Sunday, May 05, 2013

50 Most Influential K-pop Artists: 14. Park Jin-yeong

[Series Index]

14. Park Jin-yeong [박진영]

Also romanized as:  Park Jin Young, JYP

Years of Activity: 1992 - present? (Last album in 2007)

Wandering Time [떠도는 시간] (1992) (as Park Jin-yeong and the New Generation [박진영과 신세대])
Blue City (1994)
Entertainer [딴따라] (1995)
Summer Jingle Bells (1996)
Even After a Decade [십년이 지나도] (1998)
Park Jin-yeong 5th (1998)
Game (2001)
Back to Stage (2007)

Representative Song:  Elevator [엘레베이터], from Entertainer


엘리베이터 안에서 우린 사랑을 나누지
In the elevator we make love
그 누구도 모르게 비밀스런 사랑을
A secret love that no one knows
엘리베이터 안에서 우린 사랑을 나누지
In the elevator we make love
지하에서 윗층까지 벨이 울릴때까지
From the basement to the penthouse, until the bell rings

우리는 만났어 처음 만났어 우린 첫눈에 보자마자 반했어
We met, met for the first time, we fell at the first sight
흘러나오는 웃음을 참지못해 서로에게서 도저히 눈을 떼지못해
We couldn't hold the laughs, couldn't take our eyes off of each other
우리는 느꼈어 예 느꼈어 새로운 사랑의 시작을 우린 느꼈어
We felt it, yeah, we felt it, we felt the beginning of a new love
이 설레임 이 두근거림 너무나 오랜만에 느껴보는 이 느낌
This fluttering, this heart-beating, this feeling that I'm feeling for the first time in so long
하지만 더 기쁜건 더 중요한건
But the thing that's even happier, the thing that's even more important
그녀도 분명히 느끼고 있는 것 같다는 것
Is she seems like she is definitely feeling it too
그녀도 분명히 내게 반한 것 같다는 것
She seems like she is definitely into me too
이제 외롭던 날들의 끝인 것
Now the lonely days are over

그래서 우린 나갔어 헤어지기가 아쉬워서 
So we stepped out, but I couldn't let her go
저 저녁식사나라고 하려는데
So I was about to say, hey how about a dinner
그녀가 먼저 (제가 저녁 사드릴께요)
But she first goes (I'll buy you a dinner)
시간이 가는줄도 밤이 깊어가는줄도 모르고 
We forgot the time passing, forgot that the night deepening
수없이 많은 얘기를 나눴고 
Shared so many stories
서로의 맘속에 사랑이 싹트며 서로의 눈을 지그시 바라보며
Love sprouted in our hearts, we gazed into each other's eyes
식당문을 열고 집으로 가기위해 엘리베이터를 탔는데
Opened the restaurant door, to go home, we got on the elevator

엘리베이터 안에서 우린 사랑을 나누지
In the elevator we make love
그 누구도 모르게 비밀스런 사랑을
A secret love that no one knows
엘리베이터 안에서 우린 사랑을 나누지
In the elevator we make love
지하에서 윗층까지 벨이 울릴때까지
From the basement to the penthouse, until the bell rings

(예 저 진영인데요 저 오늘 재미있으셨어요)
(Hey it's Jin-yeong. Did you have fun today?)
(예 즐거웠어요)
(Yes, I had fun)
(저 그럼 내일 또 만날수 있어요)
(Then can we meet again tomorrow?)
(왜요 또 만나고 싶어요)
(Why, you want to meet again?)
(네 저 내일 그럼 어디 갈까요)
(Yeah, so where should we go tomorrow?)
(어 63 빌딩)
(Hm, the 63 Building)

