It’s a sad, sad day in Kpop. We woke up to the news that Kim Jonghyun, the lead vocalist of Shinee was found dead of an apparent suicide. Generally, I try to avoid the bad news, the scandals here, as this seems to be a place to get away from all that, but I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around the news, the situation, how hard this must have been for him, how hard this will continue to be for his family, his bandmates, his fans.
Like me, there are many of us out there who were lucky enough to see Shinee, and therefore Jonghyun in person. For many of us, Shinee was one of the first kpop bands we listened to. One of the band’s that when we hear their music, we get sucked into memories of the newness of kpop fandom.
I didn’t know Jonghyun as well as I know the other members, but he seemed like a nice guy, a good performer, dancer, and writer. Alexis was just saying that her friend actually saw him, just a couple of weeks ago, preparing for a solo concert. He waved.
This just cements the realization we don’t know these people, we know the personas they put forward, the faces they put in place to show the world. Though it seems like fun, the life of a kpop star is hard. It’s a hard tiring life to choose and even when your band has made it, when you have made it, there are so many demands, so many expectations. The shape you are expected to fill, being exactly what your society demands of you in order to make it to the top, always being on, even when you are off the stage, it’s hard.
South Korea has the biggest suicide rate in the world and our idols, as much as we love and admire them, are not immune.
It’s a sad day in kpop. It’s a sadder day for those who knew and loved Jonghyun.