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

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        multifandom as heck 2 weeks ago

        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.

      • profile image

        jakala smith 2 months ago

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

      • profile image

        3 months ago

        lol where is bts .update this page now

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        J Yu 3 months ago

        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.

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        Jin's pants 3 months ago

        WHERE IS BTS???? WTFFF

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        BTS FTW! 4 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Min yoongi 4 months ago

        Where'sBTS and Got 7?????

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        kim hyun 6 months ago

        what about BTS?

      • profile image

        Lee Susan 7 months ago

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

      • profile image

        yuo EXO 8 months ago

        Ummmm mm Where the hell is EXO

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        daisha 9 months ago

        where is got7

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        Czesica 10 months ago

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

      • profile image

        JT 10 months ago

        One group. BTS

      • profile image

        ann 11 months ago

        wheres bangtan

      • profile image

        AP 12 months ago

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

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        HI 12 months ago

        Please include BTS,they're awesome!

      • profile image

        Tlangi 13 months ago

        and GOT7???

      • profile image

        lollipop 14 months ago

        bts is better than all of those

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        Yurika 15 months ago

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

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        Bangtan's Girl 15 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.

      • profile image

        CQ 15 months ago

        Putting Infinite on the list will be a good choice

      • profile image

        Jungkook 15 months ago

        Where is BTS??? Care to explain

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        Hatolallynarose 15 months ago

        so beutiful song FT island I HOPE MV

      • profile image

        youmansup 15 months ago

        B2st B2uty 4ever

      • profile image

        wonux.neoj@gmail.com 15 months ago

        Hello , how bout shinwa?

      • profile image

        16 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

        haha 16 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

        we 17 months ago

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

      • profile image

        lavyaJiminBTS 17 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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        CrazyKiRInX 18 months ago

        What about SEVENTEEN and SHINHWA!?

      • profile image

        MAYEEE 19 months ago

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

      • profile image

        camscasil 19 months ago

        why doesnt have BTS

      • profile image

        Bros 20 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

        Dazzy 21 months ago

        Where BTS and EXO?

      • profile image

        KpopFan 22 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Garrett 22 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Stefanie 22 months ago

        What about EXO and BTS ?

        They are also popular and deserve to be in top 5

      • profile image

        Oohsehun 23 months ago

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

      • profile image

        BTS 2 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Anonymous 2 years ago

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

      • profile image

        EXO- XO 2 years ago

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

      • profile image

        ELF 2 years ago

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

      • profile image

        tabita 2 years ago

        Beast iz best forever

      • profile image

        inspirit 2 years ago

        what about infinite and exo?

      • profile image

        Exo-L 2 years ago

        I hope exo will be in the list

      • profile image

        ZN 2 years ago

        where infinite???

      • profile image

        exo_lover 2 years ago

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

        but thanks

      • profile image

        KPOPlover 2 years 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

        ML Tortoise 2 years 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

        Miharu 2 years 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

        Miharu 2 years 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

        hons 2 years 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.....

      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 2 years 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

        V.I.P 3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        maria 3 years ago

        Infinite?

      • profile image

        TOP jjang 3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        LUffy 3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        hannah 3 years ago

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

      • Christy Kirwan profile image
        Author

        Christy Kirwan 3 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

        iamnotyou 3 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!

      • profile image

        Diana 3 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

        Hash 3 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

        alis 3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        jbg 3 years ago

        Ss501 no 1 korean group.

      • profile image

        kalden bhutia 3 years ago

        im a pure vip,love u big bang.

      • profile image

        China Abarquez 3 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

        kpoplover 3 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

        ywaiimfh 3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Lajaina 3 years ago

        Yay! Beast! ^_^

      • profile image

        Exo 3 years ago

        EXO Fighting

      • profile image

        Lovelle Paglinawan Xi 3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        ashley 3 years ago

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

      • BelleJulz profile image

        Belle Julz 3 years ago from New York

        Love KPop; great song selections of these awesome bands!

      • profile image

        EXO_EXO 3 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.

      • profile image

        Jessica Allen 3 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

        ExoStan88 3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        k ughh 3 years ago

        Ss501 is the best 4 ever.love them.

      • profile image

        EXO_Fan 3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Hhhhh 3 years ago

        Exo n1 in the world

      • profile image

        vipbigbang 3 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 ;)

      • profile image

        precious 3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        anji 3 years ago

        c;mon where is exo?

      • profile image

        Chiaki 3 years ago

        Where is CNBLUE?

      • profile image

        ann 3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        saka 3 years ago

        Exo? Wheris exo ? I expected exo in #1

      • Christy Kirwan profile image
        Author

        Christy Kirwan 3 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

        Toni 3 years ago

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

      • Technogala profile image

        Technogala 3 years ago

        i really love the Korean pop band

      • profile image

        ashley claie 3 years ago

        where is EXO they should be in here

      • profile image

        angry elf 4 years ago

        this not right super junior should be #1

      • profile image

        wiki 4 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

        syungie 4 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

        Anna 4 years ago

        Yeah bigbang no.1 they are the best

      • profile image

        haru haru 4 years ago

        how about infinite?

      • profile image

        zanariah 4 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

        eccentric 4 years ago

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

      • klidstone1970 profile image

        இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 4 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.

      • Christy Kirwan profile image
        Author

        Christy Kirwan 4 years ago from San Francisco

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

      • AvineshP profile image

        Avinesh Prahladi 4 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 4 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.

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