Dong Bang Shin Ki

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Name(s): DBSK, Dong Bang Shin Ki, DBSG, Dong Bang Shin Gi, TVXQ, Tohoshinki, Tong Vfang Xien Qi, TVfXQ, Toho, THSK
Scope/Focus: The members of K-pop group DBSK.
Date(s): December 26, 2003-present
See also:
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Dong Bang Shin Ki (동방신기), internationally known as TVXQ is a popular Korean boyband under SM Entertainment that debuted December 26, 2003 on "The Britney and BoA Christmas Special," a concert to promote American pop singer Britney Spears and Korean solo artist BoA. The band has many official and unofficial names. In Korea, they are known as Dong Bang Shin Ki, which is written in hangul (the Korean alphabet) as 동방신기 and in hanja (Chinese characters) as 東方神起. It is translated into English as "Rising Gods of the East." Because Chinese and Japanese also use Chinese characters, the hanja name of the band is used in those countries, but is pronounced differently. The Japanese pronuncation is romanized (written in the Latin alphabet) as Tōhōshinki and the Chinese as Tong Vfang Xien Qi.

In countries outside of Asia, the group is informally known by various romanized versions of these names and their initialisms. The group's official international name is stylized as TVXQ!, but it is also common for them to be referred to as DBSK. Other versions of the name include DBSG (derived from an alternate romanization of 동방신기), THSK (derived from Tōhōshinki), and TVfXQ (another initialism derived from the Chinese romanization; the fact that this version contains 5 letters, the same number as original members of the group, is considered significant by some fans).

In addition to their musical activities, the members have acted in various Korean and Japanese dramas, movies, and musicals, including the 8 episodes of the SBS series "Banjun Drama"[1] and the feature-length TV drama "Vacation."[2])

Enormously popular in Asia (especially Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, and Malaysia),[3] Dong Bang Shin Ki has a large international and multilingual fandom producing fanwork, chiefly fan fiction, fanart, fansubs and vids.[4]

Members

Dong Bang Shin Ki debuted as a five member group, but in 2009 three of the members sued SM Entertainment over the length of their contracts. These three members subsequently left and formed a new band under the entertainment company C-JeS. The new group was named JYJ for its members: Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu.

Current members

Shim Changmin (심창민) was born February 18, 1988. He joined Dong Bang Shin Ki in 2003 as a vocalist and the groups maknae (youngest member). His Korean stage name is Choikang (최강; literally "the best") Changmin. Internationally he is known as Max Changmin or MAX, a name chosen because of its similarity in meaning to his Korean stage name.

Jung Yunho (정윤호) was born February 6, 1986. He joined Dong Bang Shin Ki in 2003 as a dancer and rapper, and was subsequently appointed leader. His stage name is U-Know, because of its phonetic similarity to his given name.

Former Members

Kim Jaejoong (김재중) was born February 4, 1986. Born Han Jaejun (한재준), he was adopted at a young age and his official birthday was changed to January 26. Jaejoong joined Dong Bang Shin Ki in 2003 as a vocalist and the group's visual, and left in 2010 after the lawsuit with SME. His Korean stage name was Youngwoong (영웅; literally "hero") Jaejoong, and his international stage name was Hero. In addition to joining JYJ he also launched a solo career after leaving Dong Bang Shin Ki, performing under the name Kim Jaejoong.

Kim Junsu (김준수) was born December 15, 1987. He joined Dong Bang Shin Ki in 2003 as a vocalist and dancer, and left after the lawsuit. His stage name, Xiah, is short for Asia. He continues to perform under this name in his solo career, which he launched after leaving SM.

Park Yoochun (박유천) was born June 4, 1986. He joined TVXQ in 2003 as a vocalist and rapper. His stage name, Micky, was also the English name he used while living in Amerca during his adolescence. Yoochun received a string of sexual assault accusations between 2016 and 2019, but the charges were dropped.[5] In 2019, Yoochun pled guilty to drug use.[6]

Rotation Crisis

The Rotation Crisis or Rotation Scare began when rumors surfaces that SM planned for Dong Bang Shin Ki to have a rotating membership, meaning members of the band would be periodically replaced. The rumors were pushed to the attention of Korean and international fans after images surfaced of Yoochun crying during a performance on November 21, 2004.[7] Confusion over the images and rumors about the planned rotation of members led fans to believe that Yoochun would soon be leaving the group. That belief, along with a lack of clear information - especially for international fans - caused widespread panic in the young fandom. The slogan "5-1=0" first appeared during this time, used to express a perception of the original five-member group as an inseparable unit.

