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Dong Bang Shin Ki (DBSK), also known as TVXQ, was originally a five member group with Leader U-know Yunho, Hero Jaejoong, Mickey Yoochun, Xiah Junsu, and Max Changmin. Like label-mate Super Junior, DBSK began under SM Entertainment in 2003. Debuting on December 26, during a BoA and Backstreet Boys showcase, they performed their debut single “Hug” and an a cappella rendition of “O Holy Night” with BoA.
The group released their debut single “Hug” on January 14, 2004; it peaked at #4 on the monthly charts and sold about 170,000 copies, making it the fourteenth best-selling record of the year. Their second single, “The Way U Are” (July 2004), debuted at #2 on the charts, selling more than 200,000 copies, becoming the ninth best-selling-record of the year. DBSK released their debut album, Tri-Angle, in October 2004, selling more than 200,000 copies, making it the year’s eighth best-selling record.
In April 2005, DBSK debuted in Japan with their singles “Stay with me Tonight” and “Somebody to Love” before returning to Korea and releasing their second Korean album Rising Sun. Rising Sun became the fourth best-selling record of 2005 with over 200,000 copies sold.
With the success of their first two albums, the group had their first international tour Rising Sun 1st Asia Tour in 2006, making stops in China, Thailand, and Malaysia, making them the first Korean performers to hold a concert in Malaysia. From 2004 to 2010, the group released four Korean albums, one Korean compilation album, four Japanese albums and one Japanese compilation album. However, in 2009, the group began to have a falling out.
On July 31, 2009, three of the members: Jaejoong, Mickey, and Junsu, submitted an application to the Seoul Central District Court to determine the validity of their contract with SM Entertainment. The members stated a list of complaints including a thirteen-year contract being excessively long, schedules were held out without confirmation or permission from the members, and the group’s earnings were not fairly distributed amongst the members.
Early termination penalty of their contract would have cost them twice the profit that it was estimated the group would earn the rest of the contract period. The Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of the three members; thus, after many months, DBSK split into two groups: JYJ (Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu) and DBSK (Changmin and Yunho).
Under the new group, DBSK, Yunho and Changmin released their fifth Korean album (ninth overall), Keep Your Head Down, on January 5, 2011 as a special edition and on January 14 as a normal edition. Their repackaged version was released in mid-March with the addition of a new song “Before You Go.” The normal edition sold about 130,000 copies the first day, placing them #1 on the Oricon daily singles chart. With about 230,000 copies that first week, Keep Your Head Down topped the Oricon weekly chart. This was the ninth time, overall, the group had ranked #1 on this chart, setting a record for the highest amount of #1 by a foreign artist.
Regardless of the fact that this group had go through an unfortunate lawsuit splitting the group into two, DBSK has always created amazing songs and music videos. They have also made it into the Guinness Book of World Records twice. The first time was in 2008 for having the largest official fan club. Cassiopeia, the group’s official fan club claimed of having more than 800 thousand members and counting! The second time was on March 19, 2009, for “most photographed celebrity in the world.” These five members are estimated to have been photographed indefinite times in magazines, album jackets, commercials, etc, including individual photos.
How many times can you say that a single group has had both accomplishments amongst the many chart toppings and albums sold? Clearly, they hold the title of “Asia’s Star” for a reason, even until today.
Even though the group may have split into two, these boys are never short of funny moments. For example, when all five of the members try to speak in English, the end result is always laughing too hard that your abs hurt. One moment that always makes me laugh was when one of the members, Junsu, was playing badminton and he could not hit the birdie. When his members asked why not, Junsu replied “I can’t see it, OMG SUN!” (He was trying to explain that the sun was blinding him so he could not see the birdie). I could sit here and recite all the crazy times this group has gone through but we’d be here for a while. But, one thing is for sure: whether they are a five member band or two separate bands, these five members are always entertaining their fans.