Super Junior (Korean: 슈퍼주니어), often referred to as SJ or SuJu (슈주), is a boy band from Seoul, South Korea that was formed under SM Entertainment in 2005. With a total of thirteen members, they are the largest boy band in the world. The members are Leeteuk (the leader), Heechul, Han Geng, Yesung, Kang-in, Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook, Kibum, and later, Kyuhyun. The Chinese member, Han Geng, was chosen among three thousand applicants through auditions held in China by SM Entertainment in 2001.
Super Junior has released and contributed in 19 different kinds of records with varying degrees of success. Over the years, they have been divided into smaller sub groups, simultaneously targeting different music industries and audiences. Largely due to Super Junior's success as entertainers, other Korean entertainment managements began to train their music groups in other areas of entertainment, such as acting and hosting.In addition to their commercial success, Super Junior has earned four music awards from the M.NET/KM Music Festival, another four from the Golden Disk Awards, and is the second singing group to win Favorite Artist Korea at the MTV Asia Awards after JTL in 2003.
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 Lee Soo-man 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 oversea 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; Sungmin and Donghae were then selected to be trainees after their appearance in an SM-sponsored contest. A year later, 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 unlike most debuting pop groups that has members with no pre-debut experience, the members in this group were chosen because of their performing experiences as actors, MCs, models, and radio hosts prior debut. Heechul and Kibum made their first appearances in dramas and films; Leeteuk, Yesung, Kang-in, Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, and Siwon have had television appearances, and Han Geng made his first media appearance as a model. Heechul also became an established radio host and MC after his television drama debut in early 2005.Lee also stated, though not directly, that this group would be a rotational group, with a concept very similar to Japan's girl group, Morning Musume. Line-up changes would occur every year, and new members would replace some of the older members.
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, the company 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 in 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 in November but a more complete album, SuperJunior05 (TWINS), was released on December 5, 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.
After "TWINS (Knock Out)" and "Show Me Your Love" promotions were finished, Super Junior 05 promoted their second single "Miracle" in February 2006. "Miracle" was the group's first single to peak #1 in online music charts of South Korea as well as the international music chart of Thailand.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 by the end of the year. During this time, an official fanclub was created for the group, E.L.F., an alphabetism derived from the phrase "Ever-lasting Friends." Super Junior's official color became pearl sapphire blue.[d]
"U" yielded number-one spots for five consecutive weeks on two of Korea's top music programs for the first time in the group's career."Dancing Out," their first promotional single for SM Town's annual summer album, was released on July 20, 2006 and met similar success, grabbing two single awards in August.Super Junior collected over seven awards in five of South Korea's top music award ceremonies as 2006 came to a close, winning Best New Group and popularity awards.
Due to busy individual schedules, Super Junior promotional activities remained inactive in the latter months of 2006 except for Super Junior-K.R.Y., Super Junior's first official subgroup. The ballad-singing trio debuted on November 5, 2006, with the performance of "The one I love", the theme song for the tvN television drama Hyena (하이에나). A second subgroup arrived in February 2007 called Super Junior-T. The trot-singing group released their first single "Rokuko" in February 23, 2007 and made a debut performance two days later. That following March, Yesung, Kang-in, Sungmin, Donghae, Ryeowook, and Kyuhyun participated in an original soundtrack for the first time, singing the opening and ending themes "Success" and "H.I.T" for the Korean miniseries, H.I.T.
Due to Kyuhyun's severe injury from the April 19 car accident, only twelve members of Super Junior recorded "Full of Happiness" (행복), their next single for SM Town. Released in mid-July 2007, the summer single accelerated quickly in singles charts in both South Korea and Thailand and soon became a number-one hit in Thailand's international charts a month later.
Super Junior's second official album was intended for a late 2006 release, but due to Heechul's injury from a car accident on August 10, 2006 and the April 19 car accident, 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 number one. 60,000 units were shipped by the first week of release and additional copies were printed. After three months of release, Don't Don sold 164,058 copies, making it Super Junior's best-selling album. It was also the second best-selling album of 2007, falling 26,940 copies short of SG Wannabe's The Sentimental Chord.
Super Junior performed their first performance for the album in late September 2007, performing the album's first single "Don't Don" at KBS's Music Bank. The single rose quickly in music charts a week after release, winning its first number-one "Mutizen Song" recognition on October 21, 2007 and later on M!Countdown, sharing the #1 song of the week along with "Everyday" by V.O.S on November 1, 2007.Super Junior moved to their second single "Marry U" in mid-November, which failed to meet the same achievements as "Don't Don."
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–present: 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. This announcement had created a controversy between the fans and the management as fans did not support new members for a Super Junior subgroup.Nonetheless, Super Junior-M were successful in China, having the opportunity to hold two sold-out concerts in Hong Kong,top weekly ratings with their appearance on variety programs, and were given endorsement contracts, notably Semir and Pepsi.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.
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.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. The title single off 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.