The Courtroom: Younha Fighting

Hey Moar Powah! it’s time for another edition of “The Courtroom.”  This is a topic I’ve been keeping close attention to for a few weeks now.  On October 12th, I learned that my favorite K-pop star, Younha, had burst into tears over a third failed mediation with her agency Lion Media.  At first, I had no idea why she was in court for mediation, so obviously I searched the archives to find out.  Here’s the story: on July 11th, Younha sued Lion Media for failing to honor her contract.  On August 23rd, Lion Media counter-sued for $1 million USD.  To be honest, I’m not surprised that Younha decided to sue her agency.  It’s a well-known fact that many Korean agencies take advantage of their stars.  They will work them to death for every last penny.  Here’s a statement from Younha’s legal team:

When Younha signed, she was merely a 15 year old minor who knew nothing of the realities of the industry. She signed an exclusive contract with unfair terms.

Younha’s contract included unfair terms where she was only receiving 10% of her digital sales. Lion Media also failed to distribute her income properly and also forced her to release albums that weren’t completed fully due to lack of budgets, impacting her musical career.

At the end of 2008, she was diagnosed with shingles but forced to continue promoting while holding back her pain. Despite being hospitalized in January of 2010 for laryngitis, Lion Media failed to cancel her scheduled activities, forcing her to lip sync on stage.

Here’s a star who is probably one of the most talented artists in Korea, yet she gets hardly as much rep.  She even had to fight her way into the industry (a quick history lesson).  Younha has stated in numerous interviews that she went to as many as 20 auditions, but certain companies refused to sign her to their labels because they believed she was not “pretty” enough even though she sang very well.  Korea is very superficial, yet that’s a topic for another day.  In any case, she went to Japan and became a star with the hit single “Houki Boshi” (one of the endings of the anime Bleach), which debuted on the Oricon chart at #18 and peaked at #12.  With this single, she became the second Korean after BoA to have broken the Oricon chart’s top 20 (others have since done it).  With her success in Japan, she returned to Korea and became a hit in her home country.

I’ve always admired Younha for never giving up and not giving into social pressures.  She’s a lot moar talented in my opinion than other singers, and she’s plenty pretty enough for me.  But as I said, she hardly gets the rep that other idols do.  I’ve always found it strange that her Korean albums were never marketed as other singers’ albums were.  After these revelations by Younha and her legal team, it all makes sense now.   Lion Media has exploited to her no end.  I may come off as a raging fanboy, and I usually try remaining objective until all information has come to light.  But this incident just makes me angrier than others.  I wonder what her career what have been like if her agency made a real effort to support her?  We’ll never know now.  Another interesting thing I took note of was her hospitalization for laryngitis in January 2010 and her subsequent performances.  One such event was her performance on Music Bank.  After she finished singing, she mouthed “I’m sorry.”  It was revealed she had to lip sync because she lost her voice, and that she had cried during rehearsals.  She apologized because she felt like she cheated those who came to listen to her live.  You could really tell she cared about her music and her fans.  That made me respect her moar.

Anyways, I hope Younha stays strong and fights Lion Media to get what she deserves.  Talented artists who happen to be good people are hard to come by, and she happens to be one of them.  I have all her albums (Korean and Japanese), and my one of my favorite treasures happens to be my signed DVD of Younha’s trip to Japan.   I also got to see her sing live at Kim Yuna’s All That Skate Summer 2010 (she sang “혜성” the Korean version of “Houki Boshi” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On”).  Well that’s it for now, and for what it’s worth, go support Younha by giving her a shout out on her Twitter.  Since mediation has failed, she will go to her court with Lion Media.  Her trial started October 28th, and I haven’t heard any news since.

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  1. Man, I don't follow kpop in the slightest, but I feel really bad for her. I liked Houki Boshi quite a bit, and I hope things go her way from now on!

  2. Pingback: Birthdays: Younha and Our Very Own Jack Guo | Moar Powah!

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