Five days after the performance, SM and Dong Bang Shin Ki held a press conference denying any plans for Yoochun to leave the group.[8] The did not, however, address the question of member rotation, and rumors continued to circulate. As a result, fans initiated a boycott of SM merchandise and petitioned the company to abandon the member rotation scheme. Although it is unclear whether SM ever had any concrete plans to rotate Dong Bang Shin Ki's membership, the fan response to these rumors is often credited with keeping the band together.

Lawsuit and Split

In July 2009, Jaejoong, Junsu, and Yoochun filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment regarding their contracts.[9] Dong Bang Shin Ki's last album as a group of 5 was the Japanese single "Toki wo Tomete" (時ヲ止メテ; "Stopping Time"), released March 2010. Later that year, the three members involved in the lawsuit left and formed a new group, JYJ. The future of Dong Bang Shin Ki was in limbo for several months, but in August 2010 the remaining members, Yunho and Changmin, resumed activities as a two person group. Dong Bang Shin Ki's first album as a duo, "Keep Your Head Down," was released in January 2011. Leaks of early audio from one of the album's tracks, "MAXIUM," feature all five original members.[10]

To distinguish between the original and current iterations of Dong Bang Shin Ki, fans sometimes refer to the five-member group as DB5K and the duo as TVX2 or Homin (for Yunho and Changmin; however, this is also used as a pairing name). It is also common for fans to refer to the original group simply as DBSK and the duo as TVXQ, even though both initialisms and the names the stand for can be applied to either iteration of the group. This is partly because TVXQ! became the group's official international name only after the split.

Effect on Fandom

In the years following the split, fans of the five-member group revived the slogan "5-1=0" (popularized during the Rotation Crisis) and coined the initialism AKTF (Always Keep The Faith) as symbols of their dedication to the OT5 version of the band and their hope or belief that they would reunite. AKTF was taken from the lyrics of the Tohonshinki song "Break Out!", which was released between the filing of the lawsuit and the breakup of the group.[11] JYJ has also used the AKTF slgan in various contexts when addressing fans, and members Jaejoong and Yoochun sport matching "Always keep the faith" tattoos on their chests.[12]

Because the three groups - TVXQ, DBSK, and JYJ - were so closely linked, some fans of JYJ or the two-member TVXQ! began referring to themselves as "JYJ stans" and "TVXQ stans or "Homin stans" respectively, as a way to indicate a preference for one group without implying loyalty to the other. In response to this, some OT5 fans began using stan as a derogatory term for "fake" fans. Stans and casual fans alike criticized the idea that Dong Bang Shin Ki could be enjoyed only as a five member group, feeling that it was disrespectful and that the "5-1=0" slogan suggested that the members' worth as people and artists was dependent on their place in a larger group rather than on their individual merits.[13]

In addition to these tensions, a separate set of controversies broke out between JYJ stans and TVXQ! stans. An early example is found in the choreography and lyrics of "Keep Your Head Down," the title track of TVXQ!'s first album as a duo. The choreography in question is a hand gesture appearing in the song's chorus: the members hold up three fingers on one hand, drop the hand below the level of their chin, and then hold it up again showing only two fingers. The gesture was taken by some to symbolize the rejection of the three members who had left. The lyrics of the song describe a breakup, a common theme in kpop, but taken with the choreography and contemporary events, was interpreted by some fans as an attack on JYJ.[14] In 2014, when JYJ announced they would be holding a "Return of the King" concert in Seoul that summer, some TVXQ! fans accused them of stealing the title from a lyric at the beginning of "Keep Your Head Down."[15]

Fandom

Official Fanclubs

Dong Bang Shin Ki has official fanclubs in Korea and Japan, respectively named Cassiopeia and Bigeast. Bigeast was formed on April 1, 2006.[16] Both Cassiopeia and Bigeast are dues-paying fanclubs that offer special benefits to members. Their official color is pearl red.

