Ultimate K-pop Intro Post

May 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm 5 comments

This is a post I’ve thought of making for a while. Just somewhere to direct my friends when I start talking about kpop.

First, a brief history of Korean pop. Pop music as you or I would know it only really became big in Korea in the late eighties, early nineties. It revolved around idol groups and the occaisional soloist, and indeed still does, with rock and indie artists struggling to gain a footing (unless they become band-idols, such as FTIsland.) Popular groups included g.o.d, H.O.T, Shinhwa, Fin.K.L, Sechskies, and Seo Taiji and the Boys. Although these bands were popular in Korea, there was never much of an international following.
Then along came the internet.
Most of the groups popular in international kpop fandom are later groups, from 2003 onwards. And since this is a guide for international fandom, I’ll focus on groups relevant to international fandom.

Idol groups are basically mass-produced pop groups or soloists. Idols start as trainees (equivelent to Johnny Juniors, H!P Eggs, 48 Kenkyuusei, etc) under production companies, where they are taught to sing, dance, MC, act, model, etc. Then if they are talented, lucky and hard-working enough, they will debut as part of a unit, alongside other trainees, or is they’re especially good, as a solo performer. The activities idols do vary from group to group. DBSK are famous for their singing skills, Super Junior do a lot of variety shows, Big Bang are known for writing and producing their own music, etc etc. Most groups include a member who’s a main vocalist, a main dancer, a rapper, and someone conventionally beautiful.

I mentioned production companies. The Big 3 are SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and YG Entertainment. SM is the biggest, and the most popular and ‘mainstream’ idols come from it. YG is known for being very into hip-hop and R’n’B in the early days, and only recently started producing idol groups. JYP is generally solid and ambitious. Both YG and JYP are headed by ex-idols.
Of course there are also tonnes of smaller companies, but none have the prestige and power of the big 3. (Although Cube is looking very respectable these days.)

So, lets introduce some idols.

Lets start with the soloists, simply because they’re a little different from groups. Soloists tend to be more mainstream and attract a different sort of fans from groups. It could easily be argued they’re not idols at all.
Interestingly, the popularity of soloists and groups tends to wax and wane. At time of writing, groups are extremely popular, and soloists less so. The following idols are those who are still popular from the heyday of soloists.

aka: Jung Jihoon, Bi Rain
Age: 25/6/82
Debuted in: 2002
Company: J-Tune Entertainment (formerly JYP)
Fan Club: Clouds
Fan Colour: Silver
. Left JYP in 2007 to form J-Tune, under which he debuted MBLAQ.
. Good friends with Se7en.
Debut Single:
Bad Guy
Famous Singles:
It’s Raining*

aka: Choi Dongwook
Age: 9/11/84
Debuted in: 2003
Company: YG Entertainment
Fan Club: Lucky 7
Fan Colour: Lime Green
. Was considered by YG and JYP to debut as a duo with Rain.
. Has been in a relationship with to actress and high school sweetheart Park Hanbyul since 2002.
Debut Single:
Come Back to Me
Famous Singles:
La La La

aka: Kwon Boa
Age: 5/11/86
Debuted in: 2000
Company: SM Entertainment
Fan Club: Jumping BoA
Fan Colour: Pearl Yellow
. Debuted when she was only 13.
. Alongside DBSK, BoA is considered to have paved the way for the success of Kpop groups in Japan. She’s arguably more succesful as a jpop artist than as a kpop one.
Debut Single:
ID; Peace B
Famous Singles:
No 1
Girls on Top

Lee Hyori
Age: 10/05/79
Debuted in: 2003 (1998 with FinK.L)
Company: B2M Entertainment (formerly DSP Ent, formerly Mnet Media)
. Initially leader of extremely popular girl group FinK.L
. My name is Lee Hyori; Backwards it’s still Lee Hyori~
. Involved in a very well-known sex scandal with Rain.
Debut Single:
10 Minutes
Famous Singles:
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

And then, the groups. Now, at time of writing, Korea is going through an idol group buzz. There are a lot of new groups debuting, as companies throw shit at walls, hoping their idol group will be the one that sticks. As such, I’ve only included groups who have established themselves as part of the music scene.

