Welcome to the 63rd article of Kpopmap's weekly series exploring the amazing duality of K-Pop idols, actors, models, and more! Every week, we shine the spotlight on one artist who embodies the very essence of duality and has mastered the flair of harnessing their multifaceted talent to create the most brilliant, versatile art we have ever seen. As effortless as they make their craft look, there's a universe of talent that brings their hard work to fruition, and we must show appreciation where it's due.
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This week's "Bias Duality" article is dedicated to an artist who defines diligence and passion, U-KISS/UNB's Lee JunYoung. With 58.3% of the total votes cast by Kpopmap readers on the poll in our previous "Bias Duality" article, Lee JunYoung was chosen by an overwhelming majority of fans to appear on this series!
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Who would you like to see in the next "Bias Duality" article? (4th Week Of November)
~ Nov 24, 2022 (KST) ※You can vote multiple times without sign in.
MONSTA X's I.M
ZE:A's Im SiWan
Now onto our bias!
A Gift To The World: Lee JunYoung's Personal Duality & Evolution
The first thing that comes to mind when we think of Lee JunYoung is the background score of the most timeless romance film - violins, Spanish guitars, pianos, and saxophones - the whole shebang. Our eyes turn into hearts, and the world appears rosier than it ever was. That's the effect Lee JunYoung has on us, and we wouldn't have it any other way. After all, we've never seen a man with so much dimension.
The highest expression of Lee JunYoung’s identity is in his art. Today, he is a lauded artist in the truest sense of the word who has conquered every single field he has laid eyes on - whether that be singing, rapping, dancing, acting, theatre, fashion or otherwise. The key to this exceptional success has been an unstoppable force that emerges from within Lee JunYoung, driving him to better himself with the sole ambition of fulfilling his own definition of success.
To recap, Lee JunYoung’s first step into the entertainment industry was in 2014 when he debuted as a new member of the established K-Pop boy group U-KISS. He was chosen by the members themselves - a fact that he prides himself on. Despite joining the lineup so late, Lee JunYoung was quick to cement his position as an irreplaceable member who was both highly competent and beloved. He was dubbed the Diamond/Platinum Maknae for his talent as an all-rounder, and his synergy with the rest of the members was out of this world - almost as if they’d been together forever.
From the moment Lee JunYoung debuted, he had a sense of gratitude and duty towards U-KISS that reflected in everything he did. It was also out of this desire to help his U-KISS hyungs and promote the group on a grander scale that he applied for the survival reality show “Idol Rebooting Project: The Unit”. His talent spoke for itself, and Lee JunYoung won the show, ranking 1st place and debuting in the project boy group UNB as the centre, main vocalist, rapper, and lead dancer. It is important to note here that Lee JunYoung was primarily known as a rapper in U-KISS, given his extraordinary skills, but through “The Unit”, he was able to showcase his golden vocals and evolve as a singer-songwriter, which earned him the position of UNB’s main vocalist. In addition, dance had always been one of Lee JunYoung’s strongest suits, so it was no surprise that he took on the role of the lead dancer as well.
Prior to his debut with UNB, JunYoung made his acting debut with the highly anticipated K-Drama “Avengers Social Club” alongside veteran actors Lee YoWon, Ra MiRan, and Myung SeBin where he played one of the main characters, Lee SooGyum. The drama was highly popular, and JunYoung garnered high praise for his innate talent in acting. Despite being his first drama, it gave him recognition as an actor and broke down prejudices about idol actors.
During his promotion with UNB, Lee JunYoung also ventured into variety shows such as “King Of Mask Singer” and even more dramas, which made him a household name in South Korea. In 2018, Lee JunYoung acted in the MBC drama “Goodbye To Goodbye” where his performance as Han MinSoo won him the “Best New Actor” Award at the 2018 MBC Drama Awards. He also contributed to the OST of the drama with the song ‘Because It’s You’. The world now knew of Lee JunYoung as a powerhouse, and he was living up to the title to the fullest, but he was also just getting started.
In 2019, Lee JunYoung kicked off his journey as a soloist in both Japan and South Korea, achieving impressive success with his music. Through his solo career, Lee JunYoung was able to explore a wider range of musicality through diverse genres and self-written songs, which ultimately helped him curate a unique sonic aesthetic. At this point, he also became famous for his artwork, which served as the covers of his single album “Gallery” and the non-album single “Amen”. His art was also being featured in exhibitions and art galleries, increasing his credibility as a renowned painter.
The planets were aligning for Lee JunYoung because by this time, he was already acknowledged as an acting genius through dramas like “Class Of Lies”, “Good Casting” and “Please Don’t Date Him”. At the same time, his talent for musical theatre was also recognized and even awarded: his performance in “Swag Age: Shout out, Chosun!” got him the Rookie Award at the 5th Korea Musical Awards, adding to his accolades.
