[BirthdayPost] LEE JONGHYUN – The Untold Stories #HappyBurningDay

Posted on May 14, 2012 by




* member of the 52nd graduate class of Song-do Middle School, Busan.
* born in 15th may, 1990
* blood type : O
* height and weight : 182cm, 64kg
* hobby: exercise, and his specialty is in Judo and Taekwondo. He was an active; enjoyable boy since he was young.

How was the life from Japan to Korea?

Jonghyun has in fact experienced living in a foreign country for 4 years with his parents when he was a 4-year-old boy. After that (when he was 8 years old), he came back to Korea and lived in Songdo, Busan.

He graduated Songdo Elementary School, Songdo Middle School, and entered Bukyung High School, but since he became busy with music activity, he transferred to the School of Performing Arts Seoul, where most of the students are trainees from different entertainment agencies.

As a Judo athlete, he worked out his mental power, technique, and body when was in middle school

Jonghyun is now famous as a singer, but when he was living in Busan, he was well known as a Judo athlete. When he entered in middle school, he learned Judo from  his teacher Kim Chang Keun, a Judo association advisor, who was at the same time, a vice-chairman of the Judo Society of Busan Metropolitan City, and has 7th grade official approval.

Jonghyun was a quick learner, so he got his first Judo grade official approval in advance. In May 2005, he participated in the 42nd Busan Metropolitan City Judo Championship, he was in A team, and won the 2nd grade. In March 2006, he got the prize as 3rd grade in Busan Metropolitan City Judo Championship (male 55kg class). He received prizes as good grades for two years in a row. There is a rumor that he stopped Judo after he got a shock upon defeating an undergrad boy (who is older than him).

After he entered middle school in 2004, getting these grades with only 1 to 2 years of exercise mainly because he had a wonderful motor nerve. These wonderful examples were shown in judo, but his nice tendency was not only in sports.

Jonghyun as an honor student

According to the teacher of Songdo Middle School, Jonghyun was an honor student. In those phase of life, he had always listened carefully to his teacher, and adapted to his surroundings well. He took some early leaves (from school hours) during his first and second grade in middle school, but he was never absent (full attendance). But in the third grade,Jonghyun was absent for 8 days, as he was hospitalized due to a car accident.

He is the school pride, not only in sports

His appearance as an honor student was not only in his sports ability but also in life. He was also a top student in academics, and he won many academic related prizes in the school.

Jonghyun received the「Outstanding Prize」in school writing contest in 2004, and since his score was so good, he also got the「Excellence Award」for that particular subject at the end of the first school term. He wrote report at the school’s Autumn outdoors learning in October, 2004, and won「Outstanding Prize」too.

Plus, since he only had early leaves in the 1st grade, and was never absent, so naturally he received the「Attendance Award」. In addition, the following year in the 2nd grade, he got 「Excellence Award」for academic subjects at the end of the 2nd school term. Jonghyun was also given the「Outstanding Prize」by submitting report of  the school’s Spring outdoors learning, and again he receive the「Attendance Award」at the end of his 2nd grade for not being absent for school that year.

Jonghyun was diligent in every way, so all the teachers loved him, and he is a big pride in Songdo Middle School.

What was his dream when he was in middle school?

When he was in middle school, he concentrated on sports more than music, so what exactly was the actual job he was aiming for or his ambition at that time?

In fact, his hopes and goals were all different in the 1st grade, 2nd grade, and in the 3rd grade. First, when he was in the 1st grade, he hoped to be a ‘singer’, and his parents wanted him to be an entrepreneur. So it proves that Jonghyun had a dream to be a singer since he was in the 1st grade in middle school. But his parent’s hope was for him to be an entrepreneur. In Korean society, many parents want their sons to enter major companies to get a stable life, or to have their own companies to manage.

His dream to become singer that he had back in the 1st grade changed suddenly in the 2nd grade. As his ambition, Jonghyun wrote a ‘teacher’, and his parents also wrote ‘teacher’. When he was in the 2nd grade, his dream changed to become a teacher that matched with his parent’s hope. So his homeroom teachers in 1st grade and in 2nd grade  encouraged him towards the  directions that fit the career he was aiming for.

His classroom teacher in 1st grade, wrote ‘He is endeavoring’ in the student record about his dream to be a singer, and his 2nd grade’s classroom teacher wrote ‘Jonghyun wants to be a teacher and I’m encouraging his hope.

