[TRANS] El Sol – Taiyou Photobook Interview, full translation

interview with TOHOSHINKI


A certain day in the month of June, 2011, about half a year since the official restart of activities. The duo touched down in Malaga’s Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun), Andalucía Province in Southern Spain. The 5 day, 4 night trip was filmed in the surrounding 3 cities to become the duo’s very first photobook. From the first day, I noticed the differences between Changmin, always operating at his own pace no matter when or where, and Yunho, the type to match and adapt to the place and environment he’s in.

YH : “I felt that a common point shared between Spain and Tohoshinki was ‘passion.’ We had a tight schedule but still, when we did try to communicate with people walking on the streets, they were always calm and composed and had lots of passion within. There were lots of people who gave that sort of impression to me, so I think that’s how we’re alike.”

A very Yunho-like analysis from Yunho, who, as a leader, has had greater passion than anyone and everyone to come stand at the lead. And of course, it’s the same with Changmin, who has a poker face but also a hidden passion within. On a Summer day of last year, the two of them stood on stage as Tohoshinki in a SMTOWN event. The uneasiness and pressures up until then changed into personal catalysts, and they took the stage with the pride of being Tohoshinki. Afterward, when speaking of that day, Changmin revealed, “my legs were trembling and shaking when standing on that stage.” Thinking about it, the reason for that trembling wasn’t fear, it was certainly because of the helpless period during the hiatus that had stifled their burning passion for singing until then.

CM: “Honestly, wondering about how the fans and other people who know about Tohoshinki would think of us for having activities as two people was worrying; it was probably the most nerve-wracking stage up until now. However, the moment we finished, we heard tremendous cheering. I thought for a fact, ‘I am Tohoshinki,’ ‘being this Tohoshinki is good,’ without any doubt. There, I found my confidence again, so I didn’t have those same doubts and worries during our official restart of activities this year. Instead, I felt, ‘I’m sorry for keeping all of you waiting,’ and a spirit of, ‘I’m going to show them what I’ve got.’ It was that simple, a me without any doubts. Nevertheless, when it was decided that our first Japanese TV activity was to appear on [Music Station], I think I might have gotten just a bit sensitive. It was a live broadcast of a very famous music program, and perhaps they’d think, ‘now that they’ve become two members, something’s lacking.’ But I thought, ‘I really hate having thoughts so negative,’ ‘let’s show them our true strength,’ and I remember how Yunho and I cheered each other up in our dressing room. After successfully finishing, I was relieved to hear no bad reports, and after probably saying ‘let’s go!’, Yunho and I looked at each other. Ever since that moment, we’ve spent the last half year in that same mood. We did it with those feelings.”

After they decided to shoulder the burden of continuing Tohoshinki as two, Yunho began to battle unease and pressure, all the while continuously questioning himself day after day.

YH: “Since becoming the leader, I’ve been in a position where I can’t just consider my personal feelings. I habitually thought of many things; I really thought like that all the time. In reality, some things changed, some things didn’t, so how was I to best digest it all? It certainly wasn’t easy. Even so, I thought, ‘if it’s Changmin with me as two, we can do it.’ Holding onto that sort of conviction in a Summer event, it had the meaning of a new start, something like, ‘our adventure is beginning!’ My feelings naturally completely changed into an excited positivity. Compared to before, I’m now able to treasure and feel the importance of every single thing that happens. Always having had been an artist that achieves good results each time, I’ve however unconsciously become accustomed to certain aspects of that life. The me right now has fallen in an instant and I’m climbing again, and it’s as if I’m midway up that mountain right now. Tohoshinki as two must restart from square one, but we’re aiming higher even faster than before because we have the knowhow and experience to do so. Experiences we’ve had in the past feel new again and we have fun with them, a feeling sort of like ‘a newcomer that’s not new.’ In the past, I would be excessively cautious and wonder, ‘how will this turn out?’ before moving forward as the leader. The artist that I am now focuses properly on singing and entrusts all the rest to the audience. I feel like I’ve been able to allow myself that peace of mind. Our staff has also told me that I have that sort of aura now, and I think that I’m finally en route to growing into what it truly means to be an artist.”

Forced into a situation that the two of them never wished for, finding motivation once more certainly wasn’t an easy task. What they felt in their hearts during the hiatus is something that we can never understand. I think the various expressions they show through this photobook indicate just how many hardships they’ve overcome.

CM: “I’ve been told quite frequently as of late that my face has changed a lot. It’s true that when I compare a photo of myself from debut to a photo of myself several years later or right now, there is a considerable change. I myself can’t pinpoint exactly what has changed, but maybe it’s that the things I’ve held in my heart have come to show on my face. Yunho said that we’re restarting from square one but I think it’s a bit different for me. When thinking of the time when everything was suddenly gone, in order to hold my head high again, I could only trust in myself and the foundation I cultivated from the 8 years since I debuted. So for me, I’d say that I wasn’t starting from square one. It’s true that some things changed, such as how we shouldered the responsibility of standing on stage only as two, how I could feel that the stage became so much more expansive, and I’m sure the audience sensed that as well. In order to not have that happen, there was nothing I could do except make the greatest of efforts. If I made it seem like the past was better, I of course would feel apologetic to the fans, so I definitely didn’t want to do that. But truthfully, it was myself that I didn’t want to admit it to. Regardless of how it started, it’s a path that I chose for myself. In order to take pride in that this path was the right one, I had to walk it well. That way, I could show to the world that my choice wasn’t wrong. That was the huge motivation within me that drove me.”

Changmin, who was doing the interview and flipping through the photobook materials, suddenly stopped at a cut that was taken on the beach. Then, he let out an amused laughed, and began to speak.

CM: “Recently, there’s something that’s been troubling me. Ever since we became a duo, there’s been a huge pressure from all directions for us to value our relationship (he laughs). Of course we’re close, it’s been over 8 years since we debuted with each other, almost 10 years since we met, so now, we can pretty much understand what the other’s thinking just by looking at his face. Still, during our promotions for this album, we’d hear, ‘let’s take a shot of how the two of you are close friends,’ ‘try putting your shoulders together,’ and so on every time; actually showing closeness for people like that is somehow…isn’t it embarrassing? Especially since I don’t have that sort of personality. But, if appearing close would make the fans happy and give them peace of mind, I thought, ‘oh well, it’s fine.’ In reality, our bond isn’t that cheap. On the contrary, showing it on purpose made it seem more unnatural; it isn’t how we normally are. After all, wouldn’t it be stranger to be that way every day with someone who you’ve been living with for so long? However, when shooting for this photobook, this trip gave us a feeling of freedom; we laughed really naturally when we were on the beach. Seeing this again, it’s interesting and unexpected to see that there’s an expression that Yunho has that even I don’t know.”

