Jay Park: What does Korea mean to him?Posted: May 12, 2011
Jay Park recently had an interview with Sports Seoul, revealing his thoughts on Korea after his return to the Korean entertainment business, especially answering the question: What does Korea mean to Jay Park?
September 8, 2009, 6:30 pm. At the height of popularity, 2PM leader, Park Jaebum (Jay Park) without any notice, puts himself on a plane to Seattle. After the spread of his remarks about Korea as a trainee, criticism was spreading like wildfire, so in just 4 days, Jay announced his departure from the team and, feeling like a fugitive, left Korean soil.
Even after this, news about Jay Park rocked the Korean entertainment world. Personal issues (relationships with other 2PM members and JYPE artists), black list (similar to Korean military service “dodgers”), management changes, and other rumors ceaselessly spread through the news. In one moment Korea was cheering on Jay, in another, Korea shot him with an arrow that was too difficult for Jay to bear. Just letting this situation fill your mind, this place could easily become a place you wouldn’t want to see again. Yet, Jay Park returned, like going to Korea is “fate.”
First Knowledge of Korea; Korea that Sent Jay Back to Seattle, and Korea Now
Jay first knew of Korea as his mother’s country. So, although his own nationality is American, from a young age, he was attracted to Korea. Then, in 2005, at the age of 18 (Korean age), his first experience of the mother country proved that Korea is very different from he had originally thought.
Jay said, “When I [first] came to Korea, I realized that I live a completely different life from my [Korean] colleagues,” saying, “I wanted to enjoy it, because I liked dancing and rapping, but I didn’t understand why I had to learn while going through so many hard experiences. That situation was really hard on me,” reflecting on his trainee days. “Even the curriculum I was learning was different then I expected; separated from my parents, inadequate in Korean, just understanding was difficult,” Jay expressed his thoughts.
No one would expect that something written on his personal page from that time would come back like a cyclone four years later. Feeling confused by the differences in culture, “I want to come back,” and “Korea is whack,” written in messages to his friend, later came to spread widely. Because 2PM was at the top of popularity [and some mistranslation of American vernacular, often translated to Korean with the feeling, "I hate Korea. I want to leave."] the news spread even more quickly. Soon, reactions rushed in like a downpour, filled with criticism, “Leave Korea.” [And more serious requests to "Disappear" and "Just end it," wore heavily on the young singer.] In the end, Jay, escaping the bullying, packed his bags and left for America, 4 days after the news first hit.
To this, Jay felt, “I was young and stupid, so I said some dull-witted words. I thought that [Korean fans] could really be hurt,” he continued, “Little-by-little, my Korean got better, I started liking the food, I was making a lot of friends, so I liked [living in Korea], so it was a little heartbreaking [for the news to come out like that]. I felt that I disappointed my parents and was really depressed.”
It would be 21 months until Jay would perform again. Stating “fate” as his reason to return to Korea, soon questions of “How do you feel returning to Korean soil?” or “Don’t you feel sore about your return to Korea?” have all become null. Jay asserts, “It’s nothing like that. I proud to have Korean blood.”
“Breaking contact with 2PM… I would be happy to meet them again!”
Jay Park is on a new start with a new song and album that benefited from Jay’s personal touch. Filled with excitement for his first solo performance, Jay says, “My heart always skips a beat when I go up to perform. Even though it’s been a long time since I’ve come to the broadcasting station, it doesn’t feel awkward at all.”
But, the six friends and members with whom he shared so much pain and joy are no longer at his side. Jay expressed, “It’s burdensome thinking of performing by myself.” As for now, Jay hasn’t been able to stay in contact with his former 2PM members. “I would be really glad to run into them again and have some activities together, even if it’s by accident,” it seems like Jay is waiting for the opportunity. The 2PM of the past and those memories still remain in the corner of Jay and the fans’ minds.
This album is a big change for Jay. It’s not that he’s 2PM’s former member, but this time, it’s the real Jay. He didn’t have to search very far. The “Take a Deeper Look” mini album’s seven tracks’ lyrics were all written by Jay. Not only that, Jay also shouldered the responsibilities of producing for the complete album. For six of the songs, Jay even displayed his talents as a musician.
“Not just plain idol Park Jaebum, I want to show my true colors, my true life,” he explained, “I didn’t particularly study song composition, but I wrote what I was feeling by myself.” The title song “Abandoned” took 6 months to complete, but after that, pushing down the accelerator, he gathered over 20 songs. Amongst these songs, there are a few he will give to other artists.
Finally, Jay Park brightly smiles, “Aspiration? Plan? I haven’t made one yet. I’m just going with the flow. While doing the things I like, dance, rap, hip hop, R&B, I want to live naturally and honestly. If I can share this feeling with many people, it would be nice.”