As usual a very nice article from Rolling Stone Japan.

This is an interview given by Kim Hyun Joong, during his last stay in Japan, to reporter Tetsuo Hiraga   and which was posted online today.

In order to complete this one, and in case you haven’t read it, we are also leaving behind, that of September 2022 from the same magazine.



ROLLING STONE JAPAN — Reporter: Tetsuo Hiraga

The Japanese tour was held at LINE CUBE SHIBUYA in Tokyo on March 17th.

Kim Hyun Joong said at the press conference,
“I was interviewed during my visit to Japan this time.
I was asked why I keep singing J-POP in Japanese now that K -POP is at its peak.

The article of the interview is available here.

While listening to his take on the situation where Korean entertainment is loved around the world and enjoys explosive popularity in Japan, why Kim Hyun Joong continues to sing J-POP, and his latest work with Fumiya Fujii.

We talked about the thoughts put into the new single “Hanaji,” written in the lyrics.
As in the previous interview* , the text expresses the personality of Kim Hyun Joong.

– From last year to this year, the world tour including America and Japan “22/23 KIM HYUN JOONG WORLD TOUR <The end of a dream>” has been held with great success. How was this tour for you?

A world tour is a trip around the world with many staff members and a long flight, so it’s not an easy thing to do.
Moreover, there are places where there are many customers and others where there are few people, and there are success stories and failure cases.
Among them, what I felt during this world tour is that “I’m really happy”.
I have been happy as a singer in economically stable countries like Korea and Japan, but when I travel around the world, there are places where I am placed in a difficult environment.
When I saw the fans who worked hard to raise money to buy tickets in such an area and came all the way to the concert hall to support me, I thought to myself: “I will make my hope come true. I want to be a singer who can be loved”.

ーHow do you feel about having fans all over the world?

I think it’s a miracle.
I simply love music, and I have done so so far, but thanks to the environment in which the Internet and information technology have developed, I have been able to be widely known by people around the world. entire.
Some people fell in love with me under these circumstances. That’s why I told myself that I wanted to show different sides of myself every day, without hiding anything.
These days there are different media such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc., so I would like to continue to make people feel free to communicate different aspects of themselves.

ーWith the development of social media, it is no longer uncommon for Korean artists to be rated overseas, but what was your first overseas expansion like?

For my part, my first overseas expansion was in 2006, at the opening event of Mnet Japan held at Nippon Budokan, and I was warmly welcomed by a huge number of fans.
What is happening ? I remember thinking. At the time, there were no tablet PCs or smartphones, so for the first time I realized there were so many fans in Japan!

I was really surprised, but on the other hand, I had hope that I could be active abroad.
From now on, I can go all over the world!
“So going back to my original intentions, one day I want to step back onto the Budokan stage and show everyone how much I’ve grown since. As far as I think,
Japan has become a place that occupies a special place in my global activities.

ーHow do you feel about Korean films being loved all over the world, including in Japan?

In the past, Hong Kong films were very popular in South Korea and took the world by storm, including Asia, but it has not been possible to maintain this trend.
The reason for this is the shift from video to DVD, Blu-ray, video distribution and video media, and the fact that we have not been able to respond to these changing times.
I think that’s one of the factors. So if K-POP, which is currently flourishing, stays content and stays as it is, it will eventually decline.
I think it is necessary to continue, I think it is important to continue to raise awareness.


-I see.

By the way, when I talk about the J-POP scene, Japan has its own musical style, and I think rock is particularly strong. Rock is becoming more democratic and there is a good market for it.
I think this culture has been protected for a long time, and thanks to that, I’ve listened to a lot of Japanese rock since I was little.
I’ve been listening to GReeeeN and Aimyon a lot lately, and I think Japan has its own unique rock, and I think that’s really good.
So just like K-POP, I think Japanese rock will continue to be loved forever by developing it further.

ーYes, Japan is a country where many rock festivals have been held for many years, and rock has a solid foundation there. However, Korean culture, including K-POP, continues to permeate the area, and in recent years Shin-Okubo has become a city for young people that follows Shibuya and Harajuku, and enjoys even greater popularity. explosive. J

I heard of Shin-Okubo, so I know.
When I first came to Japan, it was the first Hallyu boom, but back then I felt like Shin-Okubo was still a city where Koreans and people living in Japan came and went.
Today, this city has become a center of cultural exchange between Japan and Korea.
I think it’s because the distance between Japan and South Korea has become so close culturally.
I think it’s a proof that Japanese people recognize Korean things, and at the same time, I think it’s also the result of Koreans’ continuous efforts in the Japanese market.
So I think Shin-Okubo is now a symbolic place for exchanges between Japan and Korea rather than a Korean city where Koreans and Zainichi come and go.