But despite the fact that his ambition and his parents hope  were the same back in 2nd grade, Jonghyun seemed to want stability in his career so in 3rd grade, he changed his ambition once again. Jonghyun wrote he wanted to be a ‘civil servant’, and his parents once again wrote ‘entrepreneur’. It seemed like at that time, he considered wider stability, so his goal was to be a civil servant. But his parents wanted him to become an entrepreneur, same like what they wanted when he was in the 1st grade. As expected, his parents’ hope was for Jonghyun to manage his own company gloriously by becoming an entrepreneur. His home room teacher when 3rd grade wrote regarding this dream, ‘I recommend this after talking with his parents.’

However, thinking back, a few years later, he accomplished his dream to be a singer, his hope and goal back when he was in the 1st grade.

Jonghyun is the Hero of Songdo Middle School

In the rainy season, the mid-July, the writer visited Songdo Middle School and School of Performing Arts Seoul where Jonghyun graduated. Starting on the top of a slope, going down the narrow alley, where Songdo Middle School was placed, the school was a little bit hard to find.

Jonghyun was affected a lot from this school, but the education policy changed in some parts. Oh, there will be some readers saying “Why Jonghyun’s parts are much more than other members?”  Well, it was because there were many affectionate teachers who rooted for JonghyunJonghyun’s home room teachers, his headmaster who has decent memories about Jonghyun, and the vice-principal also told many stories.

First, I will introduce stories from headmaster and vice-principal, who know well about Jonghyun in the middle school era.

A prince has arrived  in Songdo Middle School!

Jonghyun had well-defined features and his face was good-looking, different with other students. Looking at his refined face, we could imagine that he was like a Prince Charming from his wonderful image.

Writer: What was your first impression about Jonghyun when you first saw him?

Headmaster: He was a beautiful boy who had clean skin, to the extent that I fixed my eyes. Even though he is a boy, the word ‘beautiful’ fitted with his image. He was such a pretty boy, so I joked him ‘You’ll make some girls cry!’, and Jonghyun answered ‘No, I won’t.’ He was just a middle school student, so he was not interested in love and stuff. I advised again  while laughing, ‘Be careful not to make girls cry.’

Writer: Was his character masculine than his looks?

Headmaster: I can say he is more delicate than masculine. He didn’t talk much, so in a sense, he was an introspective boy, one who has his own thoughts.

Vice-Principal: He was energetic above all, and active in sports. He was vigorous, but like what the headmaster said, his inner side was greatly detailed.

Both father and son are from Songdo Middle School

Songdo Middle School where Jonghyun attended, was his father, Lee Nam Gyu’s alma mater too. So that made Jonghyun’s impression in this school even stronger.

Headmaster: In fact, Jonghyun’s father is from here, too.

Writer: Can you remember about his father?

Headmaster: Jonghyun’s father had graduated before I came this school. But I had met him several times. This  was when Jonghyun already came back from Japan to Korea, so he was trying to adapt to life in Korea. At first, he did not do well in academic, but it seemed that he had put much effort in studying in order to enter this school. I met his father a few times because when Jonghyun came our school, he was with him. Jonghyun‘s father said, “I depend on your co-operation to look after my son.” His father was not a Judo athlete in Songdo Middle School, but as an alumni, he was close with the teachers, especially with the director of Judo club. And occasionally, when he has time, he contacts vice-principal by phone calls. The Vice-Principal and Jonghyun’s father are very close, because they were senior-junior back when they both were in high school.

Vice-Principal: Jonghyun’s father is a great gentleman, and has fresh appearance. He is my senior back in high school, and we graduated from Kyungnam High School near here. We keep in touch often when we have  time. I heard he will go to Japan in October. I guess Jonghyun inherited blood from his father, Jonghyun’s father is really a good-mannered person. 

He is not only strong in Judo but also has a gift to become a leader!

When they were still an indie band, Jung Yonghwa was not the leader, but Jonghyun was.

He had this aura since he was young. That aura demonstrated his ability not only for Judo, but also for being a leader.

Headmaster: Jonghyun was a Judo athlete during middle school. His capability in the sport  was to the extent that he was able to get awards from Busan’s Judo Athletic Championship. Jonghyun had really big feet since he was young. It was about 30cms long. (It’s a little bit exaggerated – lol). Judo athlete who has big feet has advantages when they compete. For example in Korea, that kind of athlete was Ha Hyungju who got gold medal in Los Angeles for 95kg class. Mr. Ha was an athlete with big feet. Jonghyun had big feet like Ha Hyungju, so he started Judo.