When asked about “an expression Yunho has that even Changmin doesn’t know,” Changmin roared with laughter and said, “shower scene.” Speaking of which, is there another side to Yunho that isn’t in accordance with the “passionate guy” label attributed to him?

CM: “In the past, I used to say to Yunho, ‘isn’t it better to carry less burden on your shoulders?’ But, it was pointless (he laughs). He was seriously always serious to the point of being too serious. But, since it was Yunho, I came to appreciate that he was fine just the way he was. Friendship isn’t something that can be piled up. It’s deepened by sharing time and experiences with each other. Our characters and personalities are exact opposites. I can say with certainty that I’m quick-tempered and shy around strangers so I lack the confidence to close my distance with another person, and I can’t speak frankly. According to the staff, ‘you really value an anti-social space and time for yourself, you can’t be bothered to do much, and you’re stubborn. You’re a model B-type,’ (he laughs). Just like how I’m walking the same path with Yunho, our values are the same. But aside from that, everything else is really completely different. In fact, in the past, Yunho’s words and actions would make me think, ‘ah~ why is he like that?’ and ‘I can’t understand him at all.’ Although at some point, I started thinking I would just go along with him during those moments (he laughs). But, it’s the same with Yunho: during the times when my personality makes me try to distance myself, Yunho will step forward and go along with me. That mutual acceptance is why we have a good balance. That’s what makes me feel good now.”

This question about the changes in the nature of their relationship was also posed to Yunho.

YH: “Thinking about it now, I wonder how much Changmin’s had to endure in the past as the youngest. Truthfully, when we first debuted, there wasn’t much communication going on between Changmin and I. I tried to make a clear distinction as a leader by being stricter with myself, there was a period when I tried to oversee everything moreso than each of the members, and generally speaking, I tried with all my might to lead everyone because I thought I had to. Because of that, I didn’t have much one-on-one time with Changmin. In the beginning, I was the cheerful and positive type while Changmin seemed to be the type to never budge an inch, so whenever I saw that, I’d think, ‘will this be okay?’ I remember that we were completely like a senior and a younger brother in the past, but somewhere along the way, without realizing, we became friends. Now we’re close friends on equal footing. In the past, if I felt like he was different from usual, I’d ask, ‘did something happen?’ and talk together. Now, without saying anything, I have the confidence that ‘since it’s Changmin, he’ll be okay,’ and I rely on him a great deal as well. He seems like an older brother for me as well, especially since we always face each other one-on-one after we became a duo. We can now see the things that we weren’t able to see before and we can properly understand and match with each other. Our personalities are really 180 degree opposites but being able to attain a balance with each other in that polarity is in itself quite novel. That isn’t something that just casually happens by chance, it’s a relationship that’s built by spending time together.

YH: I’m a guy that likes to joke around but in truth, that’s really the loneliest. I hate being alone so I love people, and I want to be in the hustle and bustle and have fun. Changmin understands this fundamental aspect of me. I think that the way we understand and complement each other now is really something worth treasuring. I tried to be a progressive leader in the past, but now, it’s better that Changmin and I clear a path for ourselves together. It’s because of that that I can now have peace of mind, and in a good way, it took the burden off of my shoulders. I am only human after all and doing nothing but working so hard is exhausting (he laughs). Reassessing myself in that way, looking at everything objectively, occasionally reading the atmosphere…it isn’t just our relationship that’s changed, I myself am in the midst of growing into a man that’s more than just passionate.”

8 years since their debut. Boasting an explosive popularity in Korea, Tohoshinki has also steadily taken over since their debut in Japan. In the past, Changmin was relatively reserved in interviews, but somewhere along the way, he evolved into a being who, in his own words, has the fighting spirit of an artist.

CM: “My dream from here on out is, as expected, to go that little bit further to finally achieve a Dome Tour. Maybe Yunho’s style is different from mine; I don’t set myself sudden, colossal goals, I’m the type to do things step by step and aim at perfecting each one. Since debuting in Japan, we’ve performed at Nippon Budoukan, had an arena tour, and performed in Tokyo Dome. Now that these dreams have been fulfilled, when asked about what’s next, there’s really no other answer except a tour of Japan’s 5 Great Domes [t/n: Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo]. This is something very huge but I still wish that this can be granted. I don’t want to give up on it. The two of us may be foreigners in Japan but we’ve spent months and years living here. So many things piled up but whenever we cleared each of them one by one, we would feel so much joy and worked hard to advance to the next step. I still have that same feeling now. So the Dome Tour, and one more thing: if we can achieve a million sales, I think I’ll reward myself by buying a Lamborghini as commemoration (he laughs). I never really thought about rewards and the like in the past; it would be at the level of being able to eat delicious foods, but now that I’ve become a bit more of an adult, I’ve started becoming interested in things like cars……I also have pragmatic dreams of wanting month-long vacations, but maybe because I’ve been a workaholic for so long now, I’m scared that it seems I’d tell myself, ‘if it happens, it happens, please do work (he laughs).’”

Meanwhile, Yunho seems to have found inspiration for a stage performance even on this trip to Spain. In order for Tohoshinki to climb even higher, they constantly have to remain sharp and make sure to look one step ahead.

