Why PSH still can’t make his comeback in Korea

I’ve been meaning to write this article for the last few weeks but couldn’t find the time until now.

Above video was taken on February 26, 2015, when Lee Byung Hun and his pregnant wife returned to South Korea from the U.S.A. in the early hours of the morning (flight delayed).  In spite of the odd hour, the K-media were out in force.  This was LBH’s first public appearance after the outbreak of his sex scandal.

[ED: If you’re not familiar with this sordid affair, please see this link:

As soon as he stepped out of the arrivals area at Incheon, LBH apologized to the Korean public.

[English translation of LBH’s speech by H.A.T.]

“I should have apologized to the public earlier, but I didn’t do so, for which I apologize to everyone.

As a public figure, as head of a family, I have disappointed you all.  I should have apologized earlier; I’m really very sorry.

This incident started with me, so I should shoulder all blame.

I understand fully why you’re disappointed in me.  My mistake was in wasting all that time.

Because many people are disappointed in me, I am seriously and deeply engaged in self-reflection, and I will continue to do so.

Above all, I have committed an unforgivable sin against my family, for which I can’t atone for even with my whole life.

I have also received a lot of reproaches.  Today let me take this opportunity to publicly apologize to the public.  Sorry!”  (Bow)




As soon as I saw this video, I understood why PSH is still not allowed to make his comeback in Korea.

He has not apologized to the Korean public.

When a big star like Lee Byung Hun had to swallow his pride and publicly apologize, it is obvious that this is the standard protocol in Korea.

In the LBH court case, he was the plaintiff, not the accused.  He was being blackmailed, never mind he supplied the fodder.

In the PSH case, he was the accused (even though he was innocent, as we all know.)  He caused a social scandal with his escapade.

And he never apologized.

The nearest he came to apologizing was having Hoo Factory issue a statement just before he returned to Korea from the U.S.A. in early October 2013.

[ED: Please see our old post:

But this is not good enough for Korea.  The “sinner” must prostrate himself before the Korean public and beg for forgiveness.

I can see clearly where PSH is coming from.  Why should he apologize when he has not done anything wrong?  He was wronged!  He was framed!  Any fair-minded person can see this.  Anyone but the myopic Korean public who was out for blood.

I admire PSH for his stiff backbone (what the Chinese call 骨氣)。He would not compromise his integrity and pride for kimchi (in Chinese it is 不為五斗米折腰 – not bow for 5 bushels of rice, not kowtow for a handout.)

Fast-forward to March 2015.  Has anything changed?  Not really.  The Korean public is as unforgiving as ever (even though there’s nothing to forgive.)  The K-entertainment big shots are still of one mind in “freezing” PSH (even though the young’uns currently in vogue only look pretty but can’t really act.)

As I said before, 此處不留人,自有留人處  (If one is not allowed to stay in this place, there are always other places.)  If Korea would not allow PSH to practice his considerable acting talent, there are many countries, notably China and Japan, who welcome him with open arms.  PSH does not have to restrict himself to being a Korean actor; he can be an international star, as he indeed is already.

But to someone who is as proud of and as loyal to South Korea as PSH (remember the tie he wore at the Xinjiang Auto Show? with the colors of the Korean flag?) not being able to work in his own country is tantamount to exile.

However popular he is in Japan, however successful he is in China, I think he would in a heartbeat give everything up in exchange for a chance to act in a Korean drama again.

But if he has to cringe like the grim-faced LBH, to fawn on the Korean public, to say things they want to hear, to belie his own conscience, I believe he would rather go back to Buyeo to farm his ancestor’s land.  After all, he has already built his Ark there^^


(Credits: Video from http://ettoday.net.  Thanks!)


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16 thoughts on “Why PSH still can’t make his comeback in Korea

  1. @Ashley, I feel enlightened after reading your article (Oh, so this is what it’s all about!) but also very heavy-hearted. Will I ever get to see PSH in another Korean drama? Unless he changes. But can a leopard change its spots? Looks like I’ll have to watch FH over and over again.

