Sep 30, 2006

"Have We Ever Loved" Revisited

At the beginning of the year, I had the privilege of translating a beautiful piece of writing by our Japanese sister nory (aka "n829" on JOB).

Reading a posting today on KOB related to this drama, I was compelled to read nory's piece again. I find this tribute to one of Yong Joon-ssi's most extraordinary works, is just as moving as the drama itself.

So, to lovers of Jae Ho and "Have We Ever Love", I would like to share this piece again.

♪    ♪    ♪    ♪    ♪    ♪   

What Jae-Ho Left Behind

The main character of “HWRL”, Kang Jae-Ho was a boy who lived in the poor part of Seoul, literally laying his life on the line.He was a poor nobody, with no backing, and being abandoned by his own mother in his childhood days, he bore an emotional scar that would never heal. From the very day that his mother left him, he seals off the innocent and sweet boy he used to be. If he didn’t, it was going to be very difficult for him to keep on living. As a 12 year old boy with a wound in his fragile heart that was still bleeding, he would have to support his younger sister, and survive in a world that was not only suffering from depression, but filled with prejudice. This intelligent child probably learned about the irrationalities of the world the hard way. While diligently working for his living, he is ambitiously on the look out for a girl who he could use to climb up the social ladder. For a boy who could not love his own life, to live, was to fight.Until he meets a certain girl….
By being with her, he discovers his true self – the good person that he had buried in his young age. By discovering the utmost joy in the plain happiness of loving her and being loved in return, Jae-Ho experiences “happiness” for the first time in his life, and attains tranquility in his heart.And when he almost loses that happiness, it is then that he realizes the most important thing for him. That “to love her, is to love his own life.”
Attaining love in exchange for his own life, he even acquires a sense of appreciation for what he has, and leaves behind to those around him, things that are most important in life.

To Suk-Kook, he left behind “trust”.Jae-Ho was betrayed by this man countless times.But in the very end, he was the only friend that he could rely on.Jae-Ho entrusts his beloved sister to him. And on the very day that he was to be summoned to heaven, he held in his arms, the child who was born to Suk-Kook and his sister. Jae-Ho passes on his own life to this newly born baby, who was named after him. ”Raise him with care.”Smiling, he left his last words to his friend.

To Jin-Sook, he left “the affection of a son”.They were not mother-son by blood.In the days gone by, Jae-Ho must have suffered love-hate emotions towards this aunt.Jin-Sook, who was desperate in trying to survive in her own life, Jae-Ho gradually became a precious son to her.To this aunt, Jae-Ho was able to reveal his true feelings.Jae-Ho said to her. “Aunt, you mean more to me than my own mother…”For Jin-Sook, there were no words that could please her more. To his sister, he left behind the “affection of a blood relative.”Jae-Young too, had been abandoned by her mother, but not a day went by when her older brother’s affection was not bestowed on her.Protected by her brother who was both a father and mother to her, she was even allowed some self-indulgence at times, and was able to feel the warmth of a real family.Having become a mother, she would no doubt bestow the deep love she received from her brother on to her own son.

To his real mother, he left behind “forgiveness”.He resented his mother who had abandoned him, and there were times when that resentment was the only thing that kept him going.There were times when he would look back on the hard days he lived through, and thought he would never be able to forgive her.But even as he hated her, what made him long for her some where in his heart, and that gave him the courage to live, was a photo of her.Many experiences gradually melted his heart.In the end, mother and son parted after feeling the warmth of each other’s hand.

To hyon Gil-Jin, he left behind “true manliness”.Hyon was someone that Jae-Ho often could not surpass, and was like a older brother to him.Gil-Jin was born to an affluent home, and compared to Jae-Ho, he seemed to have everything.But even this Gil-Jin fought with all his might in order to help the woman Jae-Ho loves.He was the one who beheld the figure possessing “true manliness”, which must have left a strong impression in his mind.The two men had a special bond, and they respected each other, regardless of their differences in age and position.

To Hyn-Soo, he left “pain”.She was a sad woman, who could only love Jae-Ho in her own special way.No one was able to stop her from her outlandish conduct.However, she was finally able to come to her senses, when she saw Jae-Ho silently seek love in the limited time he had left.In living her life, she shall never be able to forget the pain.This pain was a path she had to go through on her way to becoming an adult.

And to his most beloved Shin-Hyung, he left the image of himself trying his best, an image which was to live forever in her memory.Shin-Hyung, who accepted the love from Jae-Ho who gave his all, embraced his life with love.“Do you know that I love you from the bottom of my heart?”“I am content just to have you realize that.”In the end, it was as though he was sleeping - the child-like beauty and innocence that had come over him was imprinted strongly in Shin-Hyung’s mind as she prayed.“May he rest in a world where he shall never feel pain again…”.Shin-Hyung shall live on. Proudly she will live for the rest of her life, with love always in her heart.

