Falling in love with a K-pop group that has a discography spanning 15 years can be intimidating, but believe me when I say that you won't regret becoming an E.L.F. (more on that later!) and stanning Super Junior, also known as SJ or Suju. If you're ready to take a deep dive into the sapphire blue ocean (their official fandom color, btw), let's give you a breakdown on all things Super Junior.
MORE ON SUPER JUNIOR, RIGHT THIS WAY:
- Super Junior Invite Everyone To A 'House Party' In Their Latest MV Teaser
- 15 Super Junior Songs You Need To Listen To If You're A Newbie Fan
- 15 Super Junior B-Side Songs You Shouldn't Sleep On
Originally a project group established by SM Entertainment in 2005, Super Junior went by the name Super Junior 05. The goal was to have a rotational system where old members would 'graduate' and new members would join the lineup. Twelve members debuted on November 6, 2005: Leeteuk, Heechul, Hangeng, Yesung, Kangin, Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook, and Kibum. After Cho Kyuhyun joined the group in May 2006, SM abandoned the rotational group concept and made the 13-member lineup permanent, dropping the '05 suffix from the group name.
Super Junior popularized the SMP (SM Performance) sound early on with their songs "Twins," and "Don't Don," but their international breakthrough came upon the release of 2009's mega hit "Sorry, Sorry," which spawned many a dance craze (including Cebu's very own dancing inmates). The group didn't stop there, churning out one hit song after another, and established a foothold in Latin America with their Latin-inspired releases "Mamacita," "Lo Siento," and "Otra Vez." Along the way, Suju became more experimental with their sound, from the R&B track "It's You," bubblegum pop song "No Other," trademark SJ funky jam "Mr. Simple," groovy dance track "Devil," to well-loved ballad (composed by member Donghae!) "One More Chance."
Aptly dubbed the "Kings of the Hallyu wave," Super Junior has won countless awards throughout the course of their career with support from fans all over the world. The fandom is called "Ever Lasting Friends," aka E.L.F.s, and thanks to them the group can include the following honors in their roster of accomplishments, among others:
- First idol group to establish the concept of sub-units: Super Junior K.R.Y, Super Junior-T, Super Junior-M, Super Junior-H, and Super Junior D&E
- First idol group to actively promote in China through their sub-unit, Super Junior-M
- First Korean artist to perform 100 concerts worldwide through their Super Show tours
- First overseas artist to win Asia's Artist of the Year at the Tencent Stars Magnificent Ceremony in China in 2007
- First Asian artist who won Choice International Artist (and ELFs won Choice Fandom!) at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards
- First K-pop artist to enter Billboard's Latin Songs chart with "Lo Siento," their second Latin-inspired track following 2014's "Mamacita"
- First foreign artist to win the Artist of the Year Award at the 14th KKBOX Music Awards in Taiwan in 2019
More recently, E.L.F.s won Billboard's Fan Army Face-Off for the second time in a row (the fandom first won back in 2018, when the contest was last held), and Super Junior has placed first in Taiwan's KKBOX ranking for 154 weeks strong. Super Junior truly are the last men standing!
If you're a newbie to the Super Junior fandom, here are the basics on each of the members of your soon to be ult(imate) group:
Leeteuk - leader, vocalist, rapper
As the mathyung (eldest member), Leeteuk became Super Junior's leader by default (he's a mere 9 days older than the next eldest member), and he has led his group incredibly well during the 15 years they've been active. Outside of his work with SJ, Leeteuk has been the host for several TV shows, including Strong Heart, Star King, I Can See Your Voice, The Best Cooking Secrets, and Hidden Track. His members have said all his hosting gigs have turned him into an "attention-seeker" and given him "emcee syndrome," aka he cannot help but host all of Suju's gatherings. His real name is actually Park Jung Soo, and his stage name means "special": A fitting nickname for an idol whose fans are called Angels! He also has a series called "Leeteuk's Recipe Secrets" on his YouTube channel—check it out!