The Headmaster personally recommended him as the student body president! .. But!?

If a beautiful boy like Jonghyun was elected as the student body president, all students in the school must be excited. However, since the school is an all-boys school, so it doesn’t matter, but there were times when some girls from other schools would come to Songdo Middle School intentionally to see Jonghyun.

Anyway, there were some mentions about ‘student body president’. Indeed, the Headmaster had personally recommended Jonghyun as the student body president of Songdo Middle School . A recommendation from the Headmaster! There would be nothing wrong if Jonghyun became a student body president. However, what did  Jonghyun do!?

Headmaster: Jonghyun is deeply attached to Songdo Middle School. So once, I called him and suggested to him to apply as the student body president (laughed) . Jonghyun was loved by other students, and even though he was not the top, but he ranked high in studies, and he was physically strong because he was a Judo athlete, so I thought he was the right choice to represent the school in many ways. When I was the Vice-Principal of this school, I asked him to become the student body president. However, he rejected my suggestion in a humble manner. His soul was only filled with music, so it seemed that he thought ‘such position is just tiresome…’ (laughed).

His specialty was not only in Judo

Jonghyun learned Judo in Songdo Middle School, and received a lot of recognition for it, so among teachers, his image was an ideal student who did well in both sports and studies. And, another one, is his outstanding singing ability.

Vice-Principal: Jonghyun ranked high in his class, ranking about 7th~8th in first grade, and he was active in Taekwondo since elementary school, so he was considered as a well-talented boy in sports. When he entered this school, we didn’t know yet about his musical talent. Every year, we would always go camping, as a work-study program, and there, Jonghyun showed his singing ability in front of the students.

The teachers didn’t have any idea about this, but among students, Jonghyun was well known for his wonderful singing. When other teachers saw Jonghyun who was singing in front, they were surprised and said, ‘Oh? That boy…? Isn’t he a member of the Judo team?…’. Since then, Jonghyun became much more famous in school for his hard work in studies, excellence in sports, and one more, for his awesome singing.

Because of that I figured Jonghyun was talented in music since then. Nevertheless, little did I dream that one day he would become a real singer. Looking back at it now, I think he’s had enough talent to become a star performer.

[JongHyun and his friend singing at School Event]

New school activity club was formed, influenced by Jonghyun?

In this school a new activity club was formed, influenced by Jonghyun, after his debut. Those who have good intuition might have sensed this already?

Headmaster: When I heard the name ‘Lee Jonghyun of CNBLUE’, I thought that name sounded familiar, so I look at his face carefully when he appeared on TV. At first, I couldn’t recognize him because he has grown up so much. But since it was always on my mind, so I accessed to related sites of Lee Jonghyun. I found out that he is from Songdo Middle School. I thought, ‘That’s it. He is from our school.’ So I called the vice-principal, and made sure if he is the right person. As expected, he was the Lee Jonghyun that I know.

Writer: You could make the call to him when he debuted.

Headmaster: No, I couldn’t. If he visits Songdo Middle School’s festival, the current students must be greatly happy. There is a band club in this school aiming to become the second CNBLUE. When I heard about Lee Jonghyun debuted as a member of CNBLUE, I thought ‘Students will need such music activities’. Everyone doesn’t have to study hard as if his life is depending on whether he could be a judge or a doctor when he grows up.

Either by music or drama, Korean Wave (hallyu) is circulating all over the world, so we made a band club in our school for students who want to be like Jonghyun. That is, we will raise another Lee Jonghyun. Students love to have activities as a band, and at first the club was consisted of 7 members. Now, almost 30 members are in the school’s band club. Among them, there are many students who were influenced by Jonghyun.

So we hoe that  Jonghyun could show his face in Songdo Middle School for even just once. There will be school festival at the end of the year. If he cannot come, it would be nice if he sends video to us. Vice-Principal, would you put pressure… (to his dad)? (laugh) That might be the chance to give dreams and hopes to the juniors. As middle school students, it’s very important to have dreams and hopes. There is a competent student, vying for the first place among many schools who is a member of this band, and some guys are just enjoying it as a school activity rather than really to become a singer. There aren’t many schools which have bands here in Busan.