YH: “To me, Tohoshinki is the one place that seems like a home I can return to. Last year, I gathered many good experiences from solo activities I had during the hiatus, but when I returned to the stage as Tohoshinki, I thought, ‘this is the reason I’m alive.’ There’s nothing else that can replace it. It’s really to the extent where I want to die on the stage, because more than anything, being on that stage gives more proof than anything else that I’m alive. If there was no Tohoshinki, that stage wouldn’t exist either. If it were gone, it would be like living with no meaning. Tohoshinki is everything to me and I want Tohoshinki to succeed. Then, eventually, I want to use that foundation to support happiness in the world. Even if it doesn’t happen in this era, I’m sure the next generation will shoulder this burden. Leaving behind this sort of legacy will leave behind the existence of Tohoshinki. In order to do that, I personally respect and want to be like Michael Jackson. Dancing even at the age of 40 or 50, my goal is to have a spirit that continues to challenge new things. Since debut, we’ve challenged acapella and dance and those results have become Tohoshinki’s weapons. But that’s not enough; I think it’s a must to always show everyone a new Tohoshinki. Practically, I think that the things I learned when challenging acting and musicals during my solo activities can be applied to the current Tohoshinki. By doing so, we can progress in new ways while always being able to anticipate the step after next. I want Tohoshinki to be like that. Right now, I have a lot of new ideas. I think my problem now is that there are too many things I want to do (he laughs).”

In truth, there are certain things that they wanted to say in this photobook no matter what. Those things would be their feelings for the fans. During the shoot where they visited the sunflower field, they didn’t say anything to each other about it, but that was foremost in both their minds.

YH: “I’ve loved sunflowers since a long time ago so I was excited to be there. It was to the extent that I improvised and sang a ‘Sunflowers~’ song. At that time, I actually thought of the fans. Sunflowers signify that ‘they’ll always be there waiting,’ and concerning us, I think that that’s what our fans are. I’ve been thinking this since forever ago. The most explosive, best stages aren’t made from us alone, it’s by uniting with the fans’ energy and excitement. It has this sort of meaning, and for me, also means that the fans are the final members of Tohoshinki.

YH: During the year and half hiatus, I thought that there was nothing I could do even if our fans became fans of other artists. I wanted to think, ‘that’s good for them,’ and that even if it happened, I wanted to give an apology and say ‘I’m sorry.’ But, when we resumed our activities, seeing on stage with my owns eyes all the fans who believed in and waited for us gave me so much happiness that I couldn’t express it simply in words. I was grateful towards our fans before, but a simple ‘thank you’ isn’t enough, I want to convey it even more from my heart. That’s what I’m trying to express now in every stage. Adding in more singing and dancing, eye contact, expressions, putting in 2 to 3 times more energy than usual, it feels like I’m exceeding my own limit each time (he laughs). But, I think that those feelings are being conveyed properly to the fans. It’s the same as when I’m unwell; if I show how I feel even a little bit, it’s immediately transmitted to the fans. During the hiatus, I watched many performances and learned from them. At that time, as a viewer, I realized anew the power of conveying emotions, and it became clearer to me what it is that I myself should do on stage. If I do one thing, then I can come to see what it is I should do next. That’s what it means to grow, and it’s something that we can do to repay our fans. The fans’ faces are my own face. The fans are a mirror. For this reason, it’s important to enjoy each time we perform, and I want people to say that Tohoshinki and Tohoshinki’s fans are really having fun together. The hiatus was painful but I think it was a good thing to be able to return to that sort of unsophisticated beginning. One day, I want to make a song called ‘Sunflowers’ and send it to the fans!”

From some time ago, the staff who know the duo so well have illustrated them as such: “Yunho is the sun and Changmin is the moon.” Their individual personalities are further emphasized from Changmin’s words when talking about those same sunflowers.

CM: “Sunflowers face and bloom towards the sun. They receive nutrients from the sun to grow……I thought that the sunflowers are like us. I feel it resembles us when we’re facing the fans, but sometimes, the reverse also has to happen. I think that sometimes, we and the fans interchangeably become the sun and the sunflowers. But, the one thing I feel uneasy about is that if we’re thought of as the sun, I hope the fans won’t be like sunflowers and exist by making us their absolute.

CM: I do think that we’re here because of the fans’ support, but for fans who regard artists as their whole lives, we can’t realistically support them and become their partners. Even if our stages and products can meet their expectations, we’re not responsible for each of their lives and futures. Being sad for us, becoming unwell for us, that’s painful for me as well. ‘But, there’s nothing else that we can do except to sing.’ So, even though that’s all we can do, I hope the fans will be like sunflowers and be well after looking at the sun. If they can exist like that and receive that sort of nourishment from us, then I’ll want to work hard, and it’s something that I want to see.

CM: I, Yunho, and each of the fans, we can all only live life once. There are many chances for people to meet and I think it’s a wonderful thing that that’s when bonds are formed. But, I don’t want there to be an environment where those bonds are kept to forcibly support each other. It’s the same with my relationship with Yunho. I don’t want to forcibly make things like ‘it has to be this way.’ If you ask why, it’s because when there’s pressure, rigid things are easy to snap. Conversely, flexible things like rubber can change shape and remain unbroken during those times of pressure. I think that for important things, that sort of relationship is best.”

Even in the photobook, they showed new expressions that let us feel their growth as men. Talks of their private lives digressed to the ever constant topics of games and the manga “One Piece,” but what was most curious was the unknown philosophies of love that flickered across their faces.

CM: “As a man, I want to get married to a cute woman, become a father with a strong sense of responsibility, and be a reliable husband at all times. I do have that dream, but I think it’s a little too soon to say.

CM: The most important things in life need to be cherished according to one’s own values. Those might be different from the common consideration, but to build things using my own experiences as foundation, I want to cherish that as the most important criteria to me. Looking at it objectively, there will be times when the best choice isn’t made, but I have faith in myself that I won’t make the 100% wrong choice no matter when. If it’s in accordance with the standards I have within me, no matter how bad the choice is, I don’t think it’ll ever be the worst one.

CM: This is included in the half of me that’s extremely stubborn; because I always take a step back to assess my situation, I can’t get angry even if I want to, I won’t be able to persuade someone else, and I build up a lot of stress for myself. Because I’m the type to store up emotions until I just about suffocate myself, sometimes, it’s really exhausting (he laughs).

