[Theme of November 'BTS'] “Hope of Jung Ho-seok, Jung Ho-seok of Hope” J-Hope
[Theme of November 'BTS'] “Hope of Jung Ho-seok, Jung Ho-seok of Hope” J-Hope
  • Suh Young-ho(Musician)
  • 승인 2021.11.01 00:17
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  Jeong Ho-seok, a well-known street dancer in Kwang-ju who found himself in dancing and through dancing found a contact point to music, joined 7-member group BTS as the third member. Leader RM judged right talking J-Hope into staying even by persuading their boss when J-Hope could not stand being a trainee anymore and wanted to leave BTS; it is because RM fully understood the importance of performance in this ‘visual music’ time. J-Hope’s role to raise the band’s dancing perfection is so enormous and burdensome, as the main dancer and as ‘Dance Leader Jeong’. And now Jung Ho-seok is writing a growing narrative of Hope as a dancer, rapper, singer and artist by the name, Hope, which he stands for. 

  Jeong Ho-seok’s nickname is ‘J-Hope’. The BTS members and ARMY call him ‘Hobi’, ‘energy drink’, ‘Sunshine’, ‘Beagle’, or ‘Himang-i’, for he always sends affirmative energy with bright smiles and shines the surroundings. But the word ‘hope’ is not a light one. We all have said good bye to the wish not attained to the end, which has another name, ‘despair’, accompanying as a shadow on the backside of the rainbow. So we are so careful to say about hope in order to protect ourselves in advance from a probable hurt. 

  Therefore, J-Hope often introduces himself saying, “I am your Hope and you are my Hope,” but this message is not so simple as when he means it saying so briskly and livelily. Especially for BTS having grown more in the fans’ support and love than any other stars have, it is much more complicated to say about hope. They scattered messages on love, courage and hope throughout the world and the fans want their stars to remain as an icon of everlasting love and hope. When we wish to attain vicarious satisfaction by reflecting our hopes on others, the objects we select would be often the heroes in the movies(or sometimes unfortunately, our kids). So we say we ‘put our hope’ on them.

  The more people love BTS, the more weight of hope on the BTS shoulders increases. So that mandate from Heaven of Jung Ho-seok is proclamation that he would embrace heavy responsibilities in the face and at once he would trust himself completely to the fans. In a certain interview RM said, “If I were to go back to the past I would not agree to give Jung Ho-seok a nickname, J-Hope,” and I think it may be a sign of sympathizing the burden Jung Ho-seok might feel. 

  Jeong Ho-seok engraving ‘hope’ on himself made clear that the reason why he determined himself always to be brisk and lively among the band with a cheerful look was to “give our team energy and help keep it up”. And he confessed saying, “I was not born with such a trait. But when I came to the world with a name, J-Hope, and grew being called by the name, I made it a calling for me to maintain my liveliness and hopefulness, and in the process I found out that I actually became such a person naturally.” Therefore, ‘J-Hope’ is the nickname, not from his own strong point or character or his original identity, but made by way of marking with a side dot in defining himself through the connecting ring between ‘me and others’, unlike other members. 

  So Hope of Jung Ho-seok or Jung Ho-seok of Hope does not mean that he is a natural-born ‘affirmative man’ or he is genius in every way, but means his intention and attitude of his determination that he would become such a person for himself and for all the people who love him. And moreover, it means he is showing the process to keep making efforts to be Jung Ho-seok of hopes cherished both originally from himself and from his fans and to make the hopes come true one by one. 

  Despite of the fear of impossibilities nullifying hopes every chance, like such phrases as ‘torturing hope’ or ‘vain hope’, the word ‘hope’ is still hopeful, because it is impossible for men to measure the limits for possibilities. And the key of ‘Jeong Ho-seok’s theory on hope’ he mentioned in an interview saying, “If you have spirit, you can do it all,” lies in his spirit itself seeking hope not in accomplishing things but in his self-love and his faith in those who love him, and this is not different from the message what BTS would like to send to the world. 



Suh Young-ho  
musician; member of ‘One Punch’ and ‘Oh Ji-eun & Suh Young-ho’; won 《Cultura》 New Critic Prize; main albums are 〈Punch Drunk Love〉 and 〈A Small Heart〉.

 Translated by Park Eun-sun


* 《Cultura》 2021 November (Vol. 89) *


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