Super Junior-M, often referred to as SJ-M, is the third official sub-unit of Korean boy band Super Junior. They are the first international music group in the Chinese music industry to have members of both Chinese and Korean descent, and are also the first group produced by Korea’s CT (Culture Technology) organization, created through a comprehensive localization strategy. Super Junior-M made their debut in 2008, with five Super Junior members: Han Geng, Siwon, Donghae, Ryeowook and Kyuhyun as well as two new ethnic Chinese members, Henry and Zhou Mi.
In December 2009, Han Geng returned to China to pursue a solo career and the group’s activities were halted. In December 21, 2010 the Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of Han Geng. A representative of SM Entertainment said that they will file an immediate appeal to reverse the decision SM Entertainment have yet to release statements regarding his official status with the group.
In February 2011, Super Junior members Sungmin and Eunhyuk were announced as new additions to the SJ-M subgroup, coinciding with the release of their 2nd Mini Album, 太完美 (Perfection). Currently, the eight active members are: Siwon, Ryeowook, Donghae, Eunhyuk, Kyuhyun, Sungmin, Zhou Mi and Henry.
Before the official name of the subgroup was released, they were often referred to as Super Junior China. On April 3, 2008, SM Entertainment released the official name of the subgroup, Super Junior-M, with “M” representing the word “Mandarin,” expressing the subgroup’s ambition to become successful in the Chinese music market not limited to only China. The “M” can also represent a list of other aspects, such as the first letter of their debut album, Me, and also “mi” (Chinese: 迷), which denotes to “charismatic” as well as “fan” in Mandarin, the latter meaning referring to their desire to connect closer with fans.
Responding to Super Junior’s rising popularity in Mainland China, Super Junior’s management, SM Entertainment, decided to compose a new Super Junior sub-unit which focuses on the Chinese market. On October 2, 2007, an official announcement was released to the media, stating the birth of a third Super Junior subgroup that would debut in China in 2008. Super Junior’s original member Han Geng, and an SM Taiwanese trainee, Henry, were stated to be the first two of the seven members representing the subgroup. Five months later, a second Super Junior member, Siwon, was mentioned in news articles to be the third member. However, the confirmed list of members were not released to the public until April.
Starting from April 4 to April 7, 2008, the seven members were individually released to the media in a chain of short trailer clips. Han Geng was the first member to be announced on April 4. On April 5, Siwon and Donghae were announced to be the second and third members. On April 6, Kyuhyun was announced to be the fourth Super Junior-M member, following a new member Henry as the fifth. Ryeowook was announced to be the sixth member on April 7 followed by Zhou Mi as the final member. A trailer of all seven members was released on the group’s debut day, April 8. Super Junior-M’s trailer clips exceeded 1.4 million views in less than four days, garnering interest in both the Chinese and Korean audiences.
Super Junior-M debuted in China on April 8, 2008 at the 8th Annual Music Chart Awards and with the release of their first music video, “U” online. Their debut album was released in various provinces in China starting April 23, 2008 and the Korean version with three bonus Korean tracks was released in South Korea on April 30, 2008. The album was also distributed in several other Chinese communities on May 2, 2008 such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. Reviews for the album were generally positive and it also gained praise from Hong Kong singer, Hins Cheung, who said the album contains “international-level music” and that the group is “vocally-talented”. A month after their debut, Super Junior-M won their first award, Asia’s Most Popular New Group Award, at the 5th annual Music King Awards in Macau on May 25.
After their debut performance in early April 2008, the group made guest appearances in many chains of entertainment variety shows. They appeared in an episode of the second season of TVB and HunanTV’s collaboration show, Strictly Come Dancing (舞动奇迹), which made the show’s ratings increase to 5.01%, ranking it the third most watched show ever in all of China. Super Junior-M’s appearance in the talk show, Behind Story (背后的故事) two months later also increased ratings. The show had the highest ratings during that time slot, with a strong 4.05%. Separated into several weekly episodes, the group’s appearance in their first episode on the challenging game show, Bravely Going Forward (勇往直前) in early August gave the show the highest ratings during that time slot as well.
Super Junior-M and Show Luo of Taiwan replaced Hong Kong entertainers, Nicholas Tse and Twins, for the 2008 summer season endorsement spots of Semir, a Chinese clothing brand. They were acclaimed to be sunny, young, and passionate; thus their image was suitable to endorse the brand.
The last performance of “U” was on August 29, 2008 at the 7th Golden Eagle Opening Ceremony Concert. The group gave their first performance of their second single, “Me,” on September 13, 2008 at the SMTOWN LIVE ’08 in Shanghai concert. The music video was then released a day later through Sohu. Super Junior-M held their first concert in Hong Kong on December 27 and 28.
