Are you Korean?
How old are you?
Younger than Sooyoung, older than Yoona.
I’m a 90-liner.
Where are you actually from?
I was born in Korea and currently live and work in Korea, but I used to live/study/work in Ireland, England and India
Is your name Changhwan Yoo?
No. It’s a pseudonym.
So is “John Yoo”.
Do you work for SM Entertainment/YG Entertainment?
No, I do not and have not ever worked for any Korean entertainment agency. I’ve worked with a few while doing business that involved K-Pop while in the UK, and I’ve somehow managed to make friends in the industry… but no, I am not an industry insider in that I don’t get paid to work in K-Pop; it’s just a casual hobby. My actual day job has nothing to do with K-Pop but being a chaebol group (nothing crazy like Samsung), it’s been really useful for me to be exposed to the supposed “gold standard” of how Korean offices should be run.
Where do you get your information?
From people who want to talk or friends in the know that know that I like information. I’ve told acquaintances all the time that I strive to be a useful person for people I meet in real life, and that kind of karma comes around with people coming to me to tell me things that I might be interested in.
I’m the type of guy that links a foreign advertiser with a celebrity without taking the standard commission that everyone else in the entertainment industry takes (hence, the advertiser gets a cheaper deal and the celebrity gets more money when they work with me) and so everybody wins.
It really helps that I actually have a good day job and don’t ever need the commission money. It’s also why people in the entertainment industry prefer to work with people who already have a job, as opposed to random fans who work minimum wage jobs (sadly, this is the quickest and most efficient filter that eliminates false negatives that they can use).
I pass on information that people might be interested in, link up people with common business interests, and most importantly, I protect my sources and am usually sensible about when and how information should be released.
There’s a few people on online forums who want to be contrarian and somehow superior to people who listen to me, and their take is that I apparently get things from Korean news sites and forums. Which then should really raise the question – why doesn’t anybody else do it then?
Every major fandom is full of bilinguals and translators and yet nobody does what oniontaker does on a consistent basis. Maybe it’s because they don’t have a choice: they can’t because that’s not how my system works.
Have you met idols like SNSD?
Yes. I’ve talked to SNSD in person, on and off since the summer of 2008
Do SNSD know who you are?
Yes and I know this sounds weird but them knowing who I am is not much of an achievement. There are people who organize bulk album orders for the sole purpose of going to every fansign event, and the girls generally recognize them. I’ve never had the chance to go to a fansign but they seem fun.
Some of the members will recognise me off the bat but others won’t because with them, we’ve never really talked much? During our conversations, Tiffany somehow managed to work out my real name (that I’d been guarding for seven years) but I still don’t know how so that’s a trip.
Never underestimate Netizen Hwang.
What is your religion?
I am Roman Catholic but I really enjoy learning about other religions and faiths.
What color is the dress?
Blue and black, damn it.