Whenever he’s asked about his accomplishments, Jin starts by saying how thankful he is to others. When asked about things that could have been taxing, he laughs it off before he finishes speaking, like it was nothing at all. What I’m trying to say is, he’s a really good person.

  • Shirt by Dolce & Gabbana, necklace by Tiffany & Co., ring by VOKCHOI.
​Is your finger getting better?
Jin: It’s much better now. (laughs)

You had to be careful even during your performance at the Grammy Awards. Just watching you made me nervous.
Jin: By that point it had already been a while since I injured it, so it didn’t hurt too much. But they said I might reinjure it if I hit it really hard, so I was careful about any moves where I might hit it, just to be on the safe side. It didn’t really hurt too much. Because we’re always so focused on the performance when we’re on stage, sometimes we bump into each other’s arms really hard when we turn or something. If that happened, I might have needed to get more surgery. I just sat out to prevent that from happening, not because there would have been a problem if my hand lightly came into contact with something. I had to be careful because in the event that there was another problem I wouldn’t have been able to attend anything else we had planned.

You were a little far away from the other members and playing a supporting role at the start of your performance at the Grammys, but then later on you joined them and danced together. How did it feel watching the other members from afar?
Jin: They looked cool. There are other cool artists, too, but that was the first time I was ever personally in a position to watch the other members perform together in person, and they looked cooler than anyone else to me. I feel like now I know why people become fans. I performed in a number of songs in Las Vegas, too, but in between, I started to feel like I was watching a BTS concert, too—watching BTS, and watching ARMY.

So you were the center of attention onstage, but at the same time you watched the group and ARMY from a distance.
Jin: When you play games, sometimes you have to choose between playing DPS or playing tank. I felt like I was acing it as both DPS and tank at that concert. (laughs) It felt like I didn’t lean either way and fulfilled them both evenly. I felt really bad because I wasn’t able to perform for ARMY and sad for myself because of my injury, but in one sense it was a refreshingly unique experience that I’m not likely to ever have again.

How did it feel to see ARMY in concert for the first time in two years?
Jin: When we were about to do the first concert in LA, I kept saying to the other members, “What if I cry while we’re up there?” I tried not to become overwhelmed by that kind of sentimentality, but there were times during the concert when one of the other members would be speaking or something and I just stared out at ARMY. I loved that feeling. I seriously thought, Wow, this is crazy—it’s just like a movie. Yeah, this is how I used to live. But I did my best to keep those emotions down since I wouldn’t have been able to put on a professional-grade show if I had kept it up.

Would you say that things like coming out at the end of the concert with a silly hairstyle are your way of expressing your feelings toward ARMY?
Jin: I do that because ARMY likes it. Even though it only lasts a really brief moment, they find it fun. If they’re enjoying it, I do, too. I mean, it’s rare that just one person laughs alone. We all laugh together. I was looking for that kind of mutual exchange, too. But I couldn’t do it in Las Vegas. We were so busy getting ready that I ran out of material (laughs) so I finally understood how the concert writers feel: Man, what am I going to do? (laughs) I’ll have to think of something brand new when we end up doing our next tour.

The way you continued to play your part at the concerts in many different ways, even after sustaining an injury, seems to have left a deep impression. j-hope showed the enormous amount of respect he has for the positive influence you have on the group during the concert.
Jin: As he said, I tried my very best to miss as little as possible at the concert, despite my injury. But what I’m really thankful to Hobi for and makes me feel bad is—the fact is, I wasn’t really in the performance, so I didn’t really deserve that kind of respect, but I’m so grateful that he complimented me and said nice things about me. I always knew j-hope was a really good guy, but this once again reminded me of the fact. The fact that he understood my situation and praised me for working hard anyway made me feel sorry and thankful at the same time.

It’s fascinating the way you’re able to hold onto that sense of trust between members. It also reminds me of some of the lyrics from “Yet To Come” off Proof: “I saw lots of changes but Say everything stayed the same.”
Jin: I find it fascinating, too. They’re all very ambitious, but I think you could say they’re not that ambitious at the same time. They are extremely ambitious collectively as the group, but they set aside their personal ambitions sometimes, believing that the group comes first. I’m more fascinated than thankful about how this is even possible, but still, everyone puts the group first. I’m grateful for the very fact that they’ve all made certain personal sacrifices to better fit with the group’s needs and I think Namjoon is amazing for the fantastic job he did coordinating everything and everyone.

What is it that allows you to maintain that kind of atmosphere?
Jin: I think that’s because everyone just puts the group before themselves. And working as a group of seven people is better for both our own happiness and for ARMY’s enjoyment, which in turn makes us focus more on the group. I think we were able to put on such big concerts and make it to the stage at the Grammys because we function as a group of seven. There are some things you can do and some kinds of happiness you can only experience as a group.