When Jonghyun grew up, locally, Songdo was the main city of Busan, but now the main city has changed to Haeundae and this place has become outskirts. Because of that, the environment became bad. Now in this area, there are many empty houses, and many people moved, so culturally it became an isolated area. Almost all cultural facility concentrated to Haeundae, Seomyun, and Dongrae, so now Songdo is alienated.

For such reason, to educate students culturally, we founded and formed the band club. I think music does not only mean studying classicals. When students are close with their favorite genre of music, some time soon another Jonghyun will appear here.

Jonghyun, when singing was just a hobby

Jonghyun vaguely had a dream to be a singer since he was in the first grade of middle school. He went to singing room (karaoke) often with friends because his hobby was singing, rather than to be a singer.

Headmaster: Jonghyun was popular among students because he sang very well. At that time in Songdo, singing room was a sensational trend. The right place to release stress for him was the singing room. Now, when we say singing room, the image is just for adults, but in this area, singing room for students is just 3,000 won(about 220yen), so students go there often with friends and sang songs. At that time, the reason why Jonghyun went to singing room was not to be a singer but just for hobby.

Vice-Principal: And I heard he is learning guitar in the music academy after he entered high school.

Have you advised him to focus on studying?

His academic grade was high class in Songdo Middle School. So teachers guided him to be a man of wisdom, virtue, and body, to concentrate more on studying though he did Judo.

Vice-Principal: He was full of promise in the academics at first, so I told him to study hard and focus on studying. However, while doing his best in Judo, his grades have dropped little by little. When we see Jonghyun’s score, it dropped in the 2nd and 3rd grade gradually. Maybe since then his heart started to turn to the music.

Bukyung High School in Busan has a humanities course for college-preparatory, so student’s school life must be balanced in order to enter the college. After he entered Bukyung High School, and then seeing that he transferred to Seoul School of Performing Arts, we can conclude that he was absolutely determined to become a singer at that time.

Simply, we can say that his determination was too fast, or seeing at other side, it’s  way overdue. Anyway, recently (it’s like a trend for) young students got into entertainment agencies and live as trainees. Seeing that Jonghyun succeeded like this by performing as an indie band in Japan, and belonged to an entertainment agent, seems that he has talents in many ways. Whatever he does, he could do well.

Headmaster thinks Jonghyun could’ve been a successful Judo athlete

Jonghyun who is now successful as a singer is a student that all teachers are proud of, but at that time we thought it would be better if he becomes a Judo athlete.

Headmaster: Jonghyun was talented in sports so he did Judo and Taekwondo, and since Judo might be more accustomed to him, so he kept on going with it. You may get to know about this if you meet and talk with the Judo advisor in our school, he highly appreciated Jonghyun’s Judo ability.

Jonghyun was really strong, and had a big body so he was a very promising athlete in Judo. He was originally well-talented student in sports to the extent that he won the individual prizes in the big athletic meets in just several months. I guess he would’ve succeeded if he continued on with Judo.

Vice-Principal: I agree with him. If he kept on doing Judo, he would be more popular. If an athlete is good-looking, he would be loved more.

Never-changing Jonghyun’s pure face

Seoul is just like what Tokyo is to Japan. Teachers said that whenever people went to Seoul, sometimes because they are not talented, their personality change because of the lifestyle has changed too. However, Jonghyun of Busan remains the same, he never changed.

Vice-Principal: Nothing has changed. He uses Busan dialect by nature, but recently he uses standard language, so because of that we could feel his soft side. There is strong image in Busan dialect, however, in my eyes, rather than that now he seems more pure. That is the utmost he has changed, and he is still as before. He once said ‘when I am not busy, I will visit school without fail,’ and we can conclude that his mind hasn’t changed at all.

Headmaster: He is extremely busy every day, so it might be hard for him to come and show his face. (laugh)

We hope that you can advance abroad more and more!

Jung Yonghwa acted in dramas and became MC, Kang Minhyuk acted in dramas with Jung Yonghwa, and Lee Jungshin put his foot in modelling with his tall stature. However, Jonghyun was not in any of those. After taking the movie 「Acoustic」, he received terrible reviews from his fellow members, and the CEO of the entertainment agency said to him ‘It would be better if you concentrate only on music’. He doesn’t have noticeable things except for music until now. His teachers wish him to advance more.

