SHINE A LIGHT
During the start of summer, I met Kang Daniel who shines just as much as the season. I deleted all the vocabulary surrounding him and only focused on the existing gesture of a 23-year-old young man right there, right that moment. While being sad over the time going by.
With summer slowly settling in, the afternoon at the set was more peaceful than I expected. Everyone was at their own place, doing their own job while being busy moving around moderately. Between being bluntly curious and not, meeting one of the most iconic figures still made me feel excited and nervous at the same time nevertheless. It was clear who the one person dozens of people in the set were waiting for was, but not many could actually see the moment he pushed the studio door open and walked in. “Hello.” He was pulling his black cap low, but thanks to his pale face, his noticeable height and long legs, anyone would know immediately who just said the greeting. The one person everyone was waiting for, Kang Daniel. As if he was already familiar with this kind of studio, a whole-rented house with 3 floors located on the edge of Seoul, Kang Daniel took his big strides towards the make up room. Everyone was aware of the Wanna One’s packed schedule, the group who destroyed all pre-existing precedent that was shared by the idol fandom on their debut. Daniel, who showed up at the studio in time luckily, looked more energetic than I thought. As the main character had appeared, the atmosphere in the studio also changed. From the faintly drifting high spirit to a more apparent tension and thrill.
There was one thing I have made up my mind on before going to the set. I would not pay attention to what had been shown of him on videos and articles, the stories that had been shared about him or anything like that, I would just watch on him the way he is as much as I want to. Thinking about how hard many people out there would have to try in order to see him for a short moment made me see this as even more extravagant. However, on the very moment Kang Daniel stepped in the set again for the first cut, I realized. It was impossible to pretend like I knew nothing about him. If you happened to be a Korean who used at least the Internet or a smartphone.
After more than 1 year has passed by since <Produce 101 Season 2> which was close to a ‘social phenomenon,’ countless words, expression and speculation have been surrounding the 23-year-old Kang Daniel. How splendid he was wearing a black suit in the ‘Open Up’ performance which more than 10 million people have watched, how many media outlets have opened heated discussions over the topic ‘Why is it Kang Daniel,’ how fast Wanna One concert tickets got sold out, how Wanna One songs, including the debut song, all snatched the number 1 spot on digital charts, which variety programs he has appeared and which CF he has filmed, how many people would be able to say that they ‘know absolutely nothing’ about all of those? To be frankly honest, only counting the ‘legend pics’ and information I got from my acquaintances who like Daniel would be too much already! On the other hand, I also know what people who aren’t fans like to chat about. Because just by having 4 words ‘Kang Daniel,’ everyone would expect it to have a higher number of clicks and views than usual. To confirm by my own two eyes if all the stories I have heard about him is true or not is a really intriguing thing. Like these things, for example. Is Kang Daniel afraid of bugs? Yes. When he saw a dead bug on the ground, he was frightened for real. Is he really sociable? For this as well, yes. Kang Daniel was not the type who would avoid it when he got into eye contact with someone else or close his mouth and stay silent. When he got a request to say a ment which was close to an idol-like set-up, though he got quite shy, it was also one of his well-known images already. So does Kang Daniel like cats for real? Yes yes! Kang Daniel whose eyes sparkled when he knew that there would be a cat at the set was constantly worried about the newly born 4-month-old cat ‘Gorae’ [means ‘Whale’ in English], if the cat would get stressed throughout the shooting. He also did not forget to talk about the cats in his parents’ house in Busan. “The sound of every cat is different, Gorae sounds like our Rooney, he mews cutely too.” However, I could not see him eating jelly, which almost everyone knew that he loved it so much. We went to a big mart and prepared different kinds of jelly but he said he could not eat in order to manage his weight. Of course, it was an understandable reason.
Seeing that every piece of information that I already knew about him all matched, some kind of assurance was formed in me. Obviously there will be other sides of him that we have not seen yet, but I felt a sense of assurance, so close to a belief, that there was no way the Daniel we knew was fake. And being put into the middle of this craze, the main character, by doing his own work quietly at the arranged time and give place, was responding to everyone’s curious gaze on him.
On June 1st, Wanna One’s first world tour <One: the World> has marked its start at Seoul. Having performed their original task as idols, stage and performance, their ending ment of the concert, to fans, could also be a moment when they could understand the true heart of someone they like. Among three days of concert, on the first day, Kang Daniel said that, “I made a lot of mistakes and could not deliver the stage I am satisfied with, I am sorry.” On the second day, he said “if I only danced for myself, for the things I wanted to do before, now, I have started to think about the people who like me,” and “there were times when I felt my own limits but rather than blaming myself, I really put efforts into bringing you even better music” on the third day. Those were the words which we could really feel his optimistic nature and his Kang Daniel-like honesty, the Kang Daniel that we unconsciously think of his familiar bright smile when hearing his name. This is the heart of the 23-year-old young man wanted to convey, that seeing 20000 fans filling up his eyesight will become one of the unforgettable memories in his life.
Saying ‘If not now then when will we be able to sit on this chair’ while squeezing in to sit on the throne for No. 1 with other trainees from his company, the day the first image of the 22-year-old Kang Daniel was shown on TV was April 7th, 2017. You might not believe it, but it has only been 1 year and 2 months since we knew about the existence of the man. That is why at his words “I think I still have a lot of images to show [to the public],” the use of ‘in the future,’ not ‘until now,’ is like a sign saying that it is okay to expect even more at him. Kang Daniel who took hold of the top too fast and too surely, everyone is paying attention to his future steps. As much as the love and support he has, doubt might also exist, but as for me, I will remember his strong back, moving in a relaxed manner even in front of such many eyes watching him. The sudden want to press the shutter button and snap a picture whenever his bright brown eyes twinkled at the sunlight also.