In The News: Jaejoong's "Wasurenaide" issue

To be completely honest with you guys, I'm pretty confused myself at what's really happening. But now that both sides have spoken in one way or another, and more information has been put out, I guess it's time to put two and two together.

So, what happened? I'll try to get in to as much detail and as many citations as I can, but I can only do so much, so I apologize if I miss anything.

This morning, or somewhere around that time, someone discovered that Jaejoong's self-composed song "Wasurenaide", was being covered by a Chinese singer - Ray. His album was set to be released tomorrow under.. wait for it, wait for it.. Avex. How did people find out? Apparently, clips of the album were put out, as well as the album cover with Avex logos plastered all over it. My initial reaction was a mix of shock, anger and eyebrow-raising - dozens of questions were forming in my mind. Does Jaejoong know? Was he credited? Who actually owns the song? There's an Avex in China?! Do they really think people won't find out?

Of course I was outraged. But then, I really couldn't have said anything solid at that point because everything was still very vague. So I went around a bit, looking for the song credits and copyright of the song - to no avail. My copy of "The Secret Code" didn't include an insert with the credits for the album (only the credits for the "non-stop mix"), and only the composer and lyricist are listed on the wiki entry. I decided just to wait it out a bit.

So, as of this morning, this is what we knew:

  • Jaejoong wrote "Wasurenaide" in 2009, and it was released on the group's last Japanese album as five - "The Secret Code" - under Rhythm Zone, a subsidiary of Avex.
  • Ray Cho, a Chinese singer, is releasing a Chinese version of "Wasurenaide" tomorrow - under Avex.
  • Avex China does exist.
  • There was no due credit for Jaejoong as the co-composer and sole lyricist of the song on this new release.

Putting two and two together at this point, you'd probably think, like many others, that Avex just gave the song to Ray without Jaejoong's consent because it's one of their last shots at making money off of the guy. And that Avex is really sleazy and had no right to do it since it's not their song, or maybe even that SME had something to do with this.

So later in the day, the accused - Ray - released a statement on his blog. He was "sorry", he liked Jaejoong too, the standard buttering up to people, and finally, that the release would be delayed until they secure permission from the songwriters, a.k.a. Jaejoong and Kim Young Hu. He also said something interesting, which I wasn't able to understand until a while ago, but trust me, it's relevant. I quote:

"This incident has nothing to do with Tian Yu Media, Avex Music (Avex China), and SM Entertainment, it is not a resale of Jaejoong’s song by Avex, as said by everyone. Please don’t blame the unrelated company, you can blame me for everything."

Interesting? It gets better, trust me.

And also, it was confirmed via JASRAC's website that Jaejoong holds the rights to the song as both the lyricist and the composer (shared with Kim Young Hu) - then there are two rows below that which has stuff written in Kanji so I can't read it, but what I CAN read is that Avex is also listed. Twice.

(image: Koreaboo)

While all this was happening, JYJ had other things/crap to deal with (which I won't talk about because if I do it's just another chapter in the 2-year saga, which is WAY too long to recap), so I guess either Jaejoong didn't know yet at that point, or had just found out and was too shocked to say anything. According to Mr. Egg (a friend of the three - obviously not his real name LOL), Jaejoong was apparently angry this morning (that tweet has apparently also been deleted now) - probably about the Jeju cancellation, but probably because of this as well. No one knows.

So, as of this afternoon, this is what we knew:

  • Jaejoong wrote "Wasurenaide" in 2009, and it was released on the group's last Japanese album as five - "The Secret Code" - under Rhythm Zone, a subsidiary of Avex.
  • Jaejoong has rights to "Wasurenaide" as the lyricist and the co-composer, but Avex has rights as something else (can't read Kanji yet, sorry)
  • Ray Cho, a Chinese singer, covered "Wasurenaide", but is delaying the release until he gets permission
  • Avex China does exist.
  • Ray Cho is under Avex China.

A battle won? Not quite. Basically, at this point I was saying that the issue isn't the fact that the guy is covering Jaejoong's song - it's that Jaejoong wasn't given due credit. People cover songs all over the place - it's more of a compliment if someone covers your song because you know that either it's gaining momentum, you're getting popular, or it's a good song. Then I wondered - why didn't Avex, and the people around him, do anything? No matter how stupid Avex is for succumbing to SME, you'd think they had the decency to put due credit and whatnot, seeing as if they screw up it's them on the line with not only the fans, not only Jaejoong, but JASRAC (Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers) as well. And really, I highly doubt they'd take dropping JYJ personally.

And finally, the coup de grĂ¢ce - Max Matsuura speaks. Before I quote him for those who haven't read his response, any guesses on what he said? Honestly when I saw that he replied to this, I was expecting him to say something like "We did give due credit - to Kim Young Hu," or "we own the copyright so we can do whatever we want with it," or "I refuse to comment." But guess what? I was wrong - his answer just added a whole new twist to this already-sticky situation.

