When many fans in the Kpop world mention TVXQ/JYJ/DBSK, you get mixed reactions. From obsessive out-of-control fangirling to sheer sadness and disappointment; and everything in between. Why? Obsessive fans can be a curse as much as a blessing and the disappointment and sadness can be attributed to the current state of affairs within the Cassiopeia fan base and the over all situation with the group at large.
What situation? Many of you will read this article simply because its about DBSK and therefore already know to which situation I’m referring to, however for the ones who may not know, I will give you the skinny real quick. Without going into extranious detail, I will sum it up for you in a few short sentences.
DBSK was at the top of their game, but due to an unfair contract (deemed by many as a “Slave” Contract) by SM Entertainment (and all that the group had to endure while under said contract), a contract dispute occurred. Which resulted in members JaeJoong, Junsu, and Yoochun leaving the group.
After the split, the three members incurred lawsuit after lawsuit dealing with low balling from SM, and un-official bans from television performances due to conflicts of interest with the show’s coordinators and SM Entertainment’s other artists. (Basically, SM unofficially told these shows that if you let JYJ perform then our artists will not participate.)
The two remaining members of TVXQ/DBSK (Yunho and Changmin) to this day continue promoting under the group’s original name where JaeJoong, Junsu and Yoochun formed their own group named JYJ. There’s lots more to this story but I will leave it at that.
So why do I dub TVXQ/DBSK “Our Beautiful Disaster”? From their inception, the group has been a force to be reckoned with in terms of sheer popularity and talent. Their amazing good looks and astounding personalities coupled with their impressive vocal and dancing talents; never really failed to draw-in even the most reluctant fan. However, the sheer amount of hardships that the group’s members have had to endure is on a monumental scale. The contract disputes, lawsuits, and group split are just the tip of the iceberg.
What happened to the group over the last few years (and continues to this day) is truly one of the most heartbreaking stories that could ever be told in the world of music. The were a family, and I contest the word “were”, as I believe that they will always be a family. They had to leave each other behind because of external forces and not by choice. The love that they felt for each other was so palpable when they were together, and now that each set of members has gone their separate ways, that feeling of unity is slowly starting to fade away.
In my eyes, the split of DBSK was one of the most horrific ordeals we as a fan base had to contend with as Kpop fans. ( Now, You may take me for an obsessive fangirl with that statement but that is far from the truth. I don’t idolize the group, I respect them.)
Putting the break up issue aside (and all that entails), lets get to one of the two parts of this disaster I want to focus on. I will apologize now if this offends any fan.
Part 1: The Fans.
SOME, and I stress the word SOME (not all), fans are part of their disaster. In general, I have no qualms about fans that are devoted to their idols. However, I do take serious issue with a small faction of “dedicated” fans of TVXQ/DBSK. In any fan base you will have, what I delineate as, three types of fans. The “Fair-Weather Fan“, The “True Fan” and the least desirable “Sasaeng Fan“.
Fair-Weather fans are simply people who show their support for the group’s members when everything is going well but are quick to turn against them when things go bad. They DO NOT qualify as ANTI Fans simply because a part of them likes TVXQ/JYJ/DBSK. (The anti-fan is a totally different animal, which I wont even get it into.)
The Cassiopeia fan base is littered with these types of fans. They are happy when their bias or sub-unit (*sub-unit refers to either JYJ or Ho-Min) bias does well, but curse and talk down on the other sub-unit. They are so strong in their conviction that one sub-unit is better than the other, that they continuously start acrimonious arguments with the fans and attempt to further dissolve the remaining remnants of unity.
These fans I truly find irritating. I was raised by the old adage “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I still keep this principal to this day. I will give my opinion from time to time, but I will not stoop to name calling, vulgarity, and disrespectful behavior to get my point across. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I’m much older than most Kpop fans.
