Credit: Teen Magazine Singapore Author: Hidayah Idris
TALENT KNOCK-OUT by Hidayah Idris
Actor, Model, Emcee, Singer.
It seems there’s no stopping Asia Prince Jang Keun Suk, as he adds another feature in his cap.
While most 25-year-olds are stranded at the crossroads of their lives, Jang Keun Suk has been living his dream for the past two decades. However, unlike those who shoot to instant fame after their first television appearance, the multi-hyphenate, who made his foray into the entertainment circuit at a tender age of five, only saw his career coming up roses, only after the blazing success of his 2009 drama, You’re Beautiful, which catapulted him to the crest of the Hallyu wave.
Like most top stars, Keun Suk’s road to success was fraught with so many difficulties and tears that his life story could possibly be made into an autobiography.
At a young age where his peers were playing with Ultraman figurines and kicking a ball around a field, Keun Suk was forced to grow up prematurely in an industry that grants no special treatment to the young. In KBS documentary The Center of the New Hallyu, I Am Jang Keun Suk, he said, “Even if it’s a five-year-old’s role, the child is given the responsibility of a working man. I started out like that. No matter how tired I was, no matter how much I wanted to cry or sleep, how hungry I was, how badly I wanted to go home or play with my friends, I had to forget all these at the filming venue.”
On the same show, he also lamented about the price he had to pay for fame. “Before [You’re Beautiful], I spent 20 years [in the industry]. In those 20 years, I had no friends in school and no memory [of] a lot of other things.” His growing up years might have been salted with tears and tinged with loneliness, but not once has be allowed himself to be bogged down by past regrets. He mused, “It’s pointless [having regrets] now.”
By the time he grew into his teens, Keun Suk was already earning his own keep. He revealed on an episode of Knee-Drop Guru that his mom signed him up to be an underwear model when he was a freshman in junior high. Embarrassed and afraid of being teased by his friends, the young Keun Suk was adamant against doing it, even begging his mother in tears. But once he heard the shutter of the camera, he realized that he wanted to be in front of the lens. Using his salary of 2,200,000 won (about S$2,400) from the gig, he settled a year’s worth of house rent.
That independent and resilient streak is probably the driving force that shaped the star today. Widely known for his blunt, straightforward personality, Keun Suk has ruffled many feathers (he even admitted that he is hated by most males), but at the same time, his bizarre antics and humility have stolen the hearts of hundreds of thousands of fans across the globe.
Some people are born thespians, while others accumulate acting skills through years of experience. Keun Suk, on the other hand, enjoys the best of both worlds. However, the acting world has not always been kind to the star, who started out as a child actor in 1997.
For one, despite his wealth of experience, his young age made people view him through prejudice-tinted glasses. On an episode of Come to Play, he revealed that the Nonstop 4 cast distanced themselves from his 17-year-old self after finding out about his age. Similarly, when it was announced that he would be acting alongside Ha Jiwon in period drama Hwang Jin-I, netizens were quick to sling mud at him and cast doubts on his acting ability due to his young age. However, he soon proved his detractors wrong. After pulling off a critically-acclaimed performance in the show, he began to receive offers of lead roles in numerous drams, including Hong Gildong and Beethoven Virus, which earned him the Best New Actor Award at the MBC Drama Awards. He has since acted opposite top actresses, such as Moon Geunyong (Mary Me, Mary) and Kim Haneul (You’re My Pet).
Until 2009, not many people knew of the actor’s other talent : singing. Although he has lent his vocals t the soundtracks of his drams since his first sitcom, Nonstop 4, his power pipes were only put in the spotlight after he took on the role of a singer in You’re Beautiful. Play the lead vocalist of fictional band, A.N.Jell, Hwang Taekyung, Keun Suk melted hears with his mellow vocals on numerous heartstring-tugging tunes. The soundtrack for the drama, which includes songs he sang with the other cast members, sold nearly 20,000 copies in its first week – an incredible feat fr an OST.
He has since taken on the dual role as both a singer and actor of the drams he acts in. In 2011, the actor rode on his burgeoning popularity in Japan and made his Japanese singing debut with rock number, “Let Me Cry”, which topped the Oricon Chart. Last year, the actor brought back Team H, a duo comprising himself and DJ Big Brother, whom he worked with for his first Japanese single and his Chinese album. Showcasing a buffet of electronic club beats in their album, I Just Wanna Have Fun, the pair has been actively promoting around Asia, including Japan, China and Thailand.
The concept of pairing actors or actresses with singers as emcees on music shows is nothing new. In 2007, Keun Suk was appointed as the emcee of Inkigayo, alongside Super Junior’s Kim Heechul. Although they initially made for an awkward pair, their close friendship soon shone through, as they joked around – and even playfully hit each other – on the show.
