Yunho

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Yunho
Kpop World Festival 113 (cropped).jpg
Native name 정윤호
Born Jung Yun-ho[1]
(1986-02-06) February 6, 1986 (age 29)
Gwangju, South Korea
Other names U-Know
U-Know Yunho
Yunho (ユンホ?)
Alma mater Myongji University
Chungwoon University
Occupation
  • Singer-songwriter
  • actor
Years active 2001; 2003–present
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • guitar
Labels
Associated acts
Jung Yun-ho
Hangul 정윤호
Hanja
Revised Romanization Jeong Yun-ho
McCune–Reischauer Jung Yunho
Stage name
Hangul 유노윤호
Hanja
Revised Romanization Yu-no Yun-ho
McCune–Reischauer Yuno Yunho
This is a Korean name; the family name is Jung.

Jung Yun-ho (born February 6, 1986),[2] also known by his stage name U-Know Yunho or simply U-Know, is a South Korean singer, actor, and a member of the pop duo TVXQ. Born and raised in Gwangju, South Korea, Yunho auditioned for the Korean talent agency S.M. Entertainment in 2001. After over two years of training, Yunho debuted with TVXQ in December 2003.

Fluent in both Korean and Japanese, Yunho has achieved commercial success throughout Asia as a member of TVXQ. Known as "Asia's Stars" and the "Kings of K-Pop",[3] TVXQ have released fifteen studio albums and performed on record-breaking concert tours; their sixth Japan-wide tour, the Time Tour, was the highest-grossing concert tour ever held by a foreign music act in Japan. TVXQ are the first non-Japanese music act to hold a concert in the Nissan Stadium, Japan's largest outdoor stadium. According to the Oricon, TVXQ records the most number-one singles for a foreign music act in Japan.[4] They have since sold over 7 million albums there, making them one of Japan's best-selling foreign artists.[5]

Early life[edit]

Yunho was born and raised in Gwangju, South Korea. He has one younger sister. Several members of Yunho's family worked in the legal industry, and Yunho's own childhood dream was to be a prosecutor.[6] When he was in middle school, he and a few other friends formed the dance team A+, and they competed in various dance competitions around the country. After winning a prize at the 1st Annual SM Best Competition in 1999, Yunho signed with S.M. Entertainment and officially started his training in 2001.

His family, who suffered greatly from the 1997 Asian financial crisis,[7] were initially against his decision to become a singer. In order to provide for himself while he trained in Seoul, Yunho took up various part-time jobs in the city, such as working snow removal in the morning and as a waiter at night. He spent most of his high school vacations in Seoul training, only returning to Gwangju for the school years.[8] Sometime later, Yunho suffered a hormonal imbalance in his throat and underwent surgery, which affected his vocal cords.[9] After losing his voice, Yunho considered giving up his training.

Throughout his years as a trainee, Yunho was put in four temporary groups, all which later disbanded. In late 2001, at the age of fifteen, Yunho was featured as a rapper and backup dancer in Dana's debut single "Diamond", and briefly toured with her.[10] Around 2002, Yunho was selected to be a backup dancer for Shinhwa and was chosen to be part of the project boy band Four Seasons, which also consisted of fellow trainees Jaejoong, Heechul, and Kangin. The project group was later dropped when Yunho and Jaejoong joined TVXQ in early 2003. Seventeen-year-old Yunho was appointed as the group's leader.

Yunho's stage name "U-Know", a nickname he has been using since high school, reflects Yunho's position as the leader, who is always trying to understand others.[11]

Music career[edit]

Main article: TVXQ

2003–09: Debut and international success with TVXQ[edit]

The final line-up of TVXQ consisted of Yunho, Max Changmin, Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu. The group officially debuted on December 26, 2003 during a BoA and Britney Spears showcase, where they performed their debut single "Hug" and an a capella rendition of "O Holy Night". On January 14, 2004, "Hug" was officially released, peaking at #4 on South Korea's monthly music charts. In October 2004, the group released their first studio album Tri-Angle, which was their first number-one record.

