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Super Junior (Korean: 슈퍼주니어), often referred to as SJ or SuJu (슈주), is a boy band from Seoul, South Korea formed by SM Entertainment in 2005. With a total of thirteen members, Super Junior is the largest boy band in the world. The group consists of Leeteuk (leader), Heechul, Han Geng, Yesung, Kang-in, Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook, Kibum, and Kyuhyun. The Chinese member, Han Geng, was chosen from three thousand applicants, via auditions held in China by SM Entertainment in 2001.
Since the late 1990s, Korean talent agency and record label SM Entertainment has been holding annual auditions to scout new talents that complemented the success of pop groups H.O.T, S.E.S, and Shinhwa, all of which were created by SM founder Soo-Man Lee in the mid 1990s.Leeteuk and Eunhyuk were the first two members of the group to be recruited in 2000 under SM’s Starlight Casting System in Seoul.
In 2001, the company held their first overseas casting auditions and discovered Han Geng in Beijing, who was chosen among three thousand applicants. That same year, Yesung was discovered under Seoul’s casting system with his friend HeeChul. Sungmin and Donghae were also selected to be trainees after their appearance in an SM-sponsored contest. In 2002, Heechul and Kangin was recruited along with Kibum, who was discovered in Los Angeles. Siwon was casted in 2003 and Ryeowook in 2004, in which the latter was discovered through the Chinchin Youth Festival singing competition. In 2005, Shindong was selected.
Not long after boy band TVXQ’s debut in 2003, news about Lee’s unprecedented plans of forming another boy band quickly spread on the Internet. In early 2005, Lee confirmed the news and announced that an all-boy project group of twelve members would debut near the end of the year, promoting this singing group to be “The Gateway to Stardom of Asia.” Lee announced that that most members in this group were chosen because of their performing experiences as actors, MCs, models, and radio hosts prior debut. Heechul and Kibum were already established entertainers, and most of the other members had already made various kinds of appearances on television and media. Highly inspired by the rotational concept of Japan’s girl group Morning Musume, this group would also experience line-up changes, with new members replacing some selected members every year to keep the group constantly young and all-rounded. This concept was then newly introduced to the K-pop market.
For a while the group was rumored to be called O.V.E.R, the acronym for “Obey the Voice for Each Rhythm.” However, before the group settled with their current name, SM simply referred to them as Junior, a representation of the members’ young ages when they first became SM trainees. After the members’ showcased their different talents to the company at a picnic, the company finalized their concept name to Super Junior. The group thereafter became officially Super Junior 05, the first generation of Super Junior.
Super Junior 05 made their pre-debut on the Korean channel Mnet on September 11, 2005.At the showcase, they performed various styles of hip hop dancing. The group danced to B2K’s “Take It To The Floor.” Han Geng, Eunhyuk, and Donghae also performed a separate dance away from the group, dancing to Usher’s “Caught Up.” However, the performance did not air on television until May 16, 2006 as a segment in the Super Junior Show, the group’s first television documentary.
2005–2006: The Super Junior project
Super Junior 05 debuted on SBS’s music program Popular Songs on November 6, 2005, performing their first single, “TWINS (Knock Out).” A digital single with “TWINS (Knock Out)”, “You are the one”, and three additional tracks were released online on November 8. A physical CD single was scheduled to be released the following week but a more complete album, SuperJunior05 (TWINS), was released on December 6, 2005 instead. Their debut album sold 28,536 copies in the first month of release and debuted at #3 in the monthly chart of December 2005. In that same month, they released “Show Me Your Love,” a collaboration single with TVXQ. “Show Me Your Love” became the best-selling record of December 2005, selling 49,945 copies that month.
In February 2006, Super Junior 05 began performances for “Miracle”, the second promotional single from their debut album. “Miracle” was the group’s first single to peak #1 in online music charts of South Korea as well as the music charts of Thailand, drawing interest from international markets. As promotions for “Miracle” came to an end, SM Entertainment began selecting new members for Super Junior’s second line-up project, Super Junior 06. The company even prepared a list of chosen members that were to graduate from the group. However, no members were taken out and a thirteenth member was added instead in May 2006. The line-up project has been abandoned since then, and the group became known as just Super Junior, without the suffix “05”.
2006–2007: Breakthrough success
On May 23, 2006, SM Entertainment revealed the thirteenth member Kyuhyun, who was discovered through a singing competition in 2005. They released their single “U” online for free download on May 25, 2006 in their official website. “U” had over 400 thousand downloads within five hours of release and it ultimately exceeded 1.7 million downloads, crashing the server. The physical single of “U” with a total of three tracks was released on June 6, 2006, eventually selling over 81,000 units. The single became one of Korea’s most popular songs of the year, yielding #1 spots for five consecutive weeks on two of Korea’s top music programs. By the end of the year, Super Junior collected over seven awards in five of South Korea’s top music award ceremonies, winning the title as Best New Group of 2006.
Super Junior’s first sub-unit, the ballad-singing trio Super Junior-K.R.Y., debuted on November 5, 2006 with a performance of Hyena theme song “The One I Love” on KBS music program Music Bank. A second sub-unit arrived in February 2007 called Super Junior-T. The trot-singing group released their first single “Rokkugo” in February 23, 2007 and made a debut performance on Popular Songs two days later.
