|Reimu = Max Changmin, Marisa = U-Know Yunho.|
TVXQ (stylized as TVXQ!), an initialism for Tong Vfang Xien Qi (Chinese: 東方神起), is a South Korean pop group consisting of the duo U-Know Yunho (유노윤호/정윤호 = Jeong Yun-ho) and Max Changmin (최강창민/심창민 = Shim Chang-min). They are known as Tohoshinki (東方神起/Tōhōshinki) in Japanese releases, and are sometimes referred to as DBSK, an abbreviation of their Korean name Dong Bang Shin Ki (Hangul: 동방신기). Their name roughly translates to "Rising Gods of the East".
Formed by S.M. Entertainment in 2003, TVXQ began as a five-member boy band composed of members U-Know Yunho, Max Changmin, Hero Jaejoong, Micky Yoochun, and Xiah Junsu. They were immediately launched to mainstream recognition following the release of their first physical single "Hug" (2004), which peaked at number four on the MIAK monthly music chart. Their first studio albums Tri-Angle (2004) and Rising Sun (2005) were both top sellers, pushing the band's popularity beyond Korea. Under the management of Avex, TVXQ entered the Japanese-language market in April 2005 with their debut single "Stay with Me Tonight", but their first Japanese album Heart, Mind and Soul (2006) was met with limited success.
TVXQ rose to international prominence in the late 2000s, after the group achieved critical acclaim in the Korean music industry for their best-selling albums "O"-Jung.Ban.Hap. (2006) and Mirotic (2008), both winning the Golden Disk Award for Album of the Year. Their 2008 hit single "Mirotic" was touted by international music critics as a staple song of K-pop. TVXQ's success in Japan was solidified with their fourth Japanese album The Secret Code (2009), which spawned four chart-topping singles. However, despite their commercial success, TVXQ plunged into legal turmoil and internal conflict when members Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu attempted to split with their Korean agency S.M. Entertainment, resulting in the trio's departure from the group in 2010. A year later, TVXQ returned as a duo with remaining members Yunho and Changmin, and they released TVXQ's fifth Korean album Keep Your Head Down (2011), topping album charts in most major Asian markets upon release. Since their 2011 comeback, the duo have sold more than 3.8 million albums and singles in Korea and Japan.
With over 13 million albums sold since 2004, TVXQ has become one of Asia's most successful music acts of their generation. They are often referred to as "Asia's Stars" and the "Kings of K-pop" for their immense success and contributions to Korean pop. According to the Oricon, TVXQ is the first foreign music act in history to have thirteen number-one singles in Japan. With their Japanese Time Tour, one of the highest-grossing concert tours of 2013, the duo became the first non-Japanese Asian artists to headline a nationwide five-dome tour. They were also the first foreign artists to perform at the Nissan Stadium. Billboard has described the group as "K-pop royalty".
Yunho and Changmin released TVXQ's comeback Korean album Keep Your Head Down on January 5, 2011. The album debuted at number one on the Gaon Albums Chart, and maintained its position for a second week. With 230,922 copies sold by mid-2011, Keep Your Head Down won the Album of the Year for the first quarter of 2011 at the Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards. The album's title single, "Keep Your Head Down" also stayed strong on the charts, winning seven number-one trophies on music shows The Music Trend, Music Bank, and M! Countdown. The Japanese version "Keep Your Head Down", which was released as a physical single in Japan on January 26, 2011, was a chart-topper and became TVXQ's second best-selling single in Japan, earning a platinum certification by the RIAJ. In March 2011, Keep Your Head Down was reissued with a new single, "Before U Go", and the repackaged album Before U Go peaked at number nine on the Gaon, pushing the album to be the third best-selling record of 2011 in South Korea.
During the promotion activities for Keep Your Head Down, Yunho and Changmin spoke up for the first time about their 2010 hiatus and split with JYJ. U-Know YunHo said, "We have waited for them, but we could not wait for five or ten years until they come back because fans could forget TVXQ in that case. Regardless of what is right and wrong, they had exceedingly deep conflicts with the agency, they went away, and we even could not talk to each other for a long time. Someone has to keep Dang Bang Shin Ki until this dispute can be resolved" Max Changmin added that the team had worked so hard to the point where they felt like they could finally "harvest the fruits of [their] labor," yet instead of being happy they had to perform their final stage with heavy hearts. They dismissed the rumor that some netizen had insisted that the lyrics of their title song, "Keep Your Head Down" contain some aggressive words towards the three members who left the group, saying, "The song is about a man's mind towards a woman who had left him. We can sometimes find out that a certain song seems to talk about my own story. In this way it totally depends on the interpretation using our own thoughts".
