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Consisting of multi-national members from Japan, Korea, the U.S. and Canada, is the male dance and vocal group “NCT 127”, whose outstanding performance and ability of expressiveness, together with their heightened sensibility in music, have earned them acclamation the world over. This interview series showcases the individuality of each member through what they believe is their “own style”, delving into their approach on fashion to their methodology towards expressing themselves, as well as what their futures may hold, unraveling the group’s mystery from every angle all in the MEN’S NONNO way. With special contents, including pre-interview questions the members have each carefully responded to, online interviews connecting Tokyo and Seoul, and exclusive photographs provided by the members themselves, this interview series is certain to be a positive contrast to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.Featured this time is JUNGWOO. He spoke to us in detail on how he has continued to come face-to-face with “having his own individuality” and “having confidence”, as well as his vision for the future. We bring to you an interview loaded with his friendly personality and how the staff members also adore him.
*For this interview, JUNGWOO spoke to us in Korean. The parts in which he spoke to us in Japanese are described as “(in Japanese)”.
What’s the relationship between JUNGWOO’s “appeal” and “confidence”?
JUNGWOO: Hello. JUNGWOO here!! (In Japanese) Thank you for having me.
MEN’S NON-NO: Good day, JUNGWOO-san. Thank you for being here today.
J: (In Japanese) Yes, thank you back!
MN: Thank you so much for returning the pre-questionnaire. Everyone is sure to love all your carefully taken photographs as well.
J: (In Japanese) Absolutely~. Thank you very much!
MN: As part of the self-introduction to the readers of MEN’S NON-NO, for the question, “What parts of yourself do you want to share?”, you responded,“I’d like to share the different sides of what is appealing about me!” When reading your questionnaire, JUNGWOO-san, it was quite impressive how often you use “appeal”. Along with your self-introduction, could you elaborate on what you believe it is that is appealing about yourself?
J: Hello, everyone~!! This is NCT 127’s playful mood-maker, JUNGWOO!!
Entire staff: (laughter)
MN: Thank you for such an animated greeting, almost as if we are at a concert. That “appeal” of yours certainly does bounce through!
J: Sure~. Like the Yairo-Bird (Yairocho: a beautiful yet reclusive bird of 8 colors), I believe that what is appealing about me comes in various shapes and forms! Thank you in advance.
MN: To the question, “How would you particularly like to appeal to the readers of this series”, you wrote,“I have yet to show all of what is fascinating about me as a person. There are many appealing sides to me”. Of all those appealing aspects, what are you most proud of?
J: I’m sure many know this by now, but “being sort of cute and lovable” is my strong suit. Because I believe that the fans deeply love that adorable charm I have, I honestly think that “my cuteness” is my strong suit!
MN: How lovely that you feel ‘the part my fans love = my strong suit’. For the question, “What is important to you in expressing yourself and conveying your style as a global artist?”, you wrote,“By far, the most important thing to have is confidence. That is because I believe that with confidence you can achieve anything”. Is it because you value self-confidence that you are able to find yourself to be fascinating?
J: But to be honest, for a while after our debut, I didn’t really have much confidence in myself. So, I was constantly thinking about and wondering “how I could gain confidence” and was always trying to be confident.
MN: For “your favorite motto”, you also wrote,“Be confident and do my best”.
J: Yes. I have also been training to strengthen my mind for a very long time. Even if I may sometimes tend to lose confidence, I tell myself not to, and I have continued to try to overcome these things. At first, I often felt nervous and unsure, but by keeping that in mind, over time, I think I became confident in a natural way.
MN: Even though you say “natural way”, there probably was a tremendous amount of effort that went into it… You told us that you worked very hard to become confident, and now, through that process, from the viewpoint of the performer JUNGWOO of NCT 127, could you kindly share with us what you are able to feel confident about?
J: Personally, I have the most confidence in my performance for the song “Hero; Kick It”. We practiced hard for it, especially since it has been a while since we have been able to present something to our fans. So, how do I say this, it was like ‘sharpening our act’.
J: It was a deeply awakening feeling preparing for this stage. So, for me, it became a very memorable piece of work.