Headmaster: It has been almost two years after he debuted. I heard when they debuted as indies in Japan, Jung Yonghwa could not be in the band together because of the drama, so Jonghyun sang in the center as a vocal, and also he was a leader then. After that, Jung Yonghwa did so many activities and was well-known, so Yonghwa became the leader after that, and the position has changed in many ways. When asked ‘are you standing on the right side always?’, according to circumstances it might change I guess. (I can’t really understand this part – Fizzy)

Vice-Principal: In Jonghyun’s case, I heard he could not take active parts in other areas (acting, MC etc) because he used Gyeongsangdo (Busan) dialect even till they have debuted for so long (laugh). What we want is that he will do MC, or appears in movie and drama. Yet it hasn’t been long since he debuted, so first, I hope he would study hard, because he couldn’t do that the past, and then open his way to become MC and actor. Above all, we sincerely hope for him to succeed in Japan as a Korean band.

Jonghyun’s key of success

Studying, exercise, and songs showed in the talent shows etc, in many ways, Jonghyun amazed many teachers in his school days. Now he is getting more popularity as a singer in the entertainment world. What’s the factor of his such a big popularity? You must pay attention, if you are a fan and you want your child to be successful like him.

Vice-Principal: As I know Jonghyun’s father well, so I can see his talent came from his father. Seeing that he learned Judo skills in a very short time and then won the prizes, and also got trained music in a short  time and accomplished his dream to be a singer, we can guess his strong tenacity in everything. Many trainees must prepare for long years, but he enjoyed that time as a trainee and finished the preparing time fast.

Headmaster: It was a severe training when it comes to Judo. He had to lose weight some time, but seeing that he withstood that training, we could conclude that he was a boy with patience and tenacity. Eventually, that led him to succeed. Without strong will or  ‘just do it’ attitude, he couldn’t succeed like this. Even now, some students in our school band club have illusion that they would succeed soon.

They get into the band club expecting to stand on the brilliant stage soon, but the reality is not that sweet. It can’t be without dreadful practice. There are many students failing in the midway, and those who couldn’t endure that hard courses. When it comes to students nowadays, there are very few who have strong patience. When they think ‘it can’t be done,’ they abandon the work, and don’t have the will to do by themselves. And these young people could not find job and live under the support of their parents.

But Jonghyun, as he was strong enough to overcome the severe training of Judo since a middle school student, I think his grow with his will and tenacity. For him, Judo affected so much till now for his position. Music and Judo are  completely different things, but the key to his success are his will and patience.

CNBLUE, teachers’ beloved students who could be Korea’s The Beatles

To headmaster and vice-principal and those in their generation, they could imagine The Beatles when they see CNBLUE. For teachers, CNBLUE are a bunch of lovely students, and they are like today’s The Beatles. They are proud to have a graduate from Songdo Middle School in the band to the extent that teachers always boast to families and neighbors when everytime CNBLUE appears in television. Teachers were hoping for them to enter not only Asia but also Europe, to be a The Beatles of Korea.

Headmaster: Almost all students know that Jonghyun is from Songdo Middle School, and did Judo here. My age is now already 60, so I don’t now idol’s songs well, but I’m interested ‘CNBLUE’ because Jonghyun is in the band, and I boast him as my pupil whenever they appear on TV.

Writer: There might be students who want his autograph.

Headmaster: When Jonghyun visits school, he will surely sign autographs. But I guess when he comes, the school will be paralyzed and a big riot will arise. Students who are interested in CNBLUE know that Jonghyun is a senior in this school. Even young female teachers are his fan. When I see Jonghyun and CNBLUE, I can imagine the good old Beatles. Their image is similar with Beatles so it reminds me of my younger days in the past. They are just like Beatles of Korea.

Also, in France and UK, the Korean Wave is also popular. I wish they can perform music for long times, not just over a temporary period like ‘Korean Wave’ nowadays, I hope they will pursue music in a great depth as CNBLUE, and be called Beatles of Korea. When he comes in this school, I want to advise him that way.(laugh) Just like TVXQ, CNBLUE also started from Japan, so I they can be successful like them.

Vice-Principal: As there is a saying, ‘the boughs that bear most hang lowest,’ the more popularity they get, they have to keep their first intention like now, I mean, like they did until now.

Headmaster: CNBLUE is not an individual group, but they are really important national group as leading Korean Wave. I wish they will keep up and continue their popularity in Japan. And fans in Japan, please honor Lee Jonghyun with your love.

