Chung Yun-ho (commonly written as Jung Yun-ho; Hangul: 정윤호; Hanja: 鄭允浩; born February 6, 1986), also known by his stage name U-Know Yunho (Hangul: 유노윤호) or simply U-Know, is a South Korean singer-songwriter, dancer, and actor. He is best known as the leader of the pop group TVXQ.
Yunho was born and raised in Gwangju, South Korea, and has one younger sister, Chung Ji-hye. Several members of Yunho's family worked in the legal industry, and Yunho's own childhood dream was to be a prosecutor. When he was in middle school, he and a few other friends formed the dance team A+, and Yunho competed in various singing and dance competitions around the country in order to earn prize money to support his family, who suffered greatly from the 1997 Asian financial crisis. After winning a prize at the 1st Annual SM Best Competition in 1999, Yunho signed with S.M. Entertainment. He officially started his training in 2000.
To sustain his life as a trainee in Seoul, where S.M. Entertainment was situated, Yunho took up various part-time jobs in the city, such as working snow removal in the morning and as a waiter at night. Unable to afford proper housing, Yunho was homeless for a period of time. He spent most of his high school vacations in Seoul training, only returning to Gwangju for the school years. Sometime later, Yunho suffered a hormonal imbalance in his throat and underwent surgery, which affected his vocal cords. After losing his voice, Yunho considered giving up his training.
Throughout his years as a trainee, Yunho was put in four temporary groups, all which later disbanded. In late 2001, at the age of fifteen, Yunho was featured as a rapper and backup dancer in Dana's debut single "Diamond", and briefly toured with her. Around 2002, Yunho was selected to be a backup dancer for Shinhwa and was chosen to be part of the project boy band Four Seasons, which also consisted of fellow trainees Jaejoong, Heechul, and Kangin. The project group was later dropped, and in early 2003, Yunho and Jaejoong joined TVXQ. Seventeen-year-old Yunho was appointed as the group's leader.
Yunho decided on the stage name "U-Know", explaining that as the leader of the group, he wanted to understand everyone well. He said, "I know that you know that I know you, so you know that I know that we know each other".
2003–09: International success with TVXQ
The final line-up of TVXQ consisted of Yunho, Max Changmin, Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu. The group officially debuted on December 26, 2003 during a BoA and Britney Spears showcase, where they performed their debut single "Hug" and an a capella rendition of "O Holy Night". On January 14, 2004, "Hug" was officially released, peaking at #4 on South Korea's monthly music charts. In October 2004, the group released their first studio album Tri-Angle, which was their first number-one record.
In late 2004, TVXQ signed with the Avex sub-label, Rhythm Zone. Under the name Tohoshinki, TVXQ debuted in Japan with their first Japanese single, "Stay with Me Tonight", in April 2005. After the release of their second Japanese single "Somebody to Love" in July 2005, TVXQ returned to South Korea to release their second studio album Rising Sun in September 2005, which debuted atop the charts and finished as the fourth best-selling Korean album of the year. However, the group's first Japanese studio album, Heart, Mind and Seoul (2006) struggled in Japan's charts and only sold about 20,000 copies the first month of release. Nonetheless, TVXQ's third Korean album "O"-Jung.Ban.Hap. (2006) was a financial success, selling over 458,000 copies and topped the year-end charts as South Korea's best-selling album of 2006.
On January 16, 2008, a week before the release of TVXQ's third Japanese studio album T, the group released their first number-one song in Japan, "Purple Line". Following singles "Beautiful You / Sennen Koi Uta" and "Dōshite Kimi o Suki ni Natte Shimattandarō?" also debuted at number one on the weekly Oricon, and TVXQ became the first foreign artist to achieve three consecutive number-one singles in Japan.
The group's fourth Korean album Mirotic was released on September 26, 2008 to record-breaking success. It was the best-selling Korean album of 2008 and sold over 110,000 records in three days, setting the record for one-week sales in South Korea. TVXQ still holds this record today. The album's lead single, "Mirotic" is the group's most successful single, being touted by critics as a staple song of K-pop. The album itself became the best-selling album among Korea's second-generation idols, earning the name "Album of the Decade." As of July 2012, the album has sold over 600,000 records. The album itself won Album of the Year at the 2008 Mnet KM Music Festival and the Disk Daesang at the 23rd Golden Disk Awards.