그후로 오랫동안 우린 만났어
For a long time thereafter we met
서로의 맘속에 들어갈수록 들어가서 들여다볼수록
As we got into each other hearts, as we looked into them inside
점점 더 빠져 들었어 이제 돌이킬수가 없어
We got into it deeper and deeper, can't go back now
호기심을 넘어 좋아하는 걸 넘어 사랑을 향해 다가가고 있어
Getting over curiosity, getting over liking, we are approaching love
이제는 때가 됐다 생각이 들어서 
I thought it was the right time
카페에서 마주보고 앉아 있다가 
We were sitting across from each other at the cafe
일어나서 그녀에게 다가가 우리 이제 이렇게 앉자며 옆에 앉았어
I got up, approached her, and said let's sit like this now, and sat next to her
자연스럽게 그녀의 가는 어깨 위에 살며시 팔을 올리려고 하는데
I was trying to naturally put my arm on her slender shoulders, and then
그녀가 먼저 살며시 내게 기댔어
She first quietly leaned into me
와 두 뺨에 흐르는 눈물
Wow, tears rolled down my cheeks
좋아 그럼 용기를 내서 뽀뽀를 해보기로 마음을 먹고 
Alrighty then, I got up the courage to try kissing her
눈을 맞추며 조금씩 다가가는데
We lock eyes, and get closer to each other
(박진영 씨 싸인 좀 해주시겠어요)
(Mr. Park Jin-yeong, can I get your autograph?)
그래서 나는 모든걸 잊고 깨끗이 마음을 비우고
So I forgot everything, got everything out of my mind,
카페 문을 열고 집에 가려고 엘리베이터를 탔는데
Opened the cafe door, trying to go home, and got on the elevator

(무슨 생각해)
(What are you thinking?)
(너랑 같은 생각)
(Same thing you are thinking.)
(무슨 생각인데)
(What's that?)
(엘리베이터 안에 너랑 나밖에 없다는거)
(That only you and I are in this elevator)

엘리베이터 안에서 우린 사랑을 나누지
In the elevator we make love
그 누구도 모르게 비밀스런 사랑을
A secret love that no one knows
엘리베이터 안에서 우린 사랑을 나누지
In the elevator we make love
지하에서 윗층까지 벨이 울릴때까지
From the basement to the penthouse, until the bell rings

Translation note:  63 Building, or formally known as the Daehan Life Building, was the tallest building in Korea at the time of this song--which presumably means the longest elevator ride.

In 15 words or less:  Korea's Madonna.

Maybe he should be ranked higher because...   If you consider his influence as a businessman, it is arguable that he is one of the few people who created K-pop as we know it today.

Maybe he should be ranked lower because...  What did he do musically? Did he do anything more than adding a bit of different zeitgeist?

Why is this artist important?
We all know who Park Jin-yeong is. Better known now as JYP to his international admirers, he is the head of the "big 3" entertainment companies of Korea, the JYP Entertainment. He is the guy who came up with Rain, Wonder Girls, 2PM and the like. But forget all that for a minute--because Park Jin-yeong, the artist alone, stripped of his business accomplishments, remains a very important figure in the history of K-pop.

The Korean considers Park Korea's Madonna, and the designation does not come lightly. Broadly speaking, Madonna achieved two things in her career:  she compelled people to take dance pop music seriously as an art form, and she revolutionized the portrayal of sex in mainstream music. Park Jin-yeong  achieved those same things in Korea.

History of pop music features a constant tension between the pulls in the opposite directions--the desire to elevate the music to the realm of art, and the desire to sell the music to the masses. The tension separates Nirvana and Justin Bieber, as well as Yoo Jae-ha and Girls' Generation. Like Madonna, Park Jin-yeong subverted that tension. He engaged in the "low" music, but carried himself like he was the second coming of Mozart. The title of his second album, Entertainer [딴따라], said it all. 딴따라 is a derogatory term for "entertainer," reminiscent of the grasshopper in the fable: lazy and overall useless. But Park gladly labeled himself as 딴따라, announcing to the world that he is here to make people respect him.

