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10 K-Pop Korean Boy Bands You Should Know

I have a degree in ancient history and a passion for reading, cooking, DIY projects, tea, science fiction, and a myriad of other subjects.

The members of Big Bang, an immensely popular Korean boy band.

The members of Big Bang, an immensely popular Korean boy band.

What is K-Pop?

K-Pop refers to a genre of popular music produced in South Korea. The contemporary K-Pop style emerged in the 1990s and was heavily influenced by American popular music, particularly genres such as rap, R&B, and techno. It's easy to see the influence of American pop icons such as Madonna and Michael Jackson in the sounds and visual styles of many K-Pop artists.

But K-Pop performers are much more than Western wannabes. They've sampled diverse musical styles and created something totally new, unique, and awesome. K-Pop is wildly popular in the Asian world for its signature swagger, class, and catchiness, and it's rapidly becoming a worldwide phenomenon.

K-Pop Idols

One of the unique aspects of K-Pop is the creation of idols and idol groups. Korean idols are typically young, extremely good-looking, highly-skilled performers. Unlike Western musicians and stars, K-Pop idols undergo rigorous training in dance, choreography, voice training, musical theory, and other entertainment-related subjects to qualify for long-term contracts. Some begin training as early as 9 or 10 years old to pass the auditions.

The candidates who pass both the grueling training programs and competitive auditions often have the opportunity to become idols. In essence, K-Pop idols are incredibly hard-working, dedicated professional entertainers and media personalities.

K-Pop Idol Groups

Boy and girl bands (like 'N Sync and the Spice Girls) have gone out of fashion in the Western world, but they're a huge deal in K-Pop. Some idols who pass the auditions are contracted to perform in idol groups which are typically organized with all-boy or all-girl members.

Members of idol groups occasionally work on collaborative projects with other idols and groups outside of their own, and members of particularly successful groups sometimes develop flourishing solo careers as well (Like G-Dragon of Big Bang and Hyun-Ah of 4Minute).

If you're just learning about K-Pop (or if you're already a fan), these are 10 popular boy bands you should hear.

#10: F.T. Island

Debut: 2007

Entertainment Label: Mnet Media

Number of Members: 5

Members: Choi Jong-hoon, Lee Hongki, Lee Jae jin, Song Seung-hyun, and Choi Min-hwan.

Studio Albums: 6 Korean, 7 Japanese

Fun Fact: "F.T. Island" is short for "Five Treasure Island."

F.T. Island, "I Hope"

#9: SS501

Debut: 2005

Entertainment Label: DSP Entertainment

Number of Members: 5

Members: Kim Hyun-joong, Heo Young-saeng, Kim Kyu-jong, Park Jung-min, and Kim Hyung-jun.

Studio Albums: 1 Korean, 2 Japanese

Fun Fact: The band's name is pronounced "Double S 5-oh-1." They have been on hiatus since 2010.

SS501, "Love Ya"

#8: U-KISS

Debut: 2008

Entertainment Label: NH Media

Number of Members: 7

Members: Shin Soohyun, Kiseop, Hoon, Eli, AJ, Kevin Woo, and Shin Dongho.

Studio Albums: 3 Korean, 4 Japanese

Fun Fact: U-Kiss stands for "Ubiquitous Korean International idol Super Star."

U-Kiss, "Tick Tack"

#7: B2ST (or Beast)

Debut: 2009

Entertainment Label: Cube Entertainment

Number of Members: 6

Members: Yoon Doo-joon, Jang Hyun-seung, Yong Jun-hyung, Yang Yo-seob, Lee Gi-kwang, and Son Dong-woon.

Studio Albums: 2 Korean, 1 Japanese

Fun Fact: BEAST was subjected to a lot of criticism on their debut for being underwhelming and relatively unpopular as a supergroup, but they rose to popularity by 2011, matching and exceeding expectations of their success.

B2ST, "Shock"

#6: MBLAQ

Debut: 2009

Entertainment Label: J. Tune Entertainment

Number of Members: 5

Members: Seungho, G.O, and Mir

Studio Albums: 1 Korean

Fun Fact: MBLAQ stands for "Music Boys Live in Absolute Quality."