In late 2004, TVXQ signed with the Avex sub-label, Rhythm Zone. Under the name Tohoshinki, TVXQ debuted in Japan with their first Japanese single "Stay with Me Tonight" in April 2005, but it achieved lukewarm results on the Oricon Singles Chart, selling only 10,000 copies during its 5-week charting. After releasing their second Japanese single "Somebody to Love" in July 2005, TVXQ returned to South Korea to release their second studio Rising Sun in September 2005. The album was a commercial success, debuting atop South Korea's monthly album chart and finished the year as the fourth best-selling Korean album of 2005.

TVXQ released their first Japanese studio album Heart, Mind and Seoul in March 2006, but it struggled in Japan's charts, selling only 20,000 copies in the first month of release. However, TVXQ's third Korean album "O"-Jung.Ban.Hap., released in September 2006, was a financial success, selling over 458,000 copies and topped the year-end charts as South Korea's best-selling album of 2006.

On January 16, 2008, a week before the release of TVXQ's third Japanese studio album T, the group released their first number-one song in Japan, "Purple Line". Their following singles "Beautiful You / Sennen Koi Uta" and "Dōshite Kimi o Suki ni Natte Shimattandarō?" also debuted at number one on the weekly Oricon, and TVXQ became the first foreign artist to achieve three consecutive number-one singles in Japan.[12]

The group's fourth Korean album Mirotic was released on September 26, 2008 to record-breaking success. It was the best-selling Korean album of 2008 and sold over 110,000 records in three days, setting the record for one-week sales in South Korea. TVXQ still holds this record today. The album's lead single, "Mirotic" is the group's most successful single, being touted by critics as a staple song of K-pop.[13][14][15] The album itself became the best-selling album among Korea's second-generation idols, earning the name "Album of the Decade."[16] As of July 2012, the album has sold over 600,000 records.[17] The album itself won Album of the Year at the 2008 Mnet KM Music Festival and the Disk Daesang at the 23rd Golden Disk Awards.

2009–10: TVXQ split and indefinite hiatus[edit]

In July 2009, members Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu attempted to split with their agency S.M. Entertainment. TVXQ's activities in Korea immediately ceased after October 2009, but the band continued to release Japanese singles under Rhythm Zone until March 2010. The three members formally left TVXQ in April 2010, and formed their own band JYJ. Yunho suffered depression following the split with JYJ, and was blamed by fans for failing to protect the group.[18]

During TVXQ's indefinite hiatus,[19] Yunho performed in the Korea leg of the posthumous Michael Jackson concert This Is It. He trained in Los Angeles and Las Vegas with Genevieve Gleary, Morris Pleasure, and others who once worked closely with Jackson. The project was the first joint production between Korea and the U.S.,[20] and Yunho performed on March 27 and 28 at the War Memorial of Korea, Yongsan-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.

From August to September 2010, Yunho and remaining TVXQ bandmate Changmin performed in Seoul, Los Angeles and Shanghai as part of the SMTown Live '10 World Tour.[21] Their future still uncertain at the time, Yunho performed a solo, "Keep Your Head Down" and joined Changmin to perform a new song, "Maximum." Their two-piece performances were warmly-received by fans, prompting Yunho and Changmin's decision to continue TVXQ as a duo.