In July 2011, TVXQ released their thirty-second Japanese single "Superstar", which was certified gold by month's end. From July to August 2011, a month prior to the release of their comeback Japanese album Tone, the duo toured around Japan for Avex's A-Nation summer concert, and at the Tokyo stop, TVXQ performed as the closing act, breaking Ayumi Hamasaki's record of closing the concert eight years in a row. TVXQ were the first foreign performers to close the festival. On September 19, TVXQ released the music video for their promotional track "B.U.T (Be-Au-Ty)" as an introduction to Tone, which was officially released on September 28. Tone went to become TVXQ's first number-one best selling album in Japan, earning RIAJ's platinum certification within two weeks of its release."Tone" sold over 250,000 records and secured the No. 1 sales ranking on the weekly sales chart as well. With this fete, TVXQ has become the overseas artist with the highest album sales in Japan during its first week of release. In fact, this K-pop boy band is only the second overseas artist to achieve album sales of more than 200,000 during its first week. The previous holder: Bon Jovi, who sold a little over 200,000 copies with its 2000 album, "Crash."
In the latter months of 2011, the duo performed for a string of K-pop music festivals around the world. They first performed at the 2011 Hallyu Dream Concert at Gyeongju Citizens’ Stadium in South Korea on October 3. On October 9, 2011, TVXQ participated in the New York-Korea Festival, a concert produced by KBS Global to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Korea’s entry into the United Nations. It was held in New Jersey. On October 23, TVXQ performed with SM Town at the SM Town Concert in New York at Madison Square Garden concert and garnered international media attention. TVXQ were also the closing act at the 2011 K-pop Music Festival in Sydney, Australia, presented by JK Entertainment on November 12.
Their new Japanese holiday single "Winter" was released on November 30. The single's A-track, "Winter Rose", was selected as the commercial song for Seven & i Holdings’s Winter Gift – Tohoshinki (Snow Episode). TVXQ starred in the episode, which premiered on November 8. TVXQ also contributed in their Korean management's December compilation album 2011 Winter SMTown – The Warmest Gift, and released the song "Sleigh Ride". On December 31, TVXQ performed "Keep Your Head Down" at the 62nd NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen. It was their first time performing at the Kohaku since the split, drawing media attention.
TVXQ started 2012 with their comeback Japanese solo tour, the Tone tour, in January 2012. Tickets were sold out in a few minutes. Spanning a total of twenty-six shows in nine cities, the Tone Tour reached to an audience of 550,000, more than twice the audience count of their 2009 Japanese tour, The Secret Code. TVXQ also became the third foreign artist, after Michael Jackson and the Backstreet Boys, to perform at the Tokyo Dome for three consecutive days, attracting crowds of over 165,000. The Tone tour's 550,000 audience was also the largest mobilization for any Korean artist in Japan at the time, until TVXQ broke their own record with their 2013 Japan tour Time.
With the release of their thirty-fourth chart-topping Japanese single, "STILL" in March 2012, TVXQ became the first foreign artist to release ten number-one singles in Japan. By July 2012, TVXQ came to be recognized as the first foreign artist in Japan to sell over 3.1 million CD singles, breaking a ten-year, ten-month long record that was previously held by the American vocal duo, The Carpenters. With over 120,000 fans in attendance, TVXQ's 2012 BigEast fanclub event tour The Mission also broke another record for being the largest fanclub event in Japan's music history.
TVXQ returned to South Korea in September 2012 to release their sixth Korean album Catch Me, followed by the announcement of their first world tour, the Live World Tour: Catch Me. Catch Me was released online on September 24 and on September 26 through normal commercial outlets. It became Yunho and Changmin's second number-one album and TVXQ's fifth number-one album in South Korea, and maintained its number-one position on the Gaon Albums Chart for three weeks. On November 26, TVXQ released Humanoids, the repackage of Catch Me, which also peaked at number one. Two days after the reissue's release, S.M. Entertainment and JYJ dropped their lawsuits against each other and reached a settlement, ending their three-year legal dispute. As part of the agreement, both parties stated that they would no longer interfere with each other's activities, and it was agreed upon that JYJ's contracts with S.M. Entertainment had ended in July 2009.
