Tag Archives: k-pop

SNSD Jessica 제시카 ジェシカ My oh My 5

Jessica Leaves Girls’ Generation, K-pop Chaos Ensues

by REERA YOO

Seems like Jessica of Girls’ Generation is making all the headlines today.

On Sept. 30, SM Entertainment released an official statement confirming that Jessica will be leaving Girls’ Generation, one of K-pop’s most popular girl groups and a driving force of the genre overseas.

The agency told local media that “due to her personal situation” Jessica previously notified them about halting team activities after the release of one more album. However, due to the lack of specific negotiations, Jessica launched her fashion brand, Blanc, without prior consultation from SM. This caused a conflict of interests regarding the prioritization of Girls’ Generation’s activities, and despite ongoing talks, the situation has reached a point where the team can no longer be maintained.

“Thus, the agency had no choice but to pull up the plan for Girls’ Generation’s activities as eight members. While we were still working out the timing of the announcement, Jessica had already posted about her departure in her own words early this morning,” SM said.

On her Weibo, a China-based social media platform, Jessica wrote a message in both Korean and English, saying that she had been “forced out” of the group. Many fans first believed that the account was hacked since hacking is such a common occurrence among K-pop star’s social media accounts and no confirmation from SM was available at the time.

Jessica Weibo

tumblr_inline_ncom47R5jn1r118td(Photo credit: Koreaboo)

The announcement of Jessica’s departure has spurred dozens of rumors from both the Korean and Chinese media.

According to Sports Donga, multiple industry officials have already confirmed that Jessica and her rumored Korean-American boyfriend Tyler Kwon, a CEO of a finance company, are planning to marry this coming May.

“They have already wrapped all major preparations for the wedding. The wedding will be in Hong Kong, and the two will live in both New York and Hong Kong,” reported Sports Donga.

Other media sources added that Jessica has been looking into design schools in New York to attend after her wedding. However, SM has denied all reports about Jessica and Kwon’s romantic relationship, despite photos and witness accounts of the two being seen together in Seoul, Hong Kong, and New York.

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Jessica and Tyler Kwon backstage at the Huading Awards. (Photo credit: Jessica’s Weibo)

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The Chinese media reported earlier this month that Jessica and Kwon were engaged, saying that the two were seen wearing similar rings in their Weibo photos. (Photo credit: TV Report)

This is not the first time SM Entertainment has had a member exit a group. This past May, EXO member Kris filed a lawsuit against the agency to nullify his contract. In mid-2009, members Kim Junsu, Kim Jaejoong, and Park Yoochun left the group TVXQ and sued the agency for unfair terms of their contracts, including its lengthy term of 13 years. The three then left the company to form their own group JYJ. In the same year, former Super Junior member Hangeng also filed a lawsuit against the agency to terminate his contract and returned to China to pursue a solo career.

While Jessica is no longer a part of Girls’ Generation, she and the other eight members have recently renewed their contracts with SM for an additional 3 years. Thus, Jessica will remain with the agency until further notice.

“We will continue to support and manage Jessica’s individual activities and Girls’ Generation’s activities as eight members,” SM concluded in its statement.

Meanwhile, SM Entertainment’s stocks are suffering a 5 percent drop since the company announced Jessica’s departure from the group, according to Venture Capital Post.

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Seo Taiji to Collaborate with IU for Double Track Project

by REERA YOO

Seo Taiji has revealed that he will be releasing a collaboration song with singer IU for his ninth album. This is the first time in 22 years that another singer will be singing a song produced by Seo, according to Mnet America.

On Sept. 29, Seo Taiji Company announced that the K-pop veteran’s ninth album Quiet Night will be released on Oct. 20. Since this is Seo’s first album in five years, the label will release promotions both online and offline over the next three weeks.

Seo and IU will be collaborating on a song titled “Sogyeokdong,” which tells a “sad and beautiful love story that takes place in Sogyeokdong during the 80s.” The story will unfold through two songs and two music videos, from the viewpoint of a man and woman.

Through his agency, Seo said, “When we were looking for a female singer who could express the song ‘Sogyeokdong’ well, I thought of IU right away, who I’ve always thought of as a junior female singer with the best vocals. I wanted her to sing the song with her charming voice, so I requested her participation.”

According to IU’s agency Loen Tree, the female vocalist happily accepted the request and “felt honored” to be collaborating with Seo, who is nicknamed “President of Culture” and often credited for introducing a wide range of musical genres to the K-pop industry.

IU’s version of the song will be released first on Oc. 2 while Seo’s version will be released on Oct. 10. Afterwards, Seo is slated to perform at his comeback concert “Christmalowin” on Oct. 18 at the Seoul Olympic Stadium.

