Chapter 46: < Protect – Episode 45 – Dresden  >
The next day, Ahn Soo Ho visited an office in Shinjuku. Shinhwa Entertainment was a local subsidiary until recently, but it was currently in the process of canceling it.
“In the case of foreign branches, the delisting needs be announced again, so it takes a bit of time.”
“Is that a problem?”
“If the branch does well, they could let you become independent. That’s why most subcontractors ask for shares when they sign their contract.”
“But since we delisted, that’s not an option anymore?”
“No country likes a foreigner raking in big profits in their country.”
Since the singer and actor agency, FNB employed agencies to promote movies and dramas, they didn’t have to worry about such cooperative relations. However, in the idol business, where they had to attack Japan’s domestic market, lack of proper support by a subcontractor could lead them stranded.
“They treat you well if they need you, but once they feel that their profits are being taken away, they’ll try to bring you down.”
Ahn Soo Ho moved on from the branch manager’s unfortunate words and comforted the employee who was busy preparing for the evacuation. But it was thanks to the rise that the atmosphere wasn’t all that bad. Today’s reservation at a fancy Japanese restaurant brightened up the mood, and Tokyo’s prices were just as high as that of Seoul. No one would turn down expensive and delicious food.
Ahn Soo Ho left the office and entered a sedan.
“Is it necessary to evacuate all foreign branches, President Ahn? You’ll lose a hard-earned market and personal connections in an instant.”
Oh Joo Kyung didn’t contemplate for long before she transferred from Daesan Group to Hosoo Entertainment. He didn’t offer her a great vision. He just promised to give men and women equal opportunities. It was a simple condition, but it was also one that was difficult to keep.
“Market? Personal connections? Those things aren’t important.”
When Oh Joo Kyung decided to transfer and accepted the chief secretary position, Ahn Soo Ho no longer used formalities.
“Reputation is what’s really important.”
Hosoo Entertainment Group decided to evacuate all foreign branches. Well, the only branches there were in Asian countries such as Japan, China, Thailand, and the Philippines that were centered around Korean wave marketing.
“It’s not in my nature to go and beg. I have to make them come to me.”
“That won’t be easy.”
“Worrying about that is my job.”
Oh Joo Kyung’s position might just be the chief secretary, but she would soon be involved in management in the president’s stead. One may ask what makes him trust her so much after just a month of knowing her, but he conducted such a thorough investigation that he even knew what sanitary pad brand she used. Unless they were some kind of legendary spy, information was bound to surface.
“Are you really planning to buy a broadcasting station or a production company?”
“I guess you don’t believe me.”
“I saw the private jet in person, so I believe you. But as for a broadcasting station… it’s not money but politics that might get in the way.”
“I can use my president card for that.”
Oh Joo Kyung was surprised by Ahn Soo Ho’s response. Did he really have connections with the Blue House? That was what her eyes were asking.
“I told you. What’s really important is your reputation.”
It was probably difficult to understand as of yet.
The car arrived at the Meiji Shrine Yoyogi Park that wasn’t too far from Shinjuku. Since it was the weekend, there were many visitors, and there were many booths that were labeled as the flea market. The charming handiwork of Japan caught their eyes. There were amateur actors, aspiring comedians, magicians, and musicians performing with joy.
“Japan seems to be open-minded when it comes to choosing jobs.”
“But they hate their defense forces.”
There was someone who responded to what Ahn Soo Ho said to himself as he stopped walking to the charming sights of the square. The middle-aged man with cool sideburns looked as good in his trench coat as Western people did. His high nose and big eyes hinted that he was of mixed blood.
Right before World War II ended, Nakayama Soichiro brought his family back from Hawaii to Japan. Those who returned from the States claimed that they wanted to bring their homeland back to life, but the truth was that racism against the Japanese was worse than that against the Africans in the States.
“How dare a civil servant look down on a national.”
