When KangYoon arrived at the studio, where a last-minute recording was going on, JooAh, who arrived early and was resting, shouted at him.
“I’m sorry, is the recording going well?”
“I will forgive you this once. Why should I worry about you? And why is our team leader so late today?”
KangYoon always came earlier than anyone and prepared for work. However, to think that KangYoon was late… JooAh was curious of the reason.
“There was something important. I’m sorry. Let’s hear the recording.”
JooAh seemed curious but didn’t inquire deeply. At KangYoon’s word, one of the studio staff members played the recorded song. It was a ballad, and it was nice to listen to the slow beat with JooAh’s voice that matched it. He couldn’t see the color, but whether it was the vibrating voice or her skills of conveying the words, it was a very good song. KangYoon was satisfied.
“The song’s good, right?”
“It’s alright. So, one more left now?”
“Yeah. Oh, yeah. Oppa, I have a question…”
JooAh asked KangYoon with a curious face.
“Where is my debut stage in Japan? Are you preparing a showcase stage?”
Normally, Korean singers who proceeded to Japan prepared a huge showcase stage, with the pretext of ‘this kind of singer will be active in Japan’ as advertising. MG Entertainment’s showcases were known for being fancy. Using the fancy stage as an opportunity, they greeted various people related to the industry, and they give out albums here and there. JooAh was asking whether she would debut as a newbie or take the usual route.
“No, we won’t be opening a showcase.”
It wasn’t only JooAh who was surprised at KangYoon’s words. The majority of the people inside the studio were surprised at KangYoon’s words. However, KangYoon didn’t satiate their curiosity.
“Just keep in mind for now, that you won’t be doing a showcase.”
“Then where do I have my debut?”
“You will know soon. I bet you’ll be surprised when you know it.”
“Hey, I’m getting even more curious now. Oppa, oppa!!”
KangYoon headed to his office as if he was done with work in the studio. JooAh kept calling him, but KangYoon went to his studio without even looking back.
KangYoon, who spent the morning with HeeYoon in the hospital, had a lot of work piled up. He already did a lot before, but there was still a pile of paperwork that needed his approval.
The pile from the promotion team was especially large. After going over the paperwork given to him by the promotion team, KangYoon opened the paperwork given to him by the liaison team.
‘What? Politely refuse?’
Going over the paperwork given to him by the liaison team, KangYoon creased his brows after looking at the attached picture file. In the document, Music Station’s ‘refusal of singer JooAh’s special debut stage’, was written.
-We are replying to the matter about your company’s request for singer JooAh’s appearance at Music Station. Music Station is only aimed at the Japanese people, therefore, we’re not able to cast a foreign singer. We ask for you to understand that we’re doing this in order keep the beliefs of our programme. Thank you for your interest and for contacting us. -Asai TV Producer…
It was a Music Station stage that he was preparing, while giving up the showcase. JooAh’s first start will begin there. However, a refusal… KangYoon didn’t stop moving. He directly looked for the liaison team.
“Team Leader, you’re here?”
Manager Han JungSuk of the liaison team stood up and greeted KangYoon.
“Good day to you, sir. Is this the final reply from Asai TV?”
“Oh… Yes. I’m very sorry. We even went to Japan and did our best, but…”
“You have a passport, right?”
“Yes, of course I have one, but…”
“We’re leaving on tonight’s flight. It’s an emergency business trip. I will contact the accounting department.”
He had returned to the company just yesterday. Manager Han JungSuk was frightened because he didn’t want to go to Japan again, but KangYoon didn’t let him go.
“Manager, this is the whole point. It’s not an exaggeration to say the success and failure all depends on this.”
“Yes… I understand.”
Manager Han JungSuk, who was pressured by KangYoon’s strong presence, went back to his seat and prepared for the sudden business trip. These kinds of sudden business trips were rare even in the entertainment industry where there were a lot of variables. He seemed depressed as he loosened his shoulders.