MBLAQ - "Stay"

#5: TVXQ!

Debut: 2003

Entertainment Label: S.M. Entertainment

Number of Members: 2

Members: U-Know Yunho and Max Changmin.

Studio Albums: 8 Korean, 8 Japanese

Fun Fact: The group's Japanese name is Tohoshinki, which means "Rising Gods of the East."

TVXQ, "Catch Me"

#4: 2PM

Debut: 2008

Entertainment Label: JYP Entertainment

Number of Members: 6

Members: Jun. K, Nichkhun, Taecyeon, Wooyoung, Junho, and Chansung

Studio Albums: 5 Korean, 4 Japanese

Fun Fact: American musician Jay Park is the former bandleader. He left the group in 2010 to work on a solo career.

2PM, "I'm Your Man"

#3: SHINee

Debut: 2008

Entertainment Label: S.M. Entertainment

Number of Members: 5

Members: Onew, Jonghyun, Key, Minho, and Taemin

Studio Albums: 6 Korean, 3 Japanese

Fun Fact: The entire band has been in four Korean reality TV shows including two dating shows, a parenting competition, and a variety series.

SHINee, "Lucifer"

#2: Super Junior

Debut: 2005

Entertainment Label: S.M. Entertainment

Number of Members: 12

Members: Leeteuk, Heechul, Yesung, Kangin, Shingdong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook, Kibum, Kyuhyun

Studio Albums: 8 Korean, 1 Japanese

Fun Fact: Super Junior was one of the first K-Pop groups to achieve a high level of international success.

Super Junior, "Sexy, Free & Single"

#1: Big Bang

Debut: 2006

Entertainment Label: YG Entertainment

Number of Members: 5

Members: Kwon Ji-yong, Choi Seung-hyun, Dong Young-bae, Kang Dae-sung, and Lee Seung-hyun.

Studio Albums: 2 Korean, 4 Japanese

Fun Fact: Every single member of Big Bang has released at least one solo album.

Big Bang - "Fantastic Baby"

K-Pop Boy Band Quick Reference Table

 BandMembersSinceLabel

#1

Big Bang

5

2006

YG Entertainment

#2

Super Junior

12

2005

S.M. Entertainment

#3

SHINee

5

2008

S.M. Entertainment

#4

2PM

6

2008

JYP Entertainment

#5

TVXQ!

2

2003

S.M. Entertainment

#6

MBLAQ

5

2009

J. Tune Entertainment

#7

B2ST

6

2009

Cube Entertainment

#8

U-KISS

7

2008

NH Media

#9

SS501

5

2005

DSP Entertainment

#10

F.T. Island

5

2007

Mnet Media

Other Artists You Should Know

Questions & Answers

Question: Who is BTS?

Answer: BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys, is a 7-member 4th Generation boy band. They have worked with Western artists like The Chainsmokers and Desiigner, and are considered international superstars.

Comments

Choi hyunsuk on July 22, 2020:

I luv u bts

Hilda on February 26, 2020:

ok ARMYS BTS aren't there cz they are talking about the groups who debuted since a very long time.(i'm also an ARMY)

Gene on July 18, 2019:

Top 10 Korean Boy Bands you should you should knoolw and you didn't include the original founding boy band that starts it all???

H.O.T.?? The ones who started the whole boy band craze in Korea?

S on June 20, 2019:

I love you BTS

nami on May 20, 2019:

MAP6 BRO C'MONNNNN AND BTS????

(i know they are huge but c'mon bro)

.... on April 30, 2019:

BTS here BTS there... WTF!!! BTS is NEW THIS KPOP GROUP THAT ARE LISTED ARE THE FIRST THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW.... BTS IS SOOO OVERRATED..

ME on September 30, 2018:

I kinda see why bts isn’t here. MOST (not all)people already know bts.

asdf on August 23, 2018:

First of all, people, this article was UPDATED IN 2015

OF COURSE THERE WILL BE NO MENTION OF RECENT GROUPS

thanks y'all

unkown on August 18, 2018:

bts?