“You probably deserve it. Don’t you know? Most Japanese people are dumb.”
“A top official’s foolish comment about the Japanese…the press would flip upside down if they knew.”
The public security intelligence agency wasn’t the police. And they certainly didn’t have the authority to conduct a forced investigation. However, they were able to deal with terrorist groups, illegal organizations, and pseudo platforms. Depending on how it was used, it was similar to the Patriot Act of the States, which no longer exists.
“You can resolve the Empire problem, Soo Ho?”
“What did Naicho say?”
Ahn Soo Ho responded to Nakayama’s question with a question.
“They’ve taken their hands off of it. The Minister of Foreign Affairs seems to be watching eagerly. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs doesn’t want to increase the friction with the States, nor do they want to reveal their weaknesses.”
“Are they just abandoning it?”
“There’s less than two months left until the G7 Tokyo meeting.”
There were less than two months left until the Group of Seven gathered in Tokyo. The States might have dropped in rank due to the political scandal, but the States was still the States. As Japan, who was going against strong opponents such as China and Russia, they weren’t willing to ruin their alliance with the States.
“Shiba was happy that the States took a misstep.”
“They’re just politicians who care about popularity. We have to worry about our country’s future. It’s detrimental to us in the long run if we pressure the Davis administration. Clinging onto Empire would be an act of retaliation.”
Empire Konzern, which was built by a yakuza alliance, was the king of laundering money, but due to the sudden PRS bill, most money laundering paths were shut down.
The amount of loss couldn’t be described in words.
“Above all, it looks like there will be resistance between the factions regarding the distribution of profits and responsibility of loss.”
Yakuza’s had better vertical integration than any other criminal organization. The problem was that if the middle bosses got greedy, reaching an agreement could take longer.
“Whether Empire Konzern goes down or not isn’t what’s important. Even if we shut down the business, we have to at least get back the principal. If not, a war will break out to reclaim the losses.”
In contrast to the loyalty, Yakuza’s talked about, when there was a loss, they were busy trying to put it on other people.
“As I said, there’s less than two months left until the G7 Tokyo meeting. What if a yakuza resistance takes place at a time like this? The compromised old men won’t just sit back and watch. After that would be a war. So Soo Ho, if you can resolve the yakuza problem… you can do whatever it takes in our country for the time being.”
Even though Nakayama didn’t like Ahn Soo Ho, his reputation was unbeatable in the criminal world.
“This isn’t like you, Nakayama.”
“That’s how serious the situation is, Soo Ho.”
Ahn Soo Ho, who was going to leave after resolving the Navarros problem, he knitted his brows and flicked his finger.
“Fine. But under one condition.”
“If it’s something I can do, name it.”
Nakayama was ready to offer his own organs.
“The accompanist? Why?”
“Do I have to explain why?”
Ahn Soo Ho, who had the power, couldn’t help but laugh, but there were times when breaching was found in unexpected places.
“It’s not because of the Dresden file, is it?”
“I have no reason to answer that. If you want to make a deal, bring Kumiko. If you don’t, forget this talk ever happened.”
As soon as Ahn Soo Ho brushed off his hands as if he was done talking, Nakayama let out a big groan.
‘The Dresden file.’
It was time to get back at those who inconvenienced him.
The company dinner that Ahn Soo Ho announced started in the evening.
He rented out an entire fancy Japanese restaurant for the staff. It wasn’t just Koreans there, but Japanese employees of Japanese agencies and subcontractors as well. There were even those who shared friendships and love across borders after sharing their joys and sorrows. The boy group, Annex, who were ready to take off, couldn’t hide their restlessness. It seemed like they would take off if they waited a little longer, but the company heartlessly decided to evacuate. They would be able to feed themselves even if they went back to Korea. That was because they acquired a good fan base before they gave Japan a go.
“Aw, I’m so sad.”
“I’m sure we’ll get another opportunity.”