On September 14, 2009, Super Junior-M released the music video for their upcoming comeback single Super Girl which features Girls’ Generation’s Jessica Jung. They are currently nominated for Best Singing Group at the 21st Golden Melody Awards.
Super Junior-M’s goal is to bring the Korean pop influence over to the Chinese market, re-representing the hits in Mandarin. Similar to the style of their main group Super Junior, Super Junior-M’s music style falls into the category of mainstream pop, dance, and R&B. Dance pop songs with rock and hip hop influences are easily heard in their music, such as in “Me” and “The Moment”, which contains guitar riffs and heavy bass sounds. Rap is not performed as often like the main group, but these influences can be heard in “The Moment” and also the rap remakes in “Don’t Don” and “A Man In Love”.
The group halted their activities in December 2009 after Han Geng filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment and returned to China to pursue a solo career. In December 21, 2010 the Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of Han Geng. A representative of SM Entertainment said that they will file an immediate appeal to reverse the decision and have yet to release official statements regarding his status with them. In February 2011, the group resumed their activities with two new members from the main group, Sungmin and Eunhyuk, with the release of EP Perfection.
In late 2008, Han Geng acted in the drama Stage of Youth (青春舞台) alongside other prominent Hong Kong EEG stars Joey Yung, Kenny Kwan, and Yumiko Cheng. He starred as Xia Lei (夏磊), a youth who dreamed to be a dancer. Stage of Youth was an idol drama that was dedicated to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Other members of Super Junior-M gave cameo appearances in the final episode of the drama.
After the first announcement of Super Junior-M on October 2, 2007, and the possibility of adding a non-Super Junior member, Henry, to this unit, Super Junior fans immediately voiced out their dissatisfaction and opposition. Immediately, a website was built, called “Only 13”, to oppose against SM Entertainment’s actions. Through the website, fans of Super Junior communicate and plan out protesting actions against the company. Before legal protests began, many online petitions were made by both Korean and Chinese fans to prevent and convince the label to not add a fourteenth member. Initially fans were planning to boycott the company’s products, similar to the actions taken by fans of TVXQ in the past. However, most fans agreed on a silent protest instead. On October 21, 2007 and throughout the week, over 400 fans from Super Junior’s official fanclub, E.L.F, silently sat in front of the SM building and held signs that supported the group to have only thirteen members. Situations became worse when SM Entertainment announced through the media that they never stated that Super Junior was a fixed group, although the label announced that Super Junior was a permanent group when Kyuhyun was added to the group in mid-2006. Thousands of fans wrote letters to the company and pleaded them to keep the group permanent, but no answer was returned.
Over one thousand more fans appeared in front of the SM building on E.L.F’s third protest on November 3, 2007. Instead of a silent protest, the fans sang various Super Junior songs and shouted “thirteen.” Although SM Entertainment’s answer to the fans’ protest stated that new members in Super Junior-M will not be added to the official group and thus will not affect Super Junior’s main career, many fans still held the belief that there will be this possibility of seeing new official Super Junior members in the future.
After more rumors leaked of SM Entertainment sneaking in an extra non-Super Junior member, Zhou Mi, to the subgroup, the fans decided to gain this chance to have a legal representation as part of SM Entertainment’s stockholders. As of March 20, 2008, Super Junior fans from all over the world purchased 58,206 stocks of SM Entertainment, holding 0.3% of the company’s entire stock. They released a statement through the media, stating that they will obtain all chances to prevent SM Entertainment from adding new members and to keep Super Junior as only thirteen.
After the release of Super Junior-M’s official blog on April 3, 2008, over 5,000 comments were posted by Chinese fans in an hour, voicing out their support to keep Super Junior as thirteen members. The administrator resulted in locking the comment box where only those with sohu blog accounts could comment.
|Music King Awards||Most Popular New Group|
|Southeast Music Awards||Mainland’s Most Popular Group|
|CCTV-MTV Music Awards||Best Singing Group of the Year|
|Starlight Grand Ceremony||Best New Music Group|
|2009||2009 China Digital Music Awards||Most Downloaded Overseas Singer|
|2010||2010 MusicRadio TOP Awards||Mainland’s Most Popular Group|
|2010 China’s Music Festival||Most Popular Award|
|2010 China’s Music Festival||Golden Melody Award (Album Award)|
|2010 China’s Music Festival||Composer Award|
|2011||1st Global Chinese Golden Chart||Most Popular Group|