SEOUL, South Korea, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- TVXQ, one of K-pop's first-generation boy bands, is preparing for a full-fledged comeback, with an Asian thank-you publicity blitz and new music releases announced following the duo's discharge from their mandatory military service.
"We're happy that we've come back in good health and being able to keep that promise to fans. I'm pleased to say hello to our fans as TVXQ," U-Know Yunho, whose real name is Jung Yun-ho, told reporters Monday at a press conference held at Hotel Silla in central Seoul.
The media event, the first in the duo's three-nation "Asia Press Tour," was held as Max Changmin, TVXQ's other half, wrapped up his military duty last Friday. Yunho finished his service in April. All able-bodied South Korean men are subject to compulsory military service for about two years, as the country faces North Korea across a heavily fortified border.
"I didn't know I would be standing in the spotlight this early after the discharge. I thought maybe the company would give me a couple of days but being in front of the media this early ... I'm grateful," Changmin said. He also gave an extra thank you to fans who came out to his unit on the day of his discharge.
TVXQ made its debut in 2004 and is among the first-generation K-pop groups that led the expansion of the genre outside home turf. The band, which originally started out with five members, later dwindled down to two after three of its members bolted from S.M. Entertainment to form the boy band JYJ.
In the spirit of making up for its two-year hiatus, TVXQ has a slew of packed events for the near future. The duo was scheduled to hold a press conference later in the day in Tokyo and in Hong Kong on Tuesday. S.M. Entertainment has dedicated the final week of September as "TVXQ Week" and plans to release Yunho's solo track "Drop" and Changmin's new solo song through the company's online Station program during the week.
The duo is also throwing a two-day fan meet-and-greet event at the Jamsil Sports Complex from Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in Seoul and later will embark on a five-city dome concert tour in Japan in November. The company forecasts the Japanese tour, comprised of 14 shows in total, will draw in 650,000 audience members.
Changmin also said that a new record is in the works with the goal of releasing it in early 2018.
"We thought releasing a new album for the fans as soon as possible was a good idea. But it later dawned on us that not disappointing the fans [with the record] since they've waited for it for so long was the priority," the singer explained.
The two members, now both in their 30s, said their professional and personal bonds strengthened during their respective military duties. They did not shy away from expressing their brotherly affection, as the two are about to enter a new phase of their music careers that began in their teenage years.
"I had a hard time expressing my feelings since we're two men and it's a bit cringy to do so. But I reflected on myself a lot during my service. I felt sorry perhaps for being cold and harsh" to Yunho, Changmin said.
Yunho reciprocated: "We're going to talk to each other a lot. I believe that the real important beings in our lives are the ones that are next to us silently during our most difficult and painful days."
"Changmin is definitely that kind of person to me. We will show our bromance chemistry," Yunho added.
Asked about how they would fare in today's music market where new music and new idols come and go by the day, TVXQ expressed confidence, stressing the fundamental aspects of music and stage performances.
"Times have changed, and the culture has changed, but how people are wowed and moved when watching a great performance remains the same," Yunho said. "We talk to each other about becoming artists who can impress and move people's hearts."