“We debuted five years ago. There are so many newbies taking off. If we let our guard down, we’ll lose everything.”
“Don’t you think the company would have a plan?”
“You can’t trust anyone in this industry.”
What did it mean to be an idol? There probably weren’t many people who were purely in it because they love to sing and dance. Once they got famous and started earning a lot of money, they had conflicts with their agency or ended up in bad terms with fellow members.
Same goes for Annex.
Even within a popular group, there was a member who was more popular than the rest. That was how the conflicts start. Being a celebrity didn’t solely depend on how hard a person worked. The naïve boys who once chased after their dreams soon accommodated to the reality.
Just like Annex, who was pushed to Japan by Shinhwa Entertainment, Baby Angel was in the same situation. They debuted 3 years ago, and they were known as top idols with quite the fan base in Korea as well.
When beautiful women showed up, the atmosphere usually brightened up, but Annex didn’t respond that way. Fans might see them as beautiful, but as fellow trainees who ate together for over 10 years, they were just women they knew.
“Why do you look so miserable?”
“Because I’m annoyed.”
“I’m just happy to go back home.”
“But you haven’t even been in Japan for two months. We’ve been here for a year, and this is what we get for our hard work!”
“Hey, quiet down. We’re not the only ones here.”
“Aw! Who cares?”
It was possible for men to pretend to be all cheerful in front of the camera and fans, but in reality, it was impossible for them to not fight. Baby Angel didn’t care whether or not Annex fought and just focused on eating the sushi. If not today, when else would they be able to have expensive sushi in the middle of Tokyo? It was too expensive for them to pay themselves.
“Hey, it’s Lee Joo Min. I heard she came to Japan to promote her movie…”
Annex, who were fighting about who was better, stopped and whispered as soon as they spotted the actor. It finally hit them that Shinhwa Entertainment and FNB Entertainment merged. In contrast to their agency which was full of sweaty kids, it was fascinating to see an actor from movies and dramas from so up close.
“Wow, Anna’s here too.”
“Anna’s drama really took off in Japan. I heard she’s getting tons of commercial offers.”
“Why are you so surprised? We’re celebrities too. Keep your head up.”
“Then go say hi, you idiot.”
“I don’t even know her though…”
Even though their agencies merged, the idols and actors still felt distant from one another. But there was one person who broke down that wall.
“Why are you minding each other so much? Let’s gather! Kleenex and Senior Demon, this way!”
Do Min Ho called over Annex and Baby Angel as if he was an instructor. He briefly appeared in Lee Joo Min’s movie as a cameo, but it was such a memorable scene that it blew up, so he joined the promotional activities as a result.
“Aw, Mino! That’s why the internet calls us toilet paper!”
“Yeah! We’re not demons, but angels! We’re angel idols!”
“Stop the blabber and come here!”
Being a comedian meant their persistence could also be laughed about and looked over. They felt awkward sharing a table, but Do Min Ho’s talking made them laugh in no time.
“You probably don’t know, but many top stars are homebodies. Jang Seol Hyun’s a homebody too.”
“Seol Hyun? Really?”
“No way! How do you know Seol Hyun? You’re not at her level.”
“Ha! I wasn’t going to say this, but I’m from a royal family.”
“Ugh! That’s such a lame joke! I’ve sworn brothers with the president. That means I’m from a royal family.”
“Why would the president become sworn brothers with you? Stop lying. You might offend him and get kicked out.”
“Hey! Don’t you believe me?”
“Not something that ridiculous.”
Do Min Ho hit his own chest out of frustration. At that moment, an employee approached and made a remark.
“The president has arrived.”
Ahn Soo Ho was busy greeting all the employees at the entrance. Do Min Ho stood in an arrogant way and led the way. As soon as he saw his target, he shook his fist like a gangster.
“Yo, bro! What’s up?”
“Who’s this psycho?”
< Protect – Episode 45 – Dresden  > The end.