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10 K-Pop Korean Boy Bands You Should Know

Updated on July 30, 2015
The members of Big Bang, an immensely popular Korean boy band.
The members of Big Bang, an immensely popular Korean boy band. | Source

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

The members of F.T. Island.
The members of F.T. Island. | Source

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

The members of U-KISS.
The members of U-KISS. | Source

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

The members of U-KISS.
The members of U-KISS. | Source

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)

The members of B2ST.
The members of B2ST. | Source

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

The members of MBLAQ.
The members of MBLAQ. | Source

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!

The members of TVXQ!.
The members of TVXQ!. | Source

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

The members of 2PM.
The members of 2PM. | Source

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

The members of SHINee.
The members of SHINee. | Source

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

Some of the members of Super Junior.
Some of the members of Super Junior. | Source

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.

The members of Big Bang.
The members of Big Bang. | Source

Big Bang - "Fantastic Baby"

K-Pop Boy Band Quick Reference Table

 
Band
Members
Since
Label
#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

Comments

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    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 4 years ago from India

      Hello Christy Kirwan, i must say i never heard of any one of them. The songs are pretty cool. In fact i don't know any Korean singers before the the launch of the sensational hit Gangnam Style by Psy, a South Korean singer. Thank for the hub. Voted UP

    • Christy Kirwan profile image
      Author

      Christy Kirwan 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Glad you enjoyed it, My Cook Book!

    • profile image

      Tashun 3 years ago

      What about B.A.P , EXO or BTOP ??

    • Christy Kirwan profile image
      Author

      Christy Kirwan 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Hey Tashun, I was only doing a Top 10 list, so I did miss out on a bunch of good ones. :( I hope if people like what they see that they'll look up more bands on their own! :D

    • matt_elmore profile image

      matt_elmore 3 years ago from San Diego

      This hub is awesome! Thanks for putting this together.

    • profile image

      1_emily 3 years ago

      there's a small mistake FT Island is under FNC Entertainment!

    • Christy Kirwan profile image
      Author

      Christy Kirwan 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi 1_emily, Mnet Media and FNC Entertainment are the same company, which has recently changed its name again and currently goes by CJ E&M Music and Live.

    • profile image

      Zero 3 years ago

      SS501's debut date in the table should be 2005 not 2008

    • Christy Kirwan profile image
      Author

      Christy Kirwan 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Oops, you're right Zero, thanks for the correction. Fixing it now. :)

    • profile image

      Suzy 3 years ago

      And U-KISS should be 2008 ^^

    • Christy Kirwan profile image
      Author

      Christy Kirwan 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh my, it looks like I got those two mixed up. Thanks Suzy. :)

    • profile image

      itwilllooklikethis 3 years ago

      You forgot shinhwa

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      Amaze_me 3 years ago

      Dongho-kun has actually left Ukiss because he had bronchitis so he's out of the band....

    • Christy Kirwan profile image
      Author

      Christy Kirwan 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Amaze_me I'm so sorry to hear that! Thanks for letting me know. I'll be updating the article soon.

    • AvineshP profile image

      Avinesh Prahladi 3 years ago from Chandigarh

      I think they are only famous in Korea and they are not recognized, as a band, across the world.

    • Christy Kirwan profile image
      Author

      Christy Kirwan 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Which band to you mean, Avinesh? K-Pop in general is growing in popularity worldwide, and especially with Americans.

    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 3 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      The only one I've ever heard of is the K-Pop girl band, Girls Generation. My one daughter is a huge fan...posters...cd's...books, you name it. I'll have to ask her if she's familiar with the boy bands. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      eccentric 3 years ago

      im a VIP and very glad Bigbang is no1. they really deserved it.

    • profile image

      zanariah 3 years ago

      well...super junior now just a 11 member because kim ki bum now focusing in acting..sorry for my bad english..im asian..

    • profile image

      haru haru 3 years ago

      how about infinite?

    • profile image

      Anna 3 years ago

      Yeah bigbang no.1 they are the best

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      syungie 3 years ago

      You forgot the legend! shinhwa rules among male idol groups!! As they are the longest running idol group in korea! Shinhwa san!

