A Demand Letter from JYJ Japanese Fans to Avex

Please note: Currently, the Petition is for the Japanese fans only but may be opened up to international fans later. The petition site can be found here and you can view the full petition here in Japanese. The petition started today and will last until 5/31.

A Demand Letter from JYJ Japanese Fans to Avex

We, Japanese fans of Jejung, Yuchun, Junsu (hereafter, JYJ) hereby make the following demands of JYJ’s current management company, Avex.

In September 2010, with sudden announcement from your company, JYJ’s activities were suspended, and the opportunity to listen to JYJ sing was deprived from us JYJ fans. Since then, JYJ’s activities in Japan have remained suspended till this day. During this entire time, we have kept waiting for the resumption of JYJ’s Japanese activities, and have continued to send such demands to your company, but even now have not received an acceptable explanation for the suspension of their activities.

Moreover, on the matter of the earthquake relief charity event that JYJ is to hold, the representative of the venue where the event was going to be held has recently made an announcement citing contract problem with your company as a reason that has cast doubt on the materialization of the event as planned.

This event represents JYJ’s well-wishing for Japan after many years of doing activities here, and is a charity event they are to voluntarily come to Japan to conduct, as a segment of their effort expressed immediately after the earthquake to support the disaster-stricken areas. To prevent even an event purposed to revive (Japan) from happening, during a time when we as a nation need every possible effort to recover from the aftermath of this unprecedented earthquake, is an action that we feel is very questionable.

We hope for the prompt resumption of JYJ’s music activities, and hereby make demands of your company in regards to the following points.

1.    C-JeS is a business entity officially registered in Korea in December 2009, its size and organization composition can be viewed by anyone on the company registry. Furthermore, your company’s Vice President has, on his Twitter, revealed his close relationship with the representative of C-JeS. Thusly your company’s assertion that you did not know about the past of C-JeS’s representative before signing the contract is entirely unconvincing.

If (despite the foregoing) your company still insists that you did not know about the past of C-JeS’s representative, and uses such as a reason to suspend the contract, then was it not a neglect of duty on your company’s part as a public listed company to do due diligence on your business partner before the fact?

2.    In Korea, JYJ has been appointed to promote the G20 Summit, to promote the Overseas Korean Trader Association as honorary ambassadors, and to promote other internationally recognized Korean enterprises. Their entertainment activities have not been hampered by the fact that C-JeS is their management company.

To use a reason that did not cause any problem in (JYJ’s) home country, that the representative of C-JeS has himself denied, and to give the Japanese society false and negative impression of JYJ, we find your ground (that the reason was based on) to be very questionable.

3.    When JYJ began their Japanese activities in April 2010, the problem regarding the affirmation of the three’s exclusive contract with SM was already resolved by the October 2009 court decision. Consequently, the reason your company used to suspend JYJ’s activities, “Depending on the progress of the exclusive contract affirmation lawsuit between JYJ’s three members and SM, there is a possibility that their exclusive contract with our company may become invalid” (quote from Avex’s official statement) has been rendered a non-issue.

Rather, it (the contract issue) was a problem that your company needed to resolve, as your company signed exclusive contract with JYJ while the contract signed (by Avex) with SM as Tohoshinki remained in effect, we feel your logic to make the issue a problem with JYJ is very questionable.

4.    When your company, in spite of the aforementioned circumstances, used corporate compliance as a reason that your company would no longer provide management services to the three, it meant that the contract could no longer be maintained as per normal. To restrain the three with the contract while not letting them to engage in entertainment activities, we must say is very socially unjust behavior. We find it very hard to understand that in spite of the fact that both JYJ and their fans desire for (JYJ’s) Japanese activities, such a condition (the suspension of activities) has continued for as long as 8 months.

5.    Moreover your company, while suspending (JYJ’s) activities in such a manner, continue to sell JYJ’s music CDs, DVDs among other products.  What is more, these products were what Oricon addressed in their explanatory note as “products that were determined by your company prior to their sales to not be reflected on the Oricon ranking chart.” Notwithstanding the fact that those products were subject to such extremely unusual measures, with no advance notice given, (the action by Avex to disallow sales results of those products to be reflected on Oricon ranking chart) disappointed fans who despite feeling it’s questionable to sell (JYJ’s) products during their activity suspension, bought the products in an effort to support JYJ, and also made JYJ miss the opportunity to show their high popularity to the general public.

In April 2010, when the announcement to halt Tohoshinki activities was made, your company has declared, that “Our company intends to continue fully supporting respectively these five individuals, who are extraordinarily talented young people with a future”.

Yet for us fans who have devotedly waited for JYJ’s return since last September, we have already been deprived the chance to be close to JYJ’s music for 8 months,  while your company has in effect relinquished the management of the three.