. on May 01, 2018:

Ok the amount of "where's BTS, EXO, GOT7, blah blah blah" comments on here SHOWS how disrespectful some of yall can be. The article title is "10 Kpop Boy Bands You SHOULD Know." These groups - all these boy groups on here - are certified LEGENDS. It means that maybe, just MAYBE, you should check them out instead of shoving your faves down everyone else's throats. I know all those new groups are doing very well and they're great (I actually HAVE listened to their songs, you know) but some of yall act like they're the beginning and end of kpop which is just wrong. If there are any other boy groups that should be on here (so groups you SHOULD know), they would be Sechskies, HOT, g.o.d., and Shinhwa. You know, the ones that REALLY started it, the ones who are your faves' faves' faves.

multifandom as heck on April 05, 2018:

For all of you wondering why BTS, EXO, GOT7, etc. aren’t on this list, keep in mind the time that this was posted and how truly iconic the groups that are on this list are. BTS wasn’t extremely popular until about late 2016, and even then they weren’t as well known as SHINee or TVXQ. EXO, though they debuted in 2012, also just isn’t much of a household name (though, I don’t expect many k-pop groups are. You catch my drift though.). As for GOT7, they’re honestly not super popular in general - there are many groups above them when it comes to popularity - though they’ve been killing it with their rankings as of recent. But in 2015 - they weren’t all that they are now.

QUICK NOTE: I am a huge fan of BTS; have been since around the release of Blood Sweat & Tears. I also love GOT7 with a passion. Not a giant fan of EXO, but I do enjoy a lot of their music and can often times name the majority of them. Please do not take this as me being an anti.

jakala smith on January 25, 2018:

BTS is always first in my book so they should be first here to

V on January 18, 2018:

lol where is bts .update this page now

J Yu on January 15, 2018:

Actually, TVXQ had five members in their group. Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu left to form a group called JYJ, formed by C-jes entertainment. TVXQ is still the best selling group in the Kpop world.

Jin's pants on December 27, 2017:

WHERE IS BTS???? WTFFF

BTS FTW! on December 13, 2017:

Where's BTS???????????

Min yoongi on December 09, 2017:

Where'sBTS and Got 7?????

kim hyun on October 13, 2017:

what about BTS?

Lee Susan on September 11, 2017:

honestly where is EXO???? who made this list????

yuo EXO on August 11, 2017:

Ummmm mm Where the hell is EXO

daisha on July 12, 2017:

where is got7

Czesica on June 08, 2017:

What about my BTS ,EXO,GOT 7,B.A.P,IKON ,INFINITE ?

JT on June 04, 2017:

One group. BTS

ann on May 25, 2017:

wheres bangtan

AP on April 13, 2017:

Where's EXO here.....Most popular and successful group is not mentioned here....Even BAP

HI on April 11, 2017:

Please include BTS,they're awesome!

Tlangi on March 02, 2017:

and GOT7???

lollipop on January 29, 2017:

bts is better than all of those

Yurika on January 15, 2017:

How about INFINITE? They are a must-see/must-know also.

Bangtan's Girl on January 12, 2017:

What about BTS? You just missed them.... They're the best. And why are they not in the list? And where is EXO and Got7? Where are they 3? They are the most popular boy groups now. You should've added them.

CQ on January 07, 2017:

Putting Infinite on the list will be a good choice

Jungkook on January 06, 2017:

Where is BTS??? Care to explain

Hatolallynarose on January 06, 2017:

so beutiful song FT island I HOPE MV

youmansup on January 05, 2017:

B2st B2uty 4ever

wonux.neoj@gmail.com on January 03, 2017:

Hello , how bout shinwa?

