Team EnVi is excited to introduce one of our latest columns, Fandom Love Letters. As the name suggests, this series allows fans from any fandom the opportunity to share their love and admiration for their idols through means of writing. We at EnVi are fans of various artists, so we understand how impactful idols can be in our lives. We also understand how important it is to have a safe space for ourselves and our writing, whether or not they’re personal pieces. Through this, we hope to foster a positive community for fans worldwide. For today’s feature, in honor of JO1 Kono Junki’s 24th birthday, Rin shares her admiration for the artist as well as what his name means to her.
When you were born, your parents picked out a beautiful name–純喜–written with the characters 純 meaning “pure” and 喜 meaning “happy.” Even today on your birthday 24 years later, you live up to your name as my “pure happy” inspiration.
If I’m being honest, I’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve brought light and joy into my life, helping me through difficult times. Despite that, I can still remember the first time I heard your voice as if it were just yesterday. Back in early 2020 when I almost gave up on my dreams of studying Japanese and moving to Japan, I discovered JO1 by complete chance, and one of your first lines in “無限大 (INFINITY)” called out to me: 「限りない夢を掴め」。 “Seize your infinite dream.” With that line as my new motto, I found the motivation to keep fighting for my dream just as you had during your own journey.
Truly, you’re a shining star of inspiration. Not many people can say that they’ve gone from an accomplished university student with promising career prospects to a skilled and cherished J-pop idol, but you can. Despite the challenges you had faced during music auditions, PRODUCE101 JAPAN, and debut, your faith in yourself and your dream never wavered. Now, less than two years after debut, you nail every note (I still get emotional when I listen to your solo version of “Voice”), dance like you’ve been practicing your whole life, and even write and produce music. Skills aside, you’re also incredibly kind and loving to your fellow JO1 members, taking care of everyone and striving to achieve your dreams together.
Now as I write this letter and really think about it, it’s kind of a funny coincidence that your name means “pure happy” when our chance interactions revolve around happiness. On JO1’s first debut anniversary in March of 2021, your group held a mention party, and I tweeted that the joy I had felt the previous year was all thanks to you. To my utter delight, you replied and said that you wanted me to be happy the next year, the year after that, and forever too, so you would work hard to make it happen. Then, I won a fancall with you in October later that year, and your face lit up in shock and excitement when I said that you make me happy just by being happy yourself.
Junki, I wasn’t lying when I told you that, and I am just as confident about that now as I was then. I think I speak for all JAMs when I say that your happiness is the most important thing. Seeing you enjoying yourself with your shining smile and “tension MAX” energy as you do what you love not only comforts us, but your light is so infectious that it also inspires all of us to be just like you.
I am so lucky to have stumbled upon you and JO1 back when I needed you the most; I really don’t know who I would be now without you. I’m honored to have been your fan when you were 22 and 23, and I’m so excited to support 24-year-old Kono Junki just as much.
My dearest Junki, happy birthday. I’m wishing you so much love and happiness now and forever.
If you’d like to submit your own letter, click here!
For more on JO1 read about the Stranger comeback here!