KangYoon also hurriedly went back to his office, and prepared to go to Japan. KangYoon’s mind was hurried.
KangYoon, who arrived at the Tokyo Haneda Airport with a night flight, headed to Roppongi where the Asai TV station was located. When he arrived at Roppongi in a car, the sun was already rising.
“Team Leader, aren’t you tired?”
Manager Han JungSuk, who was nearing 40 years of age, was feeling pressured with his stamina. He slept in the plane, but exhaustion could be seen in his eyes.
“Even if we go in the morning, we would just get rejected at the door. Shall we reserve a lodging and rest for a bit?”
Manager Han JungSuk sighed in relief in his heart. He was worried that he would be scolded with the ‘you-only-have-age-and-no-stamina’ talk. However, there was no scolding at all. Instead, KangYoon knew that and was considerate towards him. Although JungSuk was older, he was thankful to the team leader who was so considerate.
After they found a nearby inn and settled there, KangYoon and Manager Han JungSuk had a shower, and changed for work. They changed into their suits and prepared the paperwork meticulously. Then, they headed to the Asai TV building.
[Good morning. What is your business?]
[We are here to see Producer Yokozeki Tatsushi.]
KangYoon went to the lobby and headed towards the information desk, and he spoke to the person behind the information desk.
[Did you make an appointment in advance?]
[Would you tell him that we came from MG Entertainment of Korea?]
The staff picked up the phone and called straight away. However, the reply was negative.
[I’m sorry. He told me that everything necessary was already told, and for you return.]
KangYoon and Manager Han JungSuk looked at each other. They even flew all the way to Japan and they were refused at the door… However, KangYoon composedly replied:
[I understand. Here, this is my business card, would you pass it on to Producer Yokozeki?]
KangYoon left the station. Manager Han JungSuk also followed him.
“Team Leader, are you planning to go back like this?”
“No way. We came all the way here. We can’t go back empty handed.”
“But they aren’t even willing to meet us. It wasn’t like this when I came… To think that they won’t even show their face… These people are too much.”
Manager Han JungSuk expressed the stifled feeling in his heart. He sent the materials and even tried to persuade them, but they weren’t persuaded at all.
“It’s indeed stifling, but what can we do? It’s us who’s disappointed.”
“Then what do we do now? Do we go back?”
“We unsheathed the sword, so we have to at least cut some radish. Shall we wait over there?”
KangYoon pointed towards the café inside the building. It was a café where its sofas looked very nice.
“You did bring work, right?”
“Yes, of course. Just in case…”
“Then let’s do some work over there. We can meet Producer Yokozeki later.”
Manager Han JungSuk felt stifled at KangYoon who said he would wait even though he was refused at the door, but at the same time, he felt envious. It was because he could feel the strong will and stubbornness to succeed.
The two who went inside the café took out some paperwork and started working while looking outside from time to time.
‘What is the reason?’
KangYoon pondered. In his ‘previous life’, Asai TV allowed JooAh to stand on the Music Station stage. And it was for the debut stage too. Just in case, KangYoon compared the influence that would come from Music Station and a showcase, but it was a crushing victory by Music Station.
However, to think that Music Station’s producer rejected it… If so, then did history change because he changed the flow? Or was it originally like this? KangYoon needed to confirm it. They waited for a long time in the café, but Producer Yokozeki never showed up. After the day passed by and it became night, one or two people started leaving work, but Producer Yokozeki wasn’t among them.
“Team Leader. He isn’t coming out.”
While the café owner was staring at them, Manager Han JungSuk whispered to KangYoon. However, KangYoon didn’t move. He ordered for another drink, and the owner couldn’t say anything since one customer was buying a lot of drinks by himself.
“Are they editing a video or something? No, there’s no way a producer for live programmes would do video editing…”
LIke KangYoon said, Producer Yokozeki was only in charge of Music Station. This meant that he was a on-the-scene personnel. How much editing would a live broadcast group like Music Station need? Not that much. In other words, there was no need for any editing. And that meant that there was no reason for him to be so late.