We as consumers and fans, seek (your company’s) explanation for this inconsistent situation. If there is no possibility of improvement of the current situation, (we ask you to) please as soon as possible resolve the contract problem (work out the validity or invalidity of your contract with the three), and return JYJ to their supporting fans.

We wish for the three young people with extraordinary talent, Jejung, Yuchun, and Junsu to be granted freedom to embark on a new journey of music activities, for us fans to be able to freely enjoy their music.

Note: we have not consulted Cjes or JYJ’s three members prior to writing this demand letter, the letter is presented by the Japanese fans who volunteered to participate. We ask for your understanding of this fact.

April 19, 2011

JYJ’s Japanese Fans

English Translation by: Starfield of TheJYJFiles

Petition site URL: http://www.shomei.tv/project-1749.html

Full petition (Japanese): http://xoxojyj.web.fc2.com/

Letter of (Almost) Resignation: Final Confessions, Part III

Letter of (Almost) Resignation: Final Confessions, Part III

In any case, as a Korean Government employee and representative, my loyalty lies first and foremost to Korea before the Korean Wave. My responsibility is to serve Koreans—including the idol singers under SM—not the Korean Wave. JYJ’s fight and plight is clearly exposing that, under the circumstances engineered by companies like SM, the latter is destroying the former. The social context of the lawsuit and the certain characteristic elements of the Kpop fandom reveal that not everything associated with the Korean Wave is beneficial to Korea or Koreans. If anything, a great many aspects of the Korean idol boom and its internationalisation have left me deeply disturbed, if not downright afraid, on behalf of our singers and citizens. As attractive as the commercialised components of it are—the slick music videos, cool fashion and complex stage performances—it is ultimately disseminating the image of Koreans as disposable products or exotic performing circus monkeys. One only needs to peruse the comments on high-traffic English-language Kpop sites to understand that this way of marketing Korean artists does not necessarily garner respect for Koreans or genuine admiration for the country’s culture—a culture that survived its unfortunate geopolitical position, wars, neo-Confucian oppression/repression, annexation, division, extreme poverty and more to accomplish in 60 years what it took Western countries 200, a rare and unique example of economic development and citizenship empowerment. Surely such a culture and its descendants deserve far more than to be regarded as a disposable Internet byte.

Not too long ago, Korean netizens were fuming over articles, blog posts and/or cartoon strips originating from Japan that portrayed Korean girl groups as little more than sex objects[i]. Koreans attacked the Japanese for their racism and low regard for Koreans, but, in all seriousness, were they in a position to level such criticism? After all, it’s not as if girl groups or idols are regarded any differently in Korea—ultimately, they are all objects, sexual or otherwise. So, who can blame the Japanese, or any other non-Korean group of ‘fans’ for that matter, when they are simply acting on what they learned from the original source? Idol singers…written off as products in Korea…and thus treated as sexual objects everywhere else. If this is the face of the Korean Wave, I daresay it’s not worth preserving. For the security and moral integrity of our citizens, this kind of Korean Wave is best dismantled.

Without Korea there would be no Korean Wave, and without Koreans there would forcibly be no Korea. Therefore, I strongly believe that a sustainable Korean Wave will have at its centre talented Koreans (along with an accountable infrastructure that cultivates and supports their well-being and potential) NOT faceless, shameless entertainment companies. Continue reading

[Press Statement] United Asia Management and KMP Holdings are Cartels that Call for State Correction

Official Press Statement of the International Consumers of the Korean Wave and Supporters of JYJ regarding United Asia Management and KMP Holdings as Cartels that Call for State Correction


The recently formed United Asia Management (hereafter, “UAM”) and its spiritual predecessor KMP Holdings are cartels. The International Consumers of the Korean Wave and Supporters of JYJ hereby alert the State actors of the Korean Government of these two open and high-profile disregard of the Korean laws and international standards of competition and urge swift action.

A cartel is “an agreement between businesses not to compete with each other.”[i] There is international consensus on the basic statutory elements of a cartel: an (1) agreement (2) between competitors (3) that restrict competition. UAM and KMP Holdings squarely meet the above definition. First, the agreement exists because the very structure of these transactions as understood by all parties, which bring direct competitors together to cooperate in capturing the common market, makes the restriction of competition inevitable. Indeed, an agreement need not be formal or written to be prosecuted, and is actually almost always tacit and not openly acknowledged. Second, the companies that make up UAM and KMP Holdings are clearly in direct competition. Third, aside from the structural restriction on competition discussed above, the open, publicized aims of these two ventures proclaim that they shall engage in at least one of the four categories of conduct of a “hard core cartel”: “to share or divide markets by allocating customers, suppliers, territories, or lines of commerce.” [ii] The unpublicized aims of these companies may meet other categories, i.e., price-fixing, output restriction, and bid-rigging.