Super Junior’s second official album was intended for a late 2006 release, but due to several accidental setbacks, Don’t Don was not released until September 20, 2007. Within the first three days of release, offline album sales for Don’t Don passed the 11,000 unit mark, debuting as #1 in all available offline charts. It finished the September monthly album sales as #1. 60,000 units were shipped by the first week of release and additional copies were printed. Although Don’t Don received rather bland reviews from critics, the album sold more than 160,000 copies by the end of the year, becoming the second best-selling record of 2007. The album also found success in Taiwan; it broke the record for being the highest ranked Korean album on the G-music Combo Billboard Chart, surpassing the albums of TVXQ and Shinhwa. Super Junior’s album also ranked above Taiwanese boy band K One, whose album debuted at #6.
Supported by the release of Don’t Don, Super Junior was nominated in seven separate categories at the 2007 M.NET/KM Music Festival that was held on November 17, 2007. Super Junior won three of those categories including “Netizen Choice Award” and “Mobile Popularity”, being the biggest winner of the night. The group also won “Best Artist of the Year” (Daesang), termed by many as the highest recognition of the ceremony. Super Junior collected two more awards on December 14, 2007 at the 2007 Golden Disk Awards. Although defeated by SG Wannabe in winning the “Daesang”, Super Junior won a “Bonsang” and the “TPL Anycall Popularity Award”, which were reported as expected wins for the group by the media after the success of Don’t Don.
2008–2009: Beyond Korea
On October 2, 2007, SM Entertainment announced a third Super Junior sub-unit Super Junior-M, a subgroup designated for the Chinese market. While the creation of the subgroup created a brief controversy between the fans and the management,[e] Super Junior-M became a phenomenal success in China, having the opportunity to have two sold-out concerts in Hong Kong, top weekly ratings with their appearance on variety programs, and becoming the idol group with the most endorsement contracts in China. With the absence of almost half of the members in Korea, a fourth Super Junior sub-unit was created that same year to prevent Super Junior from disappearing in the Korean music industry. With five members from Super Junior-T and Yesung, they formed the subgroup, Super Junior-Happy. Super Junior-Happy released the EP Cooking? Cooking! on June 5, 2008, and promotions ended on September 7, lasting for four months. In November 2008, Super Junior-T returned, this time as a singing group in Japan, called SuperJunior-TxMoeyan; this group added Moeyan, a famous two-woman comedy group in Japan. “ROCK&GO”, a Japanese-language version of “Rokuko”, debuted at #19 on the Oricon Daily Charts and jumped to #2 three days later.
Super Junior’s first major tour, Super Show, commenced on February 22, 2008 in Seoul. The tour covered three countries and had shows on six different cities, including Bangkok, Shanghai, and Beijing. From July 8 to July 9, 2008, Super Junior held their first fan meeting in Japan, at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, as a celebration for the grand opening of their official Japanese Homepage, which was launched on April 1, 2008. 12,000 tickets to the fanmeeting were all sold out in several days. The group released a compiled Japan single the following day, entitled “U/TWINS”, which includes the Japanese version of “U” in the limited release, to complement the event. The single peaked at #4 on Japan’s Oricon Daily Chart in its first day of release, and dropped down to only four places in its second. The single broke a new record for being the first Korean single to have made within top 10 on Japan’s Oricon Weekly Chart. On August 2, 2008, Super Junior expanded their routes to Genting Highlands, Malaysia, being one of the top guest performers at the MTV Asia Awards 2008 along with other international performing artists such as OneRepublic and the Jabbawockeez. They are the third SM artist to win Favorite Artist Korea at the MTV Asia Awards after Kangta and BoA, and the second musical group to win the award after JTL in 2003.
Super Junior’s third album, Sorry, Sorry, was released on March 12, 2009 with acclaimed reviews. The title single of the album, “Sorry, Sorry” was digitally released on March 9, 2009. In less than a week after preorders were announced, over 150,000 copies were pre-ordered. Sorry, Sorry was their first album to debut at #1 on the Hanteo Charts, and it sold over 29,000 copies the first day, defeating Seo Taiji’s record of 25,000. Promotions for the album started March 13 with the performance of “Sorry, Sorry” and “Why I Like You” on Music Bank. Two weeks later, “Sorry, Sorry” became the number one song of the week on the same program. During the group’s performance on music program Popular Songs on March 15, ratings went up to as high as 14%, the highest in recent years. From March to May, “Sorry, Sorry” collected a total of ten #1 awards with consecutive wins in Korea, having the single becoming a national and international success. After only a month of release, the album became South Korea’s best-selling album of 2009. Sorry, Sorry was also a critically and commercially successful hit in other Asian countries, opting the group to become the only overseas representative for the second time at Taiwan’s annual Golden Melody Awards. Sorry, Sorry was a best-selling Korean-language album in Taiwan, Thailand, China, and the Philippines, in which the latter listed the album to be the first K-pop album to reach #1 in music charts from the country. Super Junior won three awards in the 1st MNET Asian Music Awards – Overseas Viewers Award, Mobile Popularity Award and CGV Popularity Award despite not attending. Super Junior’s Sorry, Sorry won Daesang at the 2009 Golden Disk Awards.
On December 10, 2009, a music video called Sorry, Sorry – Answer was released through SM Entertainment’s YouTube page.
They also sang “S.E.O.U.L. Song” with the group’s own Kyuhyun, Donghae, Siwon, Leeteuk, Ryeowook, Sungmin, and others along with some of Girls Generation members Seohyun, Sunny, Sooyoung, Taeyeon and Jessica and also other some other members in the two groups.
2010: Continuing Super Show 2 Tour and Fourth Studio Album
Super Junior’s Asian Tour: Super Show 2 is planned to come to four more cities; Beijing, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, and Manila. In January 2010, members Leeteuk, Shindong, Siwon, Eunhyuk and Donghae traveled to Thailand to make an appearance on KPN Awards and also confirmed that Super Junior would be releasing a fourth album very soon.