MN: Was there something that was particularly challenging?
J: I would have to say managing our facial expressions on stage. We were very particular about how we wanted to present our expressions, so we challenged ourselves with many options. I thought about what I was lacking, and I challenged myself to be bolder and more confident. Those were the goals I placed on myself. I’ve always wanted to show my fans how wonderful I can be, but in this case, I wanted to go deeper, beginning with my facial expressions, so I prepared much more differently and with creativity.
MN: You are the seventh person to be featured in this series, JUNGWOO-san, but all the members up to now have pushed with confidence “Hero; Kick It” as their most recommended NCT 127 song. Perhaps we can say that it was that challenging for all of you, and that what you felt, as well as your self-assessments, was in line with one another. As each member responded with the same song one after another, you could feel a strong sense of accomplishment that is shared within the group.
J: I agree with that. The song “Hero” is a powerful song, and so a lot of practice and preparation went into it. I think that it is very NCT 127 and expresses our personality more than ever. On top of that, we were confident that the fans would love the song. Our fans tend to love our individuality and our unique “color”, so we thought this was the perfect song.
NCT 127 is like a chameleon?
MN: You mentioned the word “color”, but to the question, “What do you feel is the “coolness” of NCT 127, you responded,“To impress and share empathy with our fans, and show them our unique “color”. If you were to share something that is truly your “NCT127 color”, what would that be?
J: Regardless of the type of song or genre, we are a team that has the power to absorb whatever it is, like a chameleon! To continue to express genres across the board; I believe that is the best of our team when it comes to “color” and strength!
MN: Right from the opening, you mentioned the metaphor “Yairo-Bird”. You seem to have a very colorful image when it comes to yourself as well as your group and its activities, JUNGWOO-san. Now then, let’s share with the readers that ever-changing chameleon attitude that challenges all types of songs. Could you recommend any MVs other than “Hero; Kick It”?
J: Yes! There’s a song called “Punch” that I would like to recommend first. It was released after “Hero; Kick It” and it was part of a re-package album. It is really a strong and powerful song. In addition, even in the visuals our personality shines through. It is a very well put together piece and I love it. Another one is a song called “Highway to Heaven”. The music video has a wide open feeling and is amazing, and it is a song that suits us very well. So, I would like to recommend these two songs.
MN: It certainly is a song with a completely different feel. You can see how you challenge different tastes.
J: Yes! Exactly! I wish we could ask everyone what they would like to see about NCT 127, too.
MN: You’re sure to have a bunch of different responses.
As a global artist, what have you found meaningful?
MN: When you’re being creative while also constantly challenging yourselves, teamwork is imperative. Could you share with us exactly what NCT 127 means to you, JUNGWOO-san?
J: We members are family as well as a team. We all make up for what each of us lacks and what we need, which unite us as one strong team. We are all there to help each other to be our best. In that way, our individual personalities and virtues work together like a synergistic effect…. creating synergy, and I believe it further enhances NCT 127’s “color” so-to-speak. I hope more people will get to know this about us.
MN: Listening to what you have to say, JUNGWOO-san, our image of the group becomes even more colorful. Speaking of complementing one another, in what way in particular do you feel the members help you out?
J: Oh, that begins with song and dance, all the basic stuff, I know I am being supported and helped by all the members. And not only for our performances, but also, for example, I feel that the parts in which I have no confidence, the other members are right there to jump in and help out. We talk things out and I get advice on what I feel I am lacking. In that way, I am able to discover what I need to improve on from a different angle than I would have on my own. Thus, they give me a lot of insight and make me think. That’s the kind of role they play for me.
MN: For the question, “What do you think has had the most impact on you as a global artist?”, you responded,“By being able to share what is appealing about us to all the different fans around the world, I feel that it has given us an opportunity to become even sharper”. Does the presence of your fans help you, JUNGWOO-san, to have confidence when it comes to your “appeal”, as mentioned earlier?