Heechul - vocalist, rapper
Everyone's favorite Big Space Star, Heechul is the only idol with a special individual fan chant that translates to "(We) love you Kim Heechul), milky white skin Kim Heechul"; it was first sung during the group's appearance on the show Intimate Note. Known for his entertaining personality, Heechul has been a regular guest on many popular shows: Knowing Bros, My Little Old Boy, Delicious Rendezvous, 20th Century Hit Song, Life Bar, Idol School, High School Style Icon, and many more. He has also released a single titled "Old Movie" in 2019, and worked on several song collabs with his Knowing Bros co-hosts: Check out the MV for "Hanryang" below!
Yesung - main vocalist
Birthday: August 24, 1984
Fandom name: Clouds
The Tom to Eunhyuk’s Jerry, on variety shows Yesung (real name: Kim Jong Hoon) can seem like the scary type—his members love to tease him to the point of cursing—but in real life he’s a sweetheart who enjoys visiting cafes and taking selfies. He possesses an instantly recognizable husky voice which has featured on several OSTs, most recently for 2019's Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency. His most recent solo release was 2019's album Pink Magic. Yesung is also an actor, having had roles in 2015's webtoon adaptation Songgot: The Piercer and 2017's crime drama Voice.
Shindong - lead dancer, rapper, vocalist
"We have Shindong" is a popular saying within the fandom, and that’s because the idol is multi-talented: He is an incredible dancer, great host, and creative stage director (Shindong and Eunhyuk have co-directed several Super Show world tours!). His passion for video led to the creation of Walala Production company, and the crew has directed several music videos, including EXO's "Obsession" comeback stage. Shindong and his team are responsible for the new SM The Stage series!
Sungmin - lead vocalist, lead dancer
Nicknamed "Pumpkin Prince" (for his health-focus) and "Aegyo King" because of his natural cuteness, Sungmin is skilled at playing several musical instruments: Guitar, bass, drums, piano—you name it, he's probably tried it! After completing his military service in 2016, Sungmin resumed his solo activities as a singer and musical actor. He established his own YouTube channel in 2018 called "Liu Studio," and released his debut mini album Orgel in November 2019. Sungmin married musical actress Kim Sa Eun on December 13, 2014, and she's made several appearances in his vlogs!
Eunhyuk - main dancer, main rapper, vocalist
Eunhyuk goes by many names—Dancing Machine, Jewel Boy, Anchovy, E oppa, the list goes on—but his real name is actually Lee Hyukjae. The "Eun" in "Eunhyuk" means silver, hence the bedazzled stage name. An incredibly skilled dancer, Eunhyuk was part of now inactive project groups Younique Unit and SM The Performance along with dance-line members from other SM groups. Due to his onstage abilities, Eunhyuk has worked as a concert director for various artists, a performance director and dance mentor in Under Nineteen, and co-led the show WHYNOT – The Dancer with SHINee's Taemin, Highlight's Gikwang, and NCT's Jisung. He is currently the host of Weekly Idol and Back to the Idol, and launched his YouTube channel on his birthday.
Donghae - lead vocalist, lead dancer, rapper
If you didn't really know the group members well, you'd think Donghae was the maknae (youngest member): Even the real maknae line treat him like a baby! The idol is simply adorable (we dare you not to smile at this laughing compilation, or laugh at his "fail moments" on and offstage), but he has his sensitive side too. Donghae has composed several ~feelsy~ songs for Super Junior ("Hari," "Don't Wake Me Up," "One More Chance", etc.) and his sub-unit Super Junior D&E ("Still You," "Growing Pains," and more), but his most recent (and special) release was his own solo song "Harmony". He's a veteran actor, appearing in K-dramas It's Okay, Daddy's Girl (2010-2011), Ms Panda and Mr Hedgehog (2011-2012), and Quiz of God Season 4 (2014). Donghae also co-starred alongside Siwon in Taiwanese drama Skip Beat!—imagine the visuals!
