It’s not easy to survive in the K-pop industry. The battles for the top spots on the music charts are fierce, and there is always a steady stream of rookie groups trying to break into the spotlight. The intense competition is one of the contributing factors toward a well-known superstition in the K-pop industry: the five-year curse (also sometimes referred to as a seven-year curse). For a wide variety of reasons, many idol groups end up disbanding sometime in their fifth year. But some K-pop groups have stood the test of time despite the many challenges of the industry. Here are 20 idol groups that have overcome the dreaded five-year curse:
Not only has B1A4 survived the five-year curse, they’ve just made a new comeback!
Although one member of the group, Hong Yookyung, left in 2013, that hasn’t stopped the remaining members of Apink from sticking together!
With international tours, Japanese singles, and successful subunits/solo activities, Block B has surpassed the five-year curse with flying colors!
INFINITE has been slaying the K-pop scene with their catchy songs and perfectly in-sync choreography for six years now. Last year, INFINITE shared their thoughts on surpassing the five-year curse.
The reigning queens of peppy summer anthems and sexy concepts for six years and counting!
As another multi-talented group that has been active in both music and acting, it’s no wonder that ZE:A overcame the five-year curse. Two members, Taehun and Minwoo, are currently serving in the military.
Not only is f(x) well past the five-year mark, their MV for “Electric Shock” recently hit the 100-million view milestone!
After a hiatus of more than one year, T-ara made a comeback this year with “Tiamo” and reflected upon their seven-year career. Slay on, girls!
Not only have these four talented guys been going strong in the music scene for seven years, they’ve all embarked on a variety of successful solo activities!
With their Korean album “1 of 1,” a repackaged version, a full-length Japanese album, and their 5th solo concert all in 2016, SHINee is eight years in and showing no signs of slowing down!
Now in their 8th year, U-KISS had a 2016 comeback with “Stalker” this past summer. Remember these cute posts from the members on their debut anniversary?
2AM and 2PM
I know, I’m cheating a little by including them both, but remember — 2AM and 2PM were split from the same group! Although the 2AM members have signed with different agencies for their solo activities, they have not disbanded and still celebrated their eight-year anniversary together this year. Meanwhile, 2PM released their album “Gentleman’s Game” this year.
After a long hiatus, Wonder Girls came back and slayed the charts this year with their single “Why So Lonely.” Their fans’ patient waiting for a comeback paid off!
Can you believe that it’s been almost a decade since this iconic girl group burst onto the K-pop scene? They’ve certainly kept busy over the years with a variety of activities, and they recently became the first K-pop group to have three MVs surpass 150 million views on YouTube!
Now past the 9-year mark, this year FTISLAND released their second entirely self-produced album, “Where’s the Truth?” They’ve explained their passion for music and their appreciation for the freedom to make the kind of music they want as their group has matured.
BIGBANG pulled out all the stops to celebrate their 10-year anniversary this year with their 0.TO.10 concerts and projects. We can also look forward to their comeback soon!
Brown Eyed Girls
Did you know that these queens are the first girl group to reach the 10-year mark without any changes to their lineup of members?
This legendary group has reached an incredible 11 years together! Although several of the members are currently serving in the military, our love for Super Junior will never waver while we wait for them to come back!
The longest-lasting K-pop group of them all, Shinhwa has been around for 18 years. No breakups, no member changes. As one of the first generation K-pop idols that have endured, they have paved the way for so many after them and are proof that 18 years is possible.
Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list — there are many other groups who have survived the five-year curse. Which ones are your favorites, and which groups among the newer generations of idols do you think can stand the test of time?
minjiya can usually be found writing in a cafe, blasting K-pop dance tunes to motivate herself through long runs outside, or plotting her escape from the Midwest. Say hello/send her a GIF on Twitter @yaminjiya.