In July 2009, members Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu attempted to split with their agency S.M. Entertainment. TVXQ's activities in Korea immediately ceased after October 2009, but the band continued to release Japanese singles under Rhythm Zone until March 2010. The three members formally left TVXQ in April 2010, and formed their own band JYJ. Yunho suffered depression following the split with JYJ, and was blamed by fans for failing to protect the group.
2010–present: Return as duo
In March 2010, during TVXQ's indefinite hiatus, Yunho performed in the Korea leg of the posthumous Michael Jackson concert This Is It. He trained in Los Angeles and Las Vegas with Genevieve Gleary, Morris Pleasure, and others who once worked closely with Jackson. The project was the first joint production between Korea and the U.S., and Yunho performed on March 27 and 28 at the War Memorial of Korea, Yongsan-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
From August to September 2010, Yunho and Max Changmin, the two remaining TVXQ members, performed in Seoul, Los Angeles and Shanghai as part of the SMTown Live '10 World Tour. The duo performed a special stage featuring a medley of their previous singles and a new song, "Maximum". In January 2011, Yunho and Changmin returned as a duo, and released TVXQ's fifth Korean album, Keep Your Head Down, which ultimately sold over 320,000 records. Yunho's solo track, "Honey Funny Bunny"' is featured in the album.
Yunho and Changmin's contracts with their Japanese agency, Avex, were renewed, and they switched their record label from Rhythm Zone to Avex Trax. In September 2011, the duo released TVXQ's fifth Japanese album Tone, the band's first number-one album in Japan. Tone went to become TVXQ's second best-selling record in Japan, selling over 330,000 copies and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. The duo released their sixth Korean album Catch Me in September 2012, which was followed by their sixth Japanese album, Time, in March 2013. That same year, TVXQ embarked on their first world tour, the Catch Me World Tour.
Yunho had brief acting cameos on the first few years of his career. In 2005 and 2006, Yunho appeared with TVXQ on their mini-drama series, Banjun Theater. He was featured in another TVXQ mini-drama series "Vacation", and starred in the episode "Cassiopeia" with Go Eun-ah and Woo Kyung-ah. Yunho made a guest appearance on episodes 62 and 64 of Nonstop in 2006.
In 2009, Yunho was cast as the lead Cha Bong-gon, in the MBC drama "Heading to the Ground" with labelmate Go Ara. The drama ran for 16 episodes.
In 2010, Yunho starred as Prince Shin in the musical remake of "Goong". Tickets for Yunho's performances were sold out in less than two minutes. The musical, produced by Group Eight, opened at the Seoul National Museum’s theater on September 8. In September 2010, he starred in the Korea tourism promotional movie "Haru: An Unforgettable Day in Korea" as an action movie star. Yunho also starred in "Chorus City" a film featured at the Republic of Korea Pavilion at EXPO 2010 Shanghai China with child actress Jun Min-seo and other artists.
In late 2010, Yunho was cast to star in the drama Poseidon, He began filming in November and pictures of him filming and on set were released. In February 2011 it was dropped by SBS citing weather conditions, cast members dropping out, filming setbacks, and numerous postponements. "Poseidon" was then picked up by KBS in June, recasting the lead roles., but due to a schedule clash, Yunho was unable to commit to the film schedules for Poseidon. However, he later made a guest appearance as Kang Eun-chul. His appearance in the series concluded after four episodes.
Yunho made a brief cameo in the sitcom I Live in Cheongdam-dong in November 2011. In the brief scene, he portrayed himself refusing to pay for a late manhwa bill. It was a play on Yunho himself, who was once kicked out of a manhwa shop for forgetting to pay his overdue bills.
In 2012 Yunho, along with bandmate Changmin, starred in the SM documentary I AM. The film chronicles TVXQ's and other S.M. artists milestone to be the first Asian artists to perform at Madison Square Garden and Yunho and Changmin's journey to that point, including archival footage, reflection interviews, and rehearsals. In September 2012, Yunho was cast in the musical Gwanghwamun Sonata, portraying younger version of the protagonist, Sang-hoon. The musical, set in the 80s, tells the story of Sang-hoon, a composer during the democratic movement, through another character twenty years before. Yunho also performed in the Japanese version of the musical on November 20 and 21 at Osaka’s Shinkabukiza. Both performances were sold out. In the musical Yunho plays the guitar and piano live.
