(credit: Can’t remember source for any of the images! Miahne!)
This time last year I was a baby jangeo (eel aka fan of Jang Keun Suk/Sukkie). I remember basking in post YAB (The Korean series You Are Beautiful/He is Beautiful) afterglow and hoarding information, images and video footage of my brand new idol like mad (as every fan girl must.) I remember I wrote a post about how I discovered him and everything that I thought was so wonderful about him.
I can scarcely believe its been more than a year. Thinking about that made me think I ought to do a bit of a retrospective.
I have changed and grown in this year but it seems I still love my Sukkie! ^^ The interesting thing is, I think he has changed and grown even more than I have.
Of course, the core things I love about him are still there. He’s still this beautiful boy/man full of precocious energy and charm. His smile and his laugh are still infectious and his voice still bone melting. He’s still almost compulsively watchable both on and behind the scenes.
His popularity has grown phenomenally in this past year and his schedule has become more punishing including just scads of campaigns and adverts, a TV series, multiple fan concerts around asia as JKS and as part of DJ Party “Lounge H,” and a record breaking, chart topping debut album for an artiste that is not even a singer. It’s almost scary seeing how the crowds have doubled then tripled in just 1 year at his events. I realize that I found him just as the upward curve of his popularity began (*sighs* remember when it was like he was just ours! Huc! Bittersweet T-T).
He used to laughingly say he wanted to take over the world and now I have to say, he seems to have conquered at least a good piece of Asia. There’s almost no part of the continent where you wouldn’t find someone that knows of him. This is due partly to the Hallyu Wave which is still an ongoing cultural phenomenon around the world. Korea has created a niche for itself in creating addictive dramas and Pop songs populated by some of the most beautiful people in the world! Due to Hallyu Wave the internet is full of Korean pop culture that has garnered many international fans.
But I think thats only part of it. The rest is fascination. I believe Sukkie has characteristics that just fascinate people. It’s his physical appearance; an almost feminine beauty yet undeniably masculine aura (like a shoujo manga bishounen come to life), it’s the crazy and often times questionable dressinge. It’s how he’s a complete mixture of boy and man. It’s how he gives interviews so well that you forget how young he really is! It’s the way he always seems to be giving his all without any reservations. It’s the famously strong relationship he continues to maintain with his jangeos and the way he handles the growing attention and pressure on him with grace, patience, cheerfulness and often times a large streak of despotic mischief. And even these descriptions don’t quite capture it I think.
The last two characteristics continue to be my favourite, though. I love how he handles his fans. In his Princedom (and make no mistake, it is a prinicipality and he is a Regent in residence that rules with a firm but humerous hand) he has turned his fans into his playmates, his confidantes, his partners in crime (when it comes to getting things he wants from Mama Jang) his dongsaengs (when fans have misbehaved and must be scolded), his creative partners, and ultimately, that friend you talk about films, books and music with far into the night. He is a natural nurturer and has carefully groomed the relationship over the years starting from when they were just a few to now when they are thousands upon thousands. This is why his fans can’t leave him alone.
He is currently a big hit in Japan and the videos below attempt to define what it is that captures us so much about him:
It’s true of course that not everyone sees him this way.
My cousin who is also into korean and japanese stuff is more into more overtly masculine types like Lee Byung Hun and Oh Ji Ho ( and Lord knows I don’t blame her! hubba hubba!!!) and she said to me she feels Sukkie looks like an underfed woman.
I thought about it and I realized that I had also thought that (maybe in kinder words, hehe!) on one or two occasions due to one look or the other. And other eels have actually said it every now and then: Wow, he looks like an ahjumma or OMG he’s prettier than me or Omo! I thought that was a girl…!
And yet does it make sense that we love him even with that? It seems to me like it’s part of that magnetic pot pourri that is him. Because of it, even when we wander away to our other biases or discover new ones, we always, always find ourselves coming back.
Endlessly fascinated by our Sukkie.