(I’m part of the “Noona Minority” and even more subdivided into the “Non-Asian Noona Minority”. However, I contest that being part of this minority isn’t a bad thing. It gives me a very unique perspective.)
Their divide and conquer strategy is only effective if you give into their taunting. My advice is to never try to win them over. Let them be as they are and ignore them. No matter what you say to them, your efforts will always be unsuccessful. They believe what they believe and there is no changing their minds.
True fans are exactly that, they support all the members whole heartily in every thing they do. They may have their own personal member biases (For example my personal member bias is JUNSU), but they do not limit their support to just their bias(and neither do I). They may qualify in the subgroup of OT5 fans (supporters of all five members) or have a particulars sub-unit they follow more intently, but they do not hate on any member.
These are the fans that are there day in and day out; spreading the news about DBSK (as sub-units and as a whole) at all times; watching all the dramas and theatrical plays that the members may participate in; purchasing albums and memorabilia at an astounding rate; attending concerts around the world; loving the members for who they are not what they do; and who will ALWAYS KEEP THE FAITH (AKTF).
The AKTF mantra of these true fans is, in itself, a testament to the fan’s love of the group and its members. They hold fast to the belief that one day JYJ and Ho-Min will reconcile their differences; that Ho-Min will gladly walk away from SM Entertainment; and they will be together, as one, once again. (*throws a little water on the fire*) However hopeful this ideal is, the possibility that all they pray for will come true, is realistically unlikely. It will take a monumental change in Ho-Min’s current thinking for any of this to occur. However THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE.
I identify myself as a True Fan. I hope that they will once again return to the stage as ONE group but being of a logical mind I don’t put all my faith in that possibility. I support them with everything I have, trust them to do what they see fit when it comes to their careers, and I will stand by them no matter what course they may take.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that I love every song they’ve produced since the split nor does it mean that I think that their current career directions are the best for them.(I’ll get to that in a little bit) BUT! Even with all that, I still worry for them; want to make sure they have a safe, healthy, and happy life; hope that they find true love and build a family; and pray that their careers will continue to personify the name “Gods of the East“.
SASAENG Fans! These are undoubtedly the most unscrupulous group of fans out there. Their immoral proclivity for outlandish and dangerous behavior make them, not only a menace to the artist’s safety and the Kpop fan community at large, but are a true criminal element among the Cassiopeian fan base.
They are the fans that do things such as: STALKING (it’s STALKING not following) the members around everywhere with out a moments peace; obsessing over every little detail of the guy’s lives; engaging in rumor mills in relationship to sexual preferences of the members and relationship pairings, attacking other fans physically to deter that fan from “Stealing My man”; rifling through the members trash; breaking into the members homes; participating in car chases to follow the members to a location (which could be potentially fatal if their was an accident); attacking members physically only so they can touch them (as if that simple act would make the members instantly fall in love with them); STALKING the member’s extended family just in case one of the guys show up; and even more recently installing CCTV cameras in the parking garages of members homes.
To which I honestly reply, “WTH?”.
Using the term “Fan” to describe them, angers me to no end. They are not fans. The definition of the word fan is as follows: A person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport, art or entertainment form, or a famous person. No where in that definition does it say: to be obsessive/compulsive about a particular artist. Their behavior crosses the line of healthy fan admiration into the dark and twisted realm of mental illness. In my personal opinion, any of these sasaengs that engage in this type of behavior should be deemed criminals and be punished as such.
People like these give us True Fans a really bad name. Even though this is just a small group within the largely based True Fan Cassiopeian population, they get most of the press when it comes to the fans. They are simply an unstable element that holds the rest of the fans back. Their behavior over the past 9 years has made it so that honest, kind, and respectful fans don’t even want to attempt to approach the members if they ever had the chance.
Each sub-unit travels with body guards at all time to ensure the members safety, to which I say I’m glad. Even at official fan-signings and Meet-and-greets the artist are still gun shy about getting around the fans. There have even been un-confirmed reports that the members (namely Yoochun) have suffered panic attacks moments before a public events, such as these, due to the overwhelming fear that Sasaeng’s will be there.