“Is he doing another broadcast or something?
“No, if I remember correctly…”
At that moment, the elevator stopped and someone was coming out. He was wearing a bucket hat and had long hair. He also had a small stature. It was Producer Yokozeki.
KangYoon went straight away. Manager Han JungSuk also followed him, but KangYoon was fast and he couldn’t catch up.
[Excuse me. Are you Producer Yokozeki Tatsushi?]
KangYoon stopped the man who was about to leave the lobby. Then, the man with the bucket hat looked up towards KangYoon with a dumbfounded face.
[Good evening. I am Lee KangYoon who contacted you before. I am a team leader from MG Entertainment, and I…]
However, the man sighed as soon as he saw KangYoon. His expression was one of ‘getting tired of something’ as he creased his face.
[The talk is already over. We already made our stance clear to you, and I have nothing to speak about anymore.]
[I am very well aware that there hasn’t been a precedent where Music Station has allowed a foreign singer to appear on it. I am also aware that the nationalistic Asai TV station cannot easily allow it. However, if you look at this video, JooAh is a singer with a style that cannot be seen in Japan.]
KangYoon played the video with JooAh in it on the PMP. It was a different material to what he sent before. After having a look at the video, which was concert-based, Producer Yokozeki answered.
[Fuu… I understand. However, to flip what is already decided will be hard. I will take my leave.]
The voice cooled down, and KangYoon noticed that. This meant that there is a reason for it. He thought of that ‘reason.’
‘The stage we requested for Music Station is during the second week of December. If it’s rejected, then there must be other singers. The singers that make a comeback at that time… Ah, there were them.’
The male group which boasted of the best popularity in Japan, Eiden, and the 4-girl group Hydrea. The two groups who belonged to the two biggest entertainment companies in Japan had their comeback stages right next to each other at this time. However, the day before the stage, the leaders of Eiden and Hydrea got mixed up in a scandal so they ruined everything, including the comeback stage. It was such a big scandal, and it even changed the flow in the Japanese entertainment industry, so KangYoon could correctly remember the time this happened.
‘So, now I understand. To allow a Korean singer to debut along with the comeback stages of Eiden and Hydrea, there is no way they could allow it.’
It wasn’t that they didn’t like JooAh. This was a problem due to the pressure by the big entertainment companies. JooAh’s stage was impossible to be obtained from the beginning.
[Then sir, can I ask something?]
[If, during the second week of December, a spot opens up, can I ask you for JooAh’s stage then?]
Then, a reply came straight away.
[I understand. I will contact you if necessary.]
[Thank you. I will leave it to you.]
KangYoon bade farewell politely, gave him his business card, and turned around. It was Manager Han JungSuk’s turn to be surprised now.
“Team Leader, you told him to give us the stage if a spot becomes vacant? There is no way something like a waiting list exists in Music Station, though?”
“I don’t know yet. Oh, Manager, since we worked so hard, shall we stay at a hotel tonight?”
“Hotel? There’s not much allowance though.”
“Aren’t we from MG? This much should be fine.”
Manager Han JungSuk’s opinion of KangYoon could only rise when he said to stay at a hotel. In business trips, people would usually take work slowly and rest if needed, but for this one, they were working all day. However, when he heard he could stay in a hotel, his heart fluttered.
The hottest topic in MG Entertainment was JooAh’s debut in Japan. Regardless of whether it was the trainees, singers, management personnel, or staff, it was the hottest topic. It was a debut using a completely new album, rather than an existing one, and the strategy was also prepared with aiming for an overseas debut, so everybody’s opinion was that this was MG Entertainment’s step into becoming a global business.
And at the center, was KangYoon.
“… The debut will be in Music Station. During the second week of December. The stage props…”
The countdown until the official album was released began. During this time, the director’s meeting and JooAh’s Japanese album presentation was being held. KangYoon was there.