"Recently, a Chinese singer covered Jaejoong's song. I became interested, so I investigated the case. I found out that the Chinese singer who has no relation whatsoever with company a (T/N: avex) translated and sung the song without permission. As usual, the people in that country is interesting. The video in YouTube has a different logo (of a company), they are stealing and it is really tricky... To tell the truth, this story is as a bolt from the blue. I don't know why I have to hear complains about the things which they did without permission. I will take necessary actions in order to protect all the artists. I did not know anything about this case, but I will deal with this issue. For the time being, this is my word."

credits: masatomatsuura @ twitter
trans: smiley @
Credits: { One World. One Red Ocean. One TVXQ! }

There's almost as much drama as "Miss Ripley", and "Miss Ripley" is ALL gasp-inducing drama. So before your heads start spinning, here's what we now, presently, know:

  • Jaejoong wrote "Wasurenaide" in 2009, and it was released on the group's last Japanese album as five - "The Secret Code" - under Rhythm Zone, a subsidiary of Avex.
  • Jaejoong has rights to "Wasurenaide" as the lyricist and the co-composer, but Avex has rights as something else (can't read Kanji yet, sorry)
  • Ray Cho, a Chinese singer, covered "Wasurenaide", but is delaying the release until he gets permission
  • Avex China does exist.
  • Ray Cho is NOT under Avex. Never has been. Matsuura doesn't even know the guy.

Now that Matsuura himself has said that Ray has nothing to do with Avex, go back to that quote I put in the second part. Either I've been dealing with too many literary theories lately and/or watching too my Miss Ripley, or it's just too obvious not to piece together - Ray said not to put the blame on Avex, because they had nothing to do with the issue. And they really did have nothing to do with it (apart from the fact that they're not part of the victims, but we're talking about the part before we all found out) because they didn't even know Roy before this! Roy, and his other agency/label Tian Yu Media, if that's even actually his other label, have been lying about their affiliation with Avex all along.

Ray Cho wants attention - it's obvious. Plausible scenarios:

  • He wanted attention so he used the Avex name, then covered "Wasurenaide" because he really wanted to, regardless of whether or not he was "under Avex". But when people made a fuss of the fact that it was Jaejoong's song AND he was under Avex - he just rode with it for the publicity. But that would make him somewhat a good guy.
  • He "Wasurenaide" with the full intention of not crediting the original writers, then realized that he might as well use Avex while he was at it.

What now? We don't know, no one does. Avex could sue, Jaejoong could sue (if he does know, which by now he probably does), Jaejoong could admit that he knew all along and that he gave permission (not that plausible, but possible nonetheless) they both could sue, they both could NOT sue, Ray could beg the two not to, this could just fizzle away, SME could come out and admit for their sins and we'd all live happily ever after (I can dream, can't I?) - a lot of things can happen.

Earlier today, when we were halfway through this, I tweeted that I had lost my respect for Avex. Of course when I found out that Ray isn't actually under Avex and they didn't give him the song, I took that back, but right now my respect for them - whether it disappears or goes back to how it was before - is dependent on how they handle this situation. They screw this up, I lose respect. They do this cleanly, the way it should be, they get my respect back.

And, just because I've been listening to this gorgeous song all day - the Tokyo Dome performance of "Wasurenaide":

Phew. So I wanted to try something new on PRN. Seeing as I'm a news writer again, I'm now required to be on my toes for new headlines (again), and seeing as I'm starting to over-analyze everything because of all my English Lit classes - why not put those to good use and put something out on PRN? Therefore, I'll be taking some running news stories and issues, then putting them all in to one post - with the news, a short commentary, and some ranting here and there. This is yet another test run that could either lead to a permanent section or just fizzle away, so if you guys have any suggestions and comments on this - fire away! Please! :D


  1. When I first heard about this, I was just as outraged as you were. Nothing has ever gone easy for JYJ ever since they left SM. This makes things a step farther. Avex and SM really do take the piss and do whatever they can to make JYJ's careers and lives hell. I'm disgusted.


    I ain't even a Cassie and yet my head hurts. Everything's just so messed up. Gosh. JYJ has been through so much. Why did some crap fall on them again? An issue petty as this. Ugh.

  3. Dear, you just miss one of the most important part of this story which is Jaejoong's tweet about this song last night.

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    (Note that he tweeted this in Japanese)

    Wasurenaide is not my, not anybody’s song.
    It’s “TVXQ” 5 members’ song.
    I don’t want to sing it alone or as 3.

    Translation Credit: @alles2012
    Shared By: JYJ3

    another trans: slightly different

    (Jaejoong, 11.42pm KST) “Wasurenaide” is neither my song nor anyone else’s song. Because it is the song that belongs to the 5 members of “Tohoshinki.” Therefore, I don’t want it to be sung, neither by one person nor by three people
    Translated + Shared by:

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    So it does mean that Jaejoong hasn't known about remake song before and he doesn't want anyone to sing it except Tohoshinki as 5 members (not just 3 of them or 1 of them...which is clever because that also can imply to any number of members, right?)

  4. @dbsk-real: You do realize that this was written hours before Jaejoong tweeted that. And I repeatedly state (just not on this post) that I DO NOT edit or add to any of my posts, unless it is an ERROR. So no, I did not miss anything - the time period I covered on this post was before that tweet. Please read the times more carefully.

  5. misunderstood me, probably from my tone. I do realize that you publish this before JJ tweet. I just thought you really missed that tweet, maybe because it was done late at night or sth. Maybe it sounds a bit rude when reading through internet which I didn't mean it at all. (I changed my name but I posted here before. I'm actually a fan of your blog.)

    Sorry for make you feel offence.

  6. I like how you broke it down into "what we knew at such and such time." If it's good practice for you, that's a good enough reason for me to read more of these posts.

  7. Tbh, this is the first time I read this story (since I'm kinda isolating myself from Kpop lately).

    It's an interesting controversy actually. People covering (plagiarizing, anyone?) other people's art for the sake of publicity? Cliche, yet still dumb. The fact that he (or his management, or both) has the balls to admit he is under Avex, a really huge company in Japan(which btw is the second largest market for music) is the best decision I've ever heard for quite some time. I mean, what the hell went in your mind while laying out this fail plan?

    I'm keeping my eyes on this.


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