CM: In this way, in regards to a girl, I guess I’m the type to surrender everything to her. I get the sense that to lose to her is to win (he laughs). Which reminds me, recently, when I was watching ‘One Piece,’ there was a line that said, ‘you should listen to a woman’s lies even if you know she’s lying.’ I thought I would do that too. I wouldn’t go out with a woman that would corrupt me with lies in the first place, and if I go out with a woman that I can properly rely on, even if she lies, there won’t be problems. In the past, my feelings were simpler, there were times when I’d come to like a girl and let dating affect my work. But in these last few years especially, the way I feel and act toward people have changed. Before plunging into the feeling at once, I’ve come to calmly think about it first. To tell the truth, I like really beautiful people. But, as expected, what’s important in the object of any romantic interest is what’s on the inside. I don’t let the outward appearance lead me astray. I consider whether she’s considerate of her surroundings, have proper etiquette, and whether or not she can do fundamental things as a person. These are common, ordinary things, but finding someone like this is rather hard. I probably haven’t said this until now, but I have amazing powers of observation towards women. For example, if I see 10 women, I remember everything about them to the point where I know who was wearing what outfit and I can draw portraits of their faces. Actually, I often look from the stage as well. I’m definitely looking a lot more than the audience thinks (he laughs).”

Changmin, who had this special skill kept under wraps, declared: “I did find a lot of beautiful women in Spain, but as expected, I prefer Asian women.” On the other hand, there’s news that the day before going back to Korea, a local girl called out “pretty boy” to Yunho while he and the staff were sightseeing to hit on him!

YH: “I hardly ever get hit on so I was surprised. But since I was with everyone else……well more than that, it’s not like I would be swayed by flirting in the first place (he laughs)!

YH: But with that said, I’m not so straight-laced. Certainly, my policy is ‘actions over words.’ Following that isn’t easy, and I may be thought of as ‘very serious’ for carrying through with it, but the real me is very free spirited. My father has influenced me, and ever since I was a child, I’ve worked hard to be able to keep the promises I’ve made. That is a fact, but if I were to be a character in ‘One Piece,’ I would be Luffy. It’s just that as the leader of Tohoshinki, I have to put forward another side of me first. To tell the truth, I enjoy the gap between the two sides, and Changmin and the staff who are so close to me understand well the duality of my personality. So then, when that’s applied to having relationships, the most fundamental aspects of me are free spirited, but when it comes to people I want to protect, I don’t do things halfway. When something sad happens, I’ll want to embrace her even more than simply cheer her up, and do the things that my girlfriend wants to do. I’m the type to put that as my priority over anything else, but conversely, I often keep my own troubles to myself and then tell her afterward. Because of that, there is the occasional misunderstanding (he laughs). Even still, I think men should think this way. I’m the first-born son in my family so I’ve always had a leader-like role, and because of that, these things come naturally. But truthfully, I want to be led by my girlfriend and have her give me advice. That’s unexpected, right? To put it even more truthfully, I usually try to be cheerful in reaction to how lonely I am. In my position as leader, I have to be strong on the outside, but I dislike being alone in my room, I get uneasy when there’s no work to do, so I’ll exercise or set up a schedule so that I won’t have any unoccupied time. Because I know that about myself, I really feel that ‘I want strength.’ Of course, because I’m a guy, there are parts where I have to lead. I want to spend time together as a pair, depending on each other and being depended on, walking the same path together as two main characters. I think being able to respect each other like that is my ideal. I think I’ll become a pretty good husband. Surprisingly, I like tidiness. Since living together with the members of Tohoshinki, I came to match with my surroundings, but when I go on trips with my friends, they’ll be shocked by the way I keep the room clean and in order (he laughs). After I get married, I think I’ll help out with the housework. If she asks me, I’ll do it. I’ll wash the dishes and the like but that’s in exchange for cooking for me (he laughs).”

After two years since their hiatus, the two talk candidly in this official interview of what’s in their hearts. While growing and changing together, they give reaffirmation to the fans who’ve watched over them all this time that these two will never betray their hopes and expectations.
Lastly, the two of them have left behind off-the-record messages to each other and to their beloved fans.

YH: “It’s awkward and there are a lot of things I can’t say because I’m embarrassed, but I think Changmin’s worked extremely hard up until now. Both Changmin and I still have things to work on, but if it’s us, things will be okay. I love the relationship we have now, we believe in each other, and I’ll trust the rest of my endurance to come from myself. I think that’s enough. I’m truly grateful that up until now and even now, he’s here beside me. I’ve said ‘thank you’ countless times to convey that feeling. Truthfully, there’s one more thing I want to say to him, and that’s ‘I love Changmin,’ but that’s embarassing so I won’t say it (he laughs). I don’t think Changmin will request those words anyway. But, that’s the Changmin I love because I believe in him entirely. It’s fine if he can’t force himself to go against his own intentions, it’s fine to carry through with the path he’s envisioned for himself from now on. That’s my message to him.

YH: Now, a message to the fans……

YH: From now on, we’re going to create a history of the new Tohoshinki. I want to do that together with the fans who are Tohoshinki’s final member. Live each day to the fullest because we’ll never be able to return to them again. Because of that, we have to do things with all our might so that we won’t have regrets.

YH: Speaking truthfully, I did miss the chaos of the past when shooting on location for this photobook, and I felt just a bit lonely. But, more than that, being like this increased the memories of the two of us, and I’m really looking forward to and excited for that future. What sorts of adventures are waiting for us next? No matter what the venture is, if I’m with Changmin, we can overcome it. As for what it is we’ll see at the peak of the mountain we’re climbing, I hope the fans will be there to see it with their own eyes with us. I couldn’t directly say ‘love you’ to Changmin, but to the fans, from the bottom of my heart, I love you. Really, thank you as always! I look forward to the day when we can meet again!”

CM: “There isn’t a single thing that I consciously want to change; rather, I’m always thinking, ‘I don’t want things to change.’ I don’t have a particular ideal image that I want to become. I just want to take each of my experiences and turn them into fuel for strength, and it’d be good if I could naturally become the me that I should be. But, as Tohoshinki’s Changmin, there are things that I thought about anew in Spain. In the past, no matter what kind of picture I took—for example, taking photos that weren’t like me—since it wasn’t just my own fans who would see them……I didn’t really pay much attention to it. But now, with Yunho as two, we have to produce more in our visuals and songs in order for them to be good enough. This time, with that meaning, I think all the above have come out in a way that’s like me. I had that feeling when I was taking photos, and while relaxing due to this trip’s sense of freedom, I’ve reassessed myself so that I will be myself in the Tohoshinki from now on. Come to think of it, without the public’s gaze, I’ve walked this road alone for almost 9 years. Just before debut, I had blond hair, so even though I was a regular student, I stood out (he laughs). Releasing the feeling of tension from the public’s gaze, I could return to my original feelings once again.

