually starts proving his capabilities.
The star that Kim likes. He likes her so much that when he appeared on SBS variety show "Family Outing" on which she is one of the hosts, he described that it "feels like looking at a celebrity". Like so, Kim at times seems like any other ordinary observer of the entertainment industry. He will also nonchalantly talk about his past girlfriends on talkshows and does not mind too much about what others think. He also does not have aspirations to become a huge star but instead wants to enjoy his personal life and dreams of performing on stage for his fans who have become parents when he is in his 40s and 50s. At the same time, he is mature enough to turn down expensive gifts from his fans. Kim may end up being a celebrity who lives happily by doing his work, go out when he wants to have fun and garner enough popularity.
T.O.P. (Choi Seung-hyeon)
Kim Hyun-joong's friend. The two also performed together on MBC's annual campus song contest. To Kim, his friends are so important to him that his friends since elementary school and the members of SS501 are the reason he says he is happy. He also willingly jointly invested in a fried chicken place with his friends. His identity can be seen where he is a guy who likes to hang out with his friends although he is someone who is so popular throughout Asia that he won the prize for top Asian male artist at the 2009 Yahoo! Buzz Awards last year. He is a star, yet dreams of living a life as happy as his parents and says he would "find the greatest happiness in engraving a photograph of my happy family on my gravestone than writing a thousand words on it". Ironically, this idol's non idol-like mindset is the foremost reason he is the star he is today. He will be able to become a star, do the music he wants and make enough money to support a happy family. Which will he choose? He may end up with it all with his happy-go-lucky attitude.
Senior Reporter : Kang Myoung-Seok email@example.com
Editor : Jessica Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
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53rd Baeksang Arts Awards 2017