J: This is something I’ve felt as we’ve traveled around the world, but the reaction from the fans differs depending on where we are. Even so, everywhere we go, the fans welcome us with such enthusiasm, making us feel, “wow, we really are loved”, and we’re so moved by their passion as we tour the world. As we go to places for the first time and see all the fans for the first time, it is touching to know that they actually listen to our songs and are able to relate to us in such a way. Their reaction also differs depending on the atmosphere of the songs. It has to be because they diligently listen to each and every one of our songs. They sing together with us, and it means a lot to me when I feel like, “ahhh, so we can interact and relate to each other through the songs in this way”. That has left a powerful impression on me.
MN: What better experience could an artist have.
What triggered you to start singing and dancing?
MN: And now you perform on the global stage, but what is it that made you wind up loving to sing and dance?
J: The first time I became fascinated by singing and dancing was through a movie. I was in the junior high and it was a movie called “Step Up”. It was very popular at the time and everyone around me was crazy about it. The characters in the movie were portrayed doing all these really cool dance moves. That’s when I thought, “Wow, I would like to dance like that, too.” So, I started taking dance lessons. Through taking lessons, I was naturally exposed to all kinds of music, and that’s how I became fascinated with music.
MN: That’s true, learning to dance also means you come in contact with music.
J:“Exactly. I seek out and listen to a wider variety of music than before I began dance lessons, and regardless of genre, whether it’s HIP HOP, the trending songs in the US, jazz, etc… by listening to a whole range of songs on an even scale, my love for the music itself has grown deeper and deeper, and that’s how I developed a desire to sing and dance.
MN: That makes a lot of sense. So, the flow is that you then became a trainee at your agency?
J: Yes. My desire to continue to sing and dance became stronger, and so I decided to audition. I was lucky enough to join a major company like SM (SM ENTERTAINMENT＝NCT 127’s agency), but thinking back now, “My dream really has come true,” which is an enchanting feeling. I have the confidence to say that I will continue loving to sing and dance even more, and that’s the kind of person I want to become.
What fascinating person, piece of work, words have had an impact on you?
MN: Your desire to do more as a performer comes through. To the question, “What kind of adult do you want to become in the future?”, your answer was,“To become a cool adult. I’m still searching”. You mentioned earlier that you did not have confidence in yourself, but this comment feels like you are now looking forward to the future you. What kind of person is the “cool adult” to you, JUNGWOO-san?
J: To me, an adult that is cool is someone who has integrity, works hard at and continues to work towards a goal, and is able to be a good role model for others. Someone who does their best with what they have been given and are passionate about everything. That’s the type of adult I think is super cool”
MN: Do you have a specific role model of the kind of person you want to be like?
J: Well that role model would have to be our senior artist BoA! Of course she’s a senior artist from the same agency, but more than that, watching her pour her passion into her music and the love she has for singing and dancing, without skipping a beat for 20 years… This is truly inspiring. That is why I plan to continue to cheer her on with as much passion as I can round up, and I also hope to be a senior artist to my junior artists in the same as BoA has been for us. I want to become an adult that will give it his all.
MN: To the question, “What culture has had an impact on you?”, you wrote,“I watched ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ with deep interest. It made me feel that nothing is impossible to achieve.” In the same way as “Step Up”, it seems that movies have had an impact on your mindset and behavior.
J: You can see from the main character of that movie [editorial staff note: An editorial assistant of a fashion magazine], that she is really passionate about everything she works on. No matter what anyone says to her or about her, she’s going to achieve what she believes in and what she intends to do. That really struck me. After I saw that movie, I thought, “So there really is nothing I can’t achieve…”, which left a strong impression on me and that is why I wrote this.
MN: It seems that many things have had an impact on you, such as the people you have met, what you have seen and heard, and the times you have spent. To the question, “What piece of advice you have received from others has left the biggest impression on you?”, you wrote,“The words that have left a lasting impression on me are, ‘You do whatever it is you want to do’.”When do these words come to mind?
