As a newer fan of Kim Hyun Joong, I have been privileged to have the information from blogs of veteran fans along with being able to view images tweeted and posted from news articles, old discussion threads, facebook, and fan blogs and videos on youtube and other hosted video sites all around the web. I am forever grateful to these fans and sites who posted about him from his days
in SS501 to his recent modeling photos from Hang Ten and City Conquest still releases. Where would I be without the enthusiasm and generosity of these fans who love Hyun Joong and faithfully update those of us outside of Asia who are dependent on what we see and read on the internet. I have always given credit where credit is due.
Now, I have the privilege of being mentored by a veteran fan and blogger who has been so kind to me in giving me advice and resources. You know who you are, and I deeply appreciate the honor, sunbaenim (bow). In S. Korea, mentorship is a cultural norm. They are very concerned with addressing people with the proper title. If you are a superior to someone, they will call you sunbae (upper class student), sunbaenim (boss, supervisor, or veteran employee), or a male will call an older male hyung (older brother) even if they are not related by blood to indicate the older man's status as having more experience and wisdom. It is expected that the elders will mentor the younger ones, and in turn the younger ones will be expected to mentor those who are even younger. Everyone is in both types of relationships to the people in their life. They are either sunbae or hunbae (younger student or colleague). Everyone expects to be addressed and given the appropriate respect.
In the days of SS501, Hyun Joong was hyung to his brothers in the group. He was the appointed leader and took his responsibility to take care of them seriously. Although he is gentle and a jokester, he is a S. Korean. He values the cultural system of Mentorship and respect a great deal. We can see this at times when it is necessary for him to take on his role. Also, in the days of his beginning career, he had Mentors in more established kpop groups, actors, managers, and the members of his production company DSP. He gave them the proper respect as well, and he knows how important this is to this day. He now has KeyEast's Baek Jin Dong (who is producing City Conquest) who is a decorated veteran of the kdrama industry. Hyun Joong looks up to him and has said as much on many occasions. His sunbae takes care of him, and he gives him the respect he is due.
As fans of Kim Hyun Joong, we have the same responsibilities. We are responsible to understand Hyun Joong's heart and treat each other with the same love and respect his S. Korean culture would dictate. It is not something that is a choice for us. Our precious idol deserves this from us. We are not only responsible to know about the facts or content of his career or what his favorite color is. We are responsible to know his heart and follow what he would have us do when interacting with each other. I have not only fallen in love with Hyun Joong, but his country and their amazing cultural and moral philosophies. Of course, there are people in every part of the world who do not conform to culture or morals. I know there are S. Koreans who do not follow the set ways of their society. I think it is a shame that more and more of their youth are moving away from it.
What I am saying is that if you love someone, your actions will not crush their spirit. S. Koreans have a word for this. It is called kibun. Below is the explanation of what this concept means in the S. Korean culture. source: http://www.bokorlang.com/journal/43korean.htm
Interpersonal relations in Korea are dominated by recognition of each individual's sense of being, or "selfhood." A person's inner feelings and his prestige, as acknowledged by others, combine to influence morale, face, and overall state of mind and heart. This is expressed in the Korean word kibun. There is no English equivalent, although translators have tried "mood" (not nearly strong enough) and "inner self" (too vague).
When kibun is good, the world is perfect. When it is bad, nothing is right. It affects health and doctors frequently hear patients complain, "My kibun is upset."
Kibun defines relationships. Damaging another person's kibun can make an enemy for life. In this context, kibun is more important than candor, because to unsettle another person's kibun also hurts society in general. Considerations of kibun, then, are long-term, overriding the desire to "tell it like it is" in the moment. Even the Korean terms for hello ("Are you in peace?") and goodbye ("Go in peace") reflect the importance of maintaining an even kibun in oneself and others. (Crane, P. S. (1967). p 7-8. Korean Patterns. Seoul: Hollym Publishers.).
I felt like I had found home when I read about this a few months back. I study Korean Language and S. Korean Culture. This concept of kibun has always been inside of me. However, I had never seen it expressed in a way that made it so clear for me before reading the above. Once I understood it, the customs of the S. Korean culture made so much more sense to me. My point here is this: We follow a S. Korean idol pop star. If we are sold out to Kim Hyun Joong, then it is our responsibility to understand this concept of kibun. Some would say you can never understand it if you were not born Korean. Well, I disagree. I understand this: If I am disrespectful or harsh to anyone in the fandom of Kim Hyun Joong, I will be damaging his kibun. He has expressed his regret over fans having arguments and even shed tears over it saying he felt helpless about it.
I love Hyun Joong like a dear friend or a family member. When I saw this him crying and regretting his helplessness over this, my heart literally broke. I take responsibility as a fan to look up to and give respect to his veteran fans, and to provide protection and guidance to his newer fans. I will enjoy all there is to know and love about Kim Hyun Joong. Whether it is his junior days as leader of SS501, the rise of his career with BOF and WGM, or his current explosive success as a solo artist and actor. This is all part of him, it is his history, his past, his present, and his future. I will not divide when it comes to Hyun Joong. All of his experiences make him who he is, and as his fan I am responsible for preserving them and protecting him. Nothing else matters to me as his devoted and loving follower.
I have spoken about how Hyun Joong has mentored me, even though I am old enough to technically be his mother. He exhibits such dignity, wisdom, poise and grace in his life. I, as a fan, follow his example and allow him to Mentor me as he seems wise beyond his years and sometimes light years ahead of me. I admire, respect, and look up to him. He is also my junior, so I feel it is my responsibility to protect him. When I see injustice happening, I will be firmly by his side, giving my strength and upholding what he holds dear. Peace. Respect. Wisdom. Love. These concepts come naturally to him, and I believe he wants us to have those precepts for ourselves. Meaning, we are responsible not only respect and love each other, but to each love oneself enough to have dignity and grace when we speak and behave.
I was a leader of a Bible study group once. I came into the first session and announced to the group made up of people I knew well, people I knew casually, and people I did not know at all: "This group will be a safe place where we support and respect each other. There will be no back biting, gossip, or division. If you want to be a part of this group, this is what I expect. We will be sharing our hearts here. I want everyone to feel comfortable to share honestly without fear." Out of 12 people, the group ended up with only 5 remaining. Why? Honesty, Safety, and Respect are hard for people to handle. They may have never experienced these things in their lives. All they know is self-centered ways of thinking, speaking and behaving.
I want my readers to know I have the same expectations on my blog. I am not concerned about losing readers or being attacked. I will speak the truth and provide a safe place for others to speak from their hearts as well. I believe it is what Hyun Joong would want for his fans whom he loves with all his heart. He would be happy and thankful. May I as his follower never cause him to regret or feel helpless. I will protect his kibun to the end! Thanks for reading and joining me in my crusade for The Angel of the East: Kim Hyun Joong.
after such a serious article, I want everyone to laugh! Please watch this clip on youtube of Hyun Joong imitating TOP from Big Bang and his best pal Kim Jae Joong from DBSK(TVXQ)! Sooooooo Hilarious! BTW, Hyun Joong would consider TOP would be his hunbae, and Jae Joong his sunbae because DBSK(TVXQ) debuted in 2003 before SS501 made their debut in 2005 and Big Bang debuted in 2006!