JYJ (formally JUNSU/JEJUNG/YUCHUN in Japan) is a South Korean singing trio, comprised of Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu. The group was formed in early 2010 after legal disputes involving the aforementioned members forced suspension of their activities as Dong Bang Shin Ki together with current members Shim Changmin and Jung Yunho.
Formation and DebutEdit
After suspension of DBSK's activities in Japan as Tohoshinki, thus putting the group on hiatus in all countries, Bigeast announced that the three members involved in the lawsuit were to be part of a new group and had signed a new contact with avex trax's Rhythm Zone sub-label. Because of this, they were allowed to start all new activities, beginning with THANKSGIVING LIVE IN DOME, a special four-date concert tour in the Tokyo and Osaka Domes in June 2010. Plans for an English album which would later become The Beginning were first announced that month as well, though no other information was revealed at the time other than the fact that the group was working with composer Kim Hyungsuk. Warner Music Korea confirmed their contract with JYJ on September 5th, and that the album would be released the following month.
On September 8th, JYJ released their first album entitled The... under the name JUNSU/JEJUNG/YUCHUN, which was used during their dome tour and a-nation '10 earlier in the year. The album contained studio versions of the songs performed then, as well as live versions and remixes. Later in the month, the group debuted in their home country of Korea, lending their voices to the soundtrack of Sungkyunkwan Scandal, which also starred Yoochun. However, they were not credited as JYJ or JUNSU/JEJUNG/YUCHUN, but rather as individuals. Each of the members also sang solo songs for the album.
More Legal Troubles, Japanese Hiatus, and International ExpansionEdit
Even though drama soundtracks are usually released online prior to the actual series airing on television, Sungkyunkwan Scandal's OST still encountered problems selling. Various companies were contacted, but it seemed the requests for distrubution were not being met. Raemong Raein, a representitive of the drama's distrubution company stated, "We believe this may be the work of a certain company using unfair corporate practices, so we are planning to report the case to the Fair Trade Committee for further investigation." Rumors immediately surfaced that the company in question was SM Entertainment - JYJ's former record label whom they were currently involved in a lawsuit with - but the accusations were denied. Finally, on September 16th the OST was digitally released, and physically released on September 20th through Vitamin Entertainment.
Only a few hours after, however, avex trax, JYJ's record label in Japan, once again suspended their activities. The reason, according to avex, was because a representative from the group's Korean management agency, C-JeS Entertainment, was found guilty of coercion and subsequently sent to prison. avex also learned that the representative was taking advantage of his father's previous status as a head of a criminal organization to threaten and coerce the artists under its label. They also stated that because JYJ's lawsuit against SM Entertainment was still in progress, there was a possibility that their contract with avex could be voided, and that they were thus putting any future activities on hold; however, there would not be any changes to anything already planned. In an interview the next day, JYJ's legal spokesman, lawyer Lim Sanghyuk said, "avex requested changes in the contract that the members found difficult to agree to in clauses regarding topics such as income distribution. [...] At first, it was agreed that all activities performed by the three members would be scheduled and discussed by both sides, but avex began asking for this to be changed so that the company would have sole control of scheduling; avex also requested additional changes that the trio felt were logically unacceptable." Additionally, Lim also said, "The essence of the current controversy is that an agency offered unfair conditions, contrary to what had been included in the previous contract, to their artists. When these artists refused to comply, the agency halted all activities, disregarding the members’ wishes. [...] It is disheartening to see that avex is using the head of C-JeS, who is not affiliated with any gangs whatsoever, as a scapegoat to distract the media and public from the real problem."JYJ also released an official statement saying, "Though we actively participated in discussions with avex in order to come to an agreement, it is regrettable that an announcement to halt our activities in Japan had to be made. Due to this situation, we can't shake the feeling that avex used the three of us as money making tools rather than treating us like artists. [...] We feel frustrated that we cannot promise our Japanese fans another meeting in the near future."
On October 16, JYJ's first English album, "The Beginning," was finally released, after pushed four days due to the huge amount of pre-sales in South Korea. In promotion, their first worldwide concert tour was held in eleven cities around Asia and the USA from October 15th to November 27th, including New York, Los Angeles and Hawaii. However, the album still only remains available for purchase digitally in the United States.
Return to Korea, New Japanese Releases, Lawsuit Progress, and "IN HEAVEN"Edit
For the first time since their debut, JYJ appeared on a Korean broadcast - the 2010 KBS Drama Awards. They performed "Chajatta," the theme song for Yoochun's drama "Sungkyunkwan Scandal." A month later, Their Rooms was released, a mini-album released as a "music essay" which included six new tracks, as well as a 150-page diary, photos, and writings.
Six months after halting their activities in Japan, avex trax announced the release of a live album of JYJ's THANKSGIVING LIVE IN DOME tour and a DVD, Memories in 2010. However, due to the suspension, neither were able to be promoted; furthermore, the releases were excluded from the Oricon charts. Oricon later explained that avex had released the items not for promotion, but rather for the "revitalization of the market."On February 17, 2011, Seoul Central District Court dismmised both lawsuits filed by SM Entertainment against JYJ, making the company's exclusive contract with the trio invalid, and their individual activities legal, which made it possible for the trio to promote their releases in both Korea and Japan. A week later, on February 24th, the courts ruled that if SM Entertainment attempted to interfere with these promotions, they would be forced to pay a fine of twenty-million won (18,000 USD) for each violation.
On September 5th, a teaser video for the song "IN HEAVEN" featuring Junsu and actress Song Jihyo was released, followed by a digital release of "GET OUT" two days later. On September 15th, JYJ finally released their first full-length Korean album, also titled IN HEAVEN online. The physical release hit stores a week later.