Siwon - vocalist, visual, center
She Was Pretty fans, ICYDK, Siwon actually debuted as an idol before he became known as an actor! He may seem to be the most 'normal' of the Suju members, but as Kyuhyun once shared, "There may be members of Super Junior who are less crazy, but there are no members who are sane." Siwon is an accomplished actor, with his most recent roles being in K-dramas Revolutionary Love (2017), My Fellow Citizens! (2019), and SF8 (2020). Outside of his celebrity work, Siwon is also a passionate volunteer and has worked with UNICEF since 2010—he was named regional ambassador for East Asia and Pacific in November 2019. Remember guys, in the words of Siwon: No challenge, no change!
Ryeowook - main vocalist
Instagram: He doesn't have one!
YouTube: Ryeowook's hideout (Ryeowook's AGIT)
Birthday: June 21, 1987
Fandom name: Ryeosomnias
Ryeowook may only have undergone two months of training before debuting as a member of Super Junior, but his vocal skills speak for itself. Like SJ's two other main vocals, Ryeowook has performed in several musical theater stages, and actually performed in Tokyo for his role as a Korean soldier inThe Goddess is Watching. He made his solo debut in 2016 with the album The Little Prince, earning him the same nickname from fans. Fun fact: Ryeowook isn't a fan of too much skinship but Siwon is very friendly, so they supposedly wrote up a contract agreeing to only 3 hi-fives a day. LOL! Being the only member without an sns account, stay up-to-date on his daily life through Wookie's vlogs on his YouTube channel, Ryeowook's AGIT.
Kyuhyun - main vocalist, maknae
The nickname "maknae on top" fits Kyuhyun to a tee! Known for his sharp tongue and witty personality, Kyuhyun is a popular cast member for several long-running programs like New Journey to the West, Salty Tour, Kang's Kitchen, and the host of new show Oh! My Part, You. He has also played numerous roles in musical theater, his most recent run being the main character in 2020's Werther. A ballad and OST favorite, his song "At Gwanghwamun" regularly appears on music charts, especially around the autumn season—and for good reason. Just give it a listen and prepare yourself for the feels! His latest project outside Super Junior has Kyuhyun playing Eric in the musical adaptation, Phantom.
Super Junior K.R.Y.
The first official Super Junior sub-unit (and the pioneer sub-unit of K-pop) consists of main vocalists Kyuhyun, Ryeowook, and Yesung. Formed in 2006 with the release of "The One I Love" for tvN drama Hyena, the trio are known for their incredible harmonies and heartfelt vocals, which pair extremely well with their ballad-led discography. K.R.Y. held their first Asian concert tour The 1st Concert in 2010-2011, a Special Winter Concert in Japan from 2012-2013, and an Asia and Japan tour called Phonograph in 2015. Their most recent comeback was with their debut EP titled When We Were Us, which dropped on June 8, 2020.
Must listen to: Dorothy; My Love, My Kiss, My Heart; Promise You; When We Were Us; Sky.
Super Junior D&E
Debuting in 2011 with the catchy "Oppa, Oppa," Donghae and Eunhyuk released their first full-length Japanese album Ride Me in 2014, and began using the sub-unit name "Super Junior D&E" since then. They followed up with Style in 2018, and have four Korean EPs—the most recent being 2020's Bad Blood. As a duo, they have used their sub-unit to be fully experimental with their sounds: From sad ballads to funky dance tunes to hard rock/EDM hits, they're not afraid to try any genre! They also take advantage of their dancing ability to perform more difficult choreo, such as the live stages for "Danger."
Must listen to: Still You, Growing Pains, 'Bout You, Sweater & Jeans, Rum Dee Dee
An initialism for Super Junior-Mandarin, the third SJ sub-unit was formed in 2008 with the release of their first Chinese studio album Me. The original lineup consisted of leader Hangeng, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook, Kyuhyun and two members exclusive to the subgroup, Zhoumi and Henry. In December 2009, Hangeng left SM Entertainment. After a year-long hiatus, Eunhyuk and Sungmin joined the group and released a second mini-album called Perfection in 2011. Their last comeback was for 2014's third mini-album Swing. With Henry's departure from the group in 2018, Zhoumi remains the only Chinese member.
