K-pop idols becoming a huge success in Japan may not be very surprising these days, but this was not the case twenty years ago when social media was less popular and idol groups were not as well-received as they are today. However, TVXQ managed to overcome all obstacles and become one of the earliest K-pop acts to dominate the Japanese music market back in the 2000s.
Time flies and it’s been two decades since the debut of TVXQ. The group has been through plenty of ups and downs throughout the years, but they are still regarded as one of the most successful K-pop groups in history. As they’ve achieved 20 years in the industry, let’s delve into TVXQ’s rocky road to stardom, and amazing discography, and get to know more about their comeback with their new full-length album!
Debut And Early Success
TVXQ first debuted as a quintet in December 2003 under SM Entertainment, with the original line-up consisting of leader, U-Know Yunho, Hero Jaejoong, Micky Yoochun, Xiah Junsu, and Max Changmin. TVXQ is the acronym for the Chinese pronunciation of their Korean name (Tong Vfang Xien Qi), which means “Rising Gods Of The East” and shows the group’s ambition to dominate the Asian market.
Back in the early 2000s, the K-pop scene was dominated by solo singers like Rain. Therefore, the Korean public did not have high expectations for TVXQ when they first debuted. However, their debut song “HUG” surprisingly received three number ones on Inkigayo, making them quickly rise up as an aspiring rookie group. The success of TVXQ prompted many entertainment companies to form idol groups, bringing about the revival of idol groups in Korea.
Venturing Into The Overseas Market
Following their successful debut in Korea, TVXQ released ‘The Way U Are’ and ‘Tri-Angle’ in the next year, ending up in the top ten best-selling albums of 2004. To help realize their goal of breaking into the Asian market beyond Korea, TVXQ made their official debut in Japan in 2005 with “Stay with Me Tonight”. Although the single was not as successful as they expected, TVXQ did not give up and continued to release Japanese songs and actively promoted themselves in Japan, which made them gradually gain popularity there.
As TVXQ’s fame started expanding to more Asian countries, the group kicked off their first world tour, THE 1ST ASIA TOUR CONCERT ‘Rising Sun,’ in 2006 following their second studio album ‘Rising Sun’. The group performed in Malaysia and Thailand along with Korea and even became the first K-pop act to hold a concert in Malaysia. Later that year, TVXQ held their first full Japanese tour, the 1st Live Tour 2006: Heart, Mind, and Soul. The eleven-show tour attracted more than 14,800 fans.
Continuous Rise As The God Of The East
After successfully conducting their overseas activities, TVXQ made a comeback with their third Korean album, ‘O-Jung.Ban.Hap,’ in September 2006. The album debuted atop multiple Korean music charts and became the best-selling album of 2006 in Korea. TVXQ then kicked off their second world tour, O: The 2nd Asia Tour, the following year while releasing several Japanese songs, which made their global popularity expand further.
In January of 2008, TVXQ released their 16th Japanese single, “Purple Line,” which became the group’s first single to debut at first place on the Oricon chart. A week later, they dropped their third Japanese studio album ‘T’. The album impressively sold over 52,000 copies and even received gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of Japan.
In September, TVXQ dropped their fourth Korean album, ‘Mirotic’. The album debuted atop multiple music charts in Korea and sold over 110,000 copies within its first week, setting a new record for the group’s album sales. The title song, “Mirotic,” won nine music show awards, and many K-pop groups (e.g. MONSTA X, THE BOYZ) and various audition show contestants (e.g. Boys Planet, Peak Time) have covered this song.
SM Lawsuit And Return As A Duo
In July 2009, Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment. The three of them formed a new group JYJ in April 2010, while Yunho and Changmin remained in TVXQ. After several months of hiatus, TVXQ finally made a comeback as a duo with their 5th full-length album ‘Keep Your Head Down’ in January 2011.
Despite the change in number of members, the album performed exceptionally well. It clinched No.1 on the Gaon Albums Chart immediately after release and remained at the top spot for two consecutive weeks. The album won the Album of the Year for the first quarter of 2011 at the Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards, proving TVXQ’s undefeatable position as a first-class K-pop act.
In January 2012, the duo resumed their activities in Japan with a Japanese tour, and all 550,000 tickets were sold out within a few minutes. TVXQ then dropped their sixth album ‘Catch Me’ in September of the same year, and the album maintained its No.1 position on the Gaon Albums Chart for three consecutive weeks. The group went on the Time tour the following year. The tour attracted a record-high number of 850,000 audience, and TVXQ became the first K-pop artist and the fourth foreign artist to embark on a tour in five domes in Japan.
Unceasing Triumph Of The K-pop Legends
In celebration of their 10th anniversary, TVXQ released a new album ‘Tense’ in January 2014. The duo attempted the Broadway concept with the swing jazz genre title track “Something”, and the rhythmic jazz music and sophisticated choreography brought out a mature and classy charm of the group. The album secured the top spot on both the Gaon Albums Chart and the Hanteo Albums Chart and became the best-selling album of the month in 2014.
After Yunho and Changmin were discharged from the military in 2017, TVXQ made a comeback with their 15th-anniversary album “New Chapter #1: The Chance of Love” in March 2018. The title track “The Chance Of Love” is also a swing-jazz dance track that continues to demonstrate TVXQ’s unique “mature sexiness”.
Following the album promotion, the duo kicked off the Circle Tour in May, where they performed in various Asian cities including Seoul, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. In the following years, TVXQ continued to release Japanese songs and hold both online and offline concerts. At the same time, the members released solo albums and engaged in various activities such as appearing on variety shows and starring in dramas.
Celebrating 20 Years Of Supremacy
Five years after the release of their last Korean album, TVXQ is back to conquer the K-pop chart again with their 20th anniversary album ’20&2′. “20” is for the number of years the group has been formed, and “2” symbolizes the two members who are still protecting the group.
To gear up for their comeback, TVXQ took the stage in MAMA last month. The duo put on the first live performance of one of the tracks of their new album “Down” and performed “Rising Sun” with rookie boy group RIIZE. They even included a dance break that incorporated the choreography of some of their global hits such as “Tri-Angle”, “Mirotic”, and “Catch Me”.
TVXQ released the music video for “Down” on December 4, and the album on December 26, marking the anniversary of TVXQ, making the album particularly meaningful to both TVXQ and their fandom, Cassiopeia.
Which TVXQ song is your favorite? Follow TVXQ’s official Instagram and Twitter to keep up with their activities, and let’s wish them a successful comeback! Don’t forget to follow POP TOKKI Instagram and Twitter.