Photo courtesy of Mnet America

julien kang

Julien Kang Found Loitering the Streets in Underwear, Tested for Drug Use

by REERA YOO

French-born actor and model Julien Kang was found loitering the streets of Gangnam in his underwear on Sept. 18 and was tested for drug use by the Seoul Police, reported Yonhap.

Police found Kang approximately 1 kilometer away from his home at 3 p.m. and was reportedly wearing only his undershirt and underwear. The actor was said to be in a noticeably disoriented state of mind.

After Kang was taken into custody, the actor told the police that he’d been out drinking from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. the night before and had no recollection of what happened after he returned home, adding that he could not understand his own behavior.

The police tested Kang for drug use on Sept. 24, but the result came out negative. However, the police have put in a request to the National Forensic Service for a more precise test earlier today.

Kang’s management company, Show Brothers Entertainment, denied any drug use involved and disputed details of the witness’s account to multiple Korean media outlets.

“[Julien Kang] was in a club with a group of acquaintances and he didn’t want to refuse drinks offered to him. He kept drinking despite having a low tolerance, and the next thing he knew, he had lost control,” an agency rep told media outlet TV Report. “As far as we are concerned, the case is now closed.”

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K-pop Male Ex-Trainees Reveal Talent Agency’s History of Sexual Abuse

by REERA YOO

On Sept. 18, E News broadcasted a shocking report about an entertainment company, identified only as XX Entertainment, sexually abusing their trainees and K-pop artists.

Former male trainees of the management company in question confessed on camera that they were forced to perform sexual acts and were raped by the company’s CEO.

“When it was a company staff member’s birthday, they rented a room in a pub and had male trainees perform strip shows while female trainees served drinks as they suffered sexual harassment,” said ex-trainee “A.”

After the CEO of XX Entertainment was sentenced with rape and sexual harassment, E News said they were shocked to discover that “two out of five members of an idol group were raped since their early teens.”

When asked why he could not refuse sexual requests, ex-trainee “A” said, “We have to do it no matter what because otherwise the agency will fire us.” He added that even though he left the company after 2 years of sexual abuse, there are still many young trainees who are willing to endure the abuse.

“If we report to the police, then our names will be in the mass media, and we don’t want that,” he concluded.

Another former trainee, identified as “C,” added that underaged trainees are not exempt from sexual harassment. “There are so many young trainees, but people will freely use sexual terms and touch them inappropriately,” he said. “Our cellphones were checked once a day, and our weights and heights were checked once a week. They would also check the girls’ genitals.”

“C” also revealed that aside from trainees, the company also abused their artists. “A close unnie who already debuted in an unpopular girl group got called in by someone [from the company] one day and returned with face injuries. She wanted to commit suicide.”

Although the company and idols’ names remain anonymous, the disturbing news has been stirring up chaos in the K-pop industry. Almost immediately after the E News report released, idol group ZE:A’s leader, Lee Hoo, posted a series of shocking tweets regarding his grievances over his agency, CEO, contract, and the Korean music industry as a whole.

Photo via E News

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Kim Hyun Joong’s Ex-Girlfriend Drops Assault Charges

by REERA YOO

Kim Hyun Joong’s case has recently been closed with all charges of assault and battery officially dropped, said a rep from the Seoul Songpa Police department.

Last month, the K-pop star’s ex-girlfriend “A” pressed criminal charges against Kim for repeated beatings between May and July this year, claiming that her injuries including a fractured rib required up to six weeks of treatment. 

According to Star News, “A” filed a withdrawal of her lawsuit on Sept. 17, just a few days after Kim apologized to her in person and released a public apology on his official website. The official apology read:

“I am really sorry for inflicting serious mental and physical injuries on the person whom I’ve trusted and loved for two years. I am ashamed for behaving in a way man should not have behaved. As everything in this case was my fault, that person has no reason to be criticized. I apologize to her once again, and I want to express my apologies to her family and friends as well. Above all, I hope she will accept my apology and forgive me. Learning from this experience, I will work hard to become a bit more considerate person and to live a healthier life.”

Sun Jong Mun, “A’s” lawyer, told the Korean media that the plaintiff originally planned on dropping charges under no conditions if Kim publicly acknowledged the physical assaults and apologized for his actions. Sun added that “A” did not want Kim to be penalized after receiving a sincere apology from him and withdrew the case without accepting any settlement money, as previously agreed.

Regarding the withdrawal, there’s been mixed reactions from the public. While many fans are relieved that the case is finally closed, others seem upset that “A” has let Kim off the hook with a mere apology.

Photo courtesy of Soompi

 

Kim Jung Hoon on Superstar K6

Korean Son of Deaf Parents With Cancer Sings Heartfelt Song on ‘SuperStar K6′

by REERA YOO

When asked by the judges of Superstar K6 for his reason behind auditioning, contestant Kim Jung Hoon could hardly hold back tears as he revealed a heartbreaking story about his family.

