K-pop, Mandopop and other Asian pop

Jin from K-pop superband BTS: his past, his private thoughts and why he’s called ‘Car Door Guy’

The oldest member of the band went from university student straight to pop superstardom. He talks about his fears, his love of anime, the origin of his cute nicknames and his sense of maturity

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 August, 2018, 8:02pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 August, 2018, 8:01pm

South Korean chart-topping boy band BTS are having their busiest summer yet. The seven-member group released their latest album, Love Yourself: Tear, to widespread fan acclaim just three months ago. And now, the boys are set to launch their fourth studio album, Love Yourself: Answer, on August 24.

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During this busy month of promotions, BTS found time to hang out with American singer Halsey while she was in Seoul (although vocalist Jin was noticeably absent). The group have also published a series of mysterious diary entries titled “Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Notes”.

The latest note in this series comes from Jin. It describes how he stumbled across a notebook written by his father when he was in high school, and of the emotions and memories this stirred up.

“As I closed the notebook, I felt tears. I sat like that for a while and raised my head, and saw my friends asleep. I looked at them, one by one. We might have to come back here, I understood. Everything started here for us,” he wrote in the cryptic note.

With their rise seemingly unstoppable, and with so much still in store for BTS, we take a look at Jin and his role in the group.

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His early life

Born Kim Seok-jin, in Gwacheon, a city near Seoul, the 25-year-old grew up with one older brother. Before finding fame, Jin attended Konkuk University in Seoul, where he majored in acting until he was spotted on the streets and asked to audition with South Korean entertainment company Big Hit Entertainment.

His role in BTS

The oldest member of BTS, Jin serves as a vocalist and the band’s “visualist”, meaning the best-looking member. While he initially hoped to become an actor and had no experience as a musician, after joining Big Hit, Jin worked hard to hone the singing and dancing skills he is now known for.

His image

In the group, Jin is sometimes called by his strange nickname “Worldwide Handsome”. Why? Apparently because he has long legs and attractive lips, Jin has said. Fans also call him “Car Door Guy,” as a group was once shocked at how good looking he was when he exited a car door.

His solo work

Last month, it was reported that Jin and his brother had opened a Japanese restaurant in Seoul’s Songpa district. The eatery, called Ossu Seiromushi, serves a variety of steamed dishes including beef, pork, eggs and vegetables in a wooden steamer. Fellow BTS member Jimin is apparently already a loyal customer.

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In his words

“As the oldest member, I think I experienced the world a little sooner than many people my age, so I think I am a grown-up. I just act like a kid on purpose. But I feel like a grown-up when I talk to my friends and they ask for advice,” he said of his age in the BTS Now 3 magazine.

“[I’m most scared of] bugs and ghosts. I’m not scared of seeing bugs, but I get really scared if they crawl on me. I’m also really bad at watching horror films. During my freshman year of high school, I was watching a horror movie with a guy and I ended up hugging him without realising it,” he said in an interview with the Ize online magazine.

“I like animated films, but not necessarily the characters. The films by Mamoru Hosoda or Hayao Miyazaki show things that can’t be expressed by people. When I watch people acting, I end up analysing too much and it breaks the mood,” he told Ize.