To prevent the formation of cartels, the OECD, of which Korea is a member State, recommends that enterprises refrain from engaging in mergers, takeovers, joint ventures or other acquisition of control whether of a horizontal, vertical, or a conglomerate nature. Further, the UN, of which Korea is again a member State, enumerates as priorities for all nations “the creation, encouragement and protection of competition” which cartels by definition stymie. Additionally, Korea’s own Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act (hereafter, “KMRFTA”) purports “to encourage fair and free economic competition by prohibiting the abuse of market-dominant positions and the excessive concentration of economic power.” In the EU, a firm with a market share of as low as 39% can be considered “dominant”. Both UAM and KMP Holdings far exceed that percentage and approach or exceed double that amount. These companies, along with the Korean Government, have an obligation to the Korean public and the international community to stop these public and gross violations of existing norms at once.

Continue reading

Letter of (Almost) Resignation: Final Confessions, Part II

Letter of (Almost) Resignation: Final Confessions, Part II


For almost 7 years, under contract, the members of JYJ suffered injustices and indignities, of which the lawsuit hearings barely scratched the surface most likely. However, if the status quo in the Korean pop music industry is allowed to continue, the greatest victims will be Korean citizens and Korean law…and, by extension, the Korean State and Government.

If the 20th century was the century of economic development, the 21st is rapidly shaping up to be that of human development. In the present century, countries will not be competing with simple capital but with human capital. Invariably, the States and economies that thrive will be those that manage to attract the brightest and most creative minds and manage to cultivate people’s innovation, ideas and youthful energies. The goal will no longer be to make a quick buck, but to achieve sustainability (ie, to keep consistently making a quick buck) whilst maintaining competitiveness. The Korean Government is well aware of this, and has been promoting the rhetoric of “global leader” and ‘Korea’s global leadership’ ever since its hosting of the G20 Summit. Yet, the current Korean pop industry model runs on a system that exploits Korea’s young and promising talents, throwing them to the curb in 5-6 year cycles before they’re able to fulfil their creative potential (or after draining them of their youth, vitality and earnings). It is a system that uses them as bargaining chips instead of acknowledging them as creative agents. How is Korea going to compete in the new economic world order if we allow our most competitive assets to be killed off like this? We are already facing the loss of our youth through population decline and suicide. We can’t afford to further lose them through such a ridiculous, anti-competition and anti-free market arrangement as well.

Continue reading

Letter of (Almost) Resignation: Final Confessions, Part I

Editor’s Note: When I first approached Jimmie to join TheJYJFiles at the end of 2010, she was already preparing to embark on an exciting career relocation and had warned me that her availability for partaking in this project would be limited. Fortuitously, she was with us for over three months and within that time, we accomplished many goals thanks to her leadership and tenacity. As her work commitments will render Jimmie to become less active in fandom, she has written a letter of (almost) parting, detailing her thoughts and confessions about how she joined this fandom, why she became an active member, and what compelled her to take up the role that she did in fandom over the past months. Readers, please don’t feel sad for this isn’t a definite goodbye; Jimmie will always be part of JYJ fandom and continue to help out. I’m sure I speak for all TheJYJFiles staffers and readers that we heartily appreciate Jimmie for her hard work and uplifting energy.

Letter of (Almost) Resignation: Final Confessions, Part I

Dear Readers,

Many of you found out for the first time via the article written by the Chosun Ilbo covering the international fans’ petition that in real life I am an international civil servant and, as such, was bound to leave for Geneva, Switzerland in the middle of March. Consequently, by the time you read this, I will have already left Korea and most likely fully settled in on the other side of the globe. Since I was never formally “hired” by The JYJ Files, I don’t consider myself formally resigning either, but it is true that my official duties henceforth will prevent me from being as active as I used to be as a writer, and so for all practical purposes I might as well be resigning. Although this is in no way an official letter of resignation and I don’t plan to disappear entirely from view, this is, in a concrete way, a goodbye. I would thus like to take this opportunity to say all that I wanted but didn’t quite have time to. Most importantly, seeing the amount of “chaos” I caused (some would say unnecessarily) I feel I need to justify why and how I got involved in the way and to the extent that I did in this fandom for the past 3-4 months. Continue reading

[DISCUSSION] Contractual Obligations v. The Meaning of Justice

Editor’s Note: Professor Sandel teaches a course on Justice at Harvard University and his popular course is available for viewing online in a 12-part series at this link: http://tinyurl.com/OnJustice. For more information on Michael J. Sandel and his works, please visit http://www.justiceharvard.org.