What then, did Jae-Ho leave for Bae Yong Joon?
Yong Joon claimed that he had a drink with this best friend of his, on the final evening.
Did he send him off in tears?Did he send him off with quiet words?
Only he knows the answer.
He, after filming “HWRL”, left show business to make a late entry to college, like Jae-Ho.
He is a man who continues to participate in volunteer activities for underprivileged children like Jae-Ho.
When Yong Joon speaks of “doing his best”, could it be that he is reminded of his close friend ?
This friend of his, who was not able to actualize his dreams, but was able to obtain love, the most precious thing of all, and left this world with a deep feeling of gratitude?

Bae Yong Joon should never be able to forget him.
Jae-Ho’s strength is Bae Yong Joon’s strength.The image of Jae-Ho living his life to the fullest, is the very image of Yong Joon living his life.
I would like to believe that Jae-Ho always has a place some where deep in Yong Joon’s heart.
Jae-Ho is not a figure who accomplished something.On the contrary, he had lost his father and mother, and due to his illness, he was not able to work for his beloved. In the end, he was not even able to see her or hear her voice.
Why is it then, that someone who has so little, can move us so?It is because he taught us what is most important in life, through the way he lived. He was not a clever man. Struggling with many things, he often shed tears. But even through these hardships, he never gave up on his life.He loved his woman with all the strength he could muster, and supported by her love, he loved his own life, and then made his exit from it.

We will never be able to forget what Jae-Ho has left us.What I want to remember more than anything Jae-Ho, is your smile.Jae-Ho, who is a real living figure for us, is probably working in the fish market of Seoul even today, working in sweat, dreaming of a happy life with the woman whom he loves most.


bb said...

harlow flowerbossa,

i remember this piece... we translated this into chinese as well. jaeho is really special :)

Anonymous said...

Hello, flowerbossa.

It's a very nice piece. When I think about Jaeho, I'm very heartached. I'll try to translate it into Korean in the near future.

And I just want to let you know that sometimes I visit the BSJ site. I don't understand the words, but I just enjoy looking at the pictures.

I'll talk to you soon.


flowerbossa said...


Yes, I remember you telling me that.

Nory has translated some Chinese sisters' postings from KOB on JOB, too!

She is a very popular writer on

flowerbossa said...


I know what you mean.
I can't get myself to see it again.

Nory translated the KOB posting sharing the story of how you called a Korean sister by phone to offer your support for "April Snow".

We were very touched.

Good to know you visit us at BSJ.
Yes, the pictures and photos there are great!

jaime said...

We are so fortunate to have good translator like you so we can enjoy beautiful articles from the Japanese sisters.

I didn't know Jaeho has influenced Yong Joon so much. He actually bid him goodbye on the last day?! HWRL is one powerful drama, just like First Love, you can never forget a strong character like that.

Just like Suehan and you, I can never get past the part when he got sick, I can't bear the heartache seeing him suffer.

baosang said...

Dear flowerbossa,

I found your blog while surfing online.

I cried when I read it again. As I said before, I can't even think about it without crying.

Do you know where can I find the Chinese translation? I want to share this piece with those Chinese families.

Thank you again.

flowerbossa said...

Hi again Jaime,

Being a late comer in the "family" myself, I learn about the details of YJ's life little by little from resourceful sisters like BB.

Yes, "First Love" is another wonderful drama that inspires us to think about life, isn't it?

BTW, do you watch these dramas with Chinese subtitles?

flowerbossa said...

Hi baosang,

So nice to have you visit my blog!

I'm happy to know that you find this posting inspiring, but I DO hope you will not get too upset over it. So please dry your tears!

As for the Chinese translation:
I am sorry, I don't know the details myself, but I am sure our wonderful Singaporean sister "happiebb" can help you find it. She has left a comment
on this posting herself, so if you click "BB" with the underline, it will lead you to her blog.

In the meantime, I will try asking her myself.

Hope to talk to you again!

(where do you live, BTW?)

bb said...

hi hi flowerbossa,
got your email and popped over here to have a look :p

there's a chinese translation of this from your japanese version on loveyongjoon. wendy translated it, here's the link to wendy's chinese translation if baosang's still looking :)

baosang said...

Dear flowerbossa,

After I left comment here, I started looking for it and I found a Chinese translation on which was done by Joyce.