Dong Bang Shin Ki
aka: DBSK, TVXQ, Rising Gods of the East, Tohoshinki
Members: (l-r) Kim ‘Xiah’ Junsu, Park ‘Micky’ Yoochun, Kim ‘Hero’ Jaejoong, Choi ‘Max’ Changmin [magnae], Jung ‘U-Know’ Yunho [leader]
Debuted in: 2003
Company: SM Entertainment
Fan Club: Cassiopea (Cassies)
Fan Colour: Pearl Red
. Extremely popular all over Asia. The biggest idol group going, their fanclubs have over a million members.
. Currently in the process of breaking up; members Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu have effectively left the group and are trying to cancel their contracts with SM.
. All 5 go by stage names picked by their company.
. They almost always stand in the same formation.
. Known for strong singing skills, acapellas and ballads.
Debut Single:
Famous Singles:
Rising Sun
Love In The Ice

Super Junior
aka: SuJu, SJ
Members: Park ‘Leeteuk’ Jungsu [leader], Kim Heechul, Han Geng, Kim ‘Yesung’ Jongwoon, Kim ‘Kangin’ Youngwoon, Shin ‘Shindong’ Donghee, Lee Sungmin, Lee ‘Eunhyuk’ Hyukjae, Lee Donghae, Choi Siwon, Kim Ryeowook, Kim Kibum, Cho Kyuhyun [magnae]
Super Junior M: Zhou Mi, Henry Lau
Debuted in: 2005
Company: SM Entertainment
Fan Club: Ever Lasting Friends (ELFs)
Fan Colour: Pearl Sapphire Blue
. The (in)famous 15 member boy band. It’s not so unusual today, but in 2005 it was unheard of.
. Initially formed purely to give publicity to various SM trainees, who could then leave to form solo careers as actors, MCs, singers, etc. However, SJ was surprisingly popular, and stayed as a group. Because of this, some SJ members have been unhappy with their positions.
. On top of Super Junior, there are sub-units Super Junior-M (Mandarin, for the Chinese market), Super Junior-H (Happy, upbeat songs), Super Junior-T (Trot, traditional korean pop) and Super Junior K.R.Y (Kyuhuyn, Ryeowook, Yesung, the best vocalists).
. Chinese member Hangeng has left SJ to form a solo career in China. Kangin left to perform his military service after a scandal, but could return to the group. Kibum has not officially left but is now concentrating on acting and doesn’t perform with them anymore.
Debut Single:
Famous Singles:
Don’t Don
Sorry Sorry*

Members: Kim HyunJoong [leader], Park JungMin, Kim KyuJong, Kim HyungJoon [magnae], Heo YoungSaeng
Debuted in: 2005
Company: DSP Entertainment
Fan Club: Triple S
Fan Colour: Pearl Light Green
. Not one of the more popular groups internationally, they are solid in Korea. Actually, that’s unfair. Rather, their fandom is rather wank-free, and Triple S are pretty cool fans, so you don’t hear about them so much.
. Leader and magnae have extremely similar names in English.
. All of the members left DSP Ent in 2010, and joined different agencies. However they say they will continue on as SS501.
. Leader acted in popular drama Boys Over Flowers as an F4 member, which gained SS501, and Leader himself, a lot of fans. btw, SS501’s HyunJoong, DBSK’s Hero and Micky, and BIG BANG’s TOP are all really good friends. Fans have dubbed them the ‘Real F4’.
Debut Single:
Famous Singles:
Love Ya
Love Like This
Deja Vu

Members: (l-r) Lee ‘Seungri’ Seunghyun [magnae], Choi ‘TOP’ Seungyun, Dong ‘Taeyang’ Youngbae, Kang Daesung, Kwon ‘G-Dragon’ Jiyong [leader]
Debuted in: 2006
Company: YG Entertainment
Fan Club: VIP
Fan Colour: No official colour; fans use crown shaped light sticks or black+white towels.
. Because they debuted under YG, their early songs have a heavy hip-hop influence. Even though they’ve since moved on from this style, they still feature much rapping.
. BIG BANG write and produce a lot of their own music, especially G-Dragon, who has been performing since he was 5.
. Known for their mad fashion, particularly TOP and GD.
. All members have had very successful solo debuts, which is pretty unusual for idol groups.
Debut Single:
La La La
Famous Singles:
Haru Haru*