J: I believe that whenever there is something that you want to do, it should be done without hesitation. I also believe that you should never do anything you’re going to regret. No matter what it is… For example, I always do the best that I can when I’m up on stage, and for mental preparation, I always think, “I’m doing what I love to do”. To think in that way. I think that’s what motivates me, and these words often come to mind in moments like that. I want to reach out to everyone with that kind of power and I think the people around me have given me that kind of power as well.
What is JUNGWOO’s commitment to fashion?
MN: Now that we’ve asked you about JUNGWOO the artist, let’s turn to fashion.
J: Yes! That sounds great.
MN: MEN’S NON-NO is read by a lot of people who simply love fashion, both our magazine and website, so we hope you can provide a lot of insights for us today. First, to the question, “What does fashion mean to you?”, you responded,“It’s a way to express who I am as a person. I can become somebody who has personality”. Here again pops up the word “color” or “personality”. For “The reason being?”, you wrote,“Because you can bring out your own unique vibe”. Could you kindly share with us what it is that you want to express through your fashion, JUNGWOO-san?
J: Mmmm…. (chuckle) I feel that fashion has the power to make you look even more attractive. I also think that it would be great if I could express how I am internally as well as my “color” through fashion. In order to do so, I need to put in the effort to improve on myself. I mean, if there’s an outfit that I want to wear, then I want to challenge myself to do so in the boldest way. Because I think that fashion is one of the elements that helps to shape who we are as individuals. Right now, in order to express the “color” of who I am… well, I’m in that process and I believe fashion is a part of it. (Chuckle) (LOL)
MN: Oh, don’t be so embarrassed. That is such an amazing response and we get it. You seem to have a deep interest in fashion, JUNGWOO-san. To the question, “What is the most important thing when you think about what you are going to wear?”, you answered,“Simple styling with a one-point accent to bring the entire outfit together.” Reading your response, it seems like you think like a stylist would, which is quite remarkable.
J: Ohh!! Up to now in fashion, I often felt it was unnatural to be overdo it. So, personally, I feel that a natural yet subtle expression of individuality is the best way to do. Lately, the word “Kuanku” is often used, that’s pretty much how I feel right now”
J: Yes, how do I explain this… It’s like you’re “dressed up but not really dressed up” “overly fussing about fashion, but not really fussy”. Basically, I love this type of styling. I knew that putting too many things on or expressing your outfit in an overly matchy-matchy way, would feel unnatural. That’s why I think making it as simple as possible and accessorizing in a point or two is the best balance.
MN: Wow… thank you for telling us about the trend in Korea as well. TAEIL-san also told us about such a taste in the last interview, but I didn’t know that it’s called “クアンク”.
J: (Chuckle) I know that if it’s too simple then I wind up thinking that something is missing, so I need to add an accent point. For example, a necklace, or ring, or perhaps even an inner layer of T-shirt… So, I think by adding a focal point, we can create a lasting impression.
MN: While shopping, do you plan those final fixings when choosing your outfits?
J: Yes, I do. I think about how people will see me when I wear the outfit and that is important to me. Also, I look at the silhouette and if it works, I will definitely buy it!
MN: We would also like to ask you about the “favorite fashion item” you sent us, which is“your favorite Adidas body bag”.
J: This is exactly what I mean, my favorite bag of simplicity. I can carry it around as a daily bag, it matches my style and it’s just that perfect item. On top of that, one of our members, MARK, gave this to me as a birthday present! I really think it’s easy to use and just a great bag. Not only do I like the design, but it’s also practical, which I love.
MN: The fact that it is such a favorite of yours means MARK-san has some incredible sense in gifting! So, you brought up MARK’s gift, and when we asked you in the questionnaire if had any “other items that are you favorites right now?”, you responded,“Shoes that TAEYONG-san bought for me.” What kind of shoes were they? Please tell us about any episodes in which they were gifted to you.
J: One day, TAEYONG-san said, “Wanna come shopping with me?” So, I responded, “Sounds great”, and went with him. When we went to various stores, TAEYONG-san said, “I want to give you a gift. So, how about this pair of shoes? Can I buy these?” He recommended these shoes. I tried them on and I said, “these are nice,” but when I took a second look, they were these very expensive brand shoes! But TAEYONG-san bought those for me. He said, “You can choose any pair you want to wear, JUNGWOO. I didn’t have a chance to get your birthday present, so I want to buy these for you.” I can’t wear those shoes every day, so I take very good care of them, and often wear them on days that I feel are important to me or on special occasions. They are really special. Thank you so much, TAEYONG-san~!!
