12 K-Pop Idols With Unique And Meaningful Stage Names
Since the dawn of time, or, um, sometime in the ’80s, we have been blessed by K-pop idols who stun us with their talent, charm us with their personalities, and baffle us with their stage names.
Stage names are a fun K-pop tradition where performers go by an alias that adds an extra dimension to how we see them. It’s especially fun when an idol shows different sides of themselves under different names! Often, stage names are simple and straightforward, but sometimes they have a hidden meaning that might not be obvious at first. Here are 12 of my favorite unusual stage names, in no particular order!
1. BTS’s J-Hope
J-Hope is a cute play on Hobi’s real name, Jung Hoseok. But there’s a symbolic meaning too, drawn from the Greek myth of Pandora’s Box. According to the myth, after all the evils of the world spilled out of the box, all that remained was hope. It’s the ideal choice for a guy who’s always giving hope and encouragement to his fellow members.
2. MAMAMOO’s Solar
Solar’s real name, Kim Yong Sun, is the inspiration behind her stage name. “Solar” is derived from the English meaning of her name’s last syllable “Sun.” But there’s another meaning too: “Solar” can also stand for two notes on the well-known solfège music scale. What comes after do-re-mi? So-la(r)!
3. SEVENTEEN’s The8
How many idols get an actual number in their name? One of SEVENTEEN’s best dancers, Xu Minghao, goes by the stage name of The8. Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture, and Minghao is Chinese himself. Not to mention, if you turn the “8” on its side you get the infinity symbol, which is a cool hidden touch!
4. NCT’s Haechan
As a rookie, Haechan promoted under his real name, Donghyuck, so it was a surprise to NCTzens when he debuted as Haechan. The name was given to him by none other than SM Entertainment’s founder, Lee Soo Man. “Haechan” means “shine bright uprightly,” which is the perfect way to describe this sunshine!
5. Agust D
Min Yoongi, aka BTS’ Suga, reinvented himself as Agust D for the release of his mixtape in 2016. The name is loaded with meaning: “AGUS” is “SUGA” backward, while “T, D” stands for Suga’s former rap crew, called “D-TOWN” for Daegu, Suga’s hometown. The English word “august,” pronounced similarly, also means “impressive and respected,” as Suga always is!
Poor Sulli (real name Choi Jin Ri) was not a fan of her stage name when she first debuted, but thankfully she loves it by now, which is why she kept it even after leaving her former group f(x). “Sul” derives from the Chinese character for “snow,” while “Li” comes from the character for “pear flower.” Doesn’t it suit her?
EXO’s leader, Kim Joon Myun, has an incredibly appropriate stage name. The name “Suho” is also the Korean verb that means “to protect (as a guardian).” It fits Suho’s role in the group, as well as his overall aura as one of the most responsible, hardworking, and adorably dad-like leaders in K-pop.
8. SEVENTEEN’s S.Coups
“S.Coups” is a neat play on words, using the SEVENTEEN leader’s real name, Choi Seung Cheol. The “S” is for “Seung,” while “Coups” takes the “C” from his real name and is also short for “coup d’etat,” a French phrase which implies victory on a grand scale. It’s a powerful, witty name for a powerful, talented rapper.
Park Ye Eun was once a member of the iconic JYP Entertainment girl group Wonder Girls, but she’s now a solo artist who goes by the name of HA:TFELT. The name represents her new identity as a producer and composer. It’s pronounced like the word “heartfelt,” and the “HA:T” has a dual meaning of both “heart” and “hot,” which neatly expresses two aspects of her music.
10. GOT7’s BamBam
Surprisingly, BamBam’s stage name is also the name he goes by in real life. Born Kunpimook Bhuwakul, he has also had the name “BamBam” since childhood – Thai people often go by a second name, as their given names can be fairly long. Known to many as a small but mighty character from the animated sitcom “The Flintstones,” BamBam’s adorable name fits him well!
11. SHINee’s Onew
Another idol who got his stage name from SM name genie Lee Soo Man, Onew (real name Lee Jinki) was named for his warm, gentle personality and smooth, melodious voice. His name “Onew” is also a word that means “soft, gentle, and peaceful.” Onew is also nicknamed “Dubu,” the Korean word for tofu, which is soft and delicate, just like him!
12. EXID’s LE
It’s no surprise that EXID’s talented rapper/producer LE used to be part of an underground hip hop crew, known as Jiggy Fellaz. Her stage name at the time was “Elly” – she changed the spelling but kept the pronunciation for her EXID stage name, as a reminder of where she came from. LE’s real name is Ahn Hyo Jin.
Which idol stage name is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Azra_A spends most of her waking hours waiting patiently for 2PM’s next comeback (roll on 2021). She relies on sheet masks and weird ice cream flavors to help her endure (cucumber is great, ceylon is better). When she’s not watching the comeback clock, you’ll find her on Instagram.