Jay (real name Park Jong Sung), a member of the boy group Enhypen, is under fire because of his inappropriate remarks about Korean history.
While holding a Weverse live broadcast with member Sung Hoon on January 10th, Jay commented on Korean history, saying, “There are not many events and things to learn about Korean history”. It’s even more controversial when the male idol called Korean history “a short story”. As netizens poured out criticism, Jay posted an apology on the morning of January 11th.
Above all, the absurd part of Jay’s remarks is his perception of Korean history. Jay is a South Korean-American but he reportedly spent all his school days, from elementary school to high school, in Korea before debuting. In other words, the excuse of nationality for his ignorance of Korean history does not apply to this case.
From the Stone Age until the modern days, Korea is a country with a vast history. The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, which notes every move of 25 kings in detail, is a chronicle with 800 volumes. It’s also a progressive study that deals with all the narratives of Korea centering on the Korean Peninsula. The current administration’s unification policy and diplomacy, Japan’s distortion of history, the problem of China’s Northeast Project, etc. are also parts of Korean history. The fact that Jay said “Korean history was all about just before Balhae until a little later after the Three Kingdoms period” shows his narrow-minded perception of history. His metaphor comparing Korean history to “a short story” also indicates his rude attitude.
Not properly being aware of history is not a crime. However, it’s another matter when a celebrity openly talks about his personal impressions as if it’s a fact. In the case of Enhypen, a group that has drawn keen attention even before its debut as a “global fanmade group” formed through Mnet’s survival program “I-Land” by the large entertainment agency HYBE, issues like this might spread harmful influence and imprint false prejudice against Korean history in the mind of many overseas fans.
This is not the first time Enhypen was criticized for their careless remarks and actions. Earlier in November 2021, leader Jungwon faced backlash after saying, “If you’re coming to the fanmeeting, I guess you didn’t do well on the CSAT exam?”. Jungwon faced backlash and had to apologize the next day for his rude attitude towards CSAT test takers.
In August last year, member Jake was also controversial when getting caught borrowing cigarettes from women on the streets of Itaewon, Seoul. When a fan asked Jake about the issue on Enhypen’s Weverse platform, Jake explained, “I hope you can trust me”.