    • profile image

      wiki 3 years ago

      Ok.... Redarding TVXQ.... Could you please add the former member? Or change the debut date to 2009! The biggest success they had as FIVE. Not as two and not as three! DBSK will always be five members. Please change i :)

    • profile image

      angry elf 3 years ago

      this not right super junior should be #1

    • profile image

      ashley claie 2 years ago

      where is EXO they should be in here

    • Technogala profile image

      Technogala 2 years ago

      i really love the Korean pop band

    • profile image

      Toni 2 years ago

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

    • Christy Kirwan profile image
      Author

      Christy Kirwan 2 years ago from San Francisco

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

    • profile image

      saka 2 years ago

      Exo? Wheris exo ? I expected exo in #1

    • profile image

      ann 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Chiaki 2 years ago

      Where is CNBLUE?

    • profile image

      anji 2 years ago

      c;mon where is exo?

    • profile image

      precious 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      vipbigbang 2 years ago

      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 ;)

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      Hhhhh 2 years ago

      Exo n1 in the world

    • profile image

      EXO_Fan 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      k ughh 2 years ago

      Ss501 is the best 4 ever.love them.

    • profile image

      ExoStan88 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Jessica Allen 2 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      EXO_EXO 2 years ago

      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.

    • BelleJulz profile image

      Belle Julz 2 years ago from New York

      Love KPop; great song selections of these awesome bands!

    • profile image

      ashley 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Lovelle Paglinawan Xi 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Exo 2 years ago

      EXO Fighting

    • profile image

      Lajaina 2 years ago

      Yay! Beast! ^_^

    • profile image

      ywaiimfh 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      kpoplover 2 years ago

      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.:)

    • profile image

      China Abarquez 2 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      kalden bhutia 2 years ago

      im a pure vip,love u big bang.

    • profile image

      jbg 2 years ago

      Ss501 no 1 korean group.

    • profile image

      alis 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Hash 2 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Diana 2 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      iamnotyou 2 years ago

      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!

    • Christy Kirwan profile image
      Author

      Christy Kirwan 2 years ago from San Francisco

      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! :)

    • profile image

      hannah 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      LUffy 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      TOP jjang 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      maria 2 years ago

      Infinite?

    • profile image

      V.I.P 2 years ago

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

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 24 months ago from Northeast Ohio

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

    • profile image

      hons 24 months ago

      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.....

    • profile image

      Miharu 23 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Miharu 23 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      ML Tortoise 23 months ago

      -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*

    • profile image

      KPOPlover 23 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      exo_lover 21 months ago

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

      but thanks

    • profile image

      ZN 21 months ago

      where infinite???

    • profile image

      Exo-L 21 months ago

      I hope exo will be in the list

    • profile image

      inspirit 19 months ago

      what about infinite and exo?

    • profile image

      tabita 18 months ago

      Beast iz best forever

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      ELF 16 months ago

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

    • profile image

      EXO- XO 15 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Anonymous 13 months ago

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

    • profile image

      BTS 12 months ago

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

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      Oohsehun 11 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Stefanie 10 months ago

      What about EXO and BTS ?

      They are also popular and deserve to be in top 5

    • profile image

      Garrett 10 months ago

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

    • profile image

      KpopFan 10 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Dazzy 9 months ago

      Where BTS and EXO?

    • profile image

      Bros 8 months ago

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

    • profile image

      camscasil 7 months ago

      why doesnt have BTS

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      MAYEEE 7 months ago

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

    • profile image

      CrazyKiRInX 6 months ago

      What about SEVENTEEN and SHINHWA!?

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      lavyaJiminBTS 5 months ago

      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

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      we 5 months ago

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

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      haha 4 months ago

      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. :)

    • profile image

      4 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      wonux.neoj@gmail.com 3 months ago

      Hello , how bout shinwa?

    • profile image

      youmansup 3 months ago

      B2st B2uty 4ever

    • profile image

      Hatolallynarose 3 months ago

      so beutiful song FT island I HOPE MV

    • profile image

      Jungkook 3 months ago

      Where is BTS??? Care to explain

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      CQ 3 months ago

      Putting Infinite on the list will be a good choice

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      Bangtan's Girl 3 months ago

      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.

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      Yurika 3 months ago

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

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      lollipop 2 months ago

      bts is better than all of those

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      Tlangi 7 weeks ago

      and GOT7???

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      HI 2 weeks ago

      Please include BTS,they're awesome!

    • profile image

      AP 13 days ago

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

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