Family of late SHINee star Jonghyun sets up foundation to support young artists

PHOTO: AFP

The family of late K-pop star Kim Jong-hyun, who died after he committed suicide in December 2017, have set up a foundation to help young artists and people struggling with mental health stress.

Magazine Esquire Korea uploaded on their Instagram a preview of their interview with Kim's mother Lee Eun-kyung on the Shinin foundation, which was launched on Thursday (Sept 6).

The K-pop singer from boy band SHINee, who went by the name Jonghyun, was 27 when he died in a Seoul apartment. He left behind a suicide note which suggested that he was suffering from severe depression when he took his own life.

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“아픈 제 눈에는 지금도 아픈 젊은이들이 너무 많이 보여요.” 재단법인 '#빛이나'의 이은경 이사장은 어렵게 말문을 열었습니다. 이은경 이사장은 2017년 12월 18일 세상을 떠난 고 #김종현 군의 어머님이십니다. 빛이나는 김종현군의 유가족이 힘을 모아 만든 작은 재단입니다. 9월 6일 서울시 청담동에서 재단법인 빛이나의 조촐한 창립식이 열렸습니다. '#샤이니'란 이름처럼 빛을 향해 나아갈 줄 알았던 아들을 잃은 어머니가 아들과 같은 길을 걷는 젊은 문화예술인들의 그림자를 어루만져주고 싶어서 만든 단체입니다. 소속사가 없어서 힘들어하는 청년 예술인들을 도울 계획입니다. 예술계 고등학교들과 함께 장학사업도 진행하려고 합니다. 무엇보다 대중 활동을 하면서 크고 작은 상처를 입을 수 밖에 없는 젊은 예술인들의 영혼을 달래줄 수 있는 심리상담치유센터를 설립하는게 주요 목적입니다. 매년 12월이면 샤이니 김종현을 기리는 빛이나 예술제를 개최할 예정입니다. 이은경 이사장은 말했습니다. “아직도 어딘가에 가면 아들의 목소리가 담긴 음악이 흘러나오는 아픈 경험을 하고 있습니다. 그렇지만 아들이 떠났어도 종현이의 음악을 좋아해주는 분들이 계시니 늘 감사하게 생각합니다.” 김종현은 세상을 떠났지만 종현의 음악은 세상에 남아있습니다. 빛이나는 김종현이 남긴 음악의 저작권료를 바탕으로 운영됩니다. 우리는 여전히 밝게 빛났던 샤이니 김종현을 기억합니다. _ #종현 #쫑디 #혜야 #하루의끝 #우린봄이오기전에 #숨소리 #한숨 #좋아 #데자뷰 #shinee #jonghyun #inspiration #moon #lonely @shinee #esquire #esquirekorea

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Mrs Lee is the director of the foundation named after Kim's song Shinin', which was released in his posthumous album Poet | Artist.

She told Esquire that the foundation plans to help young artists who struggle due to a lack of management and work with performing arts high schools to create scholarship opportunities. It will also set up a psychological consultation centre which will help to support young artists who might be scarred by working in the entertainment industry.

She said: "In my pained eyes, I can see so many youths who are in so much pain right now."

The pressures of being in the limelight was believed to be one of the reasons Kim killed himself. He wrote in his suicide note: "I guess I was not meant to lead a life in the public eye. That's why it was hard. Confronting the world, and being in the public eye. Why did I make those decisions? It's ridiculous."

Kim's death prompted an outpouring of grief from fans and celebrities alike in South Korea and launched a national conversation about mental health issues in the Asian country, where mental health still carries a stigma.

