KPOP and Me – Jung Yunho – SM’s Golden Boy? – a Rant


In all my reading, and in all my research and in a conversation here, I come across this epithet of Jung Yunho. Now, this idea that he is SM Entertainment’s golden boy is a little befuddling to me. What precisely makes him a golden boy specifically for SME? Because he was loyal to the company when JYJ broke away? Because he stayed? Well, Shim Changmin did the same, right? Why isn’t Shim Changmin SME’s golden boy then? Why is Jung Yunho the one they call that? What makes him so special? His polite ways? His loyalty? The way he sings? The way he dances? The fact that Shim Changmin and he makes album sales past the quarter million mark? The way he supposedly garners respect from younger idols and trainees? What makes this guy the golden boy of SME? Because personally, I see others that fit that bill. I don’t know much about this guy. Except what he shows on the screen. And even I know that’s a glimmer of truth, but not the whole of it. There is something about this all too perfect persona that somehow doesn’t sit well with how I view the world. There is no one person who has no flaws. Everyone has them. There is a darker side to this man, of this I’m sure. And there is a mystery behind those smiles that never reach his eyes. The rumors are that he’s favored by Lee Soo Man. While it could be true, to what extent is this favor? Speculation says he is paid big money. I wouldn’t doubt it, since the split on profits is only between two now and not five. And their popularity is a testament to the legend that began when there was five. Still, what precisely makes Jung Yunho SME’s golden boy? And what kind of benefits does that afford him? Will he, one day, be Lee Soo Man’s heir apparent? Will he run SME? And precisely when will we know the answers?

Nothing in my research shows conclusive evidence of any of these speculations. So I am confused as to why this man is called SME’s golden boy. From what I see, here is a man who has clawed his way into a top ranking idol, trapped in the machine of fame’s glorious fish bowl, trapped by circumstances and choices. And doing what he loves to do – sing and dance. And for now, this is good. I hope he is well rewarded for his efforts.

However, in the back of his mind, he really should think about what comes next. Because he can’t stay golden all his life. I hope his family and he has a plan for what comes next. The next generation of idols are already in the system. After military service, he possibly can have two or three years more of fame and fortune. And then what?  Gold is in truth the hardest hue to hold.  Robert Frost said it quite nicely...NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY


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