Super Junior

I didn’t find Asian men attractive at all. Okay, I found Gackt and Hyde attractive but that was namely it. I didn’t see much appeal in them. I listened to Japanese boy bands but something was missing. It wasn’t like *Nysnc or BSB that there was a physical pull aside from the music. Super Junior was the group to change that.

Super Junior, often shortened to SJ or SuJu, was slowly developed in the early 00’s by SM Entertainment then CEO Lee Sooman. He gathered up some members that had passed his yearly auditions and had decided to finally let them debut after years of training. He kept adding and adding members he could find that he didn’t really know what to do with and formed Super Junior 05. A group that would bring singers, actors and MCs to shows after a year or so of promotions before brining in a new generation. It’s kind of like MDO’s graduation concepts to give you something to compare it to.

In 2005 they released their first album and it was quite successful onto 2006. By then the CEO had made preparations to graduate some members and to introduce new ones before just deciding to add the thirteenth to the orginal twelve, Cho Kyuhyun.

Kyuhyun’s addition was recieved with mixed feelings at first, many fans just wanted the original twelve (Leeteuk the leader, Heechul, Hangeng, Yesung, Kangin, Shindong, Yesung, Ryeowook, Siwon, Sungmin,  Kibum, Eunhyuk and Donghae) to remain as a solid group. Once the single ‘U’ was released and it became so popular that the group took Korea by storm. Shortly after that, the group began to get offers to record songs for Korean Dramas and that’s where the first sub-unit was born. Sub-units are divisions from the core thirteen member group that help SM Entertainment promote the group in smaller numbers. The first unit born was K.R.Y. named after three members(Kyuhyun, Ryeowook and Yesung) who sing heart wrenching ballads.

They were plans to release the group’s second album in late 2006 but there were many setbacks, including a devastating car accident that almost took the life of Kyuhyun. The album was finally released in September of 2007 and though critics didn’t completely favor the album, fans loved it so much that it became one of the top selling albums in Korea for the year.

For the year or 2008 the company decided to try their hand at expanding into the Chinese market, where the group was already widely popular. They decided to capitalize on it by creating yet another sub-unit, aptly named Super Junior M. Five of the members of the core group were selected, these being Donghae, Siwon, Kyuhyun, Ryeowook and Hangeng. Two more members were added into the mix, Chinese Zhoumi and Chinese-Canadian multi-talented trainee, Henry (obvious who my favorite is yet? ;P )

The two extra members were received with a lot of hate and it gave birth to the ‘Only 13’ project, where fans made wide and silent protests that the group should remain at 13 members. They believed in this so strongly, they bought out stocks in SM Entertainment to ensure they would have a say in the group’s member standing.

While Super Junior M began their promotions in China, some of the other SuJu members promoted as another sub-unit, this one called Super Junior Happy. They continued their promotions up until the end of the year, not releasing anything as a full group in Korea.

In 2009 the group broke through, becoming the ‘kings’ of Kpop with the release of their third album ‘Sorry Sorry’. Critics loved the album and it became one of the top selling albums of Korea for the year, along with the title song being so popular in China…it charted for almost a year! Though sadly, in December of that year is when they started suffering setbacks.  Kibum had already decided to take a break from the group to focus on acting but in December the group took a big blow. Chinese member Hangeng filed for contract termination for unlawful contract length, treatment and unreasonable work conditions. Around that time another member of the group, Kangin, also started having troubles. He got into a bar fight that turned out to not be his fault and got involved in a hit and run.

In 2010 things fared a bit better for the group with the release of their fourth album and following concert tour. Kangin didn’t take part in this album and neither did Kibum. This was the first album to feature just 10 members. The repackage version of the album featured Kangin and his temporary departure song before heading off to do his mandatory military service.

Last year, the group toured a while longer while the Super Junior M sub-unit finally released something, their second mini album. The album was received warmly by fans and in the second half of the year, they made a comeback with the same ten members they used the year before. Heechul’s promotions were short-lived as he headed into his mandatory military service on October, cutting off his promotion period by a month.

In 2011 SuJu also tried their hand at the Japanese market officially, releasing two singles that topped highly in the Oricon Chart(Japan’s equivalent of Billboard if you will) and made their second appearance on US soil by performing on Madison Square Garden with the rest of their company, SM Entertainment.

Currently, rumors are afloat that they will be releasing a sixth album in November, after their current tour ends. They’re also performing on various Asian regions but have started to branch out, Paris being their first tour stop for foreign fans.

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