2011–15: TVXQ's return as a duo[edit]

Yunho and Changmin finally returned as a duo in January 2011,[22] and released TVXQ's fifth Korean album Keep Your Head Down, selling over 320,000 copies. Yunho's solo track, "Honey Funny Bunny"' is featured in the album. Preparing for their return to Japan, Yunho and Changmin renewed their contracts with Avex, switching their record label from Rhythm Zone to Avex Trax.[23] In September 2011, the duo released TVXQ's fifth Japanese album Tone, the band's first original album to release number one in Japan. Tone went to become TVXQ's second best-selling studio album in Japan, selling over 330,000 copies and certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. The duo embarked on their first Japan-wide tour, the Tone Tour, from January to April 2012, attracting 550,000 people and grossing US$74 million. Meanwhile, Yunho and Changmin starred in the SM documentary I AM., a documentary film that chronicles TVXQ's and other S.M. artists milestone to be the first Asian artists to perform at Madison Square Garden. The film features Yunho and Changmin's journey to that point, including archival footage, reflection interviews, and rehearsals.

In September 2012, TVXQ released their sixth Korean album Catch Me. Throughout most of 2013, TVXQ stayed in Japan to embark on their Japan-wide tour, the Time Tour to promote their sixth Japanese album Time. One of the highest-grossing tours of the year, the Time Tour broke numerous attendance records, having mobilized over 850,000 live audiences and being credited as the largest and highest-grossing concert tour ever held by a foreign act in Japan. In addition to those achievements, the duo are also known for being the first foreign act to headline a concert at Japan's largest outdoor stadium, the Nissan Stadium, the last stop of the tour. The tour ultimatelly grossed US$93 million from 18 shows. At the same time, TVXQ embarked on their Catch Me World Tour to promote their Korean releases.

TVXQ celebrated their tenth debut anniversary with a two-day residency called "Time Slip" at the Korea International Exhibition Center, which was part of the SMTOWN Week music festival. On January 6, 2014, the duo released TVXQ's seventh Korean album Tense. The album's repackaged version Spellbound includes "November With Love", a solo track performed and co-written by Yunho. A month after the release of Spellbound, TVXQ released their seventh Japanese album Tree and embarked on their seventh Japan-wide tour to promote the album. In December 2014, TVXQ released their eighth Japanese album With and toured Japan the following year with the With Tour, the duo's second concert tour to perform in all five of Japan's concert domes. At the same time, TVXQ embarked on their tenth anniversary tour, Tistory: Special Live Tour, for their Korean releases.

2015: U Know Y and second hiatus[edit]

On May 25, 2015, it was announced that Yunho would release his first Japanese solo mini album U Know Y. Consisting of seven tracks, the mini album includes five songs that were previously performed by Yunho during TVXQ's concerts and solo events in Japan. The new track "Burning Down" was selected to be the album's lead single. Bundled with a DVD that includes a music video and behind-the-scenes footage, U Know Y received a limited release, and was only made available for purchase to members of TVXQ's Japanese fanclub, Bigeast.[24] The album's official website was launched on June 10.[25] The mini album was released on July 8, 2015.

The two encore concerts for Tistory were held on June 13 and 14. The shows were the duo's two last headlining concert before taking their two-year hiatus to enlist in the Republic of Korea Armed Forces.

Acting career[edit]

Yunho had brief acting cameos on the first few years of his career. The members of TVXQ made their acting debuts in the SBS entertainment miniseries Banjun Theater, appearing on six episodes that aired from February to March 2006. Yunho also made a two-episode guest appearance for the sitcom Rainbow Romance. The group also filmed a second drama series Vacation, and the drama was premiered to fans at the Yunsae University Main Auditorium in July 2006. Yunho starred in the episode "Cassiopeia" with Go Eun-ah and Woo Kyung-ah.[26][27]

During TVXQ's indefinite hiatus, Yunho made his official acting debut in September 2009, when he starred as the lead in his first prime-time television drama series Heading to the Ground, which ran on MBC from September to November 2009.[28][29] The series was universally panned by critics. Originally scheduled to air for 20 episodes, the series was reduced to 16 episodes due to low ratings.[30]

While Yunho was preparing for TVXQ's comeback, he made his musical debut as Prince Shin in the musical remake of the South Korean television drama Goong from September to December 2010. Tickets for Yunho's performances were sold out in less than two minutes.[31] The musical, produced by Group Eight, opened at the Seoul National Museum’s theater on September 8. During this time, Yunho also starred in the Korea tourism promotional movie Haru: An Unforgettable Day in Korea and the promotional film Chorus City, a short movie featured at the Republic of Korea Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo.

