K-Pop: Why I Love Kim Geonhak

Promotional photo of Kim Geonhak (Leedo) for the ‘No Diggity’ MV. Copyright goes to RBW and ONEUS.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Happy New Year! I don’t usually do posts like this unless it’s because of a birthday, but ONEUS is still so underrated. And while part of me wants to gate-keep this man, that is toxic behavior so I will do the opposite and gush about him. In a short amount of time he went from being just one of my biases to being one of my three major biases alongside Kim Namjoon of BTS and Jeong Yunho of ATEEZ. And I think one of the things that has propelled the entirety of ONEUS for me, not just Kim Geonhak (Leedo), is the very obvious close bond that all of the members seem to share. None of these members are shy about being affectionate and/or teasing each other. When you see them interact, there’s a level of comfort there between all of them that’s absolutely unmistakeable. It’s led to hilarious moments on camera of members terrorizing, biting, and chasing each other. As well as ensured that there is almost no footage of them that is not chaotic and does not involve them breaking into hysterical laughter at one point or another. There’s also usually some screaming involved. But that aside, Leedo drew me in because of the softness behind his incredibly intimidating first impression. So I’m just going to go into some of my favorite facts about Kim Geonhak that made him shoot onto my major bias list in record time.

His Idol Story:

Geonhak was a trainee with another company before he joined RBW. Not only did the company keep passing him by, but he ended up in a situation where he was betrayed by people he considered himself close to. Due to largely this and the cutthroat nature of the industry, Geonhak almost swore off being an idol altogether. When he was offered another chance at RBW, he worked himself to exhaustion at several points and almost was not involved in the final lineup for ONEUS. The original concept for ONEUS was more of an innocent and refreshing look and the company did not think that Geonhak would fit into the group because of his deep register and intimidating look. As the concept for ONEUS changed, the company gave him a chance and truly discovered just how marketable his deep register was. Because, let’s be honest, we all go crazy for how deep his voice is. Geonhak several times thought that he would never debut and I’m so glad that he was put into this group. I couldn’t imagine ONEUS without him!

His Connection with Kids:

Geonhak is known for his connection with kids and his passion for child education. In fact, he chose Child Development as his University major rather than choosing something related to business or the music industry like most idols do. When asked about his choice, he very adorably began talking about how much he likes kids and how much he does to try and understand them. The MV for ‘Come Back Home’ features a young boy who plays the King all of the ONEUS Knights are trying to protect. Geonhak bonded with the young boy on set and there’s even several pieces of footage from behind the scenes of the MV that show Geonhak talking to him while crouching to be at his eye level. In a variety show for ONEUS they brought the boy back to reconnect with ONEUS and so that the members could write him a song he could share with his friends when he went back to school after the pandemic. While a couple members set out to write the song, Hwanwoong and Geonhak were tasked with entertaining the boy until the song was done being written. This included, baking a cake with him, buying him snacks, and taking him to the park. Geonhak ends up pushing both Hwanwoong and the boy on the swings and pretty much baking the cake all by himself, but he looks delighted the entire time. And while the boy seems to view Hwanwoong as an equal; Geonhak takes up the role of parental figure including holding him at several points throughout. It’s all very adorable and he’s so soft with kids! It’s so cute!

His Protective Nature:

I’ll keep the explanation for this minimal, but Geonhak, along with the other members, was attacked pretty fervently after recent controversies because of his past connections. Several people accused him of being ungrateful, which was absolutely awful and had nothing to do with the situation. Geonhak also was the one to make the blatant statement about only talking about the five members of the group. I was extremely angry at some of the comments I saw about Geonhak, but he seemed to be far more angry about the comments made at the expense of other members. Geonhak directly addressed the bullying comments and was very stern about doing so. He came out and said that any harassment and refusal to listen to the members wishes to him meant that those people can’t call themselves TOMOON, or fans of ONEUS. This alienated a bunch of fans, but I am personally so glad that he did this. It should be an accepted thing for idols to defend themselves and their members and be able to communicate fan behavior that makes them uncomfortable. Bang Chan of Stray Kids has publicly come out to condemn fan behavior when some of their fans were attacking other fan communities. He was largely commended for this behavior by his fan base (not all of them), and I found the fan reaction to Geonhak doing this not as welcoming. But Geonhak took this blow for all of the other members. He never once asked people to stop harassing him, his statement was directly about the harassment of his members. And I have to agree with Geonhak. If you went after Geonhak for making this comment, I don’t consider you a TOMOON. We support our boys in this house and their opinions. The members of ONEUS are not babies and they are not being misled. Listen to what the members are saying personally or get out.