CM: What I want to tell Yunho is that with our relationship as it is, compromising with each other, understanding each other, working even harder in each thing we do for work, we’ll prove to the world that the path we’re walking wasn’t the wrong one. If I’m with Yunho, I believe we can do it. It’s just this.

CM: It’s not that I can say this just because there’s 2 of us; more than anything, I can say it because I think the current circumstances I’ve chosen for myself are absolutely not wrong. Being this way, I can say with confidence to the fans having Yunho at my side of course reassures me, but even before that, having made this choice according to my personal values, I don’t have a single regret and I’m not uncertain at all. Even having said that, I don’t want say “please understand me” and force anyone to do so. I’m going to continue on this path and change nothing. It would be great if the fans can believe in us like this from now on.

CM: Truly, we’re so grateful for the fans who’ve so warmly received us. We were so happy and we received courage. When Tohoshinki returned to the stage, what illuminated us like the sun were the smiles of each of the fans. Really, thank you. We’ll continue to work hard in a way that’s just like us.”

Translated by yuxi

Distributed by hominfatale.net ~ Please take out with full credit ~

(Source: hominfatale.net)


[Trans] El Sol – Interview with Tohoshinki Part 5

The official interview after the hiatus of activities for about two years, the duo frankly spoke out the thoughts of their inner world. Consisting topics of their changes along the evolutionary growth, this could be the reaffirmation for fans who have been protecting them and them not disappointing everyone’s anticipation. As conclusion, both expressed their thoughts for dear fans and words for each other.

Yunho: It’s embarrassing. There are many words that are difficult to be expressed. Changmin is still as diligent. There are still many incompetencies for Changmin and me. However it will be okay if it’s us. I adore the current relationship we had. Believing in each other and it will all be good to work hard in believing myself. I think that’s enough. Until now, I’m really grateful for him being with me. This gratitude of mine, I have expressed a few times (to him) with “thanks”. Actually I would like to tell him, “I like Changmin.” This is too awkward thus I was unable to say it. (smiles) I think Changmin is not demanding for this declaration as well. But I really like such a Changmin. (I) believe his everything. It’s okay to not force yourself to accept what is against your meaning, and to move forward to the route you intended. This is what I want to tell him.


Then, words to fans… we will create a new history for Tohoshinki. I wish to create this with you all as one of Tohoshinki’s member. Everyday should be a highlight in life and there’s no return. In order not to be regrettable, I have to do my very best. Honestly speaking, while filming the pictorial book, I did reminisced the noisy bustle of the past and felt a bit lonely. In another way, there will be addition of new memories with the two of us. I excitedly anticipates the future. What kind of adventure awaits us next? No matter what adventure it is, I will go through it as a duo with Changmin. What can we see upon reaching the mountain top? I wish to witness it with our fans. I can’t speak out my liking to Changmin directly but to everyone, I really like you all from the bottom of my heart. I’m really thankful! Please anticipate the day we meet again!

Changmin: As far as I’m aware, there’s nothing that I need to change. Or I should say, I don’t wish to change.Kept on thinking like this, there’s actually nothing that I want to actualize. But after accumulating experiences and turning it into my drive, it will be satisfying enough to be myself naturally. As Tohohinki’s Changmin, I reconsidered during this Spain pictorial book filming trip. In the past when any photos were taken, the photos that does not depicts me well and people other than our fans were looking at it, I was not too concerned with it. However after that, taking on the visual and singing with Yunho as a duo, it has to be results of satisfaction. Based on this point, I want to display my own style more than before. Having such awareness during the photo taking, and experiencing the freedom and relaxation during the trip, I would want to face myself properly as Tohoshinki in the future. Thinking back, it has been 9 years since I walked on the street alone without caring anyone’s onlooking. Before debut, I dyed my hair golden brown and as a student, I was obvious to others. (laughs) Freeing from such anxiety that resulted from being exposed into everyone’s stares, it made me returned to where I began.

What I would like to tell Yunho is that, our relationship is as such, giving in to each other, understanding each other and then working hard for every task. Proving to the world that our route we are taking is not wrong. With Yunho, I can trust this point. However it is not due to two of us that I’m saying like this. It’s also my choice for this route and thus I can say that it’s definitely not wrong. What I can honestly say to fans is that, though I have my grounds by staying beside Yunho but this choice of road is according to my own values and choice too. No regrets and no waverings. I walk forward till today, nothing has changed so please believe us. Really thankful to everyone who welcomed us with warmth. I am really happy and gained courage. Returning as Tohoshinki on stage, shining on us like a sun were each of our fans’s smiling faces. Really thank you all. We will continue to work hard.

credit: koukitvxq@togethertvxq
trans by: rachui@sharingyoochun

[Trans] El Sol – Interview with Tohoshinki Part 4

In the pictorial book, their new looks through growth into manhood were shown and yet their personal talks in private still surrounds the same old topics of games and One Piece that it felt amusing. However, the most sought-after curiosities still remain as the unknown love theories that randomly flashes through their faces.

Changmin: As a man, I wish to get married to an adorable lady, become a responsible and trustworthy father and a husband who is always reliable. I have such a dream but it’s still too early for it right now, I guess. The most important in life is to have values that suit oneself. That is, if were to based on general theorem, there would be differences. It has to be accumulated through self-experiences. (T/N: I think he meant that issues should not be treated with generalized theorem but to be someone with own’s thinking.) To me, it has to be strongly viewed as the most important foundation. To others, it may not seems to be the ideal choice but not matter when, I have the self-confidence that it is not a 100% wrong choice. As I have followed through my own minimal foundation, therefore no matter how bad it is, it is not the worst. That consists another side of my stubbornness. I would usually step back and look at the happenings. Controlling the anger that wants to be vented, unable to be persuaded and then keeping all the pressure to myself. Having such a character of suppressing feelings to my limits, it can be exhausting at times. (laughs) Say, I am the kind who gives in to girls. On the contrary, I felt victory through losing to her. (laughs) Speaking of which, recently I remembered a quote on One Piece, “Lies of women… you still have to listen to it though you knew it’s a lie.” (T/N: Any One Piece’s lovers can feel free to enlighten or correct me for this quote if I mistranslated.) I felt the same way too. I wouldn’t start dating with girls whom I think would not work out with. If I’m able to date a girl who I can completely trust, there wouldn’t be such problems. In the past, I would innocently love a girl and allowed love life to affect my work. Especially in these few years, my thinking and behavior towards others changed. Before a new love begins, I would calmly consider. In fact, I like very pretty girls. But the most important factor for a love interest is still the inner being. Not lured by the outlook. Whether she is considerate towards surrounding happenings, proper etiquettes, able to do her basic necessities… although all these are natural abilities, it’s still difficult to find someone like that. I have never said out such words before, but I am good with ladies. For example, observing 10 girls and then remembering who was wearing what and drawing out their portraits. In fact, I always observes when I’m on stage. I actually meticulously observed more than what audiences imagined. (laughs)


