Photo credits: Tree-J company
English translation: Hazy from ECI and tenshi_akuma
“I am made in Korea, Jang Keun Suk!” Actor Jang Keun Suk who is known as ‘Keun-chan’ by his overseas fans is now making his way from Asia Prince to World Prince.
According to “Korean Wave movement report” issued by Korean Cultural Industry Foundation in 2011, JKS was regarded as a new Hallyu star, the possible successor to Bae Yong Jun. There was no objection that JKS was selected as the key person who would lead Korean wave in the next 10 years. His strong point is said not only his acting skill but his ‘artist’ side that is stood out in various areas such as fashion and music. Because of this, Korean wave has prevailed among younger generation, from teenagers to those in their 30’s who lead culture of consumption. Before that, most Hallyu fans were considered as middle-aged women.
Recently, Team H formed with his music partner Big Brother finished their concerts in Japan’s 4 cities, China and Thailand. And now they’re preparing the coming show in Taiwan in April. We’ll show you “Korean Wave’s future in 10 years” using JKS’s words.
Am I Hallyu leader?
“I am thankful for Bae Yong Jun and other great seniors who paved the way ahead.”
— You’ve got the highest approval ratings as the Hallyu leader in the next 10 years.
“Only for 10 years?” (laugh) I am thankful for seniors like Bae Yong Jun and Lee Byung-hun who paved the way for the future of Korean contents. I really appreciate it. I’m sure I haven’t achieved my present position by myself only. I can’t say if it will last for 10 years or within 1 year. One thing for sure, we need fresh bloods, and new representative of Korean Wave to come up. This keeps me going, so that I will continue to work hard. The path I have now walked will become a reference to the juniors, so that they can avoid detours.
— When you are meeting overseas fans, what are you thinking?
“Made in Korea, Jang Keun Suk!” I am proud and confident about it. All contents of my performance overseas are all made in Korea with Korean staff.
— Recently anti Hallyu is rising, what is your thought?
It is a crying shame that political reasons encourage this anti Hallyu movement. We see all kinds of anti news reported, yet, people whom I meet on site are still continuously interested in Korea and our culture. It is pity that a minority is reported as if it is everyone. It happens to me anytime. In fact, I had experience that an advertising contract was not done in the last minute. Now that new government has started in Korea, China and Japan, I believe we should build intimacy more and more through cultural exchanges.
How to last Korean Wave longer?
“Don’t listen to money.”
When talking about Korean Wave future, JKS became even more passionate. He emphasized it should be more wise and substantial, not to pursue the sweet future.
— For sustainable growth of Korean Wave, stars have to keep up efforts.
I wish they won’t listen to money. Recently there are various interesting proposals such as giving a certain sum of money to present a certain format of the performance. If just showing my face is all that I am asked for, that is a meaningless stage. If we listen to money, Korean Wave will be over soon to reach the limit. Recently many people have expanded their business overseas to take advantage of the rise of Korean Wave. It’s natural that we should be more careful to hold concerts in foreign countries than that in Korea. But there are some people who consider Korean Wave only for earning money through ticketing. We need a long-term view, not a short-term goal.
— How are you working hard?
As I said before, I always keep in mind that I don’t listen to money and waste time. There are many ridiculous proposals like the script for drama is not completed, or the director is not confirmed, but they would offer me a huge reward to act in the drama. It is beyond insane. I’ve built endurance not to be shaken.
— From an actor to singer, then to Team H, what motivates you to keep challenges in various fields?
It’s a challenging spirit that I want to break new ground. I heard many artists including JYJ and Kim Hyun Joong ended their South America tour. Honestly, no matter how much I hit the keys on the calculator, there would be no answer for worth trying. But challenging itself is the investment. For such a reason, I applaud their decision.
— Don’t you have any worries for a new challenge?
If I said ‘No’, I would be lying. Yet, the reason I am able to still challenge myself is I am an actor. I am also a young 20+ full of energy. Even a failure is only a very small part of my life.
— You have plans to expand business to Europe and U.S. this year.
I’m planning to start it from Hawaii in May, then to South America and Europe. I am already looking forward to what will happen in those places, it’s so exciting!” (laugh)