Park's blatant sexuality was another lightning rod. The risque depiction in Elevator was jaw-dropping for Korea in 1995. He also made waves by declaring repeatedly on television that "sex is just a game." His concerts were more like a burlesque show. Korea, at first, tut-tutted on this brash young pup. But over the next decade and a half, it was JYP who had the last laugh. He managed to become respected while staying true as an entertainer, and sex was never freer in Korea. That's some influence.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. That trial case must have been really hard on you. :D. Park Jin Young, not Kim Geon Mo on the title.

    Or a Freudian slip? Maybe you like Kim more than you'd like to admit. :D

    1. Yeah, that trial just sucked. I am actually not even very happy with this post, but only because I could write so much more about JYP. He's an interesting fella.

  2. I always thought the previously mentioned Kim Wanseon of as a Madonna-like figure in Korea, but you have an interesting argument for JYP.

    1. A lot of people make the KWS-Madonna comparison, but I respectfully disagree. That comparison overrates KWS by a lot. KWS never really acted with a mind of her own like Madonna did. Both KWS and Madonna appeared around the same time and used sexuality as a theme, but with Madonna it was deliberate; with KWS it was her aunt who choreographed it.

    2. Well, you've convinced me. I liked your argument for how KWS was the original K-pop manufactured idol and I agree with your assessment on the KWS-Madonna comparison.

  3. You're ALIVE! Whew. Since the last AAK post I've been checking every so often to see a new post, got a little worried there. Haha.

  4. Even if I never comment, I'm always taking a look to this blog, and I first ended here because of the "Most Influential Kpop Artists" Series while researching about Kpop on a very hard quest to find artists with personality on the genre (as the international fandom mostly listen and publishes the most manufaturated acts). I found the Park Jin-yeong comparation with Madonna to be pretty interesting (as she really did both things you said, but they are never really put in this way).

    If there's no problem, I have a question about a Kpop artist that won't be on the list (as she already appeared on the "almost" list), and I don't think the answer is really e-mail worthy: I saw Um Jeong-Hwa being also compared to Madonna a lot, because of her longevity, her multimedia aproach to the industry, her sexual image and her constant reinvention. What's your opinion about it?

    1. UJH is probably closer to Madonna than KWS, in a sense that UJH deliberately made that approach on her own. But while UJH was rather popular, she was hardly a paradigm-shifting force like Madonna was, nor was her sexuality all that groundbreaking. UJH was sexy, but not in a way that shocked people.

      Truth is, K-pop criticism is filled with a lot of lazy comparisons between K-pop artists and American artists, and Madonna is probably the most unthinking and overused comparison out there. Any time a sexy woman comes around, she is compared to Madonna. That is mostly because people do not have a firm idea of exactly what Madonna did to pop culture.

    2. Got it! Thank you very much! Madonna really gets a lot of comparation on every music market (we have 2 or 3 over here in Brazil :P).

  5. I've a question! Looking backwards, at the first post in this series (which was written in 2010), I started wondering whether The Korean is still sticking to his initial list or has been keeping his own real-time chart (which magically freezes in place once a post is written)?

    There shouldn't be much of an uproar in the TK's First Tier but since the creation of the post on Pipi Band three years have passed and the world has moved on and so has the music industry. Still active groups and singers have had the opportunity to expand their influence and especially idol groups such as SNSD have solidified their leadership status (in their genre), while we've had others roaming international music charts (Yes, it's PSY. Although you can't deny his success I would find it difficult to evaluate how his international one-hit wonder translates to influence.) Plus, and I know your love for manufactured idol groups, on an up-to-date list you would be hard-pressed not to mention YG's Big Bang alongside SNSD and DBSK; but at this point I don't expect them to magically appear in the Top 13.

    So, what's your way of working/sorting?

    (On a sidenote, I just realised that I've been following this blog for over four and a half years now. Quite unimaginable.)

    I find JYP to be a very interesting person. I accidentally ended up watching an episode of him featuring on a Korean variety show called "Healing Camp" in which, thanksfully, he wasn't in need of healing but rather shared his working morals, future ambitions and views on past achievments. Very revealing, inspiring and even informative.


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