HIT Entertainment signed a contract with Nakamoto company and accelerated KK’s expansion into Japan.
After debuting, KK had done events all around the country one after another until the end of October. A new domestic album was planned to be released early next year.
In the meantime, they planned to expand into Japan, establish themselves, and do award show appearances.
Their fandom in Korea was fairly established and interest in KK continued until now, November, as the aftermath of ‘Rendez-vous project’.
To keep the fans’ interest, the Fan Marketing Team restlessly posted KK-related content online.
The KK members and staff who touched down at Tokyo Haneda Airport immediately headed towards Tokyo Dome City Hall.
Today was their first official solo event in Japan, but they had had a local festival the previous day so they couldn’t come to Japan earlier.
The excitement of coming to Tokyo and the nervousness about performing was brief. The members were all dead asleep in the car on the way to city hall.
KK had a showcase and meet-and-greet along with the release of ‘Sorry but I Love You (JP ver)’.
The members planned to present ‘Sorry but I Love You (JP ver)’ recorded with the lyrics in Japanese for the first time at the showcase.
Furthermore, they prepared an additional performance of ‘Very Sorry’. It would be in Korean as the song wasn’t released in Japanese yet, but Japanese fans already knew the song well.
After the showcase was the meet-and-greet. The meet-and-greet had 3 sessions.
It was an event where KK members had to shake hands with 1000 fans who won tickets through a lottery system among fans who pre-ordered the album.
It was almost the same as an autograph session in Korea, but it required lots of stamina because it was an event where you had to stand and shake hands with all the fans.
“Everyone get up and pay attention! We’re here.”
Manager Oh Baek Ho, who was sitting in the passenger seat, yelled to the members in the back seat.
Ahn Hyung Seo, who was rubbing his sleepy eyes, yelled when he saw the scene outside the window.
KK already had substantial recognition among Japanese K-POP fans.
The way to the waiting room behind the city hall stage; not only Ahn Hyung Seo but also the rest of the members dropped their jaws when they were able to see the people waiting in line from afar.
The members had performed at the Osaka Dome previously, but at that time it was a performance with other singers so there were lots of other singers’ fans.
It was surprising that so many Japanese fans had come just to see them.
When Do Wook said that, Do Ra Hee, who was in the car with them, explained.
“The energy is very good. They said the on-site merchandise sales are high too. It’s very good.”
The phrase “earning yen” didn’t exist for nothing. Their popularity in Japan was quickly becoming profitable.
Of course CD and DVD sales, which were twice as expensive compared to Korea, were going smoothly, but the revenue from merchandise was tremendous too. They had to share the revenue with Nakamoto company, the Japanese distributor, but there was still plenty to go around.
Oh Baek Ho asked.
“Anyways, you guys memorized all the lyrics right?”
“We’re pros, you don’t need to worry about that.”
“Not you Hyung Seo. Yoon Ki.”
Jung Yoon Ki, who had just woken up, pulled at his bangs. Ahn Hyung Seo and Do Wook had most of the parts, but in terms of number of lyrics, the rapper Jung Yoon Ki had significantly more. There were also barely any repeating verses.
Jung Yoon Ki, who didn’t even know Hiragana, wrote the translated Japanese rap phonetically in Korean and memorized it over and over as if he were memorizing a magic spell.
“That’s true…even on the day of the recording you wrote it on your palm…”
“Ahn Hyung Seo, be quiet.”
When Ahn Hyung Seo started to tease him, Jung Yoon Ki rolled up the A4 paper he was holding and hit him on the back of his head. It was the paper he had written the lyrics on that he was holding on to even on the plane.
“I heard Japanese fans are really strict about performances.”
Suk Ji Hoon, who was sitting in the way back, muttered loud enough for Jung Yoon Ki to hear.
Jung Yoon Ki, who couldn’t hit him because he was out of reach, soon unfurled the paper and started memorizing the lyrics again.
‘Once today’s events are over, the tour will continue to Yokohama and Osaka. I hope we’ll be able to start off on the right foot…’
Do Wook braced himself as he looked at the long line outside the window.
Despite their minor worries, KK’s first Japanese showcase went successfully.
Singing as well as performance, it was a flawless show that lacked nothing and captured the hearts of the Japanese fans.
Since the Yoo Sung Electronics Apollon advertisement ‘Rendez-vous project’ was broadcasted in japan too, Do Wook was already a star outside of KK to Japanese fans.
A large part of it as due to Do Wook’s appearance, which was undeniably appealing regardless of gender or nationality,
Every time Do Wook stepped forward, even the Japanese fans who had been quiet went crazy
There were even fans who were crying after the performance when Do Wook expressed his feelings with the remark he prepared in Japanese.
“ありがとうございます*. (Thank you.)”
(TL note: Arigatou gozaimasu)
Their reactions to Do Wook were different even over the simplest greeting. The members gave their remarks while giving a thumbs up, and when they felt the vibe was coming down a bit they immediately pushed Do Wook to the center.
Almost like a joke, the members would give Do Wook a push even when nothing was wrong.
Do Wook ended up giving the final remark too. It was fortunate that he had quite a few Japanese phrases prepared ahead of time.
“日本に来て本当に嬉しいです！ みなさん！ また会いに来ますので、次の公演のことを楽しみにしてください。(We’re very happy to be here in Japan. Everyone! We’ll come back to see you all so please look forward to our next concert.)”
(TL note: “Nihon ni kite hontouni ureshiidesu! Minnasan! Matta ai ni kimasunode, tsugi no koen no koto o tanoshimi shite kudasai. )
Do Wook said as he gave a big wave. The Japanese fans waved back as they cheered fervently.
The members who had now completed one of their missions, the showcase, changed their clothes and immediately got ready for the meet-and-greet.