Wonder Girls
Members: Min Sunye [leader], Ahn Sohee [magnae], Park YeEun, Kim Yubin, Hyelim
(ex- Kim Hyunah, Sunmi)
Debuted in: 2007
Company: JYP Entertainment
Fan Club: Wonderfuls
Fan Colour: Pearl Burgundy
. In 2008, the korean music industry was dominated by SM’s DBSK, YG’s BIG BANG, and JYP’s Wonder Girls. This cemented the companies as influential, and the groups as the pillar of kpop. Although DBSK is breaking up, and the Wonder Girls are tring to break America, these three are still seen as the best of kpop.
. Popular 4D Sunmi left in 2010 to continue her studies, and was replaced with Hyelim.
. Currently trying to break America, and I believe are the first kpop girl group to do so. But because of this their popularity in Korea is falling.
Debut Single:
Famous Singles:
Tell Me!
So Hot*

Soh Nyuh Shi Dae
aka: SNSD, Girls Generation, Shoujo Jidai
Members: Kim Taeyeon [leader], Jessica Jung Sooyoung, Lee ‘Sunny’ Soonkyu, Stephanie ‘Tiffany’ Hwang, Kim Hyoyoung, Kwon Yuri, Choi Sooyoung, Im Yoona, Seo ‘Seohyun’ Joohyun [magnae]
Debuted in: 2007
Company: SM Entertainment
Fan Club: S♥ne
Fan Colour: Pearl Pink
. If BB, WG and DBSK dominated in 2008, then SNSD and 2PM are the currently ruling groups of kpop. They’re everywhere.
. Yoona is famous for being picked by guys as the ‘perfect type’ that they look for in a girlfriend. So much so that it’s become a running joke.
. For some reason, SNSD are the group with the most vocal international anti-fanbase.
Debut Single:
Into the New World
Famous Singles:
Run Devil Run

Members: (l-r) Han Seungyeon, Jung Nicole, Park Gyuri [leader], Kang Jiyoung [magnae, Goo Hara, (ex- Kim Sunghee)
Debuted in: 2007
Company: DSP Entertainment
Fan Club: Kamilia
Fan Colour: Pearl Peach
. When they debuted they were known as ‘the second Fin.K.L’.
. Kara didn’t gain success until the release of Mister. Because they never gave up, they are known as hard-working idols.
. They are currently doing extremely well in Japan.
Debut Single:
Break It
Famous Singles:

aka: FTI
Members: Lee Hongki, Choi Jonghyun [leader], Lee Jaejin, Choi Minhwan [magnae], Song Seunghyun (ex- Oh Wonbin)
Debuted in: 2007
Company: FNC Music
Fan Club: Primadonna
Fan Colour: Yellow flag
. The first idol group band; that is, all the members play instruments rather than sing. Hongki: lead vocals; Jonghyun: Guitar, piano; Jaejin: bass; Minhwan: drums; Minhwan: guitar, rap, back vocals
Debut Single:
Famous Singles:
Love Love Love
Girls Don’t Knowhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPPGDRQRIYg
I Hope

Members: (l-r) Lee ‘Onew’ Jinki [leader], Lee Taemin [magnae] , Kim Jonghyun, Choi Minho, Kim ‘Key’ Kibum
Debuted in: 2008
Company: SM Entertainment
Fan Club: SHINee World (Shawol)
Fan Colour: Pearl Sky Blue
. Because when they debuted, they had an average age of 17, (Taemin was just 14), they are popular amongst noonas. Although all the members are now legal, they still have a baby image.
. Alongside BIG BANG, they are known as fashionable idols.
. Similar to DBSK, the boys have stage names: Leader Onew, Bling Bling Jonghyun, Almighty Key, Flaming Charisma Minho, Magnae Taemin
. Very popular internationally, arguably moreso than in Korea.
Debut Single:
Noona, You’re So Pretty (Replay)
Famous Singles:
Love Like Oxygen
Ring Ding Dong

