This seems to be the last of Jo Hyun Jae‘s post-“Yongpal” interview, so I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank our translator Jenny Park for all the help she has given me in translating all of Hyunjae’s post-YP interviews. My heartfelt thanks, Jenny! I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this ginormous task without your help.
Although this article is included in Hyunjae’s post-YP interviews, the article actually talks about Hyunjae’s trusting nature which might lead some people to think that he is a “foolish” man and his enduring friendships with Han Chae Young, Lee Bo Young, Ryujin and Lee Chang Hoon.
Article Title: Jo Hyun Jae “the foolish Ondal” is our handsome Prince
Jenny’s Note: “Ondal” is a historical character from the Goguryeo Empire. He had a funny looking face, but he had a very beautiful heart. His family was poor, so he begged on the street and took care of his mother. Ondal wears worn-out clothes that don’t look nice, this is why people gave him the nickname “the foolish Ondal”.
[The Fact/ Kim Kyung Min Reporter] 2015.10.27 05:00
Yongpal’s Jo Hyun Jae said, “I still keep in touch with the ‘Ballad of Seodong’ team.”
It is not good to judge someone by their outer appearance, nevertheless, the first impression someone creates is very important. Often times, we dare to form an opinion of a person’s character based on their outer appearance even though we don’t have any kind of personal experience with that person. This is more or less the case with actors since their job is very public. They are able to plant the character that they play onto people’s minds without saying a word to them in person.
Actor Jo Hyun Jae’s memory goes all the way back to “Ballad of Seodong”. His image that radiates goodness is lovelier than the hanboks (Korean traditional clothes) that he was wearing. In addition, he talked in a very gentle manner. Because of his image, good looks and his elegant manners it was easy for us to imagine that Korean princes in the olden days could possibly resemble the likes of this man. Of course, after “Ballad of Seodong” he was in diverse acting projects playing different sorts of characters. However, people always remember him as “the Prince”, an image that can’t seem to fade away.
Jo Hyun Jae finished the SBS drama “Yongpal” just recently and we were able to get an opportunity to meet up with him. He is very calm, very much a gentleman, and very passionate about acting – just like the first impressions he has created in the past. However, during our interview, our conversation veered towards something unexpected. We talked a little bit about trust and while discussing this subject, I was able to listen to him talk about how “foolish” he was and how he worked very hard not to appear as such.
“I tend to trust people so much to the point that it has become somewhat of a liability. I have a hard time refusing to do people’s favors, because of that I got betrayed so much. There was even a time, when I was in my 20s, I went to a hair salon for 4 years despite the fact that they didn’t do my hair the way I wanted it done, but I couldn’t tell them how I truly felt. Isn’t that so foolish of me? I tried to be reasonable and wanted to look at the positive side of things. Because of that attitude I couldn’t say what I disliked, so I wasn’t able to express things in a proper manner. Now, I try not to do that. My quotient of being foolish? From early 20s to early 30s, back in those days my score for being foolish was a 100, but now it is reduced to 50 points. I think I am my own man now.”
However, despite his seeming “foolishness”, Jo Hyun Jae was able to form lasting relationships with those who are just as “foolish” as he is, relationships which have become very valuable to him. These relationships are not calculating. These relationships are with people who return the favor while accepting the wholeheartedness of the people who foolishly trust and give everything they have no matter what. These relationships were formed with people whom he worked with in the drama “Ballad of Seodong”, the same team that made Jo Hyun Jae into “the Prince”. During our talk with him, Jo Hyun Jae’s eyes were sparkling with pride the same way they sparkled when he played Seodong when he talked about his enduring friendship with the “Ballad of Seodong” team.
“Even now, I keep in touch fairly often with the people whom I have worked with in the “Ballad of Seodong”. Lee Bo Young noona is very easy going. She supported the drama “Yongpal” and once it was over she called me up to say that I did a good job. She is currently busy nursing her newborn baby. Ryujin hyungnim lives nearby so we see each other once or twice a week. He listens to all my stories with a genuine heart. Lee Chang Hoon hyungnim also gives me a lot of advice. There are a lot of people who are like big brothers and big sisters to me for whom I am grateful. Ms. Han Chae Young has been acting for 16 years and out of that 16 years, she has been my friend for 13 years. All of us seem to have similar natures and personalities, these people are genuine people.”
Noona/noonim is the Korean man’s way of respectfully addressing a woman who is older than he is.
Unni is the Korean woman’s way of respectfully addressing a woman who is older than she is.
Hyung/hyungnim is the Korean man’s way of respectfully addressing a man who is older than he is.
Oppa is the Korean woman’s way of respectfully addressing a man who is older than she is.
Jo Hyun Jae is a person who is reluctant to wound the feelings of other people. Having an attitude like this could lead him to make decisions that would make us jump to the conclusion that he is a “foolish” man. People who take advantage of such a person are truly bad. Unfortunately, bad people abound in the extremely cold-hearted world of showbiz. Knowing that someone as “foolish” as Jo Hyun Jae has been able to patiently endure for this long in the harsh and toxic world of showbiz, I couldn’t help but come to the conclusion that he is actually an awesome person. If you are someone who can go anywhere and can say that these are “my people” and boast of a very close bond/friendship with people you have met along the way, then that “foolish” man is actually richer than “the Prince”.
Credit: Photo as labelled. English translation by Jenny Park. Thanks! Editing by Prissymom. English translation is not verbatim.