The meet-and-greet had 400 people in the first session, 300 people in the second session, and 300 people in the third session. It was divided into 3 sessions with 30 minute intervals in between.
They did rest for 30 minute intervals, but having to continuously smile and shake hands and respond to fans was no easy task.
Most of the fans even tried to speak a little bit of Korean, but there were also fans who went on and on in Japanese. It was even more mentally challenging because they had to put in effort to understand Japanese that they didn’t speak.
“It feels like my hand…is going numb.”
“For me, it’s my lips!”
Kim Won quickly added to what Jung Yoon Ki said.
“My legs too. Whew, I’m dying.”
Ahn Hyung Seo joined in. While the older members were groaning in pain, Suk Ji Hoon and Park Tae Hyung were busy drinking the drinks and stuffing their faces with the chips that the staff had brought.
Even Do Wook downed a bottle of water. He finally felt relieved after drinking some cold water.
Their enthusiasm over the meet-and-greet only lasted through the first session. By the end of the second session, the members were all exhausted.
After briefly looking with pity at the KK members sprawled out in the waiting room, Manager Oh Baek Ho spoke.
“Since you guys seem to be having such a hard time, I’ll tell you some good news.”
While the members were at the meet-and-greet and shaking hands until their arms were about to fall off, Manager Oh Baek Ho received a call from the company in Korea.
The members turned their focus to him. They were even more curious because they had absolutely no idea what this ‘good news’ might be.
“I was originally going to tell you after we were done with the schedule and back at the hotel.”
“What is it?! Please tell us already!”
Ahn Hyung Seo pressed. Everyone backed up Ahn Hyung Seo.
Manager Oh Baek Ho looked at the members and grinned. It was a smile that he only showed when he was in a really good mood.
“I was told you guys are nominated for this year’s Rookie of the Year award at the SVS Music Awards.”
“Are you serious?”
The members, who had been lying down just a second ago, shot up.
SVS Broadcast Station’s ‘Music Awards’ was the year’s very first music award ceremony. Since ‘Music Awards’ was the most popular among the music programs, it was the most prestigious award ceremony from the three satellite award ceremonies.
“That’s right. The company got a call ahead of time that the nominees will be posted online tomorrow.”
Do Wook’s gaze deepened.
Originally, KK didn’t get nominated for the Rookie of the Year award.
However, with the current KK’s success and popularity, getting nominated for the Rookie of the Year award could be seen as an obvious thing.
Nonetheless, they couldn’t be certain they’d win because of M2M.
KK had the upper hand when it came to popularity and music chart ranking, but their album sales were a little less than M2M’s. Generations of Ara Entertainment singers did well in album sales. Because of that, the M2M fandom was focusing on album sales.
Furthermore, while KK was doing events in Japan, M2M was currently doing a surprise repackage album tour. Their sales had increased a little because of that.
‘Once the Rookie of the Year award nominees are announced, our fans will buy more albums, but that’s probably true for M2M fans too…”
It was something even Do Wook didn’t know what might happen.
KK might be doing better except in sales, but it couldn’t be certain that KK would win because of the difference in power of their agencies.
“You were also nominated for the K-POP STAR award and Performance award.”
“Triple crown, baby~”
“It’s only a Triple Crown if you win all of it. So get pumped up and get out there for the third session!”
At Oh Baek Ho’s remark, the members checked the time. It was already time for the third session of the meet-and-greet to start.
The three-day-long hurricane of events in Japan, including Tokyo, Yokohama, and even Osaka, came to an end.
They finished with their scheduled events at 5 pm. KK and the staff had a light dinner at a ramen shop in downtown Dotonbori, Osaka. They had removed their make-up and were wearing casual clothes, but people at the ramen shop still recognized KK so they signed autographs all the same.
Their flight back to Korea was tomorrow morning. They finally had free time until evening.
A hotel in Osaka. It was their second time in Osaka so it would be understandable to want to go out again, but Jung Yoon Ki didn’t leave the bed.
It was the same for the other members. Eating, shopping, it was both put on the back burner. They were too tired from not being able to rest properly for 3 days and just crawled into bed.
“Are you ok?”
Do Wook ended up sharing a hotel room with Jung Yoon Ki this time. Do Wook asked out of concern when Jung Yoon Ki moaned from under the covers.
“Yeah, I’m fine man.”
“Are you sick?”
Fatigue was one thing; Jung Yoon Ki had been twice as anxious as the other members because of the Japanese lyrics problem etc. Now that he could relax, he seemed to have body chills.
“I’m sure I’ll be fine if I rest today. We don’t have anything planned until tomorrow either. What are you looking at now instead of resting?”
Jung Yoon Ki got out of bed and headed towards Do Wook while drinking warm water. Do Wook was checking the home page for SVS’s ‘Music Awards’ on the laptop he had brought.
An online poll had started along with this year’s award nominees.
As expected, once the nominees were announced each fandom’s vibe started to heat up. People were talking about the internet poll the most.
There wasn’t a separate poll for the Performance award, but the online polls counted for 5% for the Rookie of the Year award and for 90% for the K-POP STAR award in determining the winner.
“Huh? What is this?”
Jung Yoon Ki, who had been drinking water, got closer to the laptop screen.
Among the three nominees for the Rookie of the Year award, votes for KK was 16%. It was still early on in the voting, but it was the lowest amount of votes among the three groups. Of course they were behind M2M, but they were also behind an idol group with a relatively weak fandom.
It was the same for the K-POP STAR award votes. The number of votes for KK was significantly low.
“Were we…this unpopular?”
Jung Yoon Ki asked, dumbfounded. Do Wook shook his head.
Do Wook quickly scoured through the community sites. He was able to find the reason for the number of votes without difficulty. It was Moster fans.