*  *  *

After the long conversation about Jonghyun (more than 1 hour in the headmaster room), the writer went to the school’s Judo Club room to see Kim Chang Keun, the adviser of Judo Club, who appeared in the conversation. There, Kim Chang Keun (who coached Jonghyun) was guiding students strictly to make the second Jonghyun.

Memory of their teacher-student relationship

In Kim’s stories, there was another Jonghyun, different from The Headmaster’s stories. The Headmaster said he was an introvert type, but in front of Teacher Kim, he was always active.

Teacher Kim: First, he is really nice-looking. And he was naive. He never caused anxiety to teachers, nor never got scolded. He never spoke ill of friends, and he was a gentle and exemplary student. He had good height, lively personality, and sometimes sang songs in front of the students in the gym class. Sometimes he danced, and he was a very active boy. Among the songs, I can remember he sang pop songs well. I’ve been coaching Judo here for 25 years, and also I guided Jonghyun. He only practiced for 5~6 months, and participated in Busan region championship, and won the prize.

Writer: How was he compared with other athletes?

Teacher Kim: He wass extremely slim that he seems powerless, but his Judo skill was very good, so once he held his opponent, he pulled with great power and threw him away. He was a boy with marvelous unseen power. We were all amazed and wondered where did such power came from, and from that power, he won the competitions. But since now he became a celebrity, so first of all, we want him to keep his health well, and enjoy being in the band and become big singer not only Korea but also in the world.

There were many students with big bodies, almost double compared to the writer’s, in Songdo Middle School’s Judo Club, where the writer visited. And they are just middle school students.

*  *  *

Next, is teacher Kim Jaeho who was Jonghyun’s homeroom teacher when Jonghyun was in the 1st grade. (equivalent to 7th grade).  He was teaching music to students in the music room. When he saw Jonghyun singing, he was very outstanding and impressive, so he could see Jonghyun’s talent in singing and acknowledged his capacity.

He knew Jonghyun’s dream was to become a singer

Teacher Kim Jaeho: In 1st grade, Jonghyun was very active and studied well. His average points are 91~92. We both trusted each other, me, as his homeroom teacher, and he, as my student. Also, Jonghyun was a vice-president of the class . He was very generous, and had a good character. He studied very well those days, however, in second  grade, he started to show big interests in music.

When we went camping, he sang in front of the students by his own will. When I heard him singing, I thought he had a big talent in singing. I am a music teacher, so I’m teaching things related with classic music, but Jonghyun was not that interested in classical. After that, when he went to the high school, he came to me for consultation. He asked, ‘I must go to an academic school. What can you advise me?’ We talked to each other seriously, and our conclusion was for him to go to Bukyung High School.

He did well in studies, so he was determined to go Bukyung High School. At that time, he agonized earnestly about entering school. Eventually, he went to academic high school as he wished, but after that, he transferred to Seoul School of Performing Arts to become a singer. I got to know about that by some broadcast media, after he became a real singer.

Writer: For Jonghyun, you were the teacher who acknowledged him as a singer.

Teacher Kim Jaeho: He is such a cute student for me, so when I meet someone, I always boast them ‘Lee Jonghyun is my student.’ Jonghyun, keep up the good work now and forever. Perhaps you’ve forgotten about me since I haven’t heard anything from you (laughed).  Long time no see, so I want to meet you. Be more enthusiastic person, be more successful.

Jonghyun! I’m your homeroom teacher when you were 1st grade in middle school, who taught you music.

From now on, I expect you to see higher world to achieve your big will.

Always think about your first difficult and hard days, and do best all the time.

Think about the times when you fly high and fall down, always keep good health, and wish the goddess of fortune will smile to you all the time…

2011.07.13 Kim Jaeho,
Homeroom teacher Songdo Middle School

*  *  *

After graduating from Songdo Middle School, Jonghyun entered Bukyung High School. He got to go an academic high school, and studied really hard, but the dream about music was still in his heart. At that time, Yonghwa, was about to get scouted by an entertainment agency. That is, in another word, his picture in ‘best face’ (ullzzang) website struck the eyes of the representative in the entertainment agency.

At the same time, Jonghyun uploaded his ‘ullzzang’ photos with babies like Yonghwa did in that website. The talent scouter who visited Busan to see Yonghwa, came across the beautiful boy Jonghyun who was taking picture with a baby in the street, and suggested scouting immediately. When I heard that they met each other by chance among 3.4 million people in Busan, it was so fateful that even I couldn’t believe my ears. However, Jonghyun and Yonghwa also  thought that as a mysterious connection.

