The father of U-Know Yunho gave an interview to a Japanese reporter several years ago. It was a revealing one. Yunho is fiercely protective of his family and is fiercely private. Such an interview is rare but more importantly, it provided a lot of insights about the man we know mostly as the leader of the most successful boyband to ever come out of Korea. We know a few other things about him, mostly based on the stories from other people.
We know he has strict work ethics. We know he is dedicated to his work. We know he is loyal. We know he is protective of the people he loves. We know he has class. This interview will partly explain how he became the man he is now and give new insights that will make us all realize just how rare of a breed U-Know Yunho is nowadays.
Note #1: This article is not for long-time fans of DBSK or U-Know Yunho but for new fans, non-fans or “passive” fans. However, the analysis still might be able to shed some new insights for everyone.
Note#2: Thank you to the fans that keeps on sending me information about Yunho, DBSK and other Korean celebrities. I will write about the topics you suggest as soon as I get enough information for a valuable article.
#1- Nothing Comes for Free
Yunho came from a smart family. They are all successful in their careers and all of them are self-made. Whatever they have, they worked for it on their own. That’s why Yunho’s learned how to plan for the future and value what they have. He knew that at the end of the day, they cannot count on anyone else to help them.
It was the same value he wanted Yunho to learn. Barely into the first grade, Yunho’s father told Yunho that he will have to earn half his allowance by doing household work. One of Yunho’s regular tasks is shining and cleaning his father’s shoes. After several months, he told Yunho to earn half his allowance outside the house. He had to look for a job, a real one.
Now, let’s just put everything in perspective here. Yunho was an elementary kid. At that age, all I was really concerned about was food, playmates and sleep. Making money was a strange concept, if not a totally ridiculous idea to me. As far as I was concerned, all I had to do was breath and I had the right to an allowance PLUS food and shelter.
Yunho was asked to earn all of it. At an early age, Yunho’s father wanted him to understand that although he is loved, that love doesn’t grant him automatic privileges. Being born in the family automatically grants him love but it does not automatically make him a privileged prince. He needs to earn and prove his worth, not to the family but to himself, the way every man in his family has done.
#2- Know Your Purpose
Yunho comes from a family of prosecutors. In fact, that’s what his father wanted him to become. At an early age, whenever Yunho wanted something that is not a necessity, Yunho had to “defend” it with reason and convince him that Yunho must have it.
When Yunho told his father he wanted to join a dance competition, he was asked to explain in detail why he just had to join the competition. When he won and decided to go to Seoul to join another competition, he had to defend it again. Yunho came up to his father and said that having won the Gwangju competition, it became his responsibility to represent his city to the national competition. It wasn’t a matter of his personal desire. The city declared him to be the best in the whole of Gwangju, he needs to do his best and prove that the best from Gwangju can hold a candle amongst the best in the whole of South Korea.
A pretty neat argument, don’t you think? He was able to use solid reasons. One he established that he is doing it from something they both care about, the city’s reputation. Second, he established that it is beyond his own vanity but pride for the city.
More than that, Yunho’s father trained him to understand his own desires before he does something. That way, he can make better decisions because it is not just about the what but more importantly, the why.
#3- Yunho’s Maturity at a Young Age
When Yunho’s father lost his job, the family didn’t experience financial ruin because he was able to save some money for rainy day. However, Yunho realized two important things, that the savings won’t last forever and everyone in the family need to contribute.
Yunho did say that he knew his parents were protecting him and his sister from the burden of his father losing his job when his father took manual jobs to continue supporting the family even if he was a vice president in his previous job.
Yunho didn’t want to burden his family with expenses that are not necessary. So much so that he started helping in the expenses of his sister’s education. Yunho didn’t completely put his sister through school but he shouldered the expenses that will allow his sister to continue experiencing normal, memorable and valuable high school activities such as field trips.
Yunho also protected his father at a young age. Not wanting to worry his father for taking such a responsibility at such a young age, he kept it a secret from his parents. Yunho knew that it would break his parents wanted nothing more but for him and his sister to live a normal childhood and not worry about the financial burden of the family. Yunho gave his parents that. He protected his parents by allowing them believe that they are protecting him.
#4- Yunho Was Raised Knowing the Value of His Word
Yunho is open about the fact that his father was never in favor of his dreams to become a singer. His father wanted him to become a lawyer like many of the men in his family. When Yunho told his father he wanted to train under SM, his father gave him his blessings but with strict conditions. Those conditions were set to make Yunho return to Gwangju and pursue being a lawyer. Yunho’s father didn’t give him any financial support and the moment his father learns it is becoming hard for Yunho, he must return to Gwangju. It was a gentleman’s deal.
Yunho had to work multiple jobs just to finance his training that he ended up sleeping in train stations because he couldn’t even afford to pay rent. The question is why did his father not learn about it? The answer is simple, Yunho never told him. His deal was his father was that he will return to Gwangju the moment his father learns it was becoming hard for him. His father counted on the fact that Yunho is good for his word. He will tell him the moment it becomes hard on him.
And Yunho was good for his word.
Yunho was pursuing his dream and for him, skipping meals and sleeping in train stations were all part of the training, the price he had to pay to achieve his dreams. It was not hard. It was mere consequences of his actions.
#5- His Father Never Forsook Him
His father was against his dreams and he did everything he could to get Yunho back to Gwangju to study law but he never forsook him. He simply didn’t know that Yunho was going through the things he was going through. His father said that had Yunho asked for financial support while training for SM, he would have given him money but Yunho never asked. Never. He never cried. He never complained. Yunho knew he was doing something his father never wanted him to do. He should learn how to face the consequences of his own action, pay the price of his dreams. Yunho was becoming a man in his own way.