I'm your hope. You're my hope. I'm j-hope!
You are often the life and soul of a place. Many say j-hope is a bright and positive person. But I’m sure you are sometimes depressed or miserable?
I struggle the most emotionally when I try to climb to the next level. When I’m like that, I try to think of myself as Jung Hoseok rather than j-hope and accept myself as who I am. Jung Hoseok is a human, who can be depressed, who can cry, and who can get frustrated. I accept it. It helps me get over the feelings.
You and Coldplay seem very much alike as you both send positive messages of hope. Did you get impressed while working together with the band?
I absolutely did. It’s Coldplay. I was impressed at “hello.” We, BTS, try to deliver positive influence and messages, but Coldplay seemed to be beyond us. Chris Martin was clearly passionate about acting on his beliefs. I admire him. He cares about many different things in his life, starting with the environment. I thought I should strive to be more like him.
What did you decide to act on?
I started using my tumbler in an effort to use less disposables, and it was hard. I’m starting with the small things. Separating my garbage for better recycling, for instance. Little things within my control.
I heard you were actively engaged in all parts of producing Chicken Noodle Soup, including dance, fashion and video. What was it like to share and realise your ideas?
That’s one of my favourite things to do. I am thrilled when I create something and see the outcome of my work. The production process itself was so much fun. I started my music career with dancing, so I wanted to talk about it. I refined the concepts and ideas to bring back the memories of the days I was so passionate about dancing.
Isn’t it hard to turn your imagination into reality?
I enjoy it although it’s hard. I always try to do something new. I like the process of making new attempts, so I embrace the feedback I receive in the process of turning abstract concepts into reality. I get to grow in the process, so there’s good reason to enjoy. For example, at first, I was worried about not being able to communicate well enough because my English is not so great. But now, I’m more excited at the possible synergy that comes from working with global artists as I learn English. Anything can be derived from positive thinking.
When you try something new, are you confident about the result?
Listeners have diverse tastes, so I think it’s impossible to please everyone. I attach meaning to the fact that I created something of my own, rather than expecting many people to like it. The fact that I made my own work of art.
Are you creating your new solo works?
I’m working on some. I’ve had quite many dilemmas lately. I was in a slump as well. I couldn’t surmount my own limits. After thinking about how to get out of this slump, I decided to overturn everything I’d been making. So I’m starting anew.
Is it a new challenge?
Yes, an extremely tough challenge. This challenge is driving me towards my limits again. “I didn’t know it would be this hard!” “Is this the end of my ability?” I go back and forth between a question mark and an exclamation mark. I’m trying to create what I want to do, but to go with the trend at the same time. Now, more people are listening to my music, so I can’t disregard their opinions and do whatever I want. So, I go back and forth. Sometimes I don’t know what I should do. But I think of it as an opportunity for me to learn intensively.
You guys are about to have an offline concert for the first time in two years. What’s the first thing you want to say when you face your fans ARMY?
My first greeting line at the beginning of concerts. I just want to do that. When I say, “I’m Your Hope, You’re My Hope, I’m J-HOPE!” the crowd roars. I want to feel that energy again. That roar. BTS’ music conveys how each member felt in their teens and 20’s.
You’ll soon reach the end of your 20’s, what are your emotions now?
I am sad. I do believe that age is just a number, and whether it starts with a 2, 3, or 4, things will not change substantially. It feels more comfortable accepting it. That’s part of life. Knowing that there will still be numerous things I can do makes getting older not so scary.
Over the last eight years, what have you gained as Jung Hoseok, not j-hope?
I didn’t know what kind of person Jung Hoseok was. But starting my career as j-hope and living all this time as him, I was able to learn what kind of person Jung Hoseok is. He can sometimes feel cold and distant. Looking at him, I learned “oh, I am this kind of guy.” I’m so grateful to j-hope for it because he helped me see how I should act and live as Jung Hoseok.
Fashion editor: Kim Yu Jin & Shin Eun Ji; content editor: Han Jae Pil; photographer: Yoon Ji Yong; stylist: Lee Ha Jung; hair: Jang Hae In; make-up: Choi Si No; 2nd production: Kim Kyung Min; set design: Choi Seo Yun, Son Ye Hee, Kim Ah Young at Da;rak; assistant: Seo Yeon Jae; outfits: Louis Vuitton