From then on, there has been no looking back for Lee JunYoung. He has continued to grow as an artist while remaining true to himself and showing us new sides to his creative prowess with each project. However, this duality and range are equally as charming when it comes to his real personality.
Anyone who has been with Lee JunYoung from the very beginning will know his personal duality all too well. He is a self-proclaimed shy boy, but he never hesitates to express his feeling with the utmost clarity and confidence. He is openly affectionate with his members, whether that be in U-KISS or UNB, just as much as he is with his fans. However, as a member of U-KISS, Jun has a tendency to be a clingy, cuddly baby who just wants to be showered with love and attention, whereas, in UNB, he has a more mature, assertive vibe.
Either way, he is playful, immensely caring, and attentive on the one hand and hilariously savage on the other. Moreover, the golden retriever energy is strong with this one. He loves to laugh and flash his adorable gummy smile, and every time he does, we melt into a puddle. However, Jun is also the most focused and hard-working individual you’ll ever meet. Even when he’s supposed to be resting, JunYoung is busy preparing for his next project, but you'll never see him neglecting his own needs. Throughout his extensive career as a star, JunYoung has made sure to constantly check in with himself, introspect and practice self-care. In the age we live in, this is quite possibly the most inspiring and important thing a public figure can prioritize and promote. Naturally, therefore, JunYoung’s relationship with his fans is one of the healthiest and the most wholesome equations in the industry.
That’s not all! Lee JunYoung is a brave model citizen! He is guided by his own set of morals and principles, and nothing could stop him from sticking by the same. So, one time when he suspected that a car before him was being driven by an intoxicated individual, he followed it for an hour after alerting the police to make sure that there were no casualties and that the driver himself was safe.
We’re still not done gushing over JunYoung’s dazzling personality yet! How can we forget that he has a special penchant for making animals and children fall in love with him? The fact that he’s also extremely good with kids is definitely a bonus. JunYoung spreads happiness wherever he goes, and just his aura alone is brilliant. So, it is no surprise that he attracts the same energy he gives - whether that be from co-stars, his seniors, juniors, or otherwise. Take any clip from the making of JunYoung’s dramas or films, and you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. Even his musical theatre seniors cannot stop complimenting him for his sincerity and dedication. This man is the human embodiment of a ball of sunshine - as fierce as he is warm, as bright as he is cozy, and as powerful as he is gentle. Needless to say, we just can’t get enough.
One Ace To Rule Them All - Lee JunYoung's Stage Duality
Lee JunYoung entered the idol scene with the perfection of an expert and the passion of a rookie. His talents were honed to a t, but his bright-eyed aspirations were sky-high, and he would do anything to reach his goals. As such, Jun was constantly working on himself, pouring unstilted effort and hard work into his dreams.
As we mentioned earlier, JunYoung is one of the ultimate aces when it comes to idols. He can rap like a god, sing like an angel, dance like a machine, and look heaven-sent while doing all of the above. At the same time, his on-stage charisma is truly a wonder of the world. Regardless of whether you attribute this to his charming mole, his bright smile, his alluring gaze, or simply the magnetism that he oozes, one cannot deny the irresistible spell he casts on his audience. The man commands respect, and you just cannot take your eyes off of him.
As and when the concept changes, Lee JunYoung changes with it - going from cute and endearing to tantalizing and hypnotic. In fact, his eyes do all the talking for him! All we have to do is follow his lead, and Jun takes us to a musical paradise. His outstanding dancing skills and versatility in style are just the cherries on the cake. He could be popping-locking, tackling contemporary open-style choreography, or just freestyling, but either way, he’s unbelievably skilled.
Speaking of Lee JunYoung’s vocals, he was appreciated for his singing skills right from his debut, but following his experience with musical theatre acting, his vocal quality has improved manifold. Now, JunYoung’s vocal control, his technique, flair, and tonal range are captivating on a whole new level. His baritone is just as impactful as his falsetto, and that is no surprise considering how strong JunYoung is in both his registers. Having cultivated his personal vocal colour throughout his career, his voice is now one of the most recognizable voices in the music industry. Perhaps that is why his stint on “King Of Mask Singer” received such an overwhelmingly positive response from fans, judges, and critics alike. Be it his solo music or his OSTs, his group songs, or others, ballads or future-pop, Lee JunYoung has a knack for making his listeners feel something, and that is nothing if not a treasured gift, especially for an artist.
Similarly, as a rapper, Lee JunYoung’s flow is easily one of the most swoon-worthy things about his vocal duality. One listen to his extensive discography, and you’ll find yourself falling irrevocably in love. Just the way he grooves, alternating between hard-hitting lyrics that pack a punch and laid-back rhymes that will have you swaying side to side, is enough for anyone to turn into a stan. Furthermore, in case you did not know, Lee JunYoung is a polyglot and, as such, can rap/sing in Korean, English, and Japanese! Can this man get any more perfect?