In the late 2000s some kpop-centered news sources began reporting that Cassiopeia had, at 800,000 members strong, been admitted into the Guiness Book of Worl Records under the category "Largest Fanclub for an Artist." This claim and a somewhat later rumor that Dong Bang Shin Ki had earned a record in the category "Most Photographed Celebrity" were apparently later denied by Guiness Book in private communication with Wikipedia.

On January 21, 2019, TVXQ!'s official website made a post advertising recruitment for Cassiopeia beginnin that day through the mobile app LYSN. The new platform offers free (BASIC) membership and paid (ACE) membership options.[17]

It can be difficult for fans outside of Asia to join the official fanclubs; however, regardless of their country of origin, fans who are no members may still identify as "Cassiopeian" or "Cassies." The name "Cassiopeia" was chosen by Changmin and refers to a constellation made of five stars, which are taken to represent the five (original) members of the group.

International Fandom

Dong Bang Shin Ki's main foreign market is Japan, where the group expanded activities in 2004. They did not achieve widespread success in the country until 2008 with the release of their 16th Japanese single Purple Line and the subsequent interational success of their 4th Korean album Mirotic. Purple Line was the first single by a foreign boy band (second by a Korean artist) to top Japan's Oricon Single's Chart. Dong Bang Shin Ki has since broken multiple records for foreign artists in Japan, some of which were previously held by acts such as Elton John and Bon Jovi. As of 2019 they hold records as the foreign artists with the most number one singles, most top-ten singles, fastest-selling single, and best-selling single. In addition to album sales they also hold the record for highest-attended tour by a foreign music act. Other accomplishments include being the first Korean group to perform at Japan's Kohaku Uta Gassen New Year festival, first Korean group to headline at the Tokyo Dome, first foreign gorup to hold a five-Dome tour, and first foreign artist to perform at the Nissan Stadium.

Although Dong Bang Shin Ki releases music in Japanese, and sometimes Chinese and English, fan translations are a mainstay of the international fandom. Although it has become common practice for entertainment companies hosting music and promotional videos on YouTube to offer closed captions in Korean, English, and Japanese, older music videos did not and typically still do not offer this feature. Thus for many older songs, television appearances, and movies (such as the Banjun Dramas), these fanworks remain the only English translations, and continue to be the only translations for many other languages.

Because it is difficult for fans outside Asia to join either of the official fanclubs, fansites and news blogs sometimes offer the only source of news and community for international fans. Other materials commonly shared to fansites include amateur vides (fancams) and photos, and fan accounts of concerts or sightings. LiveJournal hosted many interaction-based Dong Bang Shin Ki communities, including kink memes, ship-based communities, and a CAPSLOCK community.

Sasaeng Fans

Members of Dong Bang Shin Ki have been victims of sasaeng (stalker) fan activity multiple times in their careers. Incidents have included phone tapping, breaking and entering, and installing GPS trackers or cameras on the members' property.

In 2012 audio recordings surfaced of Jaejoong yelling and cursing at sasaeng fans, and appearing to strike them.[18] Jaejoong, by that time a member of JYJ, issued an apology at a press conference with Yoochun and Junsu, where the three also described harassment going back to their early days in Dong Bang Shin Ki.

A 2018 video appears to show Changmin physically pulling a sasaeng fan from a taxi.[19] In the "Bangjun Drama" episode "Dangerous Love," Junsu and Changmin are kidnapped and held captive by a sasaeng fan.

Anti Fans

In October 2006, Yunho was hospitalized after accepting a drink from someone appearing to be a fan. The drink had been laced with super glue, and when the suspect turned herself in she admitted to being a Dong Bang Shin Ki anti-fan.[20]

Fanworks

Videos are a popular form of Dong Bang Shin Ki fanwork. These may be traditions fanvids but also include fancams, covers of songs, fansubs of existing MVs, misheard lyrics videos, and recordings of original songs dedicated to the group. Fanart and manips of the group members are also common.

