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Enhypen's Jay apologizes for disparaging Korean history

By Choi Ji-won

Published : Jan. 11, 2023 - 13:44

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Jay of Enhypen (Belift Lab) Jay of Enhypen (Belift Lab)

Jay of K-pop band Enhypen apologized on Wednesday for his contentious comments regarding Korean history.

On Tuesday, Jay spoke with his bandmate Sunghoon of Enhypen on the issue of history during an online broadcast. In the casual chat, Jay said Korean history is "like a short novel," causing some fans out to lash out that his words as disparaging.

The conversation began with Sunghoon saying, "I used to find history not fun, but I'm into Korean history recently. It's been documented well." To this Jay replied, "I enjoy learning about history, but it feels like there’s not much information on Korean history."

Jay continued, saying, "(Korean history) it's like a short novel. I've read about (the history of) all sorts of nations and they go on endlessly. But for Korea, there's a part which comes before Balhae that flashes by, and then a short period after the Three Kingdoms period. When I studied it, I thought, 'Why was it so short?'"

His comments sparked controversy among fans, with some denouncing Jay for demeaning Korean history.

On Wednesday, Jay posted an official statement on the fan community platform Weverse, explaining and apologizing about the previous night.

"I was very surprised by the reactions from our fans. But whatever the reasons may be, I am sincerely sorry for making Engenes (the group's fandom name) uncomfortable," he said.

He explained about his remarks, saying, "I spoke negligently about the serious topic of Korean history based on my subjective impression of it. It wasn't something to be dealt rashly with a shallow background. I realized deeply once more that I still have more to learn."

"I had no intention to look down on our proud history, but I am aware there are plenty of reasons my words could be understood in such a way, and it is my fault. I am sorry," he added.

Jay is a member of the seven-piece boy band Enhypen which debuted in 2020 under Belift Lab, an affiliate label of Hybe. Born in 2002 in the US, Jay holds dual nationality but is known to have spent most of his childhood in South Korea and educated through the local education system.