M on December 18, 2016:

I'm not a VIP but I like some of their songs. I don't think Big Bang is number 1. Cause their music is a bit above average but very catchy. I believe their different approach made them become well known. For me, there's no number 1, 2 or whatever. But there should be best better and good bands. But sadly a lot of better or best bands are underrated and some good bands are overrated. I just hope that bands will start performing live whether it's their 1st day of comeback or what. Through that the quality will increase. And I hope many fans to appreciate good quality of music and not just good face before music.

haha on December 11, 2016:

Written a long time ago, people. Even then, update it soon. And I don't think the author belongs to any fandom. Personally, I am an EXO-L and INNERCIRCLE but the writer doesn't seem very VIPish. Just newish to kpop and very objective. Big Bang are, after all, the 10 years monster of kpop. :)

we on November 23, 2016:

where is INFINITE ????????????

lavyaJiminBTS on November 01, 2016:

Well fine. But i think they should change now and i think its better to present BTS as no.#1 Well i do know some of them though

CrazyKiRInX on October 12, 2016:

What about SEVENTEEN and SHINHWA!?

MAYEEE on September 23, 2016:

EXOOOOO? WHERE IS EXO? THEY ARE DESERVE TO BE IN TOP #1

camscasil on September 02, 2016:

why doesnt have BTS

Bros on August 15, 2016:

Guys omfg chill. This article was published 3 years ago - a time when BTS and Exo weren't as big as they are ow.

Dazzy on July 27, 2016:

Where BTS and EXO?

KpopFan on June 25, 2016:

I expected BTS or EXO to be in this list but I guess not :/

Garrett on June 10, 2016:

WHAT THE HECK, NO BTS, YOUR CRAZY. YOU SHOULD OF PUT BTS AS #1

Stefanie on June 08, 2016:

What about EXO and BTS ?

They are also popular and deserve to be in top 5

Oohsehun on May 25, 2016:

Lol this is totally wrong have you forgot exo, bts and got7??

BTS on April 11, 2016:

da uck, there is no EXO OR INFINITE. are you serious

Anonymous on March 21, 2016:

Yay my babe BIGBANG is the first!! Thx Christy Kirwan!

EXO- XO on February 01, 2016:

Where is EXO?????? EXO deserve to be in TOP 5

ELF on December 13, 2015:

well no one ever said that super junor are 12 ..they are still 13 and u should say 13 -_-

tabita on October 10, 2015:

Beast iz best forever

inspirit on September 22, 2015:

what about infinite and exo?

Exo-L on July 24, 2015:

I hope exo will be in the list

ZN on July 11, 2015:

where infinite???

exo_lover on July 08, 2015:

Please update soon, EXO should be on the list :)

but thanks

KPOPlover on June 05, 2015:

EXO-L calm down. Obviously the author of this blog is a VIP.lol

EXO popularity is quickly rising but SUJU are still the King of Hallyu so they should be in #1.

ML Tortoise on June 05, 2015:

-Fangirl Alert YO Walk Past Say Hi-

Oh as I have predicted ZE:A is not going to be in there... They are so un derrated... TT I mean, popularity doesn't mean everything... Some groups are underrated *sighs* and by the way people should seriously stop commenting on EXO. They are talented, they don't mean everything. CHILL GUYS *fangirling on ZE:A CNBLUE INFINITE U-KISS BTS...* LOL I'm such a slut. *cries over My cutiepie DongJunie's blank IG account TT*

Miharu on June 02, 2015:

JYJ is still the best kpop group for me.. I love kpop because of them.

Though I would like it if they will reunite with TVXQ and form DBSK again.. the legendary king of KPOP

Miharu on June 02, 2015:

I think JYJ is way better than them. Even though they can't promote on television because of... the love them because of their talents.

Though I still miss the time when they are five TVXQ/DBSK. They are legends.

hons on May 01, 2015:

K-pop works in india too we like Korean pop star saport will be their always.....we had a great influce of k-pop in North East India too.....

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 30, 2015:

This was an interesting, Christy, since I never heard of these K-Pop Korean boy bands. Thanks for sharing. Voted up for interesting!

V.I.P on April 18, 2015:

LOVE YOU !!! BIG BANG... ;)

maria on March 09, 2015:

Infinite?