RPF

DBSK has an active RPF fandom, which is primarily slash based. There is some het fan fiction as well, mostly through crossovers with other K-pop artists such as CSJH The Grace, BoA, any member of Girls' Generation, and other SM Artists. Some feature OCs who may be reader or author inserts.

The most common pairings are YunJae (Yunho/Jaejoong) and YooSu (Yoochun/Junsu). Other popular ships include JaeChun (Jaejoong/Yoochun), which earned the fannish nickname "Soulmates," and JaeMin (Jaejoong/Changmin), which earned the nickname "Soul Fighter." The first element of both nicknames derives from one of Jaejoong's tattoos, which reads "TVfXQ SOUL" in gothic lettering across his back.[21] Yoochun has a similar tattoo on his lower back, reading "TVfXQ MYC." Because of the tattoo's location and font, it was initially misread as "TVfXQ MATE," forming the second element in the ship name Soulmates.[22][23] The second element in Soul Fighter refers to physical teasing that was common between Jaejoong and Changmin when they were bandmates. After the 2009 split, HoMin (Yunho/Changmin) increased in popularity.

The designation "OT5" used in Dong Bang Shin Ki fanfiction may signify a polyamorous sexual or romantic relationship between all members of the band, but it is also used to refer to affectio nand support among the members in a team dynamic. In a broader fandom context outside of fanfiction, it is sometimes used to distinguish the original five-member configuration from the group's current two-member iteration.

The existence of slash was acknowledged in the "Banjun Drama" episode "Dangerous Love" (aired March 12, 2006). The episode's secondary plot revolves around Yunho showing Jaejoong a slash story, leading Jaejoong to wonder about Yunho's sudden attentiveness.

Fan Projects

For occasions such as group anniversaries and member birthdays, fans will often organize projects to show support for the group. Some fan projects do not include creative output and instead focus on charitable donations in the members' names, paying for cakes or meals to be delivered to the group, or buying multiple copies of the group's album to bolster sales. However, many projects are collaborative fanworks involving interational participation. These projects may be as simple as collecting and translating encouraging messages from fans around the world; others are more involved. For example, the DBSK International Fansong project organized, edited, and released collaboration videos on YouTube between 2009 and 2010. The first video, a montage of international fans singing parts of the song Don't Say Goodbye, was reported on in Korean media.[24] Yoochun later confirmed that the group had seen the video.[25]

Fannish Resources

References

  1. Banjun Drama with TVXQ entry at DramaWiki
  2. Vacation entry at DramaWiki
  3. TVXQ entry at Wikipedia
  4. JoongAng Sunday Magazine article, August 9, 2009, translated by jeeelim5@iscreamshinki.net
  5. Media Reports Suggest Park Yoochun Purchased Drugs
  6. Former JYJ Member, Park Yoochun Pleads Guilty To Drug Charges - E! News
  7. The DBSK “Member Rotation” Scare by babyredocean
  8. DBSK Member Rotation (press conference) (eng trans) - Mnet 20041126
  9. TVXQ Feuds With SM Entertainment
  10. TVXQ! (OT5) - Maximum (Eng + 한글 + members part)
  11. DBSK – Break Out lyrics
  12. JaeJoong and Yoochun shows off their “Always keep the faith” tattoos
  13. What is the meaning of “Always Keep the Faith”? + Pink Wristband
  14. Keep Your Head Down Lyrics & Dance Controversy by なみだ
  15. 'The Return Of The King' Revives JYJ And TVXQ Tension
  16. 東方神起 Official Fanclub Bigeast
  17. Notice: SM ARTIST OFFICIAL FANCLUB 모집안내 Cassiopeia
  18. JYJ Accused of Verbally and Physically Abusing Female Fans
  19. 최강창민 チャンミン Changmin 暴行 TVXQ 東方神起 동방신기 - YouTube
  20. ‘Anti-fan’ laces pop star’s beverage
  21. (TRANS) HISTORY AND MEANING OF JAEJOONG’S TATTOOS - PrinceJJ
  22. Jaechun isn't real? - kpop_rubba
  23. (옛날) Yoochun’s tattoos | Yoochun media
  24. '동방신기' 팬들의 특별 동영상, 전세계 '들썩'
  25. 동방신기 DBSK International Fansong Project 2009 - YouTube