Although Keun Suk hadn’t made his singing debut at that time, his role as an emcee allowed him to showcase his singing talent on the show, as he performed “special stages” with his co-host and other singers. On one episode, he displayed his steely vocals on a cover of R.ef’s song, “Bright Love”, and on another episode, he showed that he could rap as well as he could hold a tune, as he spat out lyrics of Leessang’s “Ballerino”. His versatility as an emcee was further highlighted when he was awarded the emcee role for the 1st Melon Music Awards, alongside co-star Park Shinhye.
With a small pretty face that won him the Grand Prize at the Beautiful Children Pageant in 1995 – he even beat out T-ara’s Eunjung – it’s no surprise that Keun Suk would grow up to be a blue chip in the advertising industry.
Currently standing tall at 1.82m, the lanky singer has fronted numerous brands including Codes Combine, Audition 2, Samsung, and even Japanese brands ACUO and Suntory. Perhaps the potent combination of his acting abilities and affable nature can explain why he has held on the to title of “advertisers’ darling” since young.
In The Centre of the New Hallyu, I Am Jang Keun Suk, his Japanese fans were seen sweeping up his endorsed products and visiting all the places he went to. But it isn’t only the hearts of fans he has captured; it seems that even his industry peers can’t resist the actor’s charms. On Star Date, the actor had actress and fellow model for Codes Combine, Go Junhee, blushing pink when he brazenly divulged that she had asked for his number.
THE VARIETY SHOW GENIUS
Variety Shows are one of the best avenues to get noticed in the almost-saturated Korean entertainment industry. Even top actors like Lee Byung Hun have recently opened up to the idea of appearing on such programmes. Keun Suk is no exception. Although he keeps his appearances few and far between, when he does go on a show, you can expect nothing short of entertainment gold from the unpredictable star.
From the Crazy Mission Diary! that he filmed for an online portal – which saw him taking photos with random Japanese schoolgirls, giving out his autographed albums to strangers in the middle of Shibuya, and doing the moonwalk in Gimpo Airport – to his sudden outbursts on Knee-Drop Guru (he even took the host, Kang Hodong, by surprise!), it seems there’s no stopping his antics! Unlike other Hallyu stars who go to great lengths to keep their romance under wraps, the eccentric star even openly admitted that he was in a relationship at the time he was rumored to be dating ice-skater Kim Yuna – even without being asked!
The Real JANG KEUN SUK
Fans are a complex bunch. While they wish for their idols to be upfront and reveal their deepest feelings, they balk at comments that are not pleasing to their ears. However, Keun Suk’s fans have learnt to love him just the way he is – brutally honest and all.
Known for his frankness and offbeat sense of humor, Keun Suk may not be the typical idol who dishes out record label-approved answers or avoid eye-contact with fans when walking past them. Instead, he openly aired his grouses on national television about his abhorrence for company executives who deliberately schedule his promotions on his school days.; he also performed his shuffle dance at Rain’s concert, bravely screaming “I’m the Shuffle King!” in front of the Dancing King himself. The star is also not afraid t get close to his fans. In The Centre of the New Hallyu, I am Jang Keun Suk, after learning that two Japanese fans were waiting for him at the hotel lobby at 2am, he ran and enveloped them in a bear hug, despite being worn out from rehearsals.
Unlike some celebrities who view acting or singing as a job, to Keun Suk, being an entertainer is his calling. He said on an episode of Knee-Drop Guru, “The occupation of an artiste is my life. At that instant [when I went up the stage to dance at Rain’s concert], I was very happy.”
Even after 20 years in the industry, Keun Suk is showing no signs of slowing down. He once said on a television show, “I think that time is precious. If I walk quickly, it feels like time is chasing me.” But that doesn’t mean he tolls through his life for the sake of doing something. To him, pursing his passion at his own pace is more important than blindly following what he is told to do. He said on the same show, “What’s important is that I don’t live too hastily and tiredly. Regardless of the results, I do what I want to do every day.”
Members : Jang Keun Suk, DJ Big Brother
Officially formed in : 2011
Best Selling Album and the Best Korean Album in 2012 IFPI Hong Kong Record Sales Awards
First Tour :
February 23, 24 in Hiroshima, the 2013 Team H Party – I Just Wanna Have Fun
– The Lounge H Vol. 1 (Regular Edition), released in China in 2011
– Lounge H (The First Impression), released in Japan in 2012
– I Just Wanna Have Fun, released in Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines in 2013
27 thoughts on “[article] JKS on Singapore “Teen” Magazine May Issue_20130418”
thank you for translation ,nice
oana, this article from Singapore magazine, it was in English originally, I can’t take credit for anything. Just want to share and let eels all over the world can see it. 🙂
Springsuk_USA….. just curious if Korea has anything similar to the law we have here in the U.S. The Jackie Koogan Law protects the income of minors in the theatrical industry … only a small percentage can be used by the parents or guardian for child’s support, food, education, etc. I was interested since the ariticle states JKS paid parents’ rent for a whole year when he was in his first year of junior high! I know JKS is very independent but has he been supporting his family since childhood???