Concealing such a ‘skill’, Changmin continued to say that “I found a lot of beautiful girls in Spain but I still prefer Asian girls.” As for Yunho, he was hit on by local ladies that he is a “pretty boy” while sightseeing with staffs during the free time before they returned to Korea.

Yunho: As I was not usually being approached, thus I was very surprised. Though I was with everyone, I shouldn’t be enticed in the first place! (laughs) Though saying this, I am not such an obstinate person. Correct, my way is “action more than words”. It’s not easy to live up to this and the ability to pull it through would be interpreted as “too serious”. Besides, the real me is an unrestricted (free) person. Due to my father’s influence, I have been keeping my promise and working hard for whatever I had said. (I’m) Probably alike to Luffy in One Piece. But as the leader of Tohoshinki, I have a different side of me and I actually like the antagonistic. The staffs and Changmin knew the two sides of mine well. How should I express this when changing it as my love views? I’m basically a ‘free’ man and when there’s a person that I wanted to protect, I would not do it half-heartedly. Facing sorrowful matters, I’d rather give her a hug than encouragement. Whatever she wish to do, I would try to fulfill it for her. She will be my priority and on the contrary if I have any troubles, I would probably delay in telling her and this might cause misunderstandings, I guess. (laughs) However a man has to think like this. As the eldest son in the family, I always have the leader characteristic and this transformed naturally. But I myself would wish to be led by her and hope that she can give me suggestions. Surprised much? Telling more about my thinking, I am usually cheerful but I have my lone side too. As the leader, I have to look strong on the outside but when I return to my room alone, I will be very vexing. When there’s no work, I will become uneasy and would want to do some exercise or lay down some plans to while the time away. Because I knew of my such weaknesses thus I wish to become stronger. I really felt like this. Of course as a man, there are times I have to give in. Spending time as a couple, we have to trust and rely on each other and walk down the same route together. Such a mutual-respect relationship is the best. I wish to become a good husband. Surprisingly I like tidiness. When I was living with the members during Tohoshinki, in order to accommodate the surroundings, I did not tidy up much. But when I go out on a trip with my friends, I will tidy up my room very well and it’s on a level that it surprised everyone. (laughs) After marriage, I will do the housework. If she asked me, I will do it. Washing dishes etc. But it has to be an exchange by cooking for me. (laughs)

credit: koukitvxq@togethertvxq
trans by: rachui@sharingyoochun

[Trans] El Sol – Interview with Tohoshinki Part 3

Debuted for 8 years. Tohoshinki with their explosive popularity in Korea and the gradual reveal of their true abilities since the debut in Japan. Changmin used to be reserved in interviews but now he starts to express himself of his fight as an artiste, advancing towards this reliable direction.

Changmin: The dream from now on is still the same. Advancing one more step would be the Dome tour. Perhaps due to my difference in character with Yunho, I would not set such a high target from the start, but am the kind who would fulfill each target a step at a time. Since the debut in Japan, it started with Budokan, then arena tour and then Tokyo Dome. When asked about what is next after fulfilling these dreams… I guess it has to be the five major dome tour in Japan. This is a really huge target yet I really wish to attain it… unwilling to give it up. We are foreigners in Japan but after being in Japan for so long with all the individual targets fulfilled and happy for it, I start to think about working hard for the next step. Dome tour is one of it and if record sales reaches one million, I shall just commemoratively buy a Lamborghini to reward myself. (laughs) I used to not think too much in rewarding myself… probably just a good meal etc. Recently that I’ve matured, I starts to be interested in cars… or dreams such as a month’s holiday. I have always been a workaholic till now. Though there’s time for a rest, it’s pretty scary to see myself still saying ‘Let’s clear the work!’. (laughs)


On the other hand, Yunho who has been seeking performing inspirations in Spain, has to acquire his far-sighted views in order for Tohoshinki to reach higher grounds.

Yunho: To me, Tohoshinki is my only home. During the solo activities last year, although I accumulated a lot of experiences, the moment I return to the stage of Tohoshinki I felt “This is what I live for.” It is such a significant presence. It is really exhausting on stage, but the stage is the proof of my life’s presence. Without Tohoshinki, there would not be any stage. This would be the same as though there’s no meaning for life. To me, Tohoshinki is everything and I want it to success. Bringing happiness to the world through this basis. If I was not able to complete it during this generation, I would take on this mission during the next generation. If were to continue like this, wouldn’t Tohoshinki’s presence be preserved? For this, I would want to be like Michael Jackson whom I respected, and dance even when I’m 40 or 50 years old. My target is to always have a challenging spirit. Since debut, the challenge of a cappella singing and dancing, which in turn became Tohoshinki’s ‘weapon’ (for success) but (I) cannot be satisfied with this and has to present new facets of Tohoshinki to everyone. After the challenge of solo activities and musical, (I) reflect all the newly learnt aspects on Tohoshinki. In this way, we are able to present our new style and in the meantime anticipating the next. I wish Tohoshinki would be as such. There’s a couple of new ideas right now. It can be troublesome if there are too many things wanting to be accomplished. (laughs)

They have a lot of words that they wanted to say in this pictorial book. Words for fans, that is. During the photo shooting in Spain at the sunflower field, the two of them did not tell each other of what their first impression was but they unanimously thought the same.