ーAs a symbol of exchanges between Japan and Korea, I think that’s exactly what you are. First, in Korea, we released a new album called “MY SUN”. What kind of work do you think it has become?

When I think about what it means to me to be like the sun that lights up the world, it’s my father and my son.
I also think it’s all the fans who have given me light so far, who have lifted me up to do so much as a singer.
That’s why I want to express the feeling “I have these three suns” in this album.
And to all those who have given me light so far, “MY SUN” is a work that I created because I wanted to convey the message “From now on I will become the sun and I will shine the light.”

ーBy the way, do you consciously change the musicality of your albums in Korea and Japan?

There is a conscious difference.
I try to use songs with experimental chord progressions every time I release a song in Korea. I use a lot of chord progressions.
The Japanese might listen to it too much and not notice it, but from an outside perspective, there is definitely a chord progression that the Japanese love.
That’s why I work on it while doing research every time.

– It’s true that the songs you release in Japan sound like J-POP, including the chord progressions. Moreover, even though Japan is in the midst of a K-POP boom, it will not lose its position.
What is the reason you keep singing J-POP so far?

I’ve been singing J-POP since long before K-POP became popular and famous in Japan.
Just because K-POP has become popular doesn’t mean I think we should betray the expectations of those who have listened to the J-POP that I sing, and I will continue to sing J-POP.
I want to deliver it to all Japanese fans. Also, singing Japanese songs is very interesting to me.
The sounds of the words, the emotions of the words that are unique to Japanese, etc., I sing learning these things, and when the Japanese fans are very happy listening to the song, I feel very happy.
It will. So I think I will continue to sing Japanese songs from now on.

ーDuring a lecture in Osaka, you said that you study J-POP by listening to songs by ONE OK ROCK, Official Hige Dandism and Aimyon. ?

I agree. Starting with X JAPAN, Mr. Children, B’z, and more recently Aimyon, I listened to Japanese music, but I think Japanese music has a certain focus. 
Under these conditions, J-POP evolves by repeating changes in tone. There’s a lot of research on this, and I’m obsessed with tones that can be transmitted in completely different ways, even though they’re the same chords. I think it’s something that will be rated as a great product no matter where in the world you place it. So I discover every day the wonderful aspects of J-POP.


ーYour new single “Hanaji” is complete. You collaborated with Fumiya Fujii, a superstar of the J-POP scene.
How did this collaboration materialize?

I heard about Fumiya through the staff.
I heard that originally he was a singer in a band that participated in amateur band contests, and by the time he debuted, the Tokyo Dome was completed and he was mounted on the stage.
In fact, I was able to find and watch the live video, and I felt like if I were to compare him to a Korean artist, he would look like Shin Hae-chul.
Shin Hae-chul also debuted at the college song festival, then he formed a group called N.EX.T, which became a representative group of Korea.
In the lyrics written by Mr. Fumiya, whose existence is legendary, I felt the warmth of the gaze,
I couldn’t meet Fumiya-san during his national tour, but I would like to express my gratitude directly to him for working on such wonderful lyrics.

– The song “Hanaji” written by Fumiya is Kim’s first cherry blossom song, isn’t it?

This time I thought of cherry blossoms, but they bloom beautifully in the spring and fall beautifully within three weeks.
According to the expression “the petals of cherry blossoms dance”, cherry blossoms herald the onset of spring, give people a sense of wealth when they are in full bloom, and even when they fall afterwards, they bring beauty to people.
I thought that was exactly the charm of cherry blossoms, and I wanted to make a song like that cherry blossom.
So I want everyone to be able to enrich their hearts by listening to “Hanaji” and feel the beauty and happiness until the end of the song.

-This single includes the graduation song “Chime” as well as the cherry blossom song.
How do you feel about yourself?

Whatever field you work in, I believe there is a time when you graduate. And the word “graduation” may conjure up an image of separation for some people, while others may have an image of finishing something and moving on to a new path.
So I hope all Japanese fans and listeners will listen to this song “Chime” with various feelings while layering it on their respective graduations.

-Finally, please send a message to Japanese fans and listeners who want to listen to this new single “Hanaji”.

To Japanese fans, listeners who love Japanese music.
I think you have spent your time going through various restrictions due to the corona crisis, but with the relaxation of regulations, it is becoming more and more common to be freed from the shackles of wearing masks.
I hope you can feel the beginning of spring through “Hanaji” this time, and that 2023 will be a year where you can live a happy and free life.












