SHINee’s Jonghyun was an amazing artist, singer-songwriter, producer and person that touched the hearts of many people with his music and his compassion. He shined as the main vocalist of SHINee for nearly a decade and became a role model for many artists to come. In light of his birthday on April 8, let’s take this time to remember and recognize moments he stood up for what he believed in and knew was right in his heart.
1. Education Reform
Jonghyun has never been one to stay quiet about his opinions regarding heavy topics such as feminism, education, or sexual minorities. In the past he has voiced his opinion regarding his disappointment with former Korean President Park Geun-hye’s proposed school reforms. His Tweet touched on the various social issues that were going on at the time including state mandated textbooks and low birthrates.
Reduce elementary, middle, and high school systems to induce childbirth…producing textbooks made by the government…I wouldn’t have the confidence to raise the child in this sort of system to become a human with a healthy mentality and body. It’s not that I don’t want children. I’m just scared to have one.
출산 유도를 위해 초 중 고 학제를 단축 한다라…
국정 교과서를 제작 한다라…
이런 정책 속에서 아이를 낳고 정신과 신체가 건강한 인간으로 자랄수 있게 도울 자신이 없어질 뿐이다.
아이를 낳지않으려는게 아니라
아이를 낳는게 두렵다.
— 김종현 (@realjonghyun90) October 23, 2015
2. “Comfort Women”
Back in 2014, Jonghyun talked about the topic of “comfort women” through his MBC FM4U Blue Night radio show.
“I always think of our grandmothers who were forced into sex slavery by the Japanese soldiers every year on March 1. I am curious to see if our government has any intention of solving this issue. I know that there are about 55 remaining survivors and I hope to see them happy before they pass.”
3. Telephone Ban Laws
Back in 2013, a new law was announced that banned old style wireless home phones from being used starting from January 2014. For those that broke the law would be hit with fines up to almost $2000 USD. After hearing the news, Jonghyun took it upon himself to speak out about this new law.
Wireless phones are banned starting from January of next year. Even picking up a call with one of those phones can result in a huge fine. I am shocked. They are enforcing this because it disrupts the connection with LTE Spectrum. But there are still 100,000 people that use this old style of phones. I hope no one gets fined because they didn’t know about this new law.
무선전화기 내년 일월부터 사용못한다고 하네요 걸려오는 전화를 받기만 해도 벌금200만원 이랍니다. 어이가없네 엘티이주파수랑 겹쳐서 문제라나 뭐라나 아직 무선전화기 사용자가 십만명이나 된다기에 모르고 벌금내시는 분들 없으셨으면 해서…
— 김종현 (@realjonghyun90) October 11, 2013
4. Korea’s Minorities
Jonghyun was also active in shedding light on Korea’s minorities through his platform online. Back in 2013, he changed his Twitter profile picture of a message written by a bisexual transgender student. This picture was posted as part of the “Are you Okay?” movement that tried to shed light on the many social inequalities in Korea. This specific photo was about the treatment two people received for their same-sex wedding and the LGBT community.
Jonghyun also sent a message to the poster of the message to give them support and let them know that he is at a loss to those who don’t accept differences.
5. Global Issues
Jonghyun has also used his platform and profile pictures to address issues around the world. He used Benedict Cumberbatch’s picture used to shame the media for their lack of attention towards real problems happening in the world.
He has also been using the anti-Vietnam war flower child as his profile photo for many years and is still up on his personal Instagram page.
Jonghyun’s image of being a “political celebrity” received both positive and negative attention from the public. Some thought his insight brought upon a better personal image and gave change to the rigid culture of K-Pop. Others believed that he shouldn’t be talking about issues that he does not fully understand.
The question of celebrities stepping over the boundaries has been around for ages and is still a question we face today. But when it comes down to it, it is people like Jonghyun who confidently stood by their opinions that have helped spread awareness and bring more celebrities to speak their mind about important issues that affect our society today.