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.
View this post on Instagram
“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
A post shared by Esquire Korea 에콰그램 (@esquire.korea) on
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
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.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.
- Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): 1800-2214444
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-2837019
- Sage Counselling Centre: 1800-5555555
- Care Corner Mandarin Counselling: 1800-3535800