And both got scouted, then meet each other in Seoul Station. What is also surprising is that, even though they promised to meet each other, no plan had been made, but they met by chance at the Seoul Station on the way for their audition. At that time, because of Jonghyun talking with severe Busan dialect, Yonghwa drooped his shoulders (laugh). At that time, when they had audition, Yonghwa’s outfit was red overall, and Jonghyun’s fashion was so abstruse (so bad!) that it couldn’t be expressed by words. In that audition stage, there was also Minhyuk, and sang, dressed in school uniform.

In other words, only these three boys passed of all who had audition that day. This was also destiny. After that, Jonghyun moved to Seoul, and lived together with Yonghwa for the first time. Jonghyun transferred from Bukyung High School to Seoul School of Performing Arts. Was he able to live as a trainee and to have normal school life in unfamiliar Seoul?

Jonghyun in Seoul School of Performing Arts

In the mid-July, in Korea, it was amazing that rain continued for all week long, and when the writer visited Seoul School of Performing Arts, it rained in Seoul. The person waiting for the writer in the school at the appointed time, was quite a young teacher. Teacher Choi Youngjin became Jonghyun’s homeroom teacher when Jonghyun transferred in second grade. Teacher Choi Youngjin was also the  homeroom teacher for  the member of FTISLAND, so the writer asked the relationship between CNBLUE and FTISLAND at that time.

Teacher Choi: I remembered that he transferred from Bukyung High School in 2009. Jonghyun’s character was beautiful and bright, so he was really close with friends. When he came school in the morning, first, he exercised lightly with friends. He always thinks positive, and such thought was expressed in the way he did everything. And he always had good manners with the teachers. For your information, Jonghyun was one-year older than the other students in the same grade. But he became friends with them and treat them as if they are just the same age. He wast not a trainee at that time yet.

I heard that he wanted to be a singer since young, and I think he gradually encountered music and developed desire since he was a middle school student. In Jonghyun’s case, at first, he suffered a lot doing music, but his sense of music grew little by little. He went to practice room for lessons, and in the summer of 2009, he started his indies life in Japan, in small live houses and in the streets. At that time, I called him often and heard about life in Japan. When Jung Yonghwa temporarily got out of the band because of the drama, Jonghyun’s important role as a vocal increased a lot so he really enjoyed it, I heard. At that time, me and Jonghyun contacted each other very often.

Writer: Have you ever met him since he debuted?

Teacher Choi: In former days, once when I was having class, he would visit the school saying ‘I came back from Japan, ended performance!’ He said with smiles on his face, ‘I’m sorry. It’s been a long time. Have you been doing well these days?’ It was during the first grade students’ class, and there was a big fuss (laugh).

Jonghyun said to homeroom teacher then that he wanted to do music more than studying, that’s why he came to Seoul, and went to Seoul School of Performing Arts, and lived as trainee. Taking FTISLAND’s debut feature as opportunity, he felt ‘That’s where I have to be in, and that’s exactly the right place for my dream,’ so he pushed himself and that became a big turning point for him. There was Lee Jaejin of FTISLAND in this school, and he was in the same class with Jonghyun.

Teacher Choi: Jaejin of FTISLAND and Jonghyun were classmates. Both were my students. They were in the same entertainment agency, so they were greatly close with each other.

Writer: What can you tell us about Lee Jaejin as a student?

Teacher Choi: Jaejin had nice personality, just like Jonghyun. When he finished his work overseas and came back to Korea, he always called me and said ‘Teacher, I’m back in Korea!’ The entertainment agency educated trainees strictly, but both were sweet-tempered, and they were having hard times. However, their passion for attending school was very strong. And the same goes for Choi Minhwan of FTISLAND. I was his homeroom teacher when he was in first grade.

Seoul School of Performing Arts , the place of many future talents

In Seoul, there are some specialized schools for trainees in entertainment agencies to adapt much easier school life. This school is one of those, so there are many trainees in this school.

Teacher Choi: In this school, there are many trainees, and many students who debuted after graduated. Sulli of f(x), Suzy of Miss A, and members of new girl group Rania and A-pink, Boyfriend, LED Apple etc… there are quite many. This is a national arts school, so it’s a special-purpose school for students who do popular arts. For that reason, there are many students here preparing for their debut. It’s just like the real-life version of Kirin Arts High School in the drama「Dream High」.