Yunho: Sunflower has been a flower that I like and I even impromptu composed a “Sunflower” song at the (sunflower) field. Feels good singing it. (laughs) At that point of time, I thought of fans. Sunflower has a flower language of “Awaiting at its original place” and to us, that’s fans. (T/N: Not sure if there’s mistranslation, but the flower language for Sunflower are commonly love and purity. Though I find one with ‘loyalty’. Or probably it is Yunho’s way of interpreting it.) This is what I believed, the energy that exploded together with the audience is the best. It meant to me that fans are the final member of Tohoshinki. On hiatus for a year and a half, I thought that it can’t be helped if fans became other artistes’ fans. (I) tried to think it as “that’s good in a way too”. Even if that happened, we would still want to apologize to the fans. However when our activities restarted, looking from the stage at the fans who have been waiting and believing in us… that joy experienced was unable to be expressed with words. I did thought of expressing my gratitude to fans but just a “thank you” is not enough, I want to relay it with my heart. Thus, whenever I’m on the stage singing and dancing, my exchange of glances (with audiences) and expressions were twice or thrice of usual vitality… feels that I’m exceeding my own limits every time. (laughs) I hoped this feeling of mine can be relayed to the audiences. Relaying the livening up of the atmosphere too when I’m in a bad shape. During the hiatus, I watched a lot of performances and learnt a lot. At that point as an onlooker, I indeed received the drive from the performers. Therefore it concreted my feeling that we should be like this on stage too. After doing this, then we’ll continue with the next. Advancing through such, repaying our debts of gratitudes. Fans’ expressions are our expressions. Fans are like (our) mirrors, thus enjoying the stage is important. I would like this to be said (by others): Tohoshinki and Tohoshinki’s fans enjoyed themselves. It is indeed tough during the hiatus, but it’s good that we return back to our grounds. When shall I sing “Sunflower” song to everyone!

Not sure when was it that a staff, who is close to the duo, came up with a metaphor, “Yunho is the sun and Changmin is the moon.” The sunflower topic by Changmin emphasized their characteristics.

Changmin: Sunflower blooms while facing the sun. Then, it grows while receiving the nutrients from sun… I think we are akin to sunflowers. The theory is the same as towards fans, but at times it’s the other way round. Probably, fans and our positions are interchangeable. But one point to be emphasized, if we are the sun, we do not want to be that critical presence as alike to sunflower. I admit that we exists due to the support by fans. However artistes in fans’ lives are not real-life partners. Through the stage and works, we reply fans’ anticipation but we did not bear the responsibility of fans’ lives and future. We made you sad and in low spirits. This is agonizing for us. “Therefore, we can only sing with all our might.” Although we can only do this and just like sunflower recovering spirits and receiving nutrients upon seeing the sun, treating us as a nutrient boost and then continued to work hard. I hope to see you all like this. Me, as well as Yunho and every fans… everyone has their one and only lifetime. There are a lot of interactions between human beings and attachments (to each other) resulted might be beautiful but such attachments, to forcefully support each other for few years… I don’t want to create such a environment. The relationship between me and Yunho are the same. Forcefully with “It should be like this”, I don’t wish it to become such a relationship. Why did I say this? Tough materials are vulnerable to impact. On the contrary, things like rubber such a soft material is flexible and would not be spoilt easily. This will be best for the relationships that I cherished.

credit: koukitvxq@togethertvxq
trans by: rachui@sharingyoochun

[Trans] El Sol – Interview with Tohoshinki Part 2

As Changmin was accepting the interview, his hand was circling the props used for the photo shoot when it came a halt at a small beach photo. Then, he smiled and starts to talk.

Changmin: Recently, I’m troubled. After we became a duo, the pressure from the surroundings towards our relationship is huge! (laughs) Of course our relationship has been good since we debuted for 8 years. Since the day we’ve met, we have been in close interactions for the past 10 years and we are able to know what the other party is thinking just by seeing his expressions. The photo shooting for this (pictorial album) is as always, “Here, shall we take an intimate shot?”, “Stand close to each other.” In fact, that is how our good relationship are ‘displayed’, isn’t it awkward? Especially when my personality is not like that. But our good relationship are being displayed in this way, fans would be happy too thus it’s good. We are not in such a superficial relationship. On the contrary, it seems intentional if were to show everyone deliberately. That’s not our usual selves. It’s because we are living together thus isn’t it weird if we did all these (T/N: intimate photo shoot poses) in our daily lives? However during the photo shooting of this pictorial book, I experienced the sense of liberation in traveling and was able to laugh to my heart’s content at the beach. I accidentally discovered an expression of Yunho which I don’t know. It was interesting.

When asked what expression was that, Changmin replied “The shower scene” and burst out laughing. Speaking of Yunho, he was always being labeled with “passionate man”. Was there an other side of him to this?

Changmin: I used to tell Yunho, “Isn’t it better to lift some burden off your shoulders?” But I know it’s useless (to tell him that). (laughs) He really has always been too serious. But this is how Yunho is and I acknowledged this. Friendship is not built as you like it. It’s the sharing of time and experiences, and the further understanding it. As for me, I have two sides to my personality. Saying it myself, I’m impatient and shy. I will neither trust the other party easily without any in-depth interactions nor pour my heart out to him/her. Staff said, “Kind of aloof way of cherishing own time and space, very troublesome and very stubborn. Indeed a typical B blood type.” (laughs) Right now I am moving forward on the same route as Yunho and our values are the same, though other aspects are totally different. Indeed in the past towards Yunho’s words or actions, I would always be saying, “Ah! Why was it like this?”, “I don’t understand (him).” But, since when did I start thinking about giving way (to him) at times like this? (laughs) Yunho is the same towards me too. Whenever I was outspoken with my personality, he would initiate to give way to me. We have this well-balanced mutual agreement. Thus I am in a good mood.

The same question about relationship changes was posed to Yunho again.