Entire staff: (laughter)
MN：Even when we interviewed YUTA-san , he talked about when you shopped for pierced earrings together. Do you often go shopping with the other members?
J： Yes, I do! We aren’t able to go out much right now, but before this situation, we used to go out shopping and dining, and spent a lot of time together whenever we had free time. To actively go to different places was great to relieve stress and for a change in pace. So, I do reflect now about how we used to be able to spend time like that.
MN: You provided other photographs, too. To the question, “What scent suits your style?”, your response was with a photo of your “favorite BYREDO perfume”. You also wrote,“I like a neutral fragrance”.
J: The photograph I sent is of a perfume called “Unnamed”. “Unnamed” means that whoever uses the perfume can give it their own meaning. I think that makes it so much more special for the user. As I wrote in the questionnaire, I love a neutral fragrance, and this one is not too sweet, not too strong, and it’s simply a scent that I love.
Tell us about the country that impressed you the most!
MN:There was another photograph that was most impressive among all the photographs you sent us. To the question, “what left a lasting impression during your global travels?”, you answered, “America has left a lasting impression on me. Everyone had their own ‘color’.” And you also sent us a photo with a Mickey Mouse stuffed animal.
J: This photo was taken when NCT 127 performed at the 90th anniversary concert for Mickey Mouse in the America.
MN: Oh, that time! NCT 127 was invited as the only Asian act to dance with Mickey Mouse on “Regular”…!
J: Yes, exactly. The photo is from then! The fans were kind enough to say that I looked like Mickey Mouse (LOL). That’s why this photograph is really meaningful for me and is kept as a keepsake of that time.
What Did You Focus On When You Were Recording “LOVEHOLIC”?
MN: May we ask you to introduce your new Japanese album “LOVEHOLIC” which is now due to be released on February 17th?
J: It’s been quite a while, but we are delighted to be able to reach out to all of you in Japan again through this album. We are working very hard in preparation for this opportunity to finally be able to say hello to all of you. We are doing our best to carefully record each song, and putting a lot of love into making this album. That’s why we want everyone to fully enjoy listening to it, and my guess is that you will absolutely love it! Depending on the listener, each and every song will have a different “color” to it. I’m sure it will turn out to be a song that will heighten the imagination. We will do our best to respond to all the love you have constantly sent to us, and work hard to show you something wonderful. Know that we really want to find our way closer to you, so please stay tuned.
MN: What did you focus the most on during the recording process?
J: Even before recording the lead song, when I heard the demo, I immediately thought, “I know the fans will love this song.” And it’s not just me. All the members really do love this song. I think the spark of the song is in the hook. So we wanted to express that part of the song in the most appealing way, and approached the recording process in that way. The tone of the song is strong and seductive, and the lyrics are a love story, but then it sends a message like, “what do you really want to convey?” I think we are able to do the song in the way it is because we are NCT 127, where each member is able to pour in their individual thoughts into making this one song. I’m certain that once you all hear it, you’ll feel how appealing it is, too!
MN: Speaking of NCT 127, you’ve released other multilingual songs up to now. When singing a love song in Japanese, did you experience any enjoyable or difficult moments?
J: Let’s see… it’s not so much how difficult the song was, but for me personally, I had a hard time with pronunciation. For particular parts, I really did have to practice hard! It’s much more fun when I am able to sing in the correct pronunciation, so I did my best to focus on that.
MN: For your next concert in Japan, wouldn’t it wonderful if you could sing it in front of all your fans?
J: I think my desire to see all our fans in Japan is stronger than any other member in the group!
J: Awe…. We really haven’t been to Japan in such a long time~. Once we are able to do our concerts in Japan again, I’ll do my best to show you all the things we’ve missed out on. I always hope that everyone in Japan is healthy and happy, and I hope to see you all as soon as possible! I will do my best ever once we are back on stage again, so please expect nothing less!