In November 2010, Yunho began shooting for the action television series Poseidon.[32][33] Due to severe weather conditions, the production suffered numerous filming postponements, resulting in the drop-out of many cast members. Poseidon was later dropped by SBS in February 2011.[34][35] Four months later, Poseidon was picked up by KBS and the lead roles were recast.[36][37] Due to scheduling conflicts, Yunho was unable to commit to the series' filming schedules, and he only appeared in four episodes as a guest star.[38][39]

In November 2011, Yunho made a brief cameo in the sitcom I Live in Cheongdam-dong portraying himself refusing to pay for a late manhwa bill. It was a play on Yunho himself, who was once kicked out of a manhwa shop for forgetting to pay his overdue bills.[40]

From November 2012 to January 2013, Yunho starred in his second musical Gwanghwamun Sonata, a story set in South Korea during the democratic movement in the 1980s. Yunho portrayed the younger version of the musical's protagonist Sang-hoon, a composer.[41] Between preparing for the musical and recording TVXQ's sixth Japanese album Time—which was released in March 2013–Yunho starred in his second television series King of Ambition, which aired on MBC from January to April 2013 for 24 episodes. His performance earned him a People's Choice: Actor award at the 2013 Seoul International Drama Awards.

Artistry[edit]

Yunho has been given the name "K-pop's dancing king" by critics.[42] He was also the only Asian performer invited to Michael Jackson's tribute concert in 2010.

Yunho has composed solo pieces, his first song being the rap song "Spokesman", which was first performed in 2007 at TVXQ's "O" Asia Tour. He also received exclusive writing credits for his second solo song "Checkmate", and debuted the hip hop piece at TVXQ's fourth Japan-wide tour The Secret Code Tour in Tokyo Dome.[43][44] He performed the Korean version of the song during TVXQ's Mirotic Asia Tour in early 2009. Yunho choreographed the song's accompanying dance, and also wrote the Korean and Japanese lyrics. In November 2013 Yunho wrote and composed an original ballad "Tied Ship", which was revealed During the Bigeast Fanclub Event in Saitama. Yunho attempted punk pop with his self-written song "Santa Revolution", and performed it exclusively for TVXQ's tenth anniversary concert, Time Slip, in December 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Besides his native Korean, Yunho is fluent in Japanese. He graduated from Myongji University in 2011. He has pursued a master's degree at Chungwoon University.

Yunho was drafted into the Republic of Korea Armed Forces on July 21, 2015.[45] After receiving five weeks of basic training at Yangju, Gyeonggi Province,[46] he will join the 26th Infantry Division on August 25.[47] He will be discharged from service on April 20, 2017.[48]

Cyanoacrylate drink poisoning[edit]

While TVXQ was filming a variety show on October 14, 2006, Yunho was rushed to the hospital after drinking a beverage laced with super glue, which given by an anti-fan. His manager quickly instructed him to vomit right afterward.[49] The anti-fan turned herself in the next day. The female suspect, whose surname is Ko, was apprehended on October 16. She was a member of an anti-TVXQ website for over two years. Yunho was hospitalized for a few days.