“Both of my parents are deaf,” Kim said in his pre-audition interview. He added that both of his parents lost their hearing during early childhood and currently have cancer: his mother suffering from thyroid cancer and his father from colorectal cancer.

“It felt like the world was falling apart,” he said.

Despite their disabilities, Kim’s parents came to the audition to show full support for their son.

“When we see our son, even though we can’t hear him sing, we believe that he can succeed,” Kim’s father said through sign language. His wife agreed, saying that they believe in their son whether he sings well or poorly.

Once Kim took the stage, he proved that he could sing not only beautifully but also with powerful emotion. His rendition of Lee Sun-hee’s “Fate” moved some of the judges to tears.

Watch his performance below:

BIGBANG and Psy

PSY and BIGBANG to Open and Close for the 2014 Incheon Asian Games

by REERA YOO

Global K-pop star Psy and boy band BIGBANG will be performing as the finales for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Asian Games, said YG Entertainment on Sunday.

Psy, whose viral music video “Gangnam Style” catalyzed him to global fame in 2012, will be the final act of the opening ceremony on Sept. 19 while BIGBANG will perform as the finale for the closing ceremony on Oct. 4.

The two YG artists will also be joined by various popular K-pop artists including EXO, CNBLUE, and JYJ.

soompi-incheon-2014-800x450JYJ, EXO, BIGBANG, and Psy have been confirmed to perform at the 2014 Asian Games (Photo Credit: Soompi)

The 2014 Asian Games, Asia’s largest sports event, will kick off Sept. 19 and conclude on Oct. 4. Incheon is the third South Korean host of the Asian Games after Seoul in 1986 and Busan in 2002. The Asian Games have previously been dominated by China, who last topped the medal table with 199 gold medals, with South Korea finishing second behind them.

Featured photo via Allkpop

Kwon Rise from MV

Kwon Rise of Ladies’ Code Dies After Car Accident

by REERA YOO

A second member of the K-pop girl group Ladies’ Code died after succumbing to injuries sustained from the same car accident that claimed the life of Go Eun Bi (EunB).

Kwon Rise, 23, died on the morning of Sept. 7 at a hospital in Suwon, just south of Seoul. She had remained unconscious after undergoing more than 10 hours of emergency brain surgery following Wednesday’s accident, said Polaris Entertainment agency spokeswoman Kim Eun-kyung.

It’s been reported that Kwon’s parents, who flew from Japan, and her agency staff members stayed by her bedside until she drew her final breath.

On Sept. 3, fellow band member EunB passed away shortly after the van crashed into a guard rail on the rain-drenched Yeongdong Expressway near Seoul. Lee Sojung, another member of the five-member group, fractured her jaw from the accident whereas the two remaining members sustained only minor injuries and were treated for shock.

Police suspect that the van may have been speeding on the rainy road in order to meet the band’s tight schedule. Inspector Lee Ho-dong said that that the driver, who was treated for minor injuries, will be called in for more questioning.

“We are investigating the exact cause of the accident. But it’s difficult because the highway section where the crash occurred did not have a closed-circuit television camera,” Lee told the Associated Press, adding that a camera from inside the van was sent to the National Forensic Service.

Van after accidentLadies’ Code’s van was driving toward Seoul when it was involved in a crash on Sept. 3.  (Photo Credit: Yonhap)

It’s been revealed by Polaris Entertainment that the vehicle that carried Ladies’ Code was driven for the first time on the day of the accident, as it was a rental car. The agency also stated that the driver of the group’s van, Mr. Park, is not new to driving and has been an experienced manager of many years for the company.

“During his continuous activities as a road manager, he has not experienced any particular accidents,” said the agency’s representatives.

kwon rise's wakeKwon Rise passed away a day before Chuseok, also known as Korean Thanksgiving, a holiday known for its family gatherings. (Photo Credit: Star News)

Kwon’s wake is currently being held at the Korea University Anam Hospital, where EunB’s wake also held, and will continue until Sept. 9, when her funeral procession will take place. According to Naver, numerous celebrities have already attended the wake including singer Lee Eun Mi, Kwon’s mentor from Birth of a Great Star, the audition program that discovered her. Fellow contestants David Oh and Noh Ji Hoon were also in attendance along with MCs Yoo Jae Suk and Kim Jaedong. In addition, many celebrities have taken to twitter to express their condolences.

kwon rise(Photo Credit: hyunasback.tumblr.com)

Ladies’ Code debuted last year and recently made a comeback with their song “Kiss Kiss” before the accident took place. EunB and Kwon were known to have shared a close bond as the two were roommates and best friends.

Since the deaths of the two young K-pop singers, the local media are now questioning the safety of idol groups’ overwhelming schedules and South Korea’s road conditions.

Featured photo via HelloKpop