TVXQ (stylized as TVXQ!), an initialism for Tong Vfang Xien Qi (Chinese: 東方神起), is a South Korean pop duo consisting of U-Know Yunho and Max Changmin. They are known as Tohoshinki (東方神起 Tōhōshinki) in Japanese releases, and are sometimes referred to as DBSK, an abbreviation of their Korean name Dong Bang Shin Ki (Hangul: 동방신기). Their name roughly translates to “Rising Gods of the East”.
Formed by S.M. Entertainment in 2003, TVXQ began as a five-member boy band composed of members U-Know Yunho, Max Changmin, Hero Jaejoong, Micky Yoochun, and Xiah Junsu. They were immediately launched to mainstream recognition following the release of their first physical single “Hug” (2004), which peaked at number four on the MIAK monthly music chart. Their first studio albums Tri-Angle (2004) and Rising Sun (2005) were both top sellers, pushing the band’s popularity beyond Korea. Under Avex, TVXQ entered the Japanese market with their first Japanese album Heart, Mind and Soul (2006), but it was met with limited success.
TVXQ rose to international prominence in the late 2000s, after the group achieved critical acclaim in the Korean music industry for their best-selling albums “O”-Jung.Ban.Hap. (2006) and Mirotic (2008), both winning the Golden Disk Award for Album of the Year. The latter album also contains the pop hit “Mirotic”, touted by international music critics as a staple song of K-pop. With four chart-topping singles, TVXQ gained widespread media attention in Japan following the release of their fourth Japanese album The Secret Code (2009). However, despite their commercial success, the group plunged into legal turmoil and internal conflict when members Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu attempted to split from their Korean agency S.M. Entertainment. Prior to the trio’s departure in 2010, TVXQ released their last Japanese album as a quintet, Best Selection 2010, which became the group’s first album to top the Oricon Albums Chart. The album spawned two platinum-selling singles, including the long-running hit “Share the World”.
After a year-long hiatus, TVXQ returned as a duo with remaining members Yunho and Changmin. They released TVXQ’s fifth Korean album Keep Your Head Down (2011), topping album charts in most major Asian markets upon release. Their first two Japanese albums as a duo, Tone (2011) and Time (2013), solidified their success in Japan as it forged TVXQ’s reputation as one of the top-touring artists in the country. Their eighth Japanese album With (2014) made TVXQ the first and only foreign music act in Japan to have four number-one albums in a row.
Selling over 14 million physical records in the first 10 years of their career, TVXQ have become one of Asia’s most successful music acts of their generation. They are often referred to as “Asia’s Stars” and the “Kings of K-pop” for their immense success and contributions to the Hallyu. According to the Oricon, TVXQ have the most number-one singles for a foreign artist, and is Japan’s best-selling foreign music act in CD singles of all time. Their Time Tour, one of the highest-grossing concert tours of 2013, is the highest-attended concert tour held by a foreign music act in Japan. With the tour, the duo became the first non-Japanese Asian artists to headline a nationwide five-Dome tour, and were the first foreign artists to perform in the Nissan Stadium. Billboard has described the group as “K-pop royalty”.