In honor of their not-so-recent comeback with their new album Sexy, Free, and Single, and the fact that I arrived in Korea on the birthday of one of their members, the first artist spotlight goes to Super Junior (슈퍼주니어/슈주 or SuJu for short).
슈퍼주니어가뭐예요? What’s a Super Junior?
Super Junior is perhaps South Korea’s largest male idol group, with an original 13 member cast (the group started out with 12 when they were a project group). Now the group is down to 9 active/current members, with one on an extended hiatus, another who left the company and is currently pursuing a solo career, and two who are completing their compulsory military service as of this posting. However, most fans of Super Junior, or ELF (Ever Lasting Friends) consider Super Junior as having 15 members, including the ones that left or are on hiatus and adding Zhou Mi and Henry, who are members of the Super Junior sub-group Super Junior-M.
A (Brief) History
- Super Junior debuted with 12 members (Leeteuk, Heechul, Hangeng, Yesung, Kangin, Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook, Kibum) as Super Junior 05 under the management company SM Entertainment. Their debut album Super Junior 05 (Twins)was released in December.
- Kyuhyun joined the group as the thirteenth member; the group name was changed to Super Junior.
- On May 25, 2006, their single U was released for free download on their official website. The song was an instant success, eventually reaching over 1.7 million downloads on the same day, which caused the server to crash.
- Heechul was involved in a car accident on August 10, 2006. His left leg was fractured in five places, causing doctors to place rods in his leg. Heechul was advised to cease all activities for 12 weeks, and was released from the hospital on September 13, 2006. The final rods in his leg were removed in 2008.
- Super Junior’s first sub-group, Super Junior K.R.Y., was formed. The group focuses on ballads and consists of Super Junior’s main singers Kyuhyun, Ryeowook, and Yesung.
- By the year’s end, Super Junior collected seven awards in five top music award ceremonies and won ‘Best Newcomer’ at the 21st Golden Disc Awards (South Korea’s version of the Grammys).
- Super Junior’s second sub-group, Super Junior-T, was formed. The group focuses on trot music, which is Korea’s oldest form of popular music and was formed during Japan’s occupation of Korea (1910-1945). Members Leeteuk, Heechul, Kangin, Sungmin, Shindong, and Eunhyuk are part of this group. Super Junior-T released their first single “Rokkugo” on February 23, 2007.
- On April 19, 2007, Kyuhyun, Leeteuk, Shindong, and Eunhyuk were involved in a serious car accident and had to be hospitalized. Kyuhyun was critically injured and had to undergo surgery to remove the broken ribs that pierced his lungs. After being told that he had at best a 20 percent chance of survival, Kyuhyun made a miraculous recovery and was discharged within 78 days on July 5, 2007.
- Super Junior’s second album, Don’t Don, was released on September 20, 2007. The album was delayed due to Heechul and Kyuhyun’s car accidents.
- Super Junior’s third sub-group, Super Junior-M (picture above), was formed. The group focuses on the Mandopop or Mandarin Chinese pop music genre. Members Hangeng, Siwon, Donghae, Kyuhyun, Ryeowook form this group, along with Super Junior-M only members Zhou Mi and Henry. With the release of their first album, Me (迷) on April 23, 2008, Super Junior-M became Super Junior’s most successful sub-group and rocketed into success in the Chinese market with sold-out concerts, frequent variety show appearances, and numerous endorsement deals.
- Super Junior-Happy, Super Junior’s fourth sub-group, was formed with the members of Super Junior-T plus Yesung. Super Junior-Happy released their first EP, Cooking? Cooking! on June 5, 2008.
- Super Junior’s first Asia-wide concert tour, Super Show, started on February 22, 2008 in Seoul and ended on March 7, 2009 in Chengdu, China.
- Super Junior released their third album Sorry, Sorry on March 12, 2009. Only a month after its release, Sorry, Sorry became South Korea’s bestselling album of 2009 and later became the bestselling K-pop album in Taiwan, Thailand, China, and the Philippines, making it a hit across Asia. The title track “Sorry, Sorry” also became an Asia-wide hit and catapulted Super Junior into national and international fame. The album earned Super Junior a Disk Daesang (Record of the Year) at the 24th Golden Disk Awards.
- Super Show 2, Super Junior’s second Asia-wide concert tour, began on July 17, 2009 in Seoul and ended on March 10, 2010 in Manila. However, Kibum did not participate in the concert tour despite being featured in promotional materials; he later announced his temporary leave from group activities in order to pursue acting.
- Super Junior-M released their first EP, Super Girl, on September 23, 2009. The lead single “Super Girl” was met with positive critical acclaim and won numerous awards at Chinese music festivals.
- On October 16, 2009, Kangin was charged with a DUI and a hit-and-run after crashing into a parked taxi containing three passengers. He subsequently was suspended from all Super Junior and personal activities.
- On December 21, 2009, Hangeng filed for contract termination from SM Entertainment, citing unlawful contract length, heavy termination penalties , and human rights violations, such as not being allowed a day off for two years. He also said that he was not allowed to alter the contract and was forced to do things that were not stipulated in the contract.
- Bonamana, Super Junior’s fourth album, was released on May 13, 2010. This is the first album in which Hangeng is not featured, except for a part in the song “Shake It Up” that was recorded before he filed the lawsuit. Although the album was not a critical success, it outsold Sorry, Sorry.
- Kangin enlisted for his mandatory two-year military service on July 5, 2010.
- Hangeng released his first album as a solo artist, Geng Xin (更心), on July 27, 2010.
- Super Show 3 began in Seoul on August 14, 2010 and ended on May 7, 2011 in Vietnam.
- During their stops in Los Angeles and New York as part of SMTown Live ’10 World Tour, Super Junior was praised for their stage performances by the New York Times. They were subsequently honored by the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism for spreading Korean pop culture overseas. Super Junior was also featured on CNN’s Talk Asia program.
- Super Junior-M released their second EP, Perfection, on February 25, 2011. This is the first Super Junior-M release in which Hangeng is not featured and the first album that Sungmin and Eunhyuk, new additions to the sub-group, participate in.
- Mr. Simple, Super Junior’s fifth album, was released on August 3, 2011.
- Heechul left to complete his mandatory two-year military service on September 1, 2011.
- Hangeng’s contract with SM Entertainment was officially declared void on September 27, 2011. As a result, Hangeng is no longer a member of Super Junior.
- Super Show 4 started on November 21, 2011 in Seoul and ended on May 27, 2012 with an encore in Seoul.
- Donghae and Eunhyuk released their digital single “Oppa, Oppa” on December 16, 2011.
- At the 26th Golden Disk Awards, Super Junior took home four awards: Popularity Award, MSN Japan Award (the Golden Disk Awards were held in Japan this year), Disk Bonsang (Best Album), and Disk Daesang.
- Kangin was discharged from the military on April 16, 2012.
- Super Junior’s sixth and latest album, Sexy, Free, and Single, was released on July 1, 2012.
- Leeteuk enlisted in the military on October 30, 2012.
This is just a general-overview-of-the-group post; I’ll be posting member profiles in subsequent posts.