Yang made a few appearances on the nation’s top pop television shows — displaying moves that would not be out of place in a K-pop video today — but struggled to find mainstream appeal as many found his approach too “effeminate” and “foreign”.
“I just felt that Korea and I were incompatible,” Yang says, adding: “The audience felt very distant, so whenever I performed I just avoided looking at them.”
Once, he recalled, an audience member faked a handshake to pull him violently down to the ground from the stage, telling him: “You need a beating.”
Fans remember being ridiculed for supporting him.
“At karaoke bars, people would just turn off the machine when his music played,” said Yi Duk-jin. “People said he was too weird, too strange. He spoke English, wore earrings and had long hair despite being a man.”
Yang quickly faded into obscurity, working as an English teacher until he moved to the US in 2015.