On January 16, 2013, TVXQ announced on their official Japanese site the release of their sixth Japanese album Time for March 6. The album became their fastest selling studio album to date, selling over 277,000 copies in its first month of release. Its lead single, "Catch Me -If You Wanna-", sold over 137,000 copies, and topped the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart, making the group the first foreign artist to have had twelve number ones on Oricon. In March the group took part in the TRF tribute album TRF Tribute Album Best for TRF's 20th anniversary. They sang a cover of "survival dAnce ~no no cry more~" and were the only Koreans to participate on the album.
TVXQ set several records with their Time tour, which commenced at the Saitama Super Arena in April 2013. The duo became the first K-pop artist and the fourth foreign artist to embark on a five-dome tour, and were the first foreign musical act to perform at the Nissan Stadium as a headlining artist. The tour attracted a record audience of 850,000 people and an additional 40,000 people from cinemas. The tour grossed nearly US$93 million, breaking Tone's record.
In December 2013, two tenth anniversary concerts were held at the Korea International Exhibition Center in Goyang IlsanSeo-gu, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea to mark the duo's tenth anniversary in the music industry. The sold-out concerts, called Time Slip, was held on December 26 and 27, 2013.
Promoted as TVXQ's tenth anniversary debut album, their seventh Korean studio album Tense was announced in November 2013. The album was released on January 6, 2014 and debuted at number one on South Korea's Gaon Albums Chart and Hanteo Albums Chart, with first-week sales of 73,100 copies. First-month shipments reached 194,198 units, making Tense the best-selling album of January 2014 in South Korea. Music critics rated Tense favorably, with a general consensus that the album is the duo's best Korean record to-date. Musically Tense has elements of neo soul with throwback-inspired pop, and it is described to be more mature than the duo's earlier efforts. The lead single "Something", a swing jazz pop number, debuted at number four on the Gaon Singles Chart and reached to number seven on the Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100, TVXQ's highest debut on both charts. In Japan, "Something" was released as a double A-side single with "Hide & Seek" on February 5, 2014. In late February 2014, TVXQ announced their follow-up Korean single "Spellbound". An expanded version of Tense, re-titled Spellbound, was released on February 27, 2014 and debuted at number two on the Gaon Albums Chart, shipping 61,405 copies in two days.
Tree, TVXQ's seventh Japanese studio album, was released on March 5, 2014. It debuted at number one on the Oricon Albums Chart, moving 225,000 copies on its first week of release. With Tree, TVXQ became the first foreign band in Japan to have three consecutive studio albums with first-week sales of over 200,000 copies, breaking Bon Jovi's thirteen-year record. TVXQ continued to break new records with their seventh Japanese concert tour Tree: Live Tour 2014, which toured Japan from April to June 2014. The tour drew in over 600,000 people in total, pushing the duo to become the first foreign artists of Japan to bring in the largest number of concertgoers in the last three years, reaching over 2 million. The duo also set the record for being the first foreign artists to headline solo concerts at the Tokyo Dome and the Kyocera Dome Osaka for three years running.
TVXQ have labeled their lead singles as "SMP", a supposedly experimental genre with a mix of orchestral pop, rock, hip hop, and contemporary R&B, topped with harmonizing vocals and high notes. Many of TVXQ's songs feature lyrics with dark social commentary.
TVXQ's musical style has evolved over the years. Dance-pop and contemporary R&B ballads persisted throughout their releases, and they have released a cappella versions of their music. In their first two albums, TVXQ explored rap rock, and have collaborated with the rock band TRAX in those attempts.
With their fourth Korean album Mirotic (2008), TVXQ delved into urban contemporary and electropop, and the album's lead single "Mirotic", a song marked by heavy-urban dance and Europop sounds, is considered one of the staple songs of K-pop. In the albums after the split, Yunho and Changmin experimented with more electronic dance music, traditional R&B, and pop songs with strong hip hop cadences. However, the duo's tenth anniversary album, Tense (2014), saw a drastic change in TVXQ's musical direction, in which acoustic genres such as adult contemporary pop music took focus.
TVXQ's dance choreography has been called "intense and powerful". Their stage performances have been described as "imaginative" and "captivating", with Yunho and Changmin being lauded for their stability and stamina to perform live, with some live concert sets lasting for more than three hours. On an episode of Mnet's Idol Chart Show that aired on May 4, 2011, TVXQ were ranked number one among music removed (MR) idol singers.