  2. PSH has been under very high pressure in the past two years. I admire his great courage and strength for not apologizing to the public. He has done nothing wrong. He was framed. Why should he apologize?
    I hope the public accept the statement issued by HF previously as a kind of apology. If they don’t, then I’ll continue to watch his DVDs and do not watch any other K-drama.

  3. I have not left a comment for a long time although I come here regularly. Ashley’s article is an eye-opener. If this is Korean culture, I feel sorry for the Korean people, but most of all for PSH who doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment from his fellow country people. Compared with the scandals in their political and financial circles, PSH’s “escapade” (as you put it) is nothing. They think they’re punishing him? They’re just exposing their own hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness.

  4. I like a man with principles and who lives by it. PSH is such a man. If Koreans require someone like that to have to apologise for something he has not done, it speaks volumes about the morals of the Korean society and values.

    There are others who admitted and are charged for acts they have done eg; bashing up a girlfriend and there are and will be others who find excuses to worm themselves out of serving the army (watch what happens in the next few months!) And they get away scot-free. So maybe these are acceptable values in the Korean society – and being principled is just not it!

    For me, I would stand by a principled man any time! Thank god for PSH!


    Reading Ashley’s article “Why PSH still can’t make his comeback in Korea” , I’ve felt a kind of amazement, anger, and disappointment.
    Amazement because in Korea of the 21st Century, there is an outdated mentality. To prostrate oneself as an act of submissive attitude before men of rank, or people.. If you’ve been found guilty of something, then I might accept. But if you are not found guilty,as in PSH’s case, and to be obliged to throw himself down completely worn out, in body and mind, that has raised my anger.
    Mass media in Korea , with its outdated mentality, has vilified him, even crucified him for his stubborness to refuse prostrate himself in front of them. For what? For something that has not been proved guilty in front of the judge!
    For his courage I admire PSH, even he has suffered a lot of consequences. Being exiled , banished, exclude from K. entertainment!
    But PSH has surpassed all his hardships, due to his integrity, due to his belief in himself, due to his belief that finally his innocence will be understood by K. people.
    I feel a kind of disappointment for PSH, because he is so faithful to his country, and he always states this everywhere on his trips abroad , that he has strong roots in his country, where he likes to live and create, to act and entertain his people with his talent..
    But if this outdated mentality will resist in the future in K. , PSH’s talent must be displayed elsewhere abroad, in China, in Japan, and all over the world, where he is appreciated.


    And I’ll support him unconditionally!

    Thanks Ashley for your pertinent analysis, that better enlightens us about PSH’s impediment to come back to K. entertainment. But we’ll stay by his side for ever and support him too.

  6. @stefi, this sentence in your comments is factually incorrect: “For what? For something that has not been proved guilty in front of the judge!” PSH’s case never came before a judge, for the simple reason that the plaintiff (Miss A) withdrew her charges when the case was transferred to the Prosecutors from Western Police Station. This means PSH was never charged. And yet the Koreans treat him like a criminal. Shame on them!

  7. I admire PSH for staying true to himself and not bowing his head and apologizing for something he never has done in the first place. The higher ups may still abandon him from Korean entertainment world, but they didn’t succeed in getting him down at all. So if the Korean society doesn’t change and refuses to accept the statement issued by HOO factory there is small hope left PSH will appear in another Kdrama which is a huge loss.

    According to the opinion of an old classmate, a Korean adopted by Dutch parents who has returned to S. Korea, it will be impossible to change the way of thinking of Korean people. If you can’t deal with and adjust to that, you should not go and live there.

    However, PSH will never leave his home country where his heart belongs to. When he will get tired of traveling for his acting career, he may rather return to Buyeo for his living. His home is already waiting for him there.^^

  8. @Ashley thank you for your remark to my comment, brief and to the point, to better understand the reality about PSH.
    Miss A . withdrawing her charges against PSH seems she felt guilty and frightened , releasing such a false and devastating scandal , which she couldn’t manage in front of the Prosecutors.
    And I remember what an American actor said in an interview about such false scandals:
    “Once you are thrown into the arms of mass media machinery, you are a dead man!”
    I think, that was the intention of those who orchestrated this scandal, using this stupid Miss A. To compromise PSH’s integrity!
    The more I’m thinking of this ugly plot, the more I become angrier and disgusted!

