There are thousands of K-Pop idols that are trying their best to achieve long-term success, and we, the fans, are more than willing to support them no matter what. However, there are instances when an idol’s personal issues and differences prevail, creating a rift, that could result in a member leaving his/her group. Some departures might be sad, but some are light and acceptable. The members who departed all held their own positions, and with them leaving, other members needed to take over.
Here are seven cases of member departures that paved way for other members to shine! Note: be reminded that we do not mean this in an offensive and/or a negative way, thus, it’s just an analysis and a mere observation. Thank you.
Seunghee – Seungyeon (Kara)
In 2007, DSP Media, a once top company along with JYP and SM, debuted the successors of FinKL named Kara. They debuted with a hip-hop track called “Break It” and had four members: Seunghee (Main Vocal), Gyuri (Leader), Seungyeon (Vocal), and Nicole (Maknae/Rapper). After promotions for their first album “The First Blooming”, DSP Media revealed the departure of Seunghee. Seunghee left because of parental pressure due to her dropping grades in school. Upon her departure, Seungyeon then took over her position and became the main vocal of Kara. Seunghee discontinued her life as an idol but started becoming a vocal coach to new idols and in 2011, Seunghee tied the knot with her fiance, Yang Won-joon. 3 of the current KARA members did not re-sign their contracts with DSP including Seungyeon, however, Gyuri stated that Kara, as a group, has not disbanded. Seungyeon is now preparing for the upcoming sequel of her hit drama, Age of Youth.
Junhyeok – Wonpil (Day6)
In 2015, JYP Entertainment debuted their first ever boy band under their sub-label, Studio J. They were named Day6 and had six members: Sungjin (guitar/main vocals), Junhyeok (piano/main vocals), Jae (electric guitar/sub-rap/vocal), Young.K (bass/rap/vocal), Wonpil (synthesizer/vocal), and Dowoon (drums). A year after their debut, fans were alarmed over Junhyeok’s actions in social media that were soon cleared after JYP announced his departure from the group. Due to personal issues, Junhyeok terminated his contract and DAY6 continued as five. Wonpil, who was in charge of synthesizer before, became in charge of both synthesizer and keyboards. He is also now considered by many as DAY6′ “second main vocal” a position previously held by Junhyeok , however, the positions aren’t official. Currently, Junhyeok found his new home in a new band called “Be Blossom“. Be Blossom is actively performing in music festivals and universities. DAY6, on the other hand, recently released theit new MV for the July release of their year-long project “EveryDAY6” called “Hi, Hello“.
Seunghee – Yebin (DIA)
Also in 2015, the seven membered ladies of MBK Entertainment (previously known as Core Contents Media) debuted under the name “DIA“. The members were: Seunghee (Leader/Main Vocal), Eunice (Main Vocal), Yebin (Vocal), Chaeyeon (Vocal), Jenny (Vocal), Eunjin (Rap), and Cathy (Rap). Their debut was called “Somehow” and was soon followed by follow-up single “My Bestfriend’s Boyfriend”. However, before they even came back with their third release, MBK announced Seunghee’s departure from the group. Prior to DIA, she was originally part of the disbanded girl group “F-ve Girls”, also under MBK, and was also one of the possible members of Woollim’s girl group, “Lovelyz”. She left DIA to pursue her career in acting. With Seunghee’s departure, only Eunice was left as the group’s main vocal. However, sub/lead vocal Yebin came to fill Seunghee’s position and became the main singer of the group. With her singing in the chorus as well as her ability to do high notes and adlibs, the latter not present when Seunghee was still part of the group. All in good terms, DIA’s former leader has continued to support the group. Seunghee can be last seen on the SBS Plus drama “Wednesday 3:30” along with VIXX’ Hongbin and actress Jin Ki-joo. DIA, now a 9 membered group, made a comeback with “Will U Go Out With Me” that gained positive results and feedback.
Somin – Jinsol (APRIL)
After Puretty’s disbandment and KARA Project’s conclusion, fans had been impatient to see the former members debut in a new girl group. Thankfully, DSP answered their prayers debuting the successors of Rainbow, a six membered girl group named APRIL. Two of the members were part of the survival show “Kara Project” in which one of the two was a member of the disbanded group “Puretty”. This was Somin, the leader and the main vocal of the group. She left the group after their debut because the concept of APRIL did not fit her and she wanted to pursue a different career path. Taking over her main vocal position is the group’s youngest, 2000 liner, Jinsol. In 2017, DSP Media revealed their newest co-ed group, KARD, and Somin as one of the 4 members. They will be officially debuting this July with “Hola Hola”. APRIL, still a 6 membered group, are currently promoting their 2nd single album “Mayday“. Somin may have left the group, but is still publicly supporting and cheering for them.