For newer fans of Lee JunYoung who would like to explore his duality as an idol, check out his K-Dramas "Imitation", where he plays a member of the fictional boy group SHAX, and "Let Me Be Your Knight" where he plays a member of the fictional band LUNA, and you'll get a glimpse of his prowess on stage through his characters.
The Icon Of Versatility - Lee JunYoung's Duality As An Actor
The Korean entertainment world is constantly changing at every turn. In such a competitive and challenging industry, Lee JunYoung has not only been able to hold his own but has also grown at an unprecedented rate while developing the most awe-worthy and diverse filmography. If that’s not the hallmark of a master at his craft, we don’t know what is! Today, Lee JunYoung is not only one of the most prominent idol actors but also the face of the future of Hallyu, and that is certainly not an easy feat to achieve.
Award-winning actor Lee JunYoung is known far and wide for his range. The variety of works he has undertaken and completed successfully, from melodramas to unconventional romance, comedy, thrillers, and more, continues to add to his credibility as an artist. Let’s dive into Lee JunYoung’s screen duality with an analysis of some of his characters on film and TV so far!
Perhaps the best place to start things off would be Lee JunYoung’s debut drama “Avengers Social Club”. This is one work that Lee JunYoung holds dear to his heart even today, going as far as to say that it is his representative work. If you’ve watched the drama, you’ll know that he says so for good reason!
In “Avengers Social Club”, Lee JunYoung plays the role of Lee SooGyum - the epitome of kindness. He is all too perfect, to begin with, but he gives us absolutely no reason to doubt his benevolent nature and sincerity. He simply is a nice person, and that’s all there is to it. However, looking into Lee SooGyum’s psyche, we see wounds that have left deep impressions on his heart.
The trauma of abandonment and abuse he must cope with could have turned him into a much darker character, but he holds his soul close and protects it from being maligned. He is academically bright, genuinely considerate, and even though he swears revenge, doesn’t really harm anyone in his way. Watching SooGyum overcome his struggles is fulfilling, yes, but the journey is way more rewarding than the destination. Lee JunYoung does an excellent job of conveying the sense of determination SooGyum feels while also underlining it with a dull ache, and that’s where his excellence lies.
Diametrically opposed to SooGyum, we have Yoo BeomJin from “Class Of Lies”. The only thing these two characters have in common is the air of perfection. However, Yoo BeomJin subverts it in the most twisted, cunning way possible. What we get here is sociopathy at its ugliest, and no one, if not Lee JunYoung, would have been able to bring out the spine-chilling essence of this character with such nuance. It is no wonder, therefore, that after the filming of “Class Of Lies” was over, Lee JunYoung was emotionally and mentally exhausted from having to take on such a shadowy role.
In terms of romance, every single character Lee JunYoung has played is perfectly in contrast with each other, even if that distinction is subtle. They never bring us the same butterflies, but they do stay in our hearts for much longer than the actual runtime of the drama.
Han MinSoo of “Goodbye To Goodbye” transforms from an immature man-child to a real man who knows how to step up for his family, whereas Kang WooWon of “Good Casting” is childish but in an adorable sort of way. Kang WooWon is also the character that Lee JunYoung relates to the most in terms of his own dating style!
Jung KookHee of “Please Don’t Date Him” is the mystery man of everyone’s dreams who works as a firefighter. With how courageous and noble Lee JunYoung is in real life, this role suited him perfectly. KookHee is the definition of a gentleman who prefers old-school romance, and Lee JunYoung embodied a mature charm for this character that left us in awe.
Soon after, JunYoung appeared in the idol drama “Imitation” as Kwon Ryuk. This was the drama that propelled Lee JunYoung to breakout global success as an actor, and he was finally getting the worldwide recognition he deserved for his unrivaled acting skills. In terms of a character sketch, Kwon Ryuk is the ultimate indifferent tsundere.
Now, K-Drama fans admittedly have a love/hate relationship with tsunderes but when Lee JunYoung does it, it is nothing but swoon-worthy. Ryuk is reserved enough to have his guard up at all times, and when he lets love break his walls down, it is the most satisfying development ever! Also, let’s not forget how iconic jealous Kwon Ryuk can be!
Lee JunYoung’s next big break came with “D.P.” where he played Jeong HyeonMin, a deserter, in episode 3. Jeong HyeonMin, at first glance, is the scum of the earth - an irresponsible, exploitative, abusive leech of a man, and you can probably tell from how pointed our feelings are towards him that Lee JunYoung did an insanely magnificent job. It takes an unbelievable amount of talent to be able to pull off a character as detestable as Jeong HyeonMin, and Lee JunYoung leaves no stone unturned in sending this message across. “D.P.” also proved JunYoung’s mettle in action, which makes us even more excited for his upcoming films “Brave Citizen” and “The Wilderness”.
