JYP, who gave birth to K-pop!

By Hayeon Do

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It is hard to disagree that currently, BTS dominates the world. If they say a word, it will affect and spread all over the world, earning millions of views. K-pop musicians, including BTS, have a profound impact on the global market as well as the music market. Some are envious of these Idols who shine brilliantly on stage, while others have dreams of one day becoming like these aspirational figures. However, we are missing something. Who made K-pop so prestigious? Who manages the entire support system aiding in the choreography, performances, marketing, and health and wellbeing of these hugely successful K-pop idols with countless hours of sweat and passion? The one behind the scenes most invested in the success of K-pop idols is the producer; it is Park Jin-young who introduced professional production in Korea.

CEO Park Jin-young has greatly contributed to the propagation of K-pop through his production studio company, JYP Entertainment. He has produced numerous popular idols such as Wonder Girls, 2AM, 2PM, Miss A, 15&, GOT7, DAY6, TWICE, Stray Kids, and ITZY, through helping these artists master the crafts of dancing and singing, disciplines in which he has unique expertise. However, some still beg to ask the question of how his idols can gain such explosive popularity in the music industry, despite there being a myriad of other Idols? Why is JYP perceived as the best entertainment studio in Korea, despite the stiff competition? The key is in his ingenious and thoughtful method of education, which is based on his parent’s education. 

As a child, he was a troublemaker. For this reason, he was even in danger of being kicked out of kindergarten due to his mischievous behavior. However, Jin-young’s mother was very patient with her son and understood that undergoing school in a traditional context, probably wasn’t conducive for her child. She made him quit kindergarten and taught him to play the piano. In Korea, where many parents are desperate for their children to receive private education, this daring decision to pull Jin-young out of school to learn to play the piano was bold. Park Jin-young recalls in his autobiography that his free upbringing contributed greatly to the formation of his values. When he was nine years old, Jin-young’s father decide to relocate their family’s business to the U.S., forcing Jin-young to leave his life in Korea behind. It was there he gained his aspiration for music, inspired by American music icons like Michael Jackson. He was fascinated by Michael Jackson’s facial expressions and dance moves, which compelled him to start dancing wherever he could find a stage. Shortly after, he was so into the culture that he began enjoying dance battles with dancers in the streets. He learned about American soul music and was overall deeply impressed by American culture. When returning to Korea, he participated in numerous auditions to become a dancer and singer. However, the reality seemed to be parallel with his dream, as they never met. In auditions, he was often told that his appearance was not suitable for becoming a bonafide celebrity. Yet he overcame it by never giving up hope and eventually became a sought-after dancer. After that, he discovered his talent as a producer, and he started to work as both a producer and dancer.

After becoming a producer, he tried to change the inferior environment he experienced as a singer. He believed that just managing their practices and performances was not the ultimate goal of producing. He introduced a comprehensive management system for trainees’ physical, mental, and right values. He always emphasized three things; Truth, sincerity, and humility. He also offered an organic diet to trainees. He did so in the belief that they should eat well even if they couldn’t manage their debut. This shows that he treated them as dignified human beings, rather than just products of the business. In a sense, his idols were a part of his family, as he cared for them wholeheartedly. Furthermore, he stressed that public figures and entertainers should be well-rounded examples of individuals, providing personality education such as volunteer work at nursing homes. The most well-known and incredible method he executed was that he was in charge of sex education for idols. Until then, in Korean society, sex was considered shameful, so people were not able to get an education about it. This misperception and lack of proper education continued to create a vicious circle, especially among idols. Park Jin-young taught idols the right method of contraception usage and also reminded them that sex is not a thing that has to be considered shameful. Consequently, many idols said that this education was very valuable since it was not properly taught at public schools.

This all demonstrates his unique management style. Even after their contract is over with JYP, idols often maintain a strong relationship with Park Jin-young, which is uncommon in the K-pop industry. Currently, Park Jin-young is preparing for the Korean Wave’s entry into the United States. People criticize him, saying that he is greedy. However, he has a grand dream of the globalization of K-pop, and thus he won’t stop challenging himself. His pride and passion can be seen in the fact that although he is already a successful musician and a prestigious producer, he will never cease the adventure for his dream.

By Hayeon Do

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