Jay Park – Taecyeon (2PM)
Probably one of the most popular cases of a member departure is Jay Park and 2PM’s. Debuting in 2008 under JYP Entertainment, 2PM was a popular group among other competitors. They rose to prominence the next year, scoring their first music show win, but later was soon entangled in a controversy. Here is an excerpt from 2PM’s wikipedia page for a full understanding of what happened:
“On 4 September 2009, articles surfaced on the internet regarding Jaebeom’s posts from 2005 on his personal Myspace account, in which he expressed his dislike for Korea while still a trainee for JYP Entertainment. These posts, leaked by a netizen who hacked his Myspace account, were taken out of context and severely misinterpreted by the Korean media. Jaebeom issued an apology regarding this matter. Although some demanded that Jaebeom should be forced out of 2PM, JYP Entertainment CEO Park Jin-young stated on 7 September lent the singer a vote of confidence, suggesting that he would remain in the group. Yet the following day, Jaebeom announced on his official fancafe that he would leave the group and return to the United States for a while to calm the situation. He planned to return to school and improve his understanding of music. At the same time, he apologized to his fellow band members for not being a good leader and older brother for them. He also promised to come back as a better person. Park Jin-young confirmed that 2PM would continue on as a six-member group. Due to the sensitive topic of Jaebeom’s departure, 2PM withdrew for several weeks from their appearances on variety shows.”
However, we won’t ever know the truth behind his departure unless we are placed in their shoes. Upon Jay Park’s leave, Taecyeon became 2PM’s only main rapper and also became one of the most popular members. Fast forward to the present, 2PM had numerous hit songs while Jay Park established himself as a solo artist, creating his own label called AOMG. He revealed that he doesn’t keep in contact with 2PM anymore but he still wishes his former group all the best. 2PM concluded their final concert called “6Knights” as some members will be enlisting for Korea’s mandatory army service. We will miss you 2PM!
Sera – Hyemi (9Muses)
Gaining popularity for being a “model group”, 9Muses debuted under Star Empire in 2010. They debuted with the JYP produced single “No Playboy“. The group also had a documentary in CNN that gained lots of attention for the hideous actions that were happening behind the scenes along with their dreams to debut and sing. The main vocalists of the group were Hyemi and Sera with the latter being the group’s leader. In mid 2014, Sera left the whole MINE fandom in sadness as she announced her leave from 9Muses. Hyemi, being an original member, took on the task of being the group’s acting leader as well as the only main vocalist of the group. Things changed when Star Empire added new members Keumjo and Sojin with the former joining Hyemi as the group’s vocalist. Sera is now pursuing a life outside the idol group market and is currently posting videos of her music on her Youtube channel called TheRyuSera. Also, after numerous lineup changes, 9Muses is now a five membered group. Hyemi, being the only original member left, is now the leader. They are currently promoting with title track “Remember“. Though there are many members that have left the group already, 9Muses is still the perfect example of a sisterly bond for they continue to support the group and of course, with Sera being no exception.
Sunye – Yeeun (Wonder Girls)
In 2007, JYP Entertainment debuted one of the most legendary groups in K-Pop, the Wonder Girls. The group was an instant hit and easily snatched the “National Girl Group” title with their numerous hits: Tell Me, So Hot, Nobody and more. In 2009, the group revealed that they will be promoting in the United States with an English version of “Nobody”. The song was an instant hit and became the first K-Pop song to ever chart on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Not only only Billboard, it also charted in numerous countries, Nobody was a huge hit making it a global phenomenon and dance craze. In 2012, the group shocked the whole nation with the announcement of Sunye’s marriage. There were people wishing Sunye good luck and were congratulating her, but most of the feedback was negative. A lot of fans were dismayed by Sunye’s decision, however, Yeeun came to her rescue as she defended her leader and best friend. After a long hiatus, Wonder Girls came back as a band, with the exclusion of Sunye and Sohee. Yeeun took the main vocalist position that was once Sunye’s and also became the group’s acting leader. Unfortunately, in 2017 the group once again shocked the whole nation with the announcement of their disbandment. They released their final single called “Draw Me“. Sunye recently gave birth to her second child and is living a simple life as a mother, a wife, and a missionary. Yeeun left JYP on good terms and is now a soloist under Amoeba Culture. The six Wonder Girls still keep in touch and continue to support one another, showcasing their strong sisterly bond.
Again, this post is not intended to shade nor to offend. Let’s all support each individual in their chosen careers and respect their decisions in life.
What do you think about the current stature of the groups? Did I forget other member departures that are worthy of being on the list? Comment your opinions down below for a possible part 2 of this post!