There was no hesitation while KangYoon was explaining to the group of people in suits, using the presentation he meticulously prepared. No, he was more confident than any other time.
“… And that is it. I will answer any questions.”
After the presentation, which was held over an hour, ended, a man at the back raised his hand.
“That was an impressive presentation. First, I applaud Team Leader Lee for preparing this.”
“The thing I’m curious about is the reason for setting the concept with the name ‘Girls on Best’. And also why you have set the target audience to be 2030 rather than 1020.”
It was different from before. Fundamentally, people in a higher position don’t like changes. He was talking with a soft tone, but it contained a sharp blade.
KangYoon changed the presentation and started answering.
“JooAh is 19 years old. However, she debuted early and rose to a high position. Japanese ladies admire things like these, and their economic power is also huge. What’s more is that once they become a fan, then they won’t change easily. I was considering the future, and I set the people in their 20s and 30s as the target.”
“So that is it. Thank you.”
It was a new approach, but there was no one who objected to KangYoon’s words. Perhaps they had a lot to ask as many questions flew at KangYoon. From ‘why did you use so much expenses here’, to ‘the planning team did this, what is the reason’ – There were a lot of sharp questions. KangYoon explained everything in detail and the directors were all satisfied.
Because he had to answer every single question, there was quite a lot of sweat on KangYoon’s forehead. The mental fatigue was piling up. However, because he prepared meticulously, everyone was satisfied with his answers. However, the problem began in the last question.
“May I ask a question?”
After KangYoon said ‘last question’, the person who raised her hand was President Lee HyunJi. Perhaps due to the weight of the position known as the ‘President’, KangYoon tensed.
“The preparations are all wonderful. Whether it is the concept of the album or the aim of the plan. I can see that you have analyzed Japan meticulously and I can see the evidence of working hard to set the target, and I can’t find any fault. However, I have one thing I’m worried about.”
President Lee HyunJi went roundabout with her words before pointing the center with a laser pointer. It was the part where ‘Music Station Debut’ was written, and she got to the main point.
“Music Station stage. That’s the place for JooAh’s debut into Japan on the second week of December, right?”
“That is so.”
“Can JooAh definitely stand on that stage?”
A very direct question flew at him. The Music Station debut stage was crucial for JooAh’s debut into Japan. However, to question whether the whole point was possible… From one point of view, this was a question of disdain. Can you really do this? – It could be interpreted like this. However KangYoon replied calmly:
“Yes, of course. This is the whole point.”
“That’s right. The whole point.”
KangYoon had no hesitation. At that, President Lee HyunJi creased her brows a little.
“However, if I remember correctly, Eiden and Hydrea, the two groups with the two biggest entertainment companies backing them each, have their comeback stage on Music Station during the second week of December. It seems that they normally don’t allow any other stages to happen during this time, whether it is a comeback stage or a debut stage. I also heard that even Asai TV allowed for this ‘tradition’ to happen since the power of those stars are so strong. So this is possible? May I inquire the reason?”
President Lee HyunJi attacked KangYoon without holding back. KangYoon’s presentation was perfect in her ears. However, here, there was a fatal flaw. The Music Station debut stage – it was this. If he couldn’t find the solution to this flaw, then this album would fail. And failure was not allowed.
The people murmured to each other. The ripple was big since the majority didn’t know of this information. However, even with the voices getting louder, KangYoon wasn’t moved one bit. No, he was instead waiting for those words.
“I will speak directly. Eiden and Hydrea will absolutely not appear on Music Station during the second week of December.”
When KangYoon proclaimed with a big voice, the people started talking louder.
 I’m guessing he’s on the PC
 It’s said in Japanese, hence the 
 This is in the raws, it’s pretty much self-explanatory right? 1020 means teens and 20s, 2030 means 20s and 30s
Last Chapter of the release! I was trying to do 10… but I’m one short…
Thank you for reading!
Editors: Nahct (from Path of Translations, thank you, and sorry T-T)