Must listen to: Super Girl, Break Down, Perfection, Swing, My Love For You
Zhoumi - lead vocalist
Birthday: April 19, 1986
Fandom name: Mitangs ("Honeys" in Chinese)
Zhoumi debuted as a member of Super Junior-M in 2008, and made his solo debut with an EP titled Rewind under SM Entertainment in 2014. Zhoumi has hosted numerous radio shows and music and variety show programs, and has built a successful acting career, appearing in many Chinese movies and TV series. One of his more popular roles was the lead in 2012 drama When Love Walked In alongside f(x)'s Victoria. On June 22, 2020, Zhoumi collaborated with Ryeowook to release a single called "Starry Night". He wrote and composed the Chinese version of the track himself!
Kangin - vocalist
Birthday: January 17, 1985
Fandom name: Chamomiles
Given the stage name "Kangin" (strength, benevolence), Kim Young Woon was a regular cast member on several shows like KBS' Star King and MBC's Driving School. He also hosted Mnet's M!Countdown and MBC's Show! Music Core, Sunday Sunday Night Dong-an Club, and Nothing is Impossible. He's had roles in several films and TV shows, his most recent project being 2019's web series What Happened to Mirae? for which he won the Best Actor award at the 2019 Seoul Webfest Awards. After a four-year hiatus from group activities that began in 2015, Kangin made the decision to withdraw from Super Junior on July 10, 2019. However, he is still signed under SM Entertainment.
Hangeng - lead dancer, vocalist
Birthday: February 9, 1984
Fandom name: Gengfans/Gengsters
The first non-Korean idol to perform on national TV thanks to his debut with Super Junior, Hangeng came from a traditional dance background with additional training in ballet and martial arts. During his time with SJ, he participated in group appearances on variety shows and music stages, acting as the sub-unit leader for Super Junior-M during their promotions in China. He filed for contract termination from SM Entertainment in December 2009, and has since led an extremely successful solo career. Hangeng released his third album Sang Geng in 2015 before announcing that he'd be focusing on his acting career. He has since starred in several successful films and TV series, with The Great Detective (2019) and Still Not Enough (2020) being his most recent projects. In more personal news, Hangeng wed Chinese-American actress Celina Jade in an intimate ceremony that took place in New Zealand on December 31, 2019.
Kibum - lead rapper, vocalist
FYI, Ki Bum actually debuted first as an actor in KBS' 2004 drama April Kiss. During his time as a Suju member, he continued to take on acting jobs, such as a role in SBS' Snow FLower alongside Go Ara, and several MBC daily sitcoms. After his noticeable absence in the promotions for the group's third album and second concert tour, SM Entertainment confirmed in 2015 that Ki Bum would stop participating in group activities in order to focus on his acting career. He went on to appear in several Korean and Chinese dramas, like I Love Lee Tae Ri (2012) and The Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (2013-2014) before taking a break from showbiz. He made his TV comeback with 2018's Two Feet Life, and reunited with Heechul for an episode of Matching Survival 1+1. Btw, he also opened a YouTube channel!
Henry (Super Junior-M) - main dancer, vocalist, rapper
After appearing as the dancing violinist in Super Junior's "Don't Don" MV, Henry debuted as a member of Super Junior-M in 2008. He made his solo debut in 2013 with the EP Trap, followed by another EP titled Fantastic in 2014. Henry left SM Entertainment in April 2018 to establish his own agency. Since then, Henry was cast as Trent in American film A Dog's Journey (2019), acted as a judge and mentor on Chinese talent contest Super Vocal, and joined seasons two and three of music variety show Begin Again. He signed with Monster Entertainment Group in November 2018 and released his first solo single under them on May 9, 2019, titled "Untitled Love Song." He was also featured in the soundtrack for Jumanji: The Next Level.
Ready to take a short journey through Super Junior songs? Here we go:
MORE ON SUPER JUNIOR, RIGHT THIS WAY:
- 15 Super Junior Songs You Need To Listen To If You're A Newbie Fan
- 15 Super Junior B-Side Songs You Shouldn't Sleep On
Follow Andie on Instagram.