What would you like to say to your fans right now?
MN: Finally, we have asked this of all the members, but what would you say is JUNGWOO-san’s “My Own Style”?
J: Doing the best with what I have been given, and just ‘Keep Going’.
MN: Keep Going”, you say. It certainly shows your willingness to work diligently in a forward march. Now then, please say your farewells to everyone who has read this far.
J: To the readers of MEN’S NON-NO and all of our fans. Thank you for always watching over us and loving us in the way you do. We are working very hard in preparation for the future, so that we can bring you more of our diversity. I personally am also working hard as I pray that we can see each other much sooner than ever. Please continue to send us your support and always stay healthy and happy. I am forever grateful.
MN: We promise to share that with everyone. This concludes our interview. Thank you very much.
J: (In Japanese) Otsukaresamadeshita [Thank you for the hard work]~! Thank you very much. Staff members… It’s been so long!!! This is JUNGWOO!!!”
Editorial staff note: We started the interview immediately, so his greetings to the staff members went full on afterwards!
NCT 127’s staff in Japan (hereafter “Japanese staff”): Hahaha (laughter). It has been a while!
J: I miss you all! (In Japanese) Good afternoon! How are you all doing?
Japanese staff: “You bet, we are doing fine! Good job on the interview! Thanks! Till the next time~!”
J: (In Japanese) Stay well!! Thank you very much~! Are you really doing well?
Japanese staff: (Burst of laughter) This is never-ending (LOL)
Please list three things that make up who you are
Team, members, music
What is the one thing that you can hold your head up high about?
I’m confident in my ability to exercise.
What types of places or atmosphere do you like?
Cafés, quiet places
What is the best memory you have from your teens?
Playing soccer with my friends
How do you want to spend your 20s?
I want to be even healthier and have more fun
MN: We have asked the members of NCT 127 to create a playlist for MEN’S NON-NO and the playlist of songs is piling up! (By clicking the image above, you can actually jump to sites, such as Apple Music, Spotify, AWA, etc. All the songs listed by the members who have appeared in this series so far have also been added to the playlist. So, please check it out). Please share with us your favorite NCT 127 songs, as well as your favorites by other artists, JUNGWOO-san.
J: OK, got it!
MN: Apologies in advance, but since there have already been 6 other members prior to you, the songs may be doubled. It might be a good idea to come up with some extra songs.
J: Of course, no worries~! I’ll think of a number of songs then. Give me a moment please.
MN: Thank you very much.
J: First, I’d like to bring up “Love Me Now”. It’s a song with a very fantastic atmosphere, but I think it conveys different types of sensibilities. Also, “Welcome To My Playground”. I chose this one because it has a very radiant tension and it makes me feel better when I listen to it. And then… let’s see… “Jet Lag” has a feel-good melody, so I recommend it for that reason. Should I choose more?
MN: Thank you for so many songs! “Welcome To My Playground” and “Jet Lag” were also recommended by JAEHYUN-san, so we’ll add the other songs to the playlist. It’s also nice that your favorite songs match those of the other people.How about other than NCT 127 songs?
J: I would like to recommend “Come Around Me” by Justin Bieber. Not only do I like it, but Mark likes it a lot, too. He sings it around us whenever we’re a little bored. The melody is highly addictive and the hook gets stuck in your mind”
Mn: Justin Bieber is very popular among the NCT 127 team!
J: Especially with this song, as you listen to it, it’s almost like a blanket of uniqueness surrounds you. I think it’s fresh, sophisticated, trendy and I love it!”
NCT 127 is a boy band with global reach, consisting of multi-national members and based in Seoul of South Korea. Their latest hit “NEO ZONE” has sold over 1.47 million copies and still rising. And now, Japan’s highly-anticipated 2nd Mini Album “LOVEHOLIC” will be released on February 17, 2021! Expectations are heightened as they try their hand at a love song for the first time as the lead track. nct-jp.net The last HP link is as follows (same as listed)
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