One of the downsides of being a passionate fangirl/fanboy on virtually any topic or thing is the potential for upset and disappointment. Whilst most of the time, ‘stanning’ something is an exciting experience and you spend most of your time anxiously checking for updates and information, tour dates, new albums, new series, and starring lovingly at images or words that make you swoon, there is always a chance that you will wake up one morning to some of the most disappointing news you’ve seen in a long while. And the worst part? That painful clenching of your chest as you realise that something entirely out of your control and beyond the expected has happened. Sometimes it’s something simple, a change of tour dates, a rewrite of a script, but occasionally it is something much more significant and fandom changing. Sometimes the disappointment is focused on the subject itself, whilst, more often I find, the disappointment is directed at the demographic of fans, your peers, my peers, though in this case our thinking is so different I’m not sure I would classify these fans as peers at all.
As I’m sure anyone reading this has already guessed, there is a particular piece of news which has triggered this post (though it’s not the only cause of irritation for me in the last week, but that’s a story for later). I read the news last night and went to bed in a state of shock, hoping that my flu-addled mind had read it incorrectly. Junhyeok, keyboardist and vocalist of Day6 has left the band for ‘personal reasons’, terminating his contract with JYPEntertainment after only 5 months and one mini album. Junhyeok; with his strong, distinctive, almost angelic voice and keen command of Day6’s keyboard requirements. When I woke up this morning to find that the news was in no way fabricated I couldn’t stop myself from writing this post.
For every fan like myself who harbours only positivity for their subject(s) of choice, it can be difficult to understand the perspective of an anti-fan or an angered fan, especially one who would go so far as to take negative steps against their subject of adoration. Naturally, there have been occasions where someone I’m a fan of has done something that I highly disapprove of (of course there have because they’re people too) but these things should be looked at in context. Of course speculation is rife on the cause of Junhyeok’s departure and I try to avoid believing the majority of it as the Internet can be a scarily inaccurate place, the thing that has bothered me is the sheer volume of the continued negativity that should really have been knocked on its head the very moment it hit the Internet.
Whilst I do not know the ins and outs, none of us can claim to, I am deeply saddened to hear of the abuse and harassment suffered by Junhyeok at a time when he needed the support of his fans the most. We’re all guilty of making mistakes, so why people place an idol on such a pedestal and hold them to a standard so much higher and practically impossible to meet I fail to understand. Whilst I understand that these are role models and they are in the public eye, to some extent seeing them make mistakes makes them more human and, in my opinion, enforces the holes in the ridiculous premise that perfection is something that is even conceivable, after all the world is perfect in its imperfection. Perhaps this is because I am a ‘누나’ Noona fan, or perhaps I’ve seen enough of the world now and made enough of my own silly mistakes, but I don’t see what could warrant the treatment that Junhyeok received.
I’m sure I don’t stand alone when I say that the image of Junhyeok holding back tears during his final performance with Day6 is going to remain firmly etched into my heart and is not something I will easily forget. I hope that those who have failed to recognise that these young men are people, not commodities for enjoyment, will be haunted by these images as well, as is fitting for the crime.
Junhyeok, a beautiful, talented and sweetly sensitive person, is taking a big step, leaving behind the comfort of his brothers. I really can not wish him more happiness and success than I am right now. I just hope he won’t let this stand in the way of pursuing his dream, I know I will be missing the sound of his voice from now on, a voice I fell in love with almost immediately upon Day6’s debut! I hope to hear him again in some capacity, the world shouldn’t have to miss out on his talent because of youth and its naivety.
Junhyeok Hwaiting! Day6 Hwaiting! Sundays Hwaiting!