Yunho: Thinking upon it now, Changmin might have endured a lot in the past as the youngest. Actually, during our debut, I interacted the least with Changmin. As a leader I need to prepare a lot of other stuffs. I have to be stricter to myself, compared to now. Compared with the members, I have to take charge of the whole situation, I have to lead the whole group into working hard, that is. The time spent one-to-one with Changmin was not much. I am cheerful and enthusiastic but Changmin is careful and cautious. Whenever I see him like this, I would be thinking, “Is he alright?” Previously we were like older and younger brothers, then slowly becoming friends and now its as though we are (same-level) close friends. In the past, whenever I find him weird, I would ask, “What happened?” Now I don’t have to say anything and I would understand, “Since it’s Changmin, he would be fine”, trust like this and 100% dependable. It felt as though I gained an older brother. Especially after we became a duo, we often engaged in talks. The parts where we don’t understand in the past, it was fully understood now. Understanding each other very well because our personalities are completely 180 degrees different. To attain the balance between such total difference is not easy and it was not due to any coincidences, it was slowly formed through the time spent together. Me? I love to joke around but in actual, I’m the loneliest. Because of loneliness, I love to be in groups and in bustle. Changmin knew this side of me and the way we are mutual understanding and complementing each other now, it’s really is a treasure. From my previous position, I was the aggressive leader. Embarking on this road with Changmin, I have some free time and lifted off burden in goodwill. As expected, I am a human being, it’s exhausting to always be working hard. (laughs) Perfecting myself, judge objectively and to remember to meticulously observe the surroundings… It’s not that our relationship changes, it’s just my evolvement towards being a man who possessed more than just passion.

credit: togethertvxq
trans by: rachui@sharingyoochun

[Trans] El Sol – Interview with Tohoshinki Part 1‏


It has been almost half a year since they restarted their activities and on this day in June 2011, the two of them came to Costa Del Sol of Andalucia in southern Spain. Shooting the duo’s first pictorial book in this 5 days 4 nights trip around three cities. Different from Changmin who always sets his own pace, Yunho’s character to be adaptable to the surroundings was observed right from the first day.

Yunho: The similarity between Spain and Tohoshinki, I think it’s “passionate”? Though the schedules (in Spain) are tight, from the interactions with the passersby, they (Spanish) are nonchalant and very passionate. I felt a lot of people as such and they are alike to us. [T/N as in he felt that Spanish are very passionate so they (him and Spanish) are alike. ]

This is the analysis of Yunho the leader who possessed the passion since their debut to lead his group to the peak. Though with a ‘poker face’, Changmin’s innermost is as passionate. Last summer, when the two stepped on the stage of SM TOWN as Tohoshinki, the uneasiness and pressure immediately transformed into their own exploding motivation, betting on their pride as Tohoshinki to arrive on the stage once again. Thinking back on that day, Changmin said, “Standing on stage, my legs kept trembling.” Probably the reason behind the trembling was the eruption of passion for singing due to the suppression of it during their activities hiatus that can’t be helped.


Changmin: Honestly, how fans and people who understands Tohoshinki think and what were their worries… that was probably the most nerve-wrecking stage ever. But the moment when I got off the stage, I heard the enormous cheer. “I am Tohoshinki”, “It’s very good being Tohoshinki.” I think this is the unwavering truth. As I regained my confidence, I was not that unease and worried during the restarting of activities this year. “Sorry for making everyone waited for so long.”, “Shall show everyone our abilities,” such stance we held. Simple and without losing myself, my thinking that is. Though I said it like this, during the decision to appear on the television program ‘Music Station’, I naively thought that appearing on such a famous live telecast music program, we would probably be chided that “after becoming as duo, there’s incompetency.” However, we “cannot have such negative thoughts.”, “We have to let them see our abilities.” I still remember how Yunho and I were encouraging each other at back stage. After the successful performance, I was relieved at the relative non-existence of negative judgement. Probably, after saying “Let’s go!” and the exchange of glances with Yunho, I have been maintaining such ambience for the following six months. I was holding on to such thoughts.

After the decision to carry on the name of Tohoshinki as duo, Yunho started to fight against his own uneasiness and pressure, living everyday in a state of self-doubting.

Yunho: After becoming the leader, I had the habit of considering things as a leader and not based on own’s feelings. There were times I’m being willful when considering things too. In fact, things to change, things not to change, all these have to be digested and it wasn’t easy. However I had the reaffirmation of “It will all work well with Changmin as a duo” during the summer event. To say it as a new beginning, it can also be said as a “risky beginning”. It naturally became an exciting daily motivation. Compared with before, everything seems even more important now. Ever since being an artiste, whenever there’s any good results, there would be unawareness and tinge of treating it as a norm. However right now, it felt as though I was caught in a sudden fall and then rising up, a feel of neither here nor there. As a duo Tohoshinki, restarting from 1, but have to climb to the top faster than before. As we have the techniques and experiences, we gained new feelings through the past experiences. It can be say that it’s the feel of being a new artiste who is not exactly “new”. Previously as a leader, I would move forward with a cautious mind of “how this would turn out to be”. Now as an artiste, I do my best with singing and left the rest to the hands of the audiences. I’ve became more laid-back. Staff also mentioned that the unique glow has appeared and I felt that I am currently en route to being a meaningful artiste.

The two of them evolved through a surrounding of pessimistic criticism and it was not easy to rebuild that motivation. Because of that, their heart and mind during the hiatus were not gaugeable. The kinds of difficulties they have been though, the story would be depicted through this pictorial book.

Changmin: Recently I have been told that my looks changed the most. I did made a comparison of the photos when I just debuted, it indeed changed a lot compared from a few years ago and now. I don’t really know how it changed. Probably it’s my heartfelt matters portrayed on my face? Yunho said it restarted from 1 but I don’t think so. When you have nothing, in order to portray a new look, one can only believe the 8 years (since debut) and oneself. Therefore I don’t think it started from 1. Indeed many things changed. When two people was bearing the whole stage, if we had felt that the stage is empty, the audience must have felt the same relay of our feelings too. Therefore we worked hard to not be like that and can only do that. If I felt that I was good in the past and to show that to the audience, it would be sorry to the audience and I really don’t wish to be like that. In fact, compared to others, it’s me who doesn’t want to acknowledge this. No matter what chance it is, this is the road I chose. Braving it all for this correct route, if you feel that it’s correct then go ahead and do it well. Then, I hope to show the world that what I have chosen is correct. This is my biggest motivation.

credit: togethertvxq
trans by: rachui@sharingyoochun

To be continued…..