His Love of Skinship:

This one is pretty funny to me because first impressions made this pretty shocking for me personally. I thought Seoho would be a huge fan of skinship (or showing affection by hugging or otherwise draping yourself around someone else) and that Geonhak would be opposed to it. It turned out to be the opposite. This partly goes once again into the protective category, but Geonhak will step up and carry other members (particularly Dongju (Xion)) when they are too high up on a platform or just generally want to be carried. In one behind the scenes for an MV the members speculated on whether or not Dongju would ask Geonhak to carry him up a steep cliff and came to the conclusion that if he asked, Geonhak was soft enough that he would say yes. Geonhak is also constantly hugging other members and will sometimes chase Seoho with the threat of hugs because Seoho doesn’t like to be hugged. This has given them a Tom and Jerry type of dynamic that is always hilarious to watch.

His Dedication:

When Geonhak wants to get something done, he puts his all into it. This is particularly obvious when he talks about working out. Geonhak is known by fans and others in the music industry for being perfectly ok going shirtless. He has personally said that one of his role models is Wonho who is known for his particular physique as it isn’t super common in the K-Pop world. In order to keep up with his workout regimen, Geonhak has completely sworn off alcohol. He’s talked about how he sometimes is treated like he isn’t fun when he goes out because drinking is usually a big part of going out in general in South Korea. He still doesn’t really waver on that. But he also refuses to go on diets because he finds them dangerous. (This man has also said that he doesn’t understand why you need to eat vegetables.) He is known for exercising six or seven times a week as well. I know a lot of fans have been telling him to take a break sometimes, but I think that’s up to him. And this is me saying this fully aware that I have wrongly on this blog said several times that I want a group to take a break. I don’t remember who pointed it out (I think it was Bang Chan), but sometimes it’s actually better for an idol to keep going and sometimes working (or working out, in this case) is something that takes their mind off of other things. It’s really up to the idol. I know a lot of us were afraid after everything with BTS and it makes perfect sense to be afraid. But I hope that they have at least created a community where idols can say if they want to take a break. I don’t know, but I’m going to be more careful about saying that in the future.

His Support:

Geonhak has verbally shown his support for the trans community. At a fansign a fan expressed to Geonhak that he was soon going to be having a surgery as part of his transition journey. Geonhak told the fan that he was extremely handsome and showed genuine interest, including asking follow up questions. Of course, we don’t want to praise people for doing the bare minimum. But this was something that I really wanted to bring up.

His Soft Demeanor:

Other than looking after and even carrying Dongju, which he does all the time, Geonhak is known for looking after all of the members. Keonhee has stated that Geonhak looks after the members well and is kind of like a big brother to them all. Despite this he’s lamented that he often gets voted out first on games like ‘Mafia’ because his intimidating look makes him seem guilty even though he’s almost always playing an innocent. My first encounter with Geonhak was watching the ‘No Diggity’ MV and he looks like a straight up movie villain in that MV. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t intimidated. But I pretty quickly discovered how soft this man was after looking up some more stuff about the members.

These are just a few facts about Kim Geonhak that made me absolutely fall for this man. But there are also four other members of this group that deserve all of your love and support. Hwanwoong is like a human puppy that all children and dogs adore. Seoho has the voice of a literal angel and such a sassy personality behind it. Keonhee is a sunshine boy who always has the best jokes. And Dongju is the human embodiment of chaos in the absolute best way. You may see me do more posts like this in the future because this group is so underrated. I want all of their shows to sell out. Also, this is one of the main groups in the industry that embraces traditional instruments and visuals. It’s a unique style within the industry that adds an element of beauty to their music that no other group has. And though, as I said before, there is a part of me that wants to gate-keep this man for myself, I hope that this post will teach you a little more about ONEUS and get you interested in stanning the group! Maybe you’ll end up with this man or one of the other absolutely worthy members as one of your major biases too! They deserve it and if you want song or performance recommendations, you’ll definitely find posts here on this blog for that! But watch the traditional performance of ‘Same Scent’. You won’t regret it!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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