We, the KPOPPlanet Team, accompanied TVXQ to cover their grand concert at the Nissan Stadium located at Yokohama, Japan, from Aug 17 to 18. We are all aware that TVXQ successfully completed the concert in front of a massive audience of 144,000 audiences for two days. TVXQ was the first foreign star to perform at the Nissan Stadium in Japan. The site was simply mesmerizing. Imagine, the stadium filled with 72,000 people per concert for one purpose! Have you ever heard the roars of cheers of more than 70,000 people?!
After the concert, we interviewed the TVXQ members, Yunho and Changmin. They laughed heartily even though they were out of breath after their powerful performance on stage. We unveil below, the vivid stories TVXQ shared with the KPOPPlanet Team.
Q. Any comments you would like to make regarding the concert just now? This is the Nissan Stadium after all.
(Yunho) To begin with, while we did hold a concert on a similar scale at the Tokyo Dome, we initially started out here in Japan with small concerts. I did a lot of thinking while performing today, and I’m happy because I see this concert as the result of the best efforts of me, Changmin, our staff, and our fans. I’m happy because I know that our fans supported us with such sincerity and we’ve given them some good news. The Dome was big enough, but when I heard we’d perform at the Stadium, I was really worried. I mean, it’s even bigger than I thought and half more the size of the Dome, so I wondered if we could perform at all, but when I hear people cheering for us, a strange energy wells up inside me. We were happy as we wrapped things up.
”I just fulfilled my long cherished dream of touring the five Domes”
(Changmin) I just fulfilled my long cherished dream of touring the five Domes, then holding a live performance here right after. I’m so happy, because I never even dreamed of this. Summer concerts begin at 1750 hours but our fans were here and waiting outside in the heat since morning, and I sincerely thank them all. We knew this would be the largest concert we have ever held and they told us before we started that we had the largest audience this stadium ever had. Hearing that I thought I would shake with nervousness, but it was fun and exciting, which made me incredibly happy.
Q. You just became the first ever foreign star to perform here after you’ve been in Japan for eight years. What do you think of yourselves? What do you think are important for your juniors to succeed as much as you did?
(Yunho) I think we are a team that enjoys the very moment of performing. We don’t think, ‘We’ve got to rank higher.’ As I said, we began with small concerts and those small concerts were successful because they had their own sort of appeal. When we tried medium-sized concerts we figured, ‘Ah, so these concerts have this kind of appeal.’ We kept discovering new things as we moved on to larger and larger concerts. We don’t think we are ‘super stars’ just because we performed here, at the Stadium. Rather, I think showing people ‘what’s naturally us’ and searching for new things, for creativity, is what appeals to us. Also, fans responded so well because we looked back on what we’ve accomplished, reflected on our past, and tried to make improvements. When I see our juniors, I can tell they’re skilled and pretty good. I just think the true beginning to one’s career is when you sincerely think, ‘Now I’m here.’ Wherever our juniors go, so long as they remember that there are so much to learn and a bigger world out there to learn from, they will succeed.
“We are a team that enjoys the very moment of performing”
(Changmin) The prestige of being the first ever. It’s encouraging to think that we have a proud history in concerts. When we began our career, we often heard, ‘You set a new record.’ But now, we truly hope that our juniors will surpass our records. That’s how the world will learn about Korean singers, Korean music, and Korea itself. I sincerely hope our juniors grow better. I believe that if we all work together, with sincerity, the world will know not that TVXQ set a new record, but what Korean music is.
Q. It’s been a decade since you debuted. What do you think of that decade when you look back? Are you preparing any event to celebrate your tenth anniversary?
(Changmin) It will be exactly ten years this December. Back then, I thought time really didn’t pass. In Korea, we went from a broadcaster to showcases in Jamsil, and in Japan we went from house concerts to hall concerts to Arenas and Domes… Looking back, while we are still young, we think that (I will try to say this with confidence even though I am embarrassed) we’ve grown to the point that we can now perform with many people watching, such as a place like this Stadium. I noticed some of our staff crying because it’s been ten years. I am proud that in the past decade, instead of just giving our best over and over, we laid the path that TVXQ now walks.
“We want to tackle a new challenge”
(Yunho) We’re thinking about a lot of things because it will soon be our tenth anniversary. We’re talking with the agency and our staff, but we don’t have anything concrete to tell you. There will be some opportunities to show you a new side of us with albums and concerts, but we’re not sure what will be most appropriate. We don’t have a goal but we do have something we want to become. There is something we thought was amazing when we looked at our seniors, and that was that our seniors became experienced yet still cool as time passed. That’s what we want to become, a group that can form a rapport with its juniors. More important than celebrating our tenth anniversary, we want to tackle a new challenge, or maybe show you an older side to us.
Q. What did you try to show in the concert just now?
(Yunho) We had a hard time just imagining holding a concert in a place like this. From what I knew, Domes were big enough, but this Stadium was so big I couldn’t grasp how big it was. Well, now that I’ve seen it I think differently. What we worried most about was not only how to perform, but also how to make this concert fun for our audience. The conclusion we reached was that our previous plans were the best. Sure, there were some stamina problems but we tried to cover that with exercise. I also had a chance to reflect on myself at this concert. People get stressed in their everyday lives, but I think the stage is the place where people are the most honest with themselves, the place where they can find themselves with confidence. I think this concert helped us both to realize that. We breathed and sympathized with the fans. Some were old, grandfathers and grandmothers, but in that moment, as we performed, we all felt the same thing. I wondered at how we could give this sort of hope, and I felt we should give more hope as an artist and become the sort of artist that can do that.