    @Wilma , you say that this mentality of K.people is impossible to change, and PSH either will accept to suffer in his country , or go abroad to live and act..As we know PSH, he will never leave his country, as he he has deep roots in there. It’s a pity for such a talented actor to be expelled from K. entertainment , where he worked so hard to come to such a great success.And I think, it’s a crime against him.

    ‘False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil!” [Socrates]

  9. @stefi, I didn’t actually refer to PSH. I know him far too well. It is more that we as his fans have to accept that Korean society can be as rigid as it has been so far concerning PSH’s misstep. Although it is not as frozen as it has been for a long time. It’s just that the top of the industry has to make movements towards PSH again. I’m patiently waiting for this. Miracles still happen!^^

  10. Thanks, HA, for this clear and insightful article. This requirement to apologize is so often based on hypocrisy on both sides that it is hard to swallow. I can only admire PSH for his decision not to be a hypocrite, even though I am sure that he realized the consequences.

  11. Thanks for this article….
    I’m really sorry for Koreans.I’ve been disappointed in them since PSH’s case happened.
    That’s why I have not watched any K dramas after that..their everything is a big lie, they try to show themselves so kind hearted and forgiving in their dramas while they’re exactly the opposite.
    the way they treated PSH and wronged him in every possible way is just unbearably disgusting.
    Their beyond cruel treatment of PSH just makes me prouder of him and I’m proud of myself for being his fan.
    I’ll keep praying for PSH

  12. If they don’t gave chance to such a man who loves his country very much then i guess its time for Oppa to step down being an actor.

    I guess this is the right time for him to focus his own life, find a wife who will take good care of him, who will love him unconditionally like what we did us fans. Having kids, keep away from the eyes of judgemental people. There’s no happy ending in showbiz Entertainment, but there’s always happiness in real life.

    Oppa, it’s okay if one day you will decide to live in quiet life. Find a good wife, have kids and live happily together in your beautiful made ARK. In that way, maybe we fans will also have peace of mind that the man whom we love after all his years has finally found the real happiness that showbiz cannot provide.

  13. PSH is a winner and despite adversity, I hope we will soon have good news.
    My best wishes for him!

  14. @Jenn, I cannot agree with some of your comments. I also wish PSH a very happy personal life, but I don’t think that he should step down from being an actor because of the negative Korean media. He loves being an actor, & why should he give that up because of malicious, narrow-minded people? He should retire on his own terms after showing the Korean entertainment industry and media that they cannot destroy him.

  15. I’m making my way through university but these Koreans have not learned anything! I want to say to them – GROW UP! and GIVE THE MAN A BREAK!
    I agree with Jenn that perhaps PSH should focus on his own life and find himself a good wife. But how can he find a nice Korean girl who does not know about his past? And how would he know she loves him for who his is and not for what he is.
    I also agree with pshcafan that PSH should NOT give up being an actor because he has said many times that is his life’s vocation. PSH not acting in a Korean drama is a loss for Korea. We can still see him in movies, Chinese and others.
    The world is a very large place, Oppa, and there are all of us outside Korea praying for you, waiting for you, loving you and wishing you well. You don’t owe us an apology. You don’t owe anybody an apology, least of all your own people who treated you, and are still treating you, so unfairly and cruelly. THEY owe you a BIG apology!

  16. @PSHCafan
    I also want him to stay as an actor for his precious talent is one of a kind to be wasted. But sometimes i also wish oppa to have someone he can lean on aside from his family, friends and fans. Someone who will take good care of him, someone who will comfort him that everything will be alright. Someone who will accept him as a whole. But youre right, The world is so big enough for PSH. He can pursue his career wherever he want, he has looks,he has talents,he is a great actor, nothing is impossible for him. 😉

    Maybe the best thing we can do is really to Pray for our Oppa. Be positive like what miss @Wilma said: There can be Miracle. Who knows!

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