The talents’ names that Teacher Choi mentioned only involve in small parts of the industry now, but many talents who are active in entertainment industries have graduated from this school.

Writer: Are the students in this school almost have a dream to be talent?

Teacher Choi: There are three departments in this school. Department of Performing Arts (Actors, Musical, Drama, Instrumental), Department of  Broadcasting, and Department of Arts (Drawing).

Writer: So, almost all students take classes related to broadcasting, and there are many trainees from entertainment agency?

Teacher Choi: Mainly, they are learning about pop arts and pop broadcasting.

Memories with Kwon Gwangjin, who was the first member of CNBLUE

If the reader is a fan, I guess you may know, when CNBLUE performed as indies, there was bassist Kwon Gwangjin with cute face was a bassist, not Lee Jungshin. In CNBLUE’s blog, Minhyuk suddenly announced that member has changed. Gwangjin had lots of fans, so there were many questions about him quitting the band. Also, there was no official announcement about Gwangjin’s quitting, so many people have weird thoughts about it.

Teacher Choi: The first member of CNBLUE from this school was not Lee Jonghyun, but Kwon Gwangjin, who performed together in Japan (*translator&editor think this is a false information.)  He graduated already (from SOPA), but Kwon Gwangjin is still in the entertainment agency, and I heard he is preparing to debut in another group. As I know, it’s not because they were on bad terms, but it was because of their different color in music, so he moved to another group and is building skills in that group. He also has good manners, kind, and always showed his bright side to teachers and friends.

Big surprise of sudden appear

Among members of FTISLAND, there were some boys who were in Teacher Choi’s class (Jaejin&Minhwan), so sometimes he was invited to their concert. It’s such a glorious stage of proud students of his.

Teacher Choi: Indeed the entertainment agency had a secret! One day, I went to FTISLAND’s concert. And the guest was CNBLUE! I’ve never heard about that from Jonghyun, and the entertainment agency didn’t announced anything, so CNBLUE, who appeared as guest received quite nice reactions from the audience. Previously, I’ve seen their street live video in Japan from Youtube. The song was greatly wonderful so I knew they will be successful. When I heard they are popular in Japan, I was glad.

Writer: As their homeroom teacher, you would be caring about their school, but what did you say to the entertainment agency?

Teacher Choi: They say about the entering to university, problems in schedule, and adjusting examination schedule, and what’s more, is about their health status.

[School Of Performing Arts Advertorial featuring JongHyun and FT Island]

Jonghyun, take a step forward!!!

Writer: His middle school teacher want was Jonghyun to step forward, and you seem to have the same thought.

Teacher Choi: First, I’m grateful and glad that my student has succeeded like this. In Jonghyun’s case, he does not appear on TV programs a lot. But when I heard they had a great success in Japan, I was very happy. As expected, the point of his success is his trueheartedness, I think. And also his good manners, and being loyal to education from entertainment agency were also big points. I also met Jung Yonghwa and other members, and all were truly polite and their impressions were good.

In my opionion, Jonghyun will continue his active work in music now and for ever. It may be good if he acts like Jung Yonghwa on drama, but Jonghyun likes instruments and loves music more than anybody, so he will keep on doing music, composing, etc.

And, on the other hand, recently there are many variety programs. From now on, I want Jonghyun to appear on such programs and attract people’s attention more little by little, so in the sense of diversity, accumulate his experience in talk programs, and variety programs to be more outstanding person. I want him to talk more humorous on TV programs, so appear more often on televisions. (laugh)

And always take good care, and when you do you best from your heart, there will be good results. They already got great success in Korea, so next goal is great success in Japan.. not CNBLUE as indies, but as a major band. This is my hope and cheer for Lee Jonghyun. I hope his great talent and personality are conveyed to more fans so that he extends his field of action in Japan.

Jonghyun, give more efforts in Japan to have great success… I always anticipate you to be a great singer that represents Asia.

Choi Young Jin, homeroom teacher in High  School




Source: CNBLUE Book of Secrets
Japanese-Korean Translation by: DC CNBLUE
Translated by: @eternalfor_JH
Edited by: fizzy+AJ@ cnbluestorm
Photos credit: PlanetB_ + Various

Posted in: CNBLUE