Who is Mr. Chu? Apink may have named the lead single from their fourth mini album, Pink Blossom, after him, but the song is hardly forthcoming on details about him. There is no mention of what he looks or acts like, nothing that would distinguish him from the countless other males addressed in k-pop songs. The most notable fact about him — that he has recently shared a kiss with a girl, from whose point of view the lyrics take — is more a plot device than meaningful anecdote indicative of his character. That is a song that details the reaction to and the residual effects of a kiss as “Mr. Chu” does with lines like, “I can’t forget that soft touch/I blush” and “Thrilling feelings/Never change your mind/Love me forever,” only makes sense if there has been a kiss in the first place.
Yet for all the attention put on kissing, including in the video where it is a dominant motif, Mr. Chu never actually is shown kissing anyone. In fact, Mr. Chu is hardly seen at all. In the course of the three minute and twenty-six second video, he appears cumulatively for less than ten seconds and when he does it is only in parts, not as a whole. There is a shot of the back of his head here, another of his hands there, and a profile view as he carries a stack of presents from his locker across the tennis court, but never a full view of his face.
Add to this the fact that Mr. Chu is not really a name to be taken at face value, but an aptonym, with ‘chu’ a Korean slang word for kiss and figuring out who Mr. Chu actually is becomes nearly impossible. He could be virtually anyone — and that is precisely the whole point. Apink has always played up the faux intimacy that exists between themselves and their fans, including in videos like “U You,” where Naeun interacts with the viewer, beckoning the viewer on the other side of the screen to follow her. The identity of Mr. Chu, or lack thereof is rooted in this same idea with his anonymity an invitation to the viewer see themselves as Mr. Chu, the object of Apink’s affection and with whom they have shared a kiss.
So, who exactly is this Mr. Chu? Trick question. There is no one right or correct answer. He is nothing more than a surrogate for the viewer thus his identity will vary, contingent on both the viewer and whether they recognize the cues and choose to identify with him. Of course, that latter part is not as difficult as it sounds. Apink recycles all of the same conventions used by other girl groups who have tackled a similar concept. In essence, “Mr. Chu” is the successor to the ‘appeal-to-anonymous-male-cum-viewer’ concepts of SNSD’s “Oh!" and KARA’s "Mister,” only this time they have given that anonymous male a name.