Susann, I don’t think they have as in 2011 Busan International Film Festival, there was an open talk JKS and American Actor Logan Leman, Logan Leman was from a child star as well, but he talked that how was protected by the law in the US and the family from being “abused” as pure “child star”. I remember JKS’s comment was there should have that law in Korea too. So I don’t think in Korea they had when he was a child. I am not sure about now. But Korean entertainment is a cruel place for underage performers. I mean look at all the boys and girls singing bands those kids were signed contract with agent company when they were young teen. They were under strict intensive training for a few years before they debut. Everyone always only see how great they are, but behind that they have to leave family and be in a boot camp style training and work under contract for many years.
If you have seen what he talked in Knee Drop Guru, his family were in a bad situation because of business failure, so to be a child star is a way to rescue his family out of that difficult time. It was sad that he had went through it but I think he didn’t have a choice. As in Korea, if you don’t have money, you may can only pay your rent monthly, but if you are better, you can may the whole year rent, if you are rich then you can buy your own place to live.
Hello, everyone. I’ve only been a korean drama fan for a few months but I’ve already seen all of the JKS dramas and movies out there. I was particularly impressed with his performances in Hwang Jin Yi and Love Rain and once I started listening to his songs I was hooked. My ipod is filled of JKS songs and I am on youtube all the time,trying to watch his videos. My husband and my son thinks I am acting like a teenage girl with a crush but since I discovered this jangkeunsukforever site, and reading all your comments, I know I am not alone in this.
This article on TEENS magazine made me very excited because it shows that the world is actually starting to notice this talented young man. So it got me to thinking about maybe we should work on getting him invited into the US as a guest in one of the talk shows. This would definitely get him the exposure that he needs to be a World Prince. I am thinking of the Ellen Degeneres show. I think Ellen’s personality is a perfect fit for JKS’ fun loving, down to earth, and brutally honest personality. Maybe if enough JKS fans from the US email the show and suggest JKS as a guest, they would look into his bio and see how great he is. I know PSY was already a guest in Ellen’s show before when he was promoting his Gangnam Style song, and also Charice Pempengco from the Philippines, so the show is not a stranger to foreign performers.
So, all U.S. Eels out there, what do you say? There is strength in numbers. Maybe we can make this happen and help this talented young man shine in the world stage. Jyo Zikzin!
Me too love this article..
Your not alone in your love for JKS…me too fell in his lovely trap…and I’m gonna stay there like a very happy eel
For me it’s also only a year…my second Korean drama..”You are beautiful” and I fell for his soulful eyes..and his sparkling smile..and thus starts my quest for JKS and loving every second of it..
I’ve seen almost every drama and movie of him (except the hard to come by ones from his youth) and heared every song he has ever sing (today I found him singing “Close Your Eyes” on soundcloudcom; one of his favorites Hitomi wo Tojite from Ken Hira) ..
Well he’s just great in every aspect…flaws and all
mamacri..could you give me the link..i really want to see it.
Mamacri, thank you for making me feel welcome in joining this group of EELS. I was feeling really embarrassed to have some kind of infatuation for such a young man, you see, I am in my 40’s. But seeing how this group is so diverse in age and interests, I am so amazed how he had brought us all together. And that made me admire him even more. My teenage son is getting tired of me pointing out how much JKS had accomplished when he was his age, truly a good example of hard work and perseverance for all the young people out there. I can’t wait for the day when I can actually see him in person here in the U.S., maybe in New York, very soon? Ahhh, I can only dream…
mgamefan….don’t be embarrassed my dear…..there is nothing wrong in loving and admiring someone that is worthy of that..It’s not the amount of work/achievements but the way he did/does things..his being, his dramas, movies and songs are able to touch our hearts and in that we become one…
That fact is not bound by age or any other bounderies for that matter…
So enjoy his art as much as you like : )
Dear Lord, I love him even more after reading this <3 He's perfect just how he is, and that's really hard to find. He is so talented and his personality is the cherry on top! *_* AND he's absolutely beautiful. Too much, too much…
he deserved the love and admiration of his eels. so happy to read good article about him……
what can I say more ? all eels have already spoken everything about sukkie so I’m so much agree all of them well I think one word is all I can say I am JKS forever 🙂
i love it, such a good article about him
is the author an eel? ^^,
Wowwww….FINALLY!! One professional writer writes some honest things and truths about JKS. I am amazed reading this great article. This author did her/his homework well!! Thank you to the author for writing the truths about our Prince. Agree, the road of JKS had never been rosy and smooth like many people think.
