After the Court’s ruling partially in favor of the Jaejoong, Yuchun and Junsu’s application of provisional injunction, Avex, JYJ’s management company in Japan, demanded that the three members accept conditions that were unilaterally favorable to Avex during the discussion about a new contract. The three members, now free from SM’s influence, refused this offer. In response to this rupture of negotiations between the two parties, Avex announced ‘suspension’ of existing contract with Jaejoong, Yuchun, and Junsu in September 2010.
The below statement is the official statement from the three members, Jaejoong, Yuchun, and Junsu after Avex’s announcement of suspension of the contract. From this statement, it is revealed that Jaejong, Yuchun, and Junsu carried out schedules set by Avex, such as Thanksgiving Live in Dome, A-nation, “素直になれなくて”(Sunaoninarenakute, Jaejoong), single album ‘XIAH’ (Junsu), “Beautiful Love” (Yuchun), and many others in order to fulfill the contract and keep the promise with the fans without a complaint.
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In the world of Japanese show business, it is rare to see an entertainer change the management company because of the negative influence it has on the celebrities’ reputation. Avex took advantage of this rather peculiar cultural custom to bind the members to Avex by ‘suspending’ rather than ‘canceling’ the existing contract. This blocks JYJ from signing a new contract with a different management company, and in result, practically suspends members’ activities in Japan completely.
Even after the announcement of suspension of activities, Avex has not only been working thoroughly to weaken the three members’ position in Japan by controlling the media to shape public opinion, but also have been reaping profits from the loyal fan base by steadily releasing products using three members creative works. Recent examples of Avex’s such endeavors include the exclusion of DVD sales from the Oricon Chart and its interference in the charity concert event in Japan.
This new, and rather eccentric strategy of excluding the sale of an official DVD that contain the three members’ activities from 2010 from the Oricon charts that Avex has adopted catches two birds with one stone. Not only does the announcement released by Oricon Chart damage the three members’ public reputation by creating an atmosphere that the three members are having time for self-reflection after having done something wrong, but it also creates profit, as the loyal Japanese fan base could never turn their eyes away from a new product because the fans need to ‘show’ others that the three members’ popularity is still going strong in Japan. In addition, since there will be no official record of the DVD sales volume, Avex is the only source of such information, and for that reason, it is unclear if the members will ever get their rightful share of the earnings from the DVD release.
Also, as seen from the controversy regarding the charity concert event in Saitama, we could see that Avex constantly is on the lookout for any sign of public sentiment favorable to JYJ building up in Japan. By creating bad press, Avex continues to damage the three members’ reputation, while the representatives of the company are feeding the Japanese fans the false hope of seeing the five members together as Tohoshinki in Japan via unofficial and meaningless tweets on Twitter. (*Author’s Note: I say false hope because judging from Avex’s actions in dealing with the three members’ situation, it seems clear that Avex does not have any intention of resuming business with JYJ. Avex would have used all its resources to prevent any damages to JYJ’s reputation if there was any possibility of JYJ singing under Avex’s label again. Anyone with right sense in his/her mind surely would have realized this, since that was not the first time these two individuals have babbled gibberish, or simply put, bull****, about the members to make up lame excuses for their own company and play victim.) Moreover, Avex Group Holdings Inc. is also under suspicion of directly interfering with the event itself by influencing enterprises related to carrying out this event.
What is most frustrating is that the suspension of activities by Avex, the cause of all these unfair treatments that JYJ suffers from, does not even have reasonable grounds. The reasons for Avex’s suspension of Jaejoong, Yuchun, and Junsu cannot be justified:
1) Personal history of C-JeS’s CEO is irrelevant to the terms of contract between Avex and the three members.
2) Even if that was a problem due to its business ethics policies, there are evidences which shows that Avex already had known about the CEO’s background before the three started their activities as an unit under Avex. Thus, the contract should have been canceled, not suspended as the cause for the breach of contract falls on Avex, not JYJ.
3) The three members faithfully carried out all that was required of them on the contract. (There’s no breach of contract on JYJ’s part)
Moreover, Avex’s insistence that the contract between Avex and the five members under SM Entertainment is still valid but the contract is suspended only for the three members due to the recent developments from the lawsuit is out of reason.
Considering that the two parties were discussing cancellation of contract, unilaterally announcing a suspension of the existing contract rather than canceling it can only be interpreted as a strategic maneuver on Avex’s part to block the three members from moving on to a rival management companies in Japan, as Avex is fully aware of the three members’ potential for success in the Japanese market. This clearly is Avex’s abuse and exploitation of the three members that is no different from what SM has been doing in Korea: treating the three members merely as a commodity and taking all the measures necessary to block the three members from moving forward when the members refuse to be taken advantage of.
Avex and SM, the two big powers in the entertainment industry in Japan and Korea, continue to hinder JYJ from resuming their entertainment activities in an attempt to monopolize the market. This attempt at exclusion of JYJ from the entertainment industry once and for all not only affects JYJ. It could also be expanded to pose a dangerous threat to fundamental rights of all Korean artists and entertainers and the preservation of quality of Korean popular culture overall, and must be put to an end.