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A Guide to Kpop

Updated on March 22, 2015

1. The "Big 3"

When someone uses the term "Big 3" they are referring to SM, YG, and JYP. These three are the biggest and most popular Korean Entertainment Agencies. They house some of the biggest names in kpop including Super Junior, Wonder Girls, and Bigbang However, there are some very popular groups and artists who are not a part of these agencies such as INFINITE, B.A.P, and B1A4. To find out more about the "Big 3", click here.

2. Fandoms

Almost all artists and groups have a fandom name and color. Unlike American artists, these names are not created by fans but are chosen by the entertainment agency. These names usually stand for something or mean something. Below are some names and colors.

Super Junior - Fandom: E.L.F (Ever Lasting Friends) Color: Pearl Sapphire Blue

CNBLUE - Fandom: Boice (combination of the words 'blue' and 'voice' Color: Dark Blue

2PM - Fandom: Hottest (2pm is the hottest time of the day) Color: Metallic Grey

2AM - Fandom: I Am (2AM + 2PM = I Am Hottest) Color: Metallic Grey

SHINee: - Fandom: SHINee World/Shawol (the fandom is SHINee world, but fans are called Shawols which is a combination of the words 'SHINee' and 'world'. Color: Pearlescent Sky Blue

Super Junior "Pearl Sapphire Blue"
Super Junior "Pearl Sapphire Blue"
SHINee "Pearlescent Sky Blue"
SHINee "Pearlescent Sky Blue"
DBSK "Pearl Red"
DBSK "Pearl Red"
aegyo queen SNSD's Sunny
aegyo queen SNSD's Sunny
INFINITE's Sungjong doing aegyo
INFINITE's Sungjong doing aegyo

Suzy & Henry's Sprite CF

Jay Park's Chocolate Abs
Jay Park's Chocolate Abs

Terminologies/Slang

Aegyo: extreme cuteness, acting super cute

Sunbae/Hoobae:

sunbae: someone who debuted before you

hoobae: someone who debuted after you

Oppa: "Oppa" translates to "brother". A female uses it to address males older than her, like her brother. Females also use it when calling their boyfriends.

Noona: "Noona" translates to "sister". A male uses it to address females older than him, like his sister. Males also use it when calling their girlfriends.

Unnie/Eonni: "Unnie" or "Eonnie" translated directly to "big sister" and is what a female would call a female older than her, like her older sister. It's used in friendly conversation with someone she is close to or knows well.

Hyung: "Hyung" translated directly to "big brother" and is what a male would call a male older than him, like his older brother. It's used in friendly conversation with someone he is close to or knows well.

Dongsaeng: younger sibling/friend

Ajumma: Middle-aged woman

Ajusshi: Middle-aged man

All-Kill: a song that ranks #1 on all the music charts

Selca: a combination of the words "self" and "camera"

e.g. a selfie

Bias: your favorite (of a group, or of kpop entirely)

CF: commercial film

Hwaiting/Fighting: an encouraging phrase like "good luck!"

Chocolate Abs: abs that are so defined they resemble a chocolate bar

Ulzzang/Uljjang: people who are famous for posting their pictures online (mostly selca)

Group Positions


  • Leader: leads the group; in charger
  • Vocal: sings
  • Rapper: raps
  • Dancer: dances
  • Visual: designated as the "most pretty/handsome"; in charge of appearing on shows
  • Face: the most popular; in most cases the same person as the visual
  • Maknae: the youngest in the group

Main vs Lead:

In an idol group, most members have more than one role.

e.g: SHINee

Onew: Leader, Lead Vocalist

Jonghyun: Main Vocalist

Key: Lead Rapper, Vocalist, Lead Dancer

Minho: Main Rapper, Visual

Taemin: Main Dancer, Lead Vocalist, Maknae

Main is above lead, as in their the one who mainly sings/raps/dances. Jonghyun is the best singer, so his is the main singer. Onew is also a very good singer, making him the lead singer.

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