Contractual Obligations v. The Meaning of Justice

An excerpt from Harvard Professor Michael J. Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? (Farr, Straus and Giroux, New York: 2009, pp. 140-150)

Most of us Americans never signed a social contract. In fact, the only people in the United States who have actually agreed to abide by the Constitution (public officials aside) are naturalized citizens—immigrants who have taken an oath of allegiance as a condition of their citizenship. The rest of us are never required, or even asked, to give our consent. So why are we obligated to obey the law? And how can we say that our government rests on the consent of the governed?

John Locke says we’ve given tacit consent. Anyone who enjoys the benefits of a government, even by travelling on the highway, implicitly consents to the law, and is bound by it. But tacit consent is a pale form of the real thing. It is hard to see how just passing through town is morally akin to ratifying the Constitution.

Immanuel Kant appeals to hypothetical consent. A law is just if it could have been agreed to by the public as a whole. But this, too, is a puzzling alternative to an actual social contract. How can a hypothetical agreement do the moral work of a real one?

John Rawls (1921-2002), an American political philosopher, offers an illuminating answer to this question. In A Theory of Justice (1971), he argues that the way to think about justice is to ask what principles we would agree to in an initial situation of equality.

Rawls reasons as follows: Suppose we gathered, just as we are, to choose the principles to govern our collective life—to write a social contract. What principles would we choose? […]

The Moral Limits of Contracts

To appreciate the moral force of Rawl’s hypothetical contract, it helps to notice the moral limits of actual contracts. We sometimes assume that, when two people make a deal, the terms of their agreement must be fair. We assume, in other words, that contracts justify the terms that they produce. But they don’t—at least not on their own. The mere fact that you and I make a deal is not enough to make it fair. Of any actual contract, it can always be asked, “Is it fair, what they agreed to?” To answer this question, we can’t simply point to the agreement itself; we need some independent standard of fairness. […]

To those who believe that morality begins and ends with consent, this may seem a jarring claim. But it is not all that controversial. We often question the fairness of the deals people make. And we are familiar with the contingencies that can lead to bad deals: one of the parties may be a better negotiator, or have a stronger bargaining position, or know more about the value of the things being exchanged. The famous words of Don Corleone in The Godfather, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” suggest (in extreme form) the pressure that hovers, to some degree, over most negotiations.

To recognize that contracts do not confer fairness on the terms they produce doesn’t mean we should violate our agreements whenever we please. We may be obligated to fulfil even an unfair bargain, at least up to a point. Consent matters, even if it’s not all there is to justice. But it is less decisive than we sometimes think. We often confuse the moral work of consent with other sources of obligation.

Suppose we make a deal: You will bring me a hundred lobsters, and I will pay you $1,000. You harvest and deliver the lobsters, I eat them and enjoy them, but refuse to pay. You say I owe you the money. Why, I ask? You might point to our agreement, but you might also point to the benefit I’ve enjoyed. You could very well say that I have an obligation to repay the benefit that, thanks to you, I’ve enjoyed.

Now suppose we make the same deal, but this time, after you’ve gone to the work of catching the lobsters and bringing them to my doorstep, I change my mind. I don’t want them after all. You still try to collect. I say, “I don’t owe you anything. This time, I haven’t benefited.” At this point, you might point to our agreement, but you might also point to the hard work you’ve done to trap the lobsters while relying on the expectation that I would buy them. You could say that I’m obligated to pay by virtue of the efforts you’ve made on my behalf.

Now let’s see if we can imagine a case where the obligation rests on consent alone—without the added moral weight of repaying a benefit or compensating you for the work you did on my behalf. This time, we make the same deal, but moments later, before you’ve spent any time gathering lobsters, I call you back and say, “I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want any lobsters.” Do I still owe you the $1,000? Do you say, “A deal is a deal,” and insist that my act of consent creates an obligation even without benefit or reliance?

Legal thinkers have debated this question for a long time. Can consent create an obligation on its own, or is some element of benefit or reliance also required? This debate tells us something about the morality of contracts that we often overlook: actual contracts carry moral weight insofar as they realize two ideals—autonomy and reciprocity.

As voluntary acts, contracts express our autonomy; the obligations they create carry weight because they are self-imposed—we take them freely upon ourselves. As instruments of mutual benefit, contracts draw on the ideal of reciprocity; the obligation to fulfil them arises from the obligation to repay others for the benefits they provide us.

In practice, these ideals—autonomy and reciprocity—are imperfectly realized. Some agreements, though voluntary, are not mutually beneficial. And sometimes we can be obligated to repay a benefit simply on grounds of reciprocity, even in the absence of a contract. This points to the moral limits of consent: In some cases, consent may not be enough to create a morally binding obligation; in others, it may not be necessary. Continue reading