I am getting better now after I read it over and over. This piece actually changed my thoughts about WJS a little. At first, Jae-Ho's death was unbearable to me. But now I think his death actually glorifies his life. I no longer think this drama left us just depression, but rather HOPE and LOVE.

BTW, I lived in Princeton, New Jersey.

I look forward to your writings.

baosang said...

Dear bb,

Thank you for the link. I will check it out.

I am glad to meet you here.

flowerbossa said...


So good of you to share the link with us (and so FAST, too!)


Wow, so you found another translation! This piece is really going around!

I am happy that you have reached a new way of looking at this beautiful drama. Yes, I think that was what nory was trying to convey, too. Jae Ho's death was tragic - but he is one man that really knew how to love.
Those are in fact the lucky ones.

You "lived" in Princeton, did you say? Do you live any where near there now?

Because I lived in Morristown N.J. as a child! It was only for 2 years, but I cherish those memories.

Hope to talk to you again soon!

baosang said...

Dear flowerbossa,

It was a typo. I live in Princeton area right now. I know Morristown too where is about an hour drive from where I live. Comparing to other places, I really like Princeton area, especially during this time of year. I hope you come back sometime and I can show you around.

Here is a pic I shot last year:

Where have you been after NJ? I know that you currently live in JPN. Have you been traveling a lot?

Talk to you soon.

flowerbossa said...

Hi baosang,

Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful photo with us.

Yes, I liked this season too when I lived on the east coast. Halloween, Thanksgiving...
had so much fun!

My childhood years were pretty crazy - I moved around a lot because of my father's job.

The 2 years in Morristown were the last days I spent in the states.
Before that, I lived in the suburbs of Chicago, and in my much earlier days in Flushing, N.Y.

Ever since 12, I am HERE!
and here to stay....I think.

I would love to visit you someday!

Toujours_BYJ said...

Hi Flowerbossa
Thanks for translating and sharing this beautiful piece.
YJ's acting in HWRL is so good, Jae Ho is so real for me that I still don't dare to watch this drama for the second time.

flowerbossa said...


It has not yet been a year since I saw "HWRL" - I think I'm going to leave Jaeho alone for awhile.

I will cherish him and all those he loved in my heart.

mrs a said...

I have the drama and haven't been able to watch it yet. Sounds very sad and yet somehow inspiring after reading this wonderful piece.

Flowerbossa is that you and your talented mom Pallet in the pic. How lovely you both are!

Appreciate this beautiful piece and sharing. Thanks!!!!

flowerbossa said...

Hello Mrs.a,

You are the first one I know that read this piece BEFORE watching the drama itself!
Yes, I like to think it inspiring more than sad.
But then again, I can't see it again...

Now, as for the photo, I'm not sure I should set you straight on this.

Let's just say one of them is me, but the other is the prima donna
I talked about earlier.
Take a GOOOD guess.

bb said...

mmm... from what you said, flowerbossa, my very GOOOD guess is... you're not a prima donna :p

tiffany said...

Thanks flowerbossa for this wonderful translation of a wonderful piece of writing.

I remember searching for BYJ's work in SG after watching WS and Hotelier. I found the vcd of HWRL. It was dubbed in Chinese (which after listening to BYJ;s real voice was a real torture) and very expensive. But I bought it anyway and cried and cried whilst watching it.

I now have 3 different versions of this drama.

Mrs A- you must watch it as it is rated as one of his best drama amongst the fans. It was also very special to BYJ himslef too.

baosang said...

Dear flowerbossa,

I've been so busy for the past several days.

It's amazing how perfect your English still is after living in JPN for so long.

I am very happy that you like the photo I taken.

Well, regarding HWRL, I still don't quite understand why Jae-Ho wouldn't let go Suk-Ko after he found the truth about her when he became sick.

flowerbossa said...


You must have enough tears in you to put Choi Ji Woo to shame if you were able to sit through THREE versions of HWRL (althought I can imagine the torture of watching ANYTHING that's dubbed after knowing his real voice - now that's really something to cry about!)

Yes, Mrs. a, listen to Tiffany!

flowerbossa said...

Hi baosang,

Hope you are finding time to relax.
Yes, I would love to see more photos when you have time to share them.

It's very kind of you to comment about my English.
I guess I have to thank my parents for that. I was able to attend a school that accepted a lot of "returnee" kids like myself, who had spent their earlier days abroad.

I think we have a lot of questions for Jae Ho, but we can only imagine the answers ...

Yoko said...

Those picture are very nice! I really like them.

flowerbossa said...

Hi yoko!

Nice to have you drop by!

I'm glad you like the pictures by pallet.

Have a nice weekend!