Rolling Stones Japan


*Related article 9/20/2022: Kim Hyun Joong talks about his 17th year since debut and his insatiable curiosity


-By the way, what is your impression of the Japanese music scene?

I think the fact that Japan, which is a big music market, exists as a neighboring country has a very good influence on the growth of the Korean music scene.
In Japan, the band and idol scene is booming, and there is a market for classical music and jazz.
The genres are very detailed, there are enthusiasts who love each type of music, there are many festivals for these enthusiasts, it’s organized, and there are many magnificent concert halls.
I’ve been very fond of Japanese music since my childhood, starting with X JAPAN, and recently I’ve been listening to ONE OK ROCK and Higedan (Official HIGE DANdism) a lot.
I think the reason why representative and iconic bands continue to emerge in Japan is the strength of the music market.

-M. Kim, who is also active in the Japanese music scene, celebrates the 17th anniversary of your debut this year.
What kind of entertainment life and musical life do you think you had?

It’s been 17 years!
When I look back to yesterday, I think I’ve done so much, I’ve achieved so much, because I kept running hard, but now I have the feel like I’m on the starting line again.
So, if I have the opportunity to be interviewed like that in 17 years, I want to become someone who can talk about music in depth, and I want to be a senior who can give various advice to juniors.
Even then, I would like to continue doing my best with music.

– Is the feeling of being “on the starting line again” now that the corona crisis is over?

I think the new corona is not just a disease, but a disease that has terrified the whole world.
Now that the Corona crisis is over, I think everyone, not just me, feels like starting a second life. That’s why I feel like I’m living a new life every day.

What do you think is the reason why you have remained active for so long despite the unprecedented crisis of the Corona disaster?

I think it’s because I love music.
If I didn’t like music, I wouldn’t have been able to do this kind of activity for 17 years.

-If you divide your music career into two, you have the band era and the solo era. What do you think are the main differences between these two activities?

I think there are times when I tell myself that when I work alone, I feel lonely, but when I do solo activities, I don’t even have time to think that I’m alone (laughs) . ).
I do more than five times more things than in a group. That’s why I feel a great sense of accomplishment, and it’s really fun to be able to make your own music.
In this sense, solo activities suit me better and I am happy.


– Kim, you’re also an actor, aren’t you? What do you think of the balance between comedy and music?

I think acting is very attractive.
In this sense, I consider myself lucky to be able to go back and forth between the two fields of comedy and music. Having two options is a great strength for me.
However, it is very difficult to master only one of them, and since neither of them can be neglected, I think that it is necessary to make a very important effort.
In order to raise each of them to the professional level, careful selection is also necessary.
Right now, I haven’t participated in the work as an actor for a while, but that’s because I devote all my energy to Kim Hyun Joong as a singer.
I want to put all my effort into my acting and aim high so that all the fans of the series don’t feel alone.


– As a singer and as an actor, do you each have an ideal image that you are looking for?

As a singer, I want to bring joy and hope to many people through music.
For example, like Coldplay, I want to be an artist who can sing and perform songs that people around the world can relate to.
I think this is the closest ideal image of Kim Hyun Joong that we should be aiming for.
However, as an actor, Kim Hyun Joong has a different way of thinking, and I actively want to play roles that are not characteristic of Kim Hyun Joong at all.
I want to become an actor who can completely immerse himself in a character that has nothing to do with the usual Kim Hyun Joong, who is sometimes selfish and cruel.

-You practice various expressive activities, but what type of expression do you feel like today?

I think he’s a free-spirited artist.
I always try to absorb and understand everything that’s going on, without being a prisoner of a single thing.
So I continue to study expressions every day.


-What led you to attach so much importance to free souls? [free souls]

I think it’s from the perspective of looking at the world.
I don’t take things simply, I try to have a perspective that comes from my imagination.
For example, whales swim in the ocean. Instead of thinking, “Oh, there’s a whale,” I thought, “Where did this whale come from? What can I do with it? Can it be useful?” I try to think of a single phenomenon.
That’s why I think it’s possible to understand others more deeply by looking at them from different perspectives rather than just looking at their superficial parts.
I believe that having different perspectives broadens and deepens the scope of my thinking,


-Finally, tell us about your dreams and future goals.

At the same time that I have the feeling of “wanting to step onto a bigger stage”, I also have the feeling of “wanting to cherish even a small stage”.
Small stages that I want to cherish are, for example, surprise concerts for fans, and concerts in concert halls where the distance from fans is narrow.
I would love to see more shows like this. And when I say bigger stages, I mean large-scale shows in arenas and domes, which is my dream stage.
I want to become a singer and an artist capable of doing both at the same time.