A black and white memorial for SHINee's Jonghyun by Singaporean fans at Hong Lim Park

  • Thousands of Singaporean fans of South Korean pop group SHINee turned up in a sea of black and white at Hong Lim Park on Wednesday (Dec 20) night to pay their respects to the band's lead singer Kim Jong Hyun .
  • A young female fan who looked to be in her early teens sobbed and repeatedly said: "I just cannot believe it."
  • The mood was sombre as many fans were spotted hugging and crying.
  • Some took balloons to the event, others offered flowers and stuffed toys.
  • Post-it notes were also passed around for fans to write on as they left behind heartfelt farewell messages for their beloved idol.
  • At one point, the fans waved their light sticks and smartphones in the air as they sang the SHINee song Replay.
  • Despite the large crowd at the event, the fans, made up mostly of young teenage girls, were quiet and orderly. They queued up patiently to get into the park despite the detailed identity checks against pre-registration forms.
  • According to a list of rules posted on @majidarou's Twitter feed, only 1,000 fans could be within the park compound at any one time, which meant that fans could only enter in batches.
  • The memorial service here was organised by a group of local SHINee fans led by a Twitter user who goes by the handle @majidarou.
  • Six of K-pop's biggest stars carried the coffin of fellow singer Kim Jong-Hyun to a hearse .
  • Despite harsh winter weather, weeping fans in jackets, hats, scarves and masks waited outside for the vehicle to leave. They cried even harder as the hearse passed them by.
  • Hundreds of fans from across the country were present while the casket of Jonghyun -- whose real name is Kim Jong-hyun -- was carried out.
  • Onew, Key, Taemin and members of Super Junior were pallbearers, while Minho and Jonghyun’s sister walked ahead of the procession holding his photo.
  • Members of SHINee and Super Junior carry Jonghyun’s coffin at Seoul Asan Hospital on Thursday.
  • The celebrities bowed their heads and prayed while waiting for the hearse, a black Lincoln limousine, to leave the building, as people at the back sang Christian hymns.
  • Super Junior's donghae
  • The private funeral started around 8 a.m. It was attended by Jonghyun’s family, as well as officials and artists of S.M. Entertainment, including Girls’ Generation and EXO.
  • Members of Girls Generation at the funeral
  • A top K-pop star bemoaned feeling "broken from inside" and "engulfed" by depression in a suicide note, it emerged Tuesday, as his death sent shockwaves among fans worldwide.
  • Kim Jong-Hyun, a 27-year-old lead singer of the massively popular K-pop boyband SHINee, was found in a Seoul hotel room on Monday in what police said was suicide.
  • Kim's close friend, musician Nain9, released a suicide note on Tuesday on her Instagram account, saying he had asked her to publish the message in the event of his death.
  • “I am broken from inside. The depression that gnawed on me slowly has finally engulfed me entirely," it said, adding he "couldn't defeat it anymore".
  • Five-member SHINee debuted in 2008 and went on to lead the "Korean Wave" that saw South Korean pop culture develop followings across Asia and beyond.
  • The band's agents SM Entertainment – which dominates K-pop and has several other top acts under its wings – said Kim's funeral would be held on Thursday.
  • "Other members of SHINee as well as other artists at our company are all mourning his death amid deep sorrow and shock," it said in a statement.
  • Many other K-pop stars at the firm cancelled public appearances to visit the mourning altar at a Seoul hospital where his body lies, with hundreds of tearful fans also in attendance.
  • "It looks certain that it was a suicide," police told a briefing. "So we plan to close the case without autopsy as requested by the family."

His mother told Esquire: "Till now, it still hurts when I go somewhere and I hear music playing that has my son's voice in it. But even though my son has gone, there are people who love and enjoy his music, and for that I am always grateful."

The Shinin foundation held a small opening ceremony on Thursday in Cheongdam-dong in Seoul. The foundation will be funded with the royalties collected from Kim's music. It also plans to hold an arts festival every December to commemorate and celebrate Kim.

Even as the world mourns Jonghyun, we celebrate his life. #RIPKimJongHyun #SHINee #StayStrongShawols str.sg/o4Lg

Posted by The Straits Times on Monday, 18 December 2017

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

HELPLINES

  • Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): 1800-2214444
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