In January 2013, Yunho starred in the SBS drama King of Ambition, which earned him a People's Choice: Actor award at the 2013 Seoul International Drama Awards.
Yunho has been given the name "K-pop's dancing king" by critics. He was also the only Asian performer invited to Michael Jackson's tribute concert in 2010.
Yunho has composed solo pieces, his first song being the rap song "Spokesman", which was first performed in 2007 at TVXQ's "O" Asia Tour. He also received exclusive writing credits for his second solo song "Checkmate", and debuted the hip hop piece at TVXQ's fourth Japan-wide tour The Secret Code Tour in Tokyo Dome. He performed the Korean version of the song during TVXQ's Mirotic Asia Tour in early 2009. Yunho choreographed the song's accompanying dance, and also wrote the Korean and Japanese lyrics. In November 2013 Yunho wrote and composed an original ballad "Tied Ship", which was revealed During the Bigeast Fanclub Event in Saitama. Yunho attempted punk pop with his self-written song "Santa Revolution", and performed it exclusively for TVXQ's tenth anniversary concert, Time Slip, in December 2013.
Besides his native Korean, Yunho is fluent in Japanese. He graduated from Myongji University in 2011. He is currently pursuing a master's degree at Chungwoon University.
Cyanoacrylate drink poisoning
While TVXQ was filming a variety show on October 14, 2006, Yunho was rushed to the hospital after drinking a beverage laced with super glue, which given by an anti-fan. His manager quickly instructed him to vomit right afterward. The anti-fan turned herself in the next day. The female suspect, whose surname is Ko, was apprehended on October 16. She was a member of an anti-TVXQ website for over two years. Yunho was hospitalized for a few days.
Yunho contacted the police and requested that they not press charges against Ko in spite of the potentially severe consequences of what she did. Ko was the same age as Yunho's younger sister, and Yunho stated that entire event "affected [him] more mentally than physically" while he was recovering from the shock. Circumstances were unclear as to how the culprit managed to enter the set of the variety show.
|Banjun Theater||2005||U-Know Yunho||TV miniseries; main cast|
|Vacation||2006||U-Know Yunho||TV miniseries; main cast|
|Rainbow Romance||2006||Yunho||TV sitcom; recurring role (episodes 62, 64)|
|Heading to the Ground||2009||Cha Bong-gun||TV drama; lead role (16 episodes)|
|Haru: An Unforgettable Day in Korea||2010||Unnamed actor||TV miniseries|
|Poseidon||2011||Kang Eun-chul||TV drama; recurring role (4 episodes)|
|I Live in Cheongdam-dong||2011||Himself||TV drama; cameo (episode 1)|
|Welcome to the Show||2011||Himself||TV sitcom; cameo|
|I AM.||2012||Himself||Documentary film|
|King of Ambition||2013||Baek Do-hoon||TV drama; recurring role (18 episodes)
Seoul International Drama Award for Most Popular Actor (South Korea)
|Saki||2013||Cafe customer||TV drama; cameo|
|Make Your Move 3D||2013||Himself||Cameo|
|Determination: 10,000 Hours||2014||Himself||TV documentary|
|2010||Goong: Musical||Crown Prince Lee Shin||Theatre Yong (September 8 – October 24, 2010)|
|2012–13||Gwanghwamun Sonata (Japan)||Sang-hoon||Also known as Gwanghwamun Love Song
Osaka, Shin Kabukiza Theatre (November 20 – 21, 2012)
Tokyo, Meijiza Theater (January 26, 2013)
|2010||PaekSang Arts Awards||Most Popular Actor||Heading to the Ground||Nominated|
|2012||Barbie the Dream Closet||Barbie & Ken Award||N/A||Won|
|2013||PaekSang Arts Awards||Most Popular Actor||King of Ambition||Nominated|
|2013||Seoul International Drama Awards||Most Popular Actor – South Korea||King of Ambition||Won|