TOP jjang on February 24, 2015:

off course BIGBANG is no 1.....boom shaka laka

LUffy on February 24, 2015:

best list ever m glad.........bigbang is awesome

hannah on February 11, 2015:

Where's BTS AND EXO? :( but im still happy Suju and 2pm is in the list

Christy Kirwan (author) from San Francisco on February 10, 2015:

I like them a lot! I just haven't had time to update my list in a while. Lot of other things going on. I'll get to it in the next couple months. Thanks for reading! :)

iamnotyou on February 10, 2015:

where's EXO? i keep coming back to see it in your list, but it seems, you don't like them. it's dissapointing. anyway, thanks for this!

Diana on January 22, 2015:

It's hard to accept the placing of other groups as higher than TVXQ... (which should indeed include Jaejoong, Junsu and Yoochun). They were the ones who started everything in many ways :] They are legends, recognized and admired by all of the groups in this list. Anyway, thanks for the post!

Hash on January 14, 2015:

Everyone complaining about Exo needs to just calm down for a moment, and fangirl - like I am - over how SHINee's in there. That is all. Peace out.

alis on January 09, 2015:

seriously stop complaining about exo. These groups are just as good or even better than exo.

jbg on December 21, 2014:

Ss501 no 1 korean group.

kalden bhutia on December 20, 2014:

im a pure vip,love u big bang.

China Abarquez on December 14, 2014:

Where's JYJ? It breaks my heart. Huhuhu. They are also good and popular. And members don't just sing or dance but also have the ability to act. Anyway, Big Bang is still no. 1 especially T.O.P. and GD.

kpoplover on December 02, 2014:

where's JYJ, Infinite , Shinhwa, EXO, and CNBlue????Ohmygod...... you sure missed quite a few!!! please update.....saranghaeyo anyway bcuz you included my boys in mblaq right there.:)

ywaiimfh on November 27, 2014:

why exo is not included..they deserve a slot..

Lajaina on November 18, 2014:

Yay! Beast! ^_^

Exo on November 16, 2014:

EXO Fighting

Lovelle Paglinawan Xi on November 14, 2014:

Exo is no 1,,, they really deserves to be no.1

ashley on November 10, 2014:

SS501 is the best boy band forever. Thanks for putting them.

Belle Julz from New York on November 09, 2014:

Love KPop; great song selections of these awesome bands!

EXO_EXO on October 18, 2014:

What?! Why is EXO not included?! I understand that EXO is losing memebers specifically Kris and Luhan but I really think that they should be included at least on the Top 5 because they really deserve it.

Jessica Allen on October 12, 2014:

I love 2pm! Yea, even though they aren't number one I'm still glad that they are fourth! I love Nichkhun! I love Jun. K! I love Wooyoung! I love Junho! I love Taecyeon! I love Chansung! And I will always love and miss jay park

ExoStan88 on October 08, 2014:

Where's Exo ? They should be in the list..

k ughh on September 23, 2014:

Ss501 is the best 4 ever.love them.

EXO_Fan on September 12, 2014:

Why isn't EXO on the list?????

Hhhhh on August 14, 2014:

Exo n1 in the world

vipbigbang on August 11, 2014:

Bigbang really deserved the No #1 place . Don't compare them w/ exo . Exo and Bigbang are two different groups . They have their own speciality . Exo is doing well , but i don't like them lol . No offence ;)

precious on August 06, 2014:

I m glad bigbang is no. 1.... i m huge fan of bigbang....

anji on August 06, 2014:

c;mon where is exo?

Chiaki on August 02, 2014:

Where is CNBLUE?

ann on July 21, 2014:

wheree is EXO????????????????

saka on June 29, 2014:

Exo? Wheris exo ? I expected exo in #1

Christy Kirwan (author) from San Francisco on June 12, 2014:

I haven't had a chance to update this list in a while. I will do so soon. Thanks for all the suggestions!

Toni on June 11, 2014:

You left out 2 main ones INFINITE and EXO. Like SS501 no linger exist and it's still there? Common.....

Technogala on June 11, 2014:

i really love the Korean pop band

ashley claie on April 30, 2014:

where is EXO they should be in here

angry elf on April 05, 2014:

this not right super junior should be #1

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