An essential element of the Korean day-to-day culture is the concept of nunchi. Translating literally to “eye measure,” nunchi is a subtle art of reading a room, gauging others’ moods, being aware of one’s surroundings, and showing an overall display of emotional intelligence. Nunchi, the possession or the lack thereof, is critical for interpersonal relationships as well as effective communication and can be simply referred to as the Korean sixth sense.
Having no nunchi means that a person lacks social skills or the wit to carry out a conversation. They do not know how to react to any given situation and are often socially awkward. On the contrary, having quick nunchi means that a person can easily pick up on social cues and has a strong presence of mind, which is required to act appropriately in response to any situation. It can also be used sarcastically when someone is pointing out nothing but the obvious. “Watching nunchi” refers to being cautious about one’s surroundings and observing everyone else’s response to a situation. Simultaneously, “showing nunchi” can be disrespectful as it means that one is acting out of hand while trying to display nunchi or, in other words, nunchi that is misplaced. To grasp nunchi is to find out or understand something that is not expressed explicitly.
You might have heard of the term nunchi in Korean variety shows, where hosts complement celebrity guests on their nunchi, saying, “Oh! You have sharp nunchi!” or the opposite, “You lack nunchi, don’t you?” Variety shows are, in fact, the perfect platforms to test out this sixth sense. Below are 7 K-Pop idols with the sharpest nunchi!
It would not be an exaggeration to consider Jackson Wang as the King of variety shows and one does not simply sit on that throne without possessing the sharpest nunchi. Jackson has a knack for variety content and knows exactly what to say and when to say it. Needless to say, whenever Jackson is on any show, the rating skyrockets immediately. He instinctively knows what the audience would like to hear and what would make the conversation more interesting than it is. As much as he loves giving the people what they want, he is also witty about holding just the right amount back. There’s no contesting Jackson Wang when it comes to nunchi.
Cho Seung Youn or WOODZ’ nunchi is so sharp that he could successfully make one of the most intimidating mentors, Cheetah, burst out in laughter during Produce X 101. Humour does not come simply out of being funny or silly. Instead, it takes a high level of wit, and Seung Youn has always proven an expert in that regard.
Nunchi does not only translate as a sense of wit and humor. RM’s capacity to read a room is so strong that he is able to answer the most difficult questions with ease and finesse. Whether it be the Grammys or the UN, RM has all the right answers. After all, who can forget RM’s response to a “fan” asking if BTS were ever going to produce a whole album in English?
Dara is loved by all, not just in South Korea but also worldwide, and for good reason too! It is her sharp nunchi because of which she has successfully MC’s and appeared on all sorts of variety shows, even setting the standard for MCs to come. She creates an environment of honest warmth wherever she goes and that is proof enough of her mastery of the art.
SHINee is back! Minho, who recently completed his military service and returned home, also possesses incredible nunchi. He is the very definition of a mature but playful personality who always has the perfect reaction, even in unprecedented situations. The camera loves him and he makes sure to deliver! Minho is self-assured, but he does not appear to take himself too seriously and that is one of the key points to having a quick nunchi.
Jennie’s personality has a certain gravity to it that draws people towards her. Her duality as she goes from being intimidating, albeit one of the best rappers in the industry, to the cutest innocence is perfectly suited and changeable according to the situation that she’s in. It is not difficult for her to gauge her surroundings and switch her personality as the situation demands. She can be sharp and straight forward with Heechul while appearing on Knowing Bros but also adoring and loveable when playing PUBG with him as the MC. Jennie is, without a doubt, the undisputed Queen of nunchi.
Despite not being South Korean, Renjun has truly absorbed the culture and made the art of nunchi his own. There’s no beating him at his own game because he knows exactly what he’s doing at all times. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Renjun, in fact, has the sharpest nunchi in the group. He’s smooth with his words, precise but refreshing, and incredibly entertaining even when it comes to paralanguage. Suffice to say; he’s got this.