I’m sure the birthday event ARMY held for you during the LA concert was one of them.
Jin: Of course! That event was something I could experience entirely thanks to everything we’ve done as a team to make it where we are today. I was seriously moved in a way I have never been before. Honestly, where else could you experience something so touching? 50,000 people, all singing happy birthday, and the man of the hour is me. It was like being the protagonist in a novel. And to think, when we debuted, I thought it would be so nice just to have a concert in front of 3,000 people.
​By the same token, it would probably be impossible for you to have ever experienced doing something for that many people if your life had turned out differently. I was impressed how you create events for your countless fans, including the way you had what you wanted to say about “Super Tuna” prepared in advance, when you were doing your birthday V LIVE.
Jin: I’m the sort of person who feels comfortable when I have to talk with someone, like conversing back and forth, but put me in front of a camera alone and sometimes I won’t have much to say for very long. To the point where I find it amazing that people can stream themselves alone. So naturally I plan things out. Sometimes I think maybe I would have been really good at planning things if I had become an office worker instead. (laughs) But I mean, I love having fun with ARMY. I probably wouldn’t have any reason to do anything if it weren’t for ARMY. I also could have released “Super Tuna” on December 4 this year instead, but I’m glad that I got it done quickly. I didn’t think people would really like “Super Tuna” much. I guess you could say it feels like I’m doing office work and wrote a proposal, and then it went all the way up to the company president, who then said, “Go for it!” (laughs) It feels fantastic.

It sounds like, with things like V LIVE and “Super Tuna,” you’re trying to do things for ARMY’s sake.
Jin: As I said earlier, I like gaming. Games have to be updated to make them more fun, even if the users didn’t ask for it. I think we’re similar to that. Just like I feel happy when I play games, ARMY feels happy being our fans. And they do that while listening to our music and enjoying our new content. I tried thinking of ARMY as the user. That led me to want to keep them satisfied.

Was that the intention behind “Yours,” the song you sang for the TV drama Jirisan?
Jin: The group was spending less time performing at the time and I figured ARMY would like it if they had a new song to listen to at that point. It would have been a little bit random to just release a song out of nowhere, but I was recommended a good project so I took it. To use another game analogy, a lot of times game characters will have their own jobs and stats. But even if there’s frequent patches for the whole game, I would hate it if my character’s the only one whose stats don’t get buffed and stay the same when all the other characters get upgrades. (laughs) So that’s how I think about what I need to do and then get to work on it.

Then how do you know when the right timing is?
Jin: “Super Tuna” was never planned out—I just wanted to try going fishing with BUMZU, and we decided to make a song while we were at it. It was originally a spontaneous song. It was just something we did to pass the time, you know? But even if I originally make something just to pass the time, once ARMY reacts to that, it’s not a time-killer anymore—now it’s something I do for fun. I think seeing ARMY’s reactions helps me communicate with them.

Sometimes you put on big events that you and ARMY can do together, like the “Super Tuna” challenge, as a result of the way you communicate with them. What led you to realize you could do such events by communicating with them?
Jin: I think it was when we were first able to communicate directly, which was once Weverse opened up. There were always difficulties when trying to communicate one-on-one before that. I started to find it a little more fun once Weverse launched. Because I can get accurate feedback directly from a person. And Weverse is a space that only ARMY uses, and I know that they’re trying to share only good things with us there. It makes me feel more grateful and it’s more fun.

Would you say that communicating that way has made you feel a little more at ease emotionally when you present something on your own, for example?
Jin: It used to be that any time I had to do something, I thought it was such a big deal. Like, How can I handle something this big right now? I would always feel discouraged, but my personality has changed a lot now, I think. I think the biggest change in my mind is that now, even if there’s a major project in the works, I think I can do it now. Now, instead of, “How can I handle this?” it’s “I can handle this!” when I’m making songs for other people to listen to.

Is there any reason that changed the way it did?
Jin: To put it in a general, comprehensive sense, now I do things when I feel like it. I made “Abyss” when I wanted to indirectly express that I was having a hard time. And I made “Super Tuna” because I felt like doing something while fishing with BUMZU. I don’t really do things according to a plan; I think I always do everything whenever I feel like it. That goes for when I’m working on music or doing anything else, too.