Although, The REAL JKS has so many flaws, so many people can’t accept him for those flaws and can’t accept him for who he is…., but his true EELs still love him, have trust and believe in him, and stay by his side. I cried my heart out when I read some of the stories or FAs about the incredible projects or amazing things EELs did for JKS. They have done all those projects full of love, and without asking anything in return!!!!
In this fast-moving world, many fans follow STARs because of their looks and hypes than their talents, so many fans can easily sway from one star to the next big hype stars…. However, I am soo proud and happy to witness some EELs are very stubborn and loyal lots to Jang Keun Suk, they stay being eels for long long long time, no matter what happen!!!!
Honestly, I have been followed this MAN for so long now that I think of him more as my long lost little brother than he is just being my idol. I feel empathy for him thru all his phrases in life. When he feel sad, I’m sad. When he cries, I cry. When he laughs, I laugh. When he smiles, my face automatically lights up like Christmas tree and my heart melts with happiness. When he was being naughty and bad boy, I wanted to throttle him. When people called him all kind of dirty names, and criticized him untruly, I feel helpless and pain because I couldn’t stop people from saying what they were saying……on other hand, I thank you to those haters for saying bad and hurtful things about him because those hurtful words only make me love him more and more. I might sound like a crazy young girl… believe me, I am not.
I must agree with this author ‘s statement, “Fans are a complex bunch. While they wish for their idols to be upfront and reveal their deepest feelings, they balk at comments that are not pleasing to their ears.” This statement is soooo true!!!!!!
Agree with everything you said…really a great article…
I’m gonna grab a copy of this magazine before its all sold out.
Kya, so happy!
I’ve just bought a copy at 7-11.
Gonna treasure it!
everytime you write your comment here or in our pond, you always make me cry for happiness for the love you have for our Sukkie. thank you so much, Angel…….
His family lucky charm, bringing luck n fortune,is best for him to let his mom manage his money. At a tender age, money might tempt u n gone to waste buying unneccesary thing, is good he respect his mom to manage his money, not many people at this age can do that, can u all let ur parent manage ur hard earn money, I don’t think so, me too. Highly respect him. Not many youngster respect elders especially parent after enter adulthood. We need to learn a lot from korean culture, respect the elder. Not many people can do it even after marriage. Just love him at the way he is.
Springsuk_USA – thank you so much for getting back to me. What a marvelously sensitive and gifted man JKS has become. Perhaps because of all the hardships he endured during his youth; he’s able to see the world as it is, and continues to move forward, marching to his own drum. His parents must be so proud of their son.
With a sincere heart, I remain his supporter in Boca Raton, Fl.
Oh Sukkie, is it difficult to live your life exposed for all to see? You make us love you unconditionally because you do not hide in the darkness. You are a bright star!
Diana in Seattle
i wanna have this mag..can i get this in Malaysia? huhu.. im crying reading her writing.. even she’s not an eel..she will become one..trust me..
Here you go sukasukkie
It’s not the best sound but I think someone did some recording at a show…don’t know wich show…
I love the song and I’m happy to hear Sukkie sing this one for it’s one of his favorites
Mamacri, Kyaaaweeee….thank you soooo very much for sharing this link, my first time listening to him singning this song.
Yahhhh….I love Sukkie’s voice, even he would sing wtih “lalalala, nananana, or just humming, no words required, I would find it pleasing to my ears.
JKS is so blessed with his fortune now and wonderful mum. Next with a wonderful wife LOL
Waah this article has been so perfectly written.. truly reflecting how our PRINCE is different from all the stars.. wowww love this.. more love for this blog to let me know so many praises for our PRINCE that he actually deserves.. hope all these articles and FAs can be converted into a book..
Just found this one. Oh my….never wd hv thought to even dream to c Sukkie n Ali on same stage! Love Ali! Wondering how come never seen this “Ballerino”, as did search very seriously for that period of time in Inkigayo n with Heecheol as they’re so good together (found this for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10R4uY4ZeYs hilarious by itself n soooo “Sukki-ish” ha ha, but also blew my mind as referred to their combination as an inter-galactic event, long b4 c’ing this). Also seen wonderful “Bright Love” b4 n lots of Ali’s vids, even under Asian names n early works, so strange YT never presented this one.
Ppl not familiar with, “come to play” referred to in this article incld several issues mentioned, among others (Stephanie mentioned there is the one joined TEAM H 2013 Tour, singing “Party Tonight” – more of Sukkie’s friendship https://youtu.be/7ZEq3vmY6Rg?t=281 )