What many fail to realize is that even though each member of both sub-units are in their mid to upper twenties, they are still young in some respects. They are just like any other person in this world. They have feelings, thoughts, and fears just like everyone else. They maybe considered IDOLS but they are still people too.
They’ve had to deal with so much in the past 9 years, more than anything we could possibly imagine, but this just doesn’t register with some fans. How would you feel if you could not take a single step with out a fan or camera in your face, for 9 long years? Don’t you think you would be beyond irritated and reluctant to interact with any fan? I know I would.
For all the Sasaeng fans out there who might read this, I will gladly represent the rest of the fans by saying one thing. STOP! We know how much you love them and we are right there with you, BUT what your doing is not only incredibly childish but DANGEROUS. Not only for the artists but for yourselves as well!
Now we come to the second part of this disaster, DIRECTION.
While I admit to be currently more JYJ biased than Ho-Min biased, I have never picked one over the other. JYJ has been focusing on promotions that appeal to the international fans more than Ho-Min has lately. With the release of the In Heaven album and Junsu recent solo release of the Tarantallegra album, JYJ is producing music and albums that appeal more to the Domestic (Korea) and international fan base. Popularity for this trio is constantly increasing with each release because of their current direction. All though they still have a way to go before they reach perfection, JYJ is on the right track.
After the release of the Keep Your Head Down album, Ho-Min released their TONE Japanese album and have been focusing more on the Japan market than anything else. Focusing on a single country, will only raise your popularity in that country. Cassie’s across the board are feeling quite neglected by Ho-Min these days. Many assert that Ho-Min’s popularity is being dwarfed by JYJ’s popularity because of this simple fact alone.
A perfect example of why American fans are feeling disappointed is that last year JYJ held a concert in the US which lasted a couple of hours, while every time Ho-min has come to the states its been in conjunction with other artists (SM TOWN). In which, they have performed an average of FOUR songs and that’s it. While Japan and other countries in Asia get several hour long (or more) concerts for multiple concurring dates, we get four songs? And other countries, where a huge majority of Cassie’s live, like the UK, rarely get any performances at all.
With this argument I do take into account the fact of the cost of production for tours, and fully understand that If SM feels the audience isn’t there (or they wont make a profit from ticket sales) they wont go. However, when it comes to TVXQ, I’m reminded of a quote from the movie Field Of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” And in the case of TVXQ. IF YOU BOOK IT, THEY WILL COME .. IN DROVES!
It’s Ho-Min’s apparent lack of interest for the fans outside of Asia that is causing many fans to feel a sense of love-loss for the duo. While I do concede that a good career in the Japan market is huge for Ho-Min, the duo (AND SM Entertainment) must understand that there are many more countries(and fans) in this world that support them and want to see them.
While we all hope that one day DBSK will be reunited and we will hear their ever-so-angelic harmony once more, we must make sure that we support the member’s activities consistently and appropriately until then. Even if we as a fan base, disagree on how to support them or their current musical direction, we MUST show the members that we will be by their sides until the end and we will ALWAYS KEEP THE FAITH!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this piece. I hope that I have presented my opinions on the current status of DBSK as thoughtfully as possible. I also hope that, even though you may disagree with my opinions stated here, that you understand that I truly do love and appreciate DBSK and all the Cassiopeians.
*originally posted on tumblr*
*1: Before you write this article off, please understand that I am in NO WAY a TVXQ/JYJ/DBSK ANTI. I’ve been a fan of Changmin, Yunho, JaeJoong, Junsu, and Yoochun since their original debut in 2003 as a five member group. I am an “OLD SCHOOL” Cassie and will continue to be, forever.
*2: This is an opinion piece and in no way intends to insult/offend anyone in anyway. The views contained within do not reflect the opinions of any person or organization other than myself.