Did you also make the version of “Epiphany (Jin Demo Ver.)” that appears on Proof when you were feeling like it? You can really hear how you’re in a more comfortable vocal range in this version, unlike the previously released one.
Jin: Yes. I was already in a when-I-feel-like-it mindset by that point so I spent about a week writing that version, but it was harder than I expected. The beat was a little hard to write a melody for. The chorus was the very first thing I wrote while working on the music, but listening to the version that’s on Proof, it wasn’t too bad. (laughs) But I tried listening to them five times alternately and spaced apart, and each has its merits, but in the end I felt like the current and final version of “Epiphany” is a little more polished.

The melody of the studio version of “Epiphany” fits well with the narrative flow of the album and the music video, while the melody of the Proof version is nice because it feels more poppy and natural. Maybe it’s important to make something when you feel like it, right?
Jin: That’s right. It might not make sense to other people, but it’s so important to do things when you feel like doing them. You gotta do what you gotta do when it comes to work, but for things that aren’t absolutely required of you, I think you should do them whenever you feel like it. When I’m at home, if I want to eat, I eat, and if I want to stay in bed, I stay in bed all day. Outside of working, that’s how I live. As I say, I do things when I feel like it. It’s not that I found inner peace, I just think I can express things when I feel them—like whenever I’m sad or happy: I can tell people I’m sad when I feel it; I can say I’m happy when I feel it.

That’s not easy to do, is it—expressing your emotions whenever you feel like it?
Jin: I guess a lot of people might not understand the concept of doing what you want, when you want, because they’re required to make a plan. I don’t think I was like this when I first debuted, either. I sort of used to like planning things out, but I guess my personality just changed this way a bit, because even when I make plans, my schedule can change without notice and unexpected things come up.

Is this your way of striking a balance between BTS and your personal life?
Jin: Well, I hadn’t really thought about it that way before, but I guess you could say I want to be able to have fun on my own, too. And without inconveniencing anybody else.

Is there anything you feel like doing—something that doesn’t inconvenience anyone else, and also fun at the same time?
Jin: I thought about going on a variety show to make myself happy, not for the group or because of my popularity or for work, because filming those shows might put me in a happy mood. There are some things about variety shows that are tough, of course, but it’s also a chance to laugh your head off on set all day. I talked about how I felt like I was watching both the other members and ARMY at the most recent concert, right? So I want to do it to enjoy myself - I’m on stage and putting on a performance, but watching a BTS concert up-close at the same time. I’m on a variety show, but watching that show up-close.

But you still did everything you could while having sustained an injury, even at the concert. It seemed to me you are extremely strict about the work you do with the group.
Jin: You have to be strict. I think there will be problems if I become too lenient with myself when it comes to the work I do with BTS, so I’m always strict.

You’ve been like that since the day you debuted, right up till today. How is it you’re able to keep going like that?
Jin: Because it’s my happiness. They say there aren’t usually too many times where people can find happiness in the work they do in an office. But I realize I find happiness in my work. I think the reason I was able to put on that big concert in Las Vegas and the one at the Grammys was because the seven of us did it together. In that way, I’m living my life all thanks to ARMY’s happiness, and I have to do those things to ensure ARMY is satisfied.

So you live however you feel like, but your happiness necessarily comes from BTS and ARMY.
Jin: It means a lot if you win an award at the Grammys. And I was hoping to win it. Because, if we had won an award, it would have been ARMY who made that happen. But I’m happy right now, and I don’t feel unhappy from not winning that award. That’s not my life’s purpose. It would be nice if I could win one and still live my life the way I do because I’m living a pretty happy life right now.

“Yet To Come” seems to suggest that the best is yet to come. But hearing what you’ve said, it seems like every moment has been the best moment for you.
Jin: I always feel like every moment is the best moment. How can anything be better than now? That’s ridiculous. (laughs)
Article. Myungseok Kang
Interview. Myungseok Kang
Visual Director. Yurim Jeon
Project Management. Minji Oh
Visual Creative Team. Leehyun Kim(BIGHIT MUSIC)
Photography. Hyea W. Kang / Assist. Jisu Um, Yonguk Shin, Heehyun Oh, Chiho Yoon
Hair. Som Han / Assist. Hwa Yeon Kim, Seong Hyeon Hwang
Makeup. Dareum Kim / Assist. Yuri Seo, Sunmin Kim
Stylist. Youngjin Kim / Assist. Yesong Kim, Bongkyu Kim
Set Design. Darak(Seoyun Choi / Yehui Son, Ayeong Kim)
Artist Protocol Team. Shin Gyu Kim, Jin Gu Jang, Su Bin Kim, Jung Min Lee, Da Sol An, Jun Tae Park, Seung Byung Lee, Hyeon Ki Lee, Dae Seong Jeong, Ju Sang Lee