We’re celebrating the 10th year anniversary of TVXQ! – or better known in Japan as Tohoshinki – in Japan this month. There are things that most of us know about them already. For instance, we know that they advanced to Japan in 2005 as five members and that in 2010, the band became a duo. Now, the two members, Yunho and Changmin, are celebrating their 10th year anniversary as Tohoshinki. We also all know that Tohoshinki are the J-pop kings, are wildly popular and not only are they the most popular Korean act, they are the most popular foreign artists in Japan of all time. But as a devoted fan, I’m here to tell you 10 things that you might not have known about the legends.
1. To appeal to the Japanese audience, they sang in… English…?
In 2004, before they made their official debut, Tohoshinki tested out the Japanese market with two singles, “Hug” and “Triangle,” which were remakes of the original Korean songs in English. They only ended up selling about 5000 copies of each in Japan. Nobody’s sure why they decided on debuting in Japan in the first place after these dismal results (/sheds a tear)… but it’s okay! We know there’s a happy ending!
2. “Cassiopeia to Bigeast, we love you”
Everyone knows about TVXQ’s amazing Cassiopeia, but do you know about Tohoshinki’s mighty Bigeast? Bigeast is Tohoshinki’s official Japanese fanclub name and just celebrated its ninth anniversary. The name is a play on the words “biggest” and “east” from the meaning of their group name, “Rising Gods of the East.” The unofficial count currently sits at 300,000+ members. They are extremely dedicated and they engage in a fierce bloodbath battle on a regular basis for concert tickets.
3. Back in my day…
Tohoshinki really struggled their way up to the top. They advanced into Japan and together with BoA, laid down the foundation for Hallyu there. To get there though, they had to do everything, including milking cows, picking strawberries, catching fish… all for some airtime on the graveyard shift on TV. They had to do active things, because they couldn’t speak the language fluently enough. It all brings a tear to my eye, and I’m so glad that they don’t have to do silly things like that anymore on TV and they can just sit there and talk. Wait…
Okay, but at least now they get to do the silly things during the daytime.
4. Bad hair day… every day
Diplomatic words to describe Tohoshinki’s hairstyle while in Japan include interesting, unique, and, uh, experimental. More frank words to describe their hair in Japan include terrible, terrible, and terrible. One day, they would have beautiful styling in Korea, then as soon as they fly over to Japan, it’s like their hair get slathered with oil and get styled in the worst possible way.
Changmin seems to be the bigger victim of Avex‘s questionable hair styling, but Yunho is also a victim nonetheless. I mean, what.
It’s a good thing they have handsome faces to make up for the ugly hair.
5. Tohoshinki: Single-printing machines
Struggling to be noticed, Tohoshinki put out single after single after single. In 2008, for instance, they released nine singles in that year alone. With every single followed tons of high-five events, name card exchanges, and performances on makeshift stages. They’ve calmed down a bit since then, to about three great singles each year, for a grand total of 65 singles. Quality over quantity, right?
6. Superstar fanboys
In Korea, TVXQ maintains this classy gentleman image and they’re too good to even sit at a studio and talk about serious things. In Japan, Tohoshinki unleash their inner dorks and become flailing fanboys of… anime. In particular, they continually express their love for One Piece and Gundam. Above, we have a Changmin and a Yunho at the Gundam model section of a toy store.
They ended up spending almost $1000 on Gundams at that store by the way.
7. A-Nation: From “bathroom time” to “Toho-Nation”
This is my personal favorite story. Avex, their Japanese management company, holds a collaboration concert between all of their artists called A-Nation every year. When Tohoshinki first participated in them in 2005, they were the opening act, in the scorching sun in broad daylight, in front of an unenthusiastic crowd who weren’t even their fans. In the years following, so many people left to go to the bathroom during Tohoshinki’s performances that people even called it “The Great Migration.”
They performed after nightfall for the first time in 2009 in A-Nation, and then in 2011, Tohoshinki closed the show. Tohoshinki closed the show every year since then. Today, Tohoshinki took over so completely that the concert has been colloquially dubbed “Toho-Nation.”
8. God Tone
Tone, oh the album almighty, the beautiful album that Yunho and Changmin put their hearts and souls into to keep Tohoshinki alive. It remains Tohoshinki’s best-selling album. It hit the top of the Oricon daily, weekly, and monthly charts. It sold more than 100,000 copies on the first day of release and 200,000 copies in the first week for a total of over 300,000 copies sold. It was released in three colors, and the three versions were constantly flipping back and forth to take the top spots on the charts.
9. Yunho’s rare tears
Years ago, Yunho revealed that he promised his late grandfather that he wouldn’t cry until he was happy with his level of stardom. Even Changmin, who lived with him for years and had gone through thick and thin together, said that he had never seen Yunho cry. Since then, Yunho has shed tears twice on stage, both times at the Tokyo Dome. The first time was in 2012 where he yelled out, “I am incredibly happy right now!” Everyone in the hall cried with him except Changmin, who’s flustered and says, “This is strange, he normally doesn’t cry.” The second time was only a few days ago at the last leg of Tohoshinki’s last Japanese tour before Yunho’s enlistment, where he explained that he cried because he was very blessed.
10. Nissan dreams
Tohoshinki remains the only Korean artists to have performed at Nissan Stadium. It holds 70,000 audience members and for some perspective, the Tokyo Dome ‘only’ holds 50,000. They sold out every seat at these two performances at Nissan Stadium in 2013, and it’s this moment that Changmin talks about as being the most memorable in his Japanese career. It will also be the source of one super pretty gif that every Bigeast and Cassiopeia looks at to feel proud of their unbeatable duo!
As Tohoshinki celebrates its 10th year anniversary, they’re still as successful as ever. They gathered 750,000 audience members in their latest dome tour alone, “Tohoshinki Live Tour 2015 ~WITH~.” While now is also a time of uncertainty and worry for both the members and the fans with their impending hiatus due to their military service, I think Tohoshinki has little to worry about with their dedicated legion of Bigeast and Cassiopeia, who will no doubt be waiting for them to return and continue to break their own records.
kiddy_days is a fan of TVXQ and she is currently trying to think of ways to occupy herself while they are on hiatus. In the meantime, she hopes for one last Korean comeback and concert before they have to leave.