Members: (l-r) Im Seulong, Lee Changmin, Jo Kwon [leader], Jung Jinwoon [magnae]
Debuted in: 2008
Company: JYP Entertainment
Fan Club: I AM
Fan Colour: Pearl Black
. Together with 2PM, the groups are known as One Day. They trained together and debuted together.
. Rare idol ballad group.
. Sort of infamous for not being conventionally attractive.
. Changmin is one of the few idols who completed his army service before debuting.
. Jo Kwon trained for seven years before debuting.
Debut Single:
This Song
Famous Singles:
You Wouldn’t Answer My Calls
Can’t Let You Go Even If I Die
I Was Wrong

Members: (l-r) Kim Junsu, Lee Junho, Nichkhun Buck Horvejkul, Ok Taecyeon, Hwang Chansung [magnae], Jang Wooyoung (ex- Park Jaebeom)
Debuted in: 2008
Company: JYP Entertainment
Fan Club: Hottest
Fan Colour: Pearl Black
. Leader Jay left in 2009 amidst a huge scandal. This caused a lot of publicity for the group and shot them to popularity. They decided not to elect another leader.
. Known for being ripped. Although other groups had had tough and manly concepts, 2PM took their ‘beastly’ idol image and ran with it, to the point that many fangirls were reportedly sick of seeing Taec’s abs.
. Whilst being trained, there was a big focus on acrobatics, which 2PM often use in dance routines.
Debut Single:
10 Out Of 10
Famous Singles:
Again and Again*
I’ll Be Back

After School
Members: Park Kahi [leader], Kim Jungah, Lee Jooyeon, Kim ‘UEE’ Yoojin, Rebecca ‘Bekah’ Kim, Oh ‘Raina’ Hyerin, Im ‘Nana’ Jinah, Lizzy, E-young [magnae] (ex- Yoo Soyoung)
Debuted in: 2009
Company: Pledis Entertainment
Fan Club: Play Girlz
Fan Colour: Pearl Periwinkle
. Were designed to be a rotation group, like Morning Musume. At time of writing, only one member has graduated, but there are constant rumours that the oldest members will leave soon.
. Also like Momusu, AS has sub-groups, including surprisingly popular Orange Caramel and Kahi’s solo.
. Leader Kahi is one of the oldest girls in kpop, at 30.
. First gen: Jooyeon, Gahee, Jungah, Bekah and Soyoung. Second gen: UEE. Third gen: Nana, Raina and Lizzy. Fourth gen: E-young.
Debut Single:
Famous Singles:
Because of You

aka: New Evolution of the 21st Century
Members: (l-r) Park Bom, Lee ‘CL’ Chaerin [leader], Park ‘Dara’ Sandara, Gong ‘Minzy’ Minji [magnae]
Debuted in: 2009
Company: YG Entertainment
Fan Club: Blackjacks
Fan Colour: Hot Pink
. Technically debuted with CM Lollipop, alongside labelmates BIG BANG.
. Were known as ‘BIG BANG’s little sisters’ when they debuted.
. CL, Bom and Dara speak fluent English, Minzy speaks Japanese.
Debut Single:
Famous Singles:
Go Away

Members: Heo Gayoon, Nam Jihyun [leader], Kim Hyunah, Kwon Sohyun [magnae], Jeon Jiyoon,
Debuted in: 2009
Company: Cube Entertainment
Fan Club: 4nia
Fan Colour: None.
. Hyunah used to be part of the Wonder Girls.
Debut Single:
Hot Issue
Famous Singles:
I My Me Mine

Members: Jeon Boram [leader], Lee Qri, Park Soyeon, Ham Eunjung, Park Hyomin, Ryu Hwayoung, Park Jiyeon [magnae] (ex- Jiwon, Ji-ae)
Debuted in: 2009
Company: Core Contents Media
Fan Club: None yet.
Fan Colour: None yet.
. Hwayoung’s twin sister is a member of nugu group co.ed school.
. T-ara are a group I really like, and I think they’re solid performers with great songs, but shit keeps happening and scandals keep arising to prevent them from getting to the top. Jiwon and Ji-ae left right before their official debut, causing to to be delayed, Jiyeon got into a child pornography scandal, leadership changed all the time, they released Bo Peep as a title song, Yayaya as a concept… Yeah, shit keeps happening to them.
Debut Single:
Famous Singles:
Bo Peep Bo Peep
Why Are You Like This?*