(Changmin) I first saw the Nissan Stadium when I was a kid when there was a football match going on. This really was the largest concert in world history, with the most people ever in attendance. To us, this is a foreign country, but I’m proud that this was the largest concert ever because so many Japanese fans, who are foreigners, gathered to see us! I realized again that we should try even harder to become loved by fans overseas and become a global star, despite the barriers of nationality and language that separate us.
Q. You just achieved the dream you first had when you began performing here in Japan. Are there any other dreams you haven’t yet fulfilled?
(Changmin) To be honest, rather than immediately thinking, ‘Oh, I want to perform someplace else next time,’ I still find it hard to believe we just performed at the Nissan Stadium. By the way, this place is so big we could give a lot of different performances, but on the other hand, we were sorry because this place was too big for our fans to really see us and identify with us. So many fans waited for us in the heat that I wanted to greet and thank each and every one of them, but I regret that we couldn’t do that. My goal is to become a singer who can form closer bonds with our fans, instead of focusing on the meaningless outer shell.
”I wanted to greet and thank every one of them”
(Yunho) Well, he just said everything I was going to say. You know, when you’re on a tour, it’s important to look for the bigger goal, say like, ‘Next time we’ll perform at a bigger place,’ but I think it’s also cool to perform at different places all the time. Rather than focus on the size of our concerts, I want to give concerts a meaningful concept and become a group that performs for a long, long time.
Q. What did you think when you first saw the countless people waiting for you?
(Changmin) I was angry with myself that all I could think of at that moment was, ‘What a sight.’ I’d never seen more people in one place until then, and when I saw the way they were all here for exactly one purpose, I was over-joyed. I was proud. All I can say is, it was great, it was cool, I was happy; I can’t explain it better than that. I have a lot of contrasting thoughts. Personally, I think my stamina increased. Maybe it’s because I played badminton on KBS 2TV’s Our Neighborhood Arts and Physical Education. When we were touring the domes, I used to run out of strength halfway through, but after exercising I feel great. (Laughs)
(Yunho) Well, it feels like I’m going to turn thirty next year. I just feel like I’m following in Changmin’s wake. Anyways, when he’s like that, I don’t want to hear that I’m an old man, so I give my best. What I did just now, near the end of the performance, was prearranged yesterday. I feel that that’s how much better I can transmit my sincerity. I think in my heart I did my best, and strangely, when people start cheering for us we feel a power bursting forth within us. I’d better play some badminton, too. (Laughs)
Q. Apparently, your concept of ‘TIME’ was well-chosen for this concert. What message did you want to give with ‘TIME’? Why do you think you keep gaining fans?
“We exist because of the past”
(Yunho) The concept came from the album title. It’s been ten years since we debuted in Korea, and nearly that much in Japan. There are three meanings to the concept. Past, present, and future. We exist because of the past and we express a ‘better’ us with the present us. We wanted to show an entire story by having fun later in the performance, near the end. We’ll try to dance and sing for as long as possible, but someday we’ll have to try songs we enjoy, and we think we put that feeling into today’s performance. As to your second question, many people come because our fans invite them. Our male fans were really enthusiastic. First they come alone, then they bring their family, and then the family brings others. Then people start saying our MC work is fun, so when we become the MCs of a program it’s like a show here in Japan. We are preparing new concerts based on those elements, so that’s why we think there was a good reaction.
Q. TVXQ came to Japan in 2005. Did you set your goals while on the way?
(Yunho) Back then, our staff and people at the agency said we’d have new experiences and difficulties in Japan. We were told we’d need to start anew in Japan. So we talked, the two of us, while watching crows and one of us suggested we take baby steps from the bottom. It was just a suggestion at first, but that became a reality. I’m happy we’re men who kept our promises.
Q. Artists who performed on the stage of Nissan Stadium says, ‘You feel as though you’re God looking down at the people on earth’ Were there any moments when you felt proud and exhilarating?
(Changmin) Honestly, I think it would be a lie if singers don’t feel proud on stage. In some ways we want to express our confidence, to enrapture our fans through the performance, through our songs, and talks. Singers and artists can get addicted to this elated feeling and want to be able to dominate the moment and the audience. You could say that this ‘elatedness’ can look arrogant but it’s also a driving force to us. So I want to be more elated.
Q. For this concert, you imitated a Japanese buzz word and the giant character from the popular animation, Attack on Titan. How do you come up with these ideas?
(Yunho) Our concert runs with a MC system. We tried a lot of things because our fans like the parts of the concert where we talked to them. As was the case last year, we discuss with our manager the current trend in Japan and imitate famous lines from dramas. Attack of Titans is an animation that I enjoy reading, so I had fun imitating one of the characters. Changmin also copies Japanese buzz words or famous characteristics of celebrities. When the mentioned celebrities hear of our imitation of them, they often attend our concert. In a way, we mutually benefit each other.
Check out the Gallery for more photos of TVXQ at the Nissan Stadium.
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