For those who might not know, “Brave Citizen” is a webtoon-based film where Lee JunYoung is set to play the primary antagonist Han SooGang against Shin HaeSun’s So ShiMin. Han SooGang is a despicable school bully who comes from a wealthy and influential family, giving him leeway for his callous and violent actions.
"Brave Citizen" Webtoon / Lee JunYoung's Instagram
What adds to his intimidating and formidable presence is the fact that he is a Muay Thai fighter and, as such, deals life-threatening damage to his targets. While it doesn’t excuse his actions, Han SooGang has a tragic backstory that has turned him into the vicious monster that he is. It will certainly be interesting to see Lee JunYoung bring this character to life from page to screen.
Lee JunYoung's Instagram
“The Wilderness”, on the other hand, is the sequel to the hugely popular film “Concrete Utopia” where Lee JunYoung will take on the main role alongside Ma DongSeok. Action hero Lee JunYoung is on the rise, and we’re clearly obsessed!
Finally, two of Lee JunYoung’s latest dramas: “Let Me Be Your Knight” and “May I Help You?” further illustrate his screen duality. Both characters process their inner wounds with the help of a loved one to move forward in life, but their approaches are vastly different.
Yoon TaeIn is the leader, main vocalist, and producer of LUNA. He is strict to the point of being apathetic at times, but he's also deeply passionate and artistically gifted. Owing to internalized pain from his childhood, TaeIn suffers from somnambulism or sleepwalking.
TaeIn may seem serious and obnoxious, but he is a sweet little fluffball when no one's looking. On stage, TaeIn has a fire in his eyes, but when his gaze is soft, we cannot help but fall in love. He might be a rockstar but sometimes, he just needs to be held, and Lee JunYoung portrays this duality with impeccable grace and vulnerability.
“May I Help You?” deals with quite a difficult and heavy subject matter, but Kim TaeHee, played by Lee JunYoung, adds a touch of levity and warmth to the same. However, he too, is quietly suffering from a painful past memory of not being able to save someone - something that connects him to DongJoo (Girl’s Day’s HyeRi) and drives the narrative forward. Unlike TaeIn, it is difficult to tell just by looking at TaeHee that something is wrong, and that’s where the duality of this character lies. Huge props are due to Lee JunYoung for expressing this with integrity and conviction.
Another legendary example of Lee JunYoung's duality as a whole can be seen in the Netflix film "Love And Leashes", which explores the concept of being "different" and eventual self-acceptance through the lens of preferences in intimate relationships.
Lee JunYoung plays Jeong JiHoo, a young man who identifies as a "sub" (submissive) in the context of BDSM. However, in real life, he is a bold, confident, and decisive professional. Without spoiling the film any further, suffice to say that his duality in this film will blow your minds.
While we wait for Lee JunYoung’s upcoming works, we will keep binge-watching his past works and finding new sides of the actor to revel in.
Gummy Smile To God-like Charisma - Lee JunYoung's Aesthetic Duality
Finally, we’ve come to the most magical of all dualities - Lee JunYoung’s aesthetic duality. JunYoung is the type of person who can change his aesthetic without ever touching his clothes, hair, or makeup. Just with a smirk or a wink, a gummy smile or a clenched jaw, he can go from being a teddy bear to a lion, and it never fails to bewitch us.
If we were to take his fashion into account, it just leaves us with even more reason for our jaws to drop to the floor. Lee JunYoung has the physique of a Greek god, which means that fabrics like satin and silk look princely on him, especially when they’re part of a more elaborate, fancy outfit. He also has a knack for pictorials and photoshoots because modeling comes oh-so-naturally to him. Haute couture looks like second skin on Lee JunYoung. At the same time, like an off-duty supermodel, Lee JunYoung can effortlessly pull off a casual look - just a white tee and a denim jacket, a pastel cardigan, or an oversized hoodie - giving us all the boyfriend vibes we could have asked for.
Lee JunYoung’s aesthetic goes from skater boy to art professor, your university senior to your next-door neighbour, biker, gamer, lover, fighter - and we adore every single one of them. To delve deeper into this aesthetic duality, follow Lee JunYoung on his Instagram (@real_2junyoung) and join the 811K people who are already in the know.
Lee JunYoung's Instagram
At the end of the day, our exposition of Lee JunYoung’s duality is just a mere fraction of the colossal talent that he holds as an artist. The vastitude of his creative cosmos is too glorious to be decoded in words, but we will continue to wax lyrical about his radiance nonetheless. Lee JunYoung is a luminous treasure of the world, and we cannot wait to see what he has in store for us next.
What is your favorite thing about Lee JunYoung's duality? Tell us in the comments section down below!
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