Members: (l-r) Amber Liu, Song ‘Victoria’ Quian [leader], Krystal Jung Sooj ung, Choi ‘Sulli’ Jinri [magnae], Park ‘Luna’ Sunyoung
Debuted in: 2009
Company: SM Entertainment
Fan Club: None yet.
Fan Colour: Pearl Light Periwinkle
. Krystal is SNSD Jessica’s little sister.
. Got a lot of attention before debut for Amber’s dress sense. She is a proper tomboy. I mean, idols such as Nicole and Jiyoon are tomboys too, but none are as masculine as Amber. She has a huge female fanbase.
. Victoria was a couple on We Got Married with 2PM’s Nickhun.
. Krystal was born in America, Victoria is Chinese, Amber is Taiwanese born in America.
Debut Single:
Famous Singles:

aka: Music Boys Live in Absolute Quality
Members: (l-r) Yang Seungho [leader], Jung ‘G.O.’ Byunghee, Lee ‘Joon’ Changsun, Park ‘Cheondoong’ Sanghyun, Bang ‘Mir’ Cheolyong [magnae]
Debuted in: 2009
Company: J-Tune Entertainment
Fan Club: A+
Fan Colour: Pearl Chocolate
. Because B2ST and MBLAQ debuted on the same day, they are seen as rivals. In fact, the groups are good friends.
. Produced and trained by Rain.
. MBLAQ members often collaborate on tracks with other established artists. Because of this, they are seen as polite and respectful of their elders.
Debut Single:
Oh Yeah!
Famous Singles:

aka: B2ST
Members: (l-r) Yoon Doojoon [leader], Son Dongwoon [magnae], Yong Yoseob, Lee Kikwang, Jang Hyunseung, Yong Hunghyun
Debuted in: 2009
Company: Cube Entertainment
Fan Club: Beauties
Fan Colour: Dark Grey
. Before debut, B2ST were known as the ‘reject’ group. This is because all the members used to belong to other companies. Hyunseung competed with Seungri to get into BIG BANG, Kikwang was a solo artist by the name of AJ, Junhyung was a member of Xing and known as Poppin’ Dragon, and Doojoon, Dongwon and Yoseob were JYP trainees.
. From debut B2ST were extremely successful and gained many fans, with people going as far as to call them the second DBSK.
Debut Single:
Bad Girl
Famous Singles:

I cut off this list at 2009. Of course, many great groups have debuted since then, and you can already tell who will be successful, but I don’t want to go into too much detail of all the numerous nugu groups.

Entry filed under: kpop. Tags: , , , , , .

Majisuka Gakuen 2 Ep5 Majisuka Gakuen 2 Ep 6

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. PHguy  |  August 18, 2011 at 10:44 am

    T-ara = Diadem

    • 2. Hina  |  August 19, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      Diadem is just the international fanclub name, not the official one.

  • 3. shin yi  |  September 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm


  • 4. Gee Magan Arranguez  |  November 10, 2012 at 4:53 am

    wow. . .
    pls give me some idea
    wat i am gonna wear?

  • 5. Blackpearlmedia group comedians  |  November 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I believe that is among the most significant information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But want to observation on few normal things, The website taste is wonderful, the articles is in reality great : D. Just right job, cheers


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Anime + Drama

No.6 [July 7]
Idolmaster [July 7]
Blood-C [July 7]
Sacred Seven [July 2]
Kami-sama no Memo-chou [July 2]

Ouran High School Host Club [July 22]
Ikemen desu ne [July 15]
Hana Kimi [July 10]


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09/07 = DaizyStripper - tsuki ni juusei
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09/14 = aoi - yume no kanata e
09/14 = aoi - symmetry
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09/28 = THE KIDDIE - utsukushiki REDRUM
09/28 = DragonWAPPPPPPER - 6piece

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