Crystal S. Anderson, PhD
Associate Professor of English, Longwood University
Shinