[12.02.29] A very special chat about Shinhwa Pt 3 – “They’ve never disbanded before, why is the word ‘reunion’ being used?

Do you know about the ‘Orange Princesses’? Alluding to the representative color of Shinhwa’s official fanclub Shinhwa Changjo, orange, this is how the fans are referred to. Following Shinhwa’s return after 4 years, ‘Orange Princesses’ scattered everywhere have once again started to move into action.

During the past 2 months, OhMyStar has been holding chat sessions in a cafe in Gangnam with 5 formidable ‘Orange Princesses’, who have been fans for more than 10 years. As per the request of these ladies, their names will not be mentioned. They’ll simply be referred to as ‘Female #1′, ‘Female #2′ etc, and only details like their ages, occupations, when they became fans, will be revealed.

Female #1: Mid-30s / Freelance university lecturer / 1999 / Runs a fanpage
Female #2: Late 20s / Barista / 1998 / Runs a fanpage
Female #3: Mid-30s / Freelance designer / 1999
Female #4: Early 40s / Teacher / 1999
Female #5: Early 40s / Homemaker / 2001

“Perhaps non-fans won’t be particular about this. But to us it’s something very important. Shouldn’t it be? They’ve never disbanded before, so why is this a reunion? There are many times when we don’t understand why it’s being written this way.”

When you hear it, it really seems like it. And I want to find out if that’s really the case. I get plenty of affirmation from the search results when I key in ‘Shinhwa reunion’ in the search field. Eric had recently commented, “Not to mention ‘disbandment’, even the word ‘reunion’ isn’t right. Shinhwa has never split up before and we’ve spent the last 14 years together as one unit.” I realize the meaning of that now.

But let’s talk about news articles about Shinhwa, When I came up with this topic, honestly speaking I thought too simply of it. I thought I would get some kind of ‘self-confession’ through their lips, but rather than to worry about that, I was looking forward to more stories and examples.

Shinhwa, returning after 4 years

No, why is it a reunion?

The sense of regret immediately took over. As time passed the number of times I felt a prick of conscience increased. In fact it’s not that reporters want to be like that, there are actually many reporters who are very aware of the ‘senseless’ reports, and I had an urge to speak up in defence. I felt like I was sitting on thorns.

But this discussion wasn’t the point. This type of discussion can be held at any time, in detail at a later date. Also as stressful as it was for me, I had to show the basic courtesy to these ladies who had accepted my ‘invitation’. Even with the initial awkward and hesitant atmosphere, the chat started off with ‘facts’.

Female #5: Above all, Shinhwa has never disbanded before, you know. When I read these articles, they talk about ‘former members’ in the past tense. Even if the articles are well-written, when I see these instances, every single line is disappointing.

Female #1: Perhaps non-fans won’t be particular about this. But to us it’s something very important. Shouldn’t it be? They’ve never disbanded before, so why is this a reunion? There are many times when we don’t understand why it’s being written this way

Kim Dongwan's letter that belatedly made news at the end of last year. News articles failed to clarify that this had happened in the past (during military service)..

Do you know about Dongwan’s letter incident? In one word it’s a “decoy”

Female #4: I often think, aren’t these news articles written too easily? The contents of the members’ tweets get turned into news, photos on fanpages are used just like that, and just skimming the surface of things. There’s no verification of facts either.

Female #1: Maybe the reporters may think that we should be thankful that they’re writing news articles about them, but no thanks. That’s not the case at all. It really upsets us.

Female #4: Last year, in 2011, there was once when the media published a reply sent by a Shinhwa member during his military service period to a fan who had sent him a letter. But that was a letter that Dongwannie sent in 2008 when he was receiving basic military training.

Female #1 (who laughed and spoke up): When exactly did the reporter write about this, and in this manner. It was written as if it had happened very recently. As a fan I find such things ridiculous.

Female #2 (who had stayed silent so far) summed it up. “It’s a decoy (to distract public attention from other incidents/news), isn’t it.” Short and sharp, my heart was stung by those words. Honestly such suspicions of ‘decoy’ probably came up more than once or twice. “Probably those people who aren’t interested in Shinhwa still think that they’re still serving military duty”, said Female #5. I completely agree, because I thought so.

Fanclubs are groups that have to be very aware of media reports. Fans who protested in front of SBS for a report on the disbandment of Seo Taiji and the Boys. A report from 30 Jan 1996.

“It’s not like we want them to live alone in old age”

Female #1: Honestly there are a lot of flaws in media reports. I don’t know why they just have to rake up things like that. The Shinhwa members are easygoing by nature and they don’t get hung up over small things. The members just want us, the fans, to appreciate their sincerity. But for fans there are many hurtful things that happen.

