On February 26, Kangnam held a live broadcast on YouTube where he revealed the results of his naturalization test.
Kangnam was born in Japan to a Japanese father and a Korean mother. He debuted in the group M.I.B in 2011, which was disbanded in 2016. He became well-known as a variety show personality, and in 2019, he married retired speed skater Lee Sang Hwa. After his marriage, he announced his intention to become naturalized as a citizen of South Korea.
Last October, he shared the unfortunate news that he had failed the first stage of the process. However, he applied again, and after passing the written exam, he had his final interview on February 25.
In the live broadcast, Kangnam said, “I finished my last naturalization interview test yesterday. I got the result this morning through KakaoTalk, but I didn’t look at it and sent it to the staff instead. I still don’t know the result.”
Before looking at the results live on-air, he talked a little about the naturalization process. “Since we were wearing masks and there was glass between us due to COVID-19, I couldn’t hear the interviewer very well,” he said. “When they asked me what the thing that made the floors warm was, I said it was a boiler, and they burst out laughing. Then they asked about the traditional name and I said it was ondol. The atmosphere at the interview was good. When we were singing the anthem, I was nervous so I rushed through it… Even though I’m a singer.”
He continued, “Before going to the interview, I had to take a cheongsimhwan [a kind of calming pill] and I had to take one again today. It feels like my heart is going to burst. If I was confident, I wouldn’t feel so nervous, but I’m about half-and-half. I’m happy though that many people are encouraging me.”
Kangnam shared what he wanted to do if he became a naturalized citizen. “I can go to the dong [neighborhood] office and change my name, get insurance, and create a resident registration card. I have many options for my name. I might just leave it as ‘Kang Nam,’ or take my mom’s last name and go with ‘Kwon Kang Nam,’ or take my wife’s last name as ‘Lee Kang Nam,’ or I might change the name ‘Kangnam’ completely.”
When it came time to reveal the results, he was so nervous that he couldn’t look directly. But when he learned that he had passed, he shouted, “What do I do?” He went on, “Everyone, thank you so much. It’s been three years, but Kangnam is finally naturalized. It feels like my blood is rushing to the floor.” He then shouted, “Honey! Mom! Father-in-law, mother-in-law!”
The production staff then unveiled a congratulatory video they had prepared in advance. In it, Kangnam’s mother said, “You’ve passed the naturalization exam. You’ve worked hard and I sincerely congratulate you on becoming Korean. Live well in Korea. You’ve done well.” Other people in the video included his friends and acquaintances.
Congratulations to Kangnam!
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