Yunho contacted the police and requested that they not press charges against Ko in spite of the potentially severe consequences of what she did. Ko was the same age as Yunho's younger sister, and Yunho stated that entire event "affected [him] more mentally than physically" while he was recovering from the shock.[50][51] Circumstances were unclear as to how the culprit managed to enter the set of the variety show.[52]

Discography[edit]

Main article: TVXQ discography
Title Album details Tracklisting
U KNOW Y

Songwriting credits[edit]

Year Title Artist(s) Album Language(s) Notes
2004 "넌 언제나 (You Always)" TVXQ Tri-Angle Korean Co-writer (rap)
2005 "Love After Love" Rising Sun Korean
2006 "태양은 가득히 (Red Sun)" SM Town 2006 Summer SMTown Korean
"Sky" Tohoshinki Five in the Black Japanese
"Snow Dream" SM Town 2006 Winter SMTown – Snow Dream Korean
2007 "Summer Dream" Tohoshinki T Japanese
"Spokesman" Yunho featuring Donghae The 2nd Asia Tour Concert "O" Korean Co-writer (music, lyrics)
2008 "Wrong Number" TVXQ Mirotic Korean Co-writer (rap)
"사랑 안녕 사랑 (Love Bye Love)" Korean
2009 "이별…넌 쉽니 (Heartquake)" Super Junior
featuring U-Know Yunho and Micky Yoochun
Sorry, Sorry Korean Co-writer (rap)
"Checkmate" Yunho N/A Korean, Japanese Co-writer (music, lyrics)
2013 "Santa Revolution" U KNOW Y Korean, Japanese Co-writer (music, lyrics)
"Tsunagareta Hune" (繋がれた舟?) (Tethered Boat) Japanese
2014 "뒷모습 (Steppin')" TVXQ Tense Korean Co-writer (rap)
"11월...그리고 (November With Love)" Yunho Spellbound Korean Co-writer (music, lyrics)
"Shout Out!" N/A Japanese
"BANG!" U KNOW Y Korean, Japanese
"Burning Down" Yunho U KNOW Y Korean, Japanese Co-writer (music, lyrics)

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Film Year Role Notes
Dating on Earth 2009 Yunho Direct-to-video
Haru: An Unforgettable Day in Korea 2010 Stunt actor Television film
Chorus City 2010 Yunho Short film
I AM. 2012 Himself Documentary film
Make Your Move 2013 U-Know Cameo
Ode to My Father 2014 Nam Jin Cameo
SMTOWN The Stage 2015 Himself Documentary film

Television dramas[edit]

Title Year Role Notes
Banjun Theater 2005 U-Know Yunho Main role (7 episodes)
Rainbow Romance 2006 Yunho Guest role (Episodes 62, 64)
Vacation 2006 U-Know Yunho Theatrical drama
Episode: "Cassiopeia"
Heading to the Ground 2009 Cha Bong-gun Main role (16 episodes)
Poseidon 2011 Inspector Kang Eun-chul Recurring role (4 episodes)
I Live in Cheongdam-dong 2011 Himself Cameo (Episode 1)
Welcome to the Show 2011 Himself Cameo (Episode 1)
King of Ambition 2013 Baek Do-hoon Main role (18 episodes)
Seoul International Drama Award for Most Popular Actor (South Korea)
Saki 2013 Cafe customer Cameo (Episode 9)
The Night Watchman's Journal 2014 Kang Moo-seok Main role (22 episodes)
Nominated — MBC Drama Award for the Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Project Drama
I Order You 2015 Yeo Gook-dae Web series
Main role (16 episodes)

Variety shows[edit]

Title Year Role Notes
X-Man 2004–06 Himself Frequent guest appearances (14 episodes)
Kim Yu-na's Kiss & Cry 2011 Himself Contestant (11 episodes)

Musical theatre[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2010 Goong: Musical Crown Prince Lee Shin Theatre Yong (September 8 – October 24, 2010)
2012–13 Gwanghwamun Sonata (Japan) Sang-hoon Also known as Gwanghwamun Love Song
Osaka, Shin Kabukiza Theatre (November 20 – 21, 2012)
Tokyo, Meijiza Theater (January 26, 2013)

Selected awards[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2010 Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor Heading to the Ground Nominated
2013 Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor King of Ambition Nominated
2013 Seoul International Drama Awards Most Popular Actor – South Korea King of Ambition Won
2014 MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Project Drama The Night Watchman's Journal Nominated

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