And the scandals too, isn’t the probing too much? Can’t men and women date? No, it’s a problem because with their looks, they’re still single. How is that possible? It’s not that we want them to live alone in old age. It’s fine to be in a relationship, that’s what I think.

Female #5: How is it possible to oppose to falling in love? We have to acknowledge their private lives.

So you can’t be nice to reporters. Female #2 said, “Sometimes when I see an ‘anti photo’, I know some reporter will use it in some news article.” The ‘hardline’ Female #1 said that she would add the offending reporter into the ‘blacklist’. “If the headline is written sarcastically, I’ll make a copy of the article together with the reporter’s name.”

At this point, Female #3 said something that left a particularly deep impression. She hasn’t said a word in this ‘Very Special Chat’ session. People who say little are more scary, isn’t that the case? With a quiet and intellectual demeanor (right?^^), she said this without raising her voice and in a certain tone.

“I don’t think I ever felt good after reading a news article. ‘Ah’ and ‘Oh’ are different, aren’t they? The truth isn’t like what’s written, it’s like the story was made out of someone’s imagination. If not trivial things are blown out of proportion. At these times, I’m really antagonized.”

And the ‘definite’ conclusion from Female #1

“I think this isn’t just Shinhwa’s problem. Doesn’t this problem apply to all idol groups?”

I took a photo of their shoes. There are two reasons for this, firstly this is a shot to prove that my meeting with the Shinhwa fans really happened and that I didn't make it up. Secondly, I wonder if their shoes can feel the weight of the long time they've spent with Shinhwa. 14 years ago, what shoes were they wearing?

Credits: OhmyStar + Absolut Shinhwa

7 thoughts on “[12.02.29] A very special chat about Shinhwa Pt 3 – “They’ve never disbanded before, why is the word ‘reunion’ being used?

  1. thank u for ur translation. a very good article that should be read by any Shinhwa fan. i’m always a little annoyed when they use the word “reunion” for Shinhwa comeback.
    and could u please tell me more about “Dongwan letter accident”? I’m kinda clueless about it.

  2. Thanks for the trans, Sumi, you’ve done a fantastic job on , Shinhwa “reunited” or “reunion” is just a word to say that they are back, I thiink it does not matter as its a comebcak for them .Afterall they are not together for 4 years so it kindda of reunited as 6 of them.I’m not part of the fans “culture” in Korea then but I feel as fans we are protective over any news ,so generally thinks the reports are doing injustice to them (if incorrect news). Shinhwa members, they maintain low profile in their lifestyle and activities ,so we respect that -they are cheeky at times, playful when together ,hard working when in need and stay professional when performing on stage or TV shows. They are gentleman and respectful individual in their own way / manner,
    They are grown,healthy men, they should go dating and get married when times come( just want to know who the lucky girls are heheheh..)We should be happy for them if they do, just stay as Shinhwa as 6 and not to forget the fans too
    WE read alot of hollywood stars and celebrities form family and still good at what they are doing and I feel news from reporters are ok -its good to be notice than not notice at all, since they are doing their jobs.Most idols in the kpop world face the same dilemma when the news of their ” friends” are photographed and I don’t wish to idolise monks !-these are just my thoughts

  3. First and foremost, a big thanks and warm hug for Sumi for this long article, it means a lot for a newbie like me. Concerning the right term to describe themselves now, I think comeback is the correct word. They never officially say they’re split up, they just HAVE to take a 4 years’ break because of the military service obligation, so a comeback is the right one. Reunion; in my opinion, refers to a group who officially or unofficially has split up for sometime who gets together again (my first favourite group Spandau Ballet is the good example for a “reunion”. They split up in 1988 and were reunited in 2008). And concerning the members’ private lives, I totally respect it, they’re normal people just like us who want to live a normal life such as dating someone. For me personally, if the members are happy then I’m happy too.

  4. waaah the last part is a bit heavy XDDD

    Must admit, I feel strange seeing so and so congratulating their so and so anniversary while they’re no longer active as a group. I’m happy if they’ll get together for a performance, concert or album but it’s like a “reunion project” to me than actual group activities.

    “Can’t men and women date?” ~ no smoking, no drinking, no partying, no dating…. that’s how most of fans want their idols to be, might just idolizing a monk then? lol

    ahaha that picture of their feet, more than anything I thought they were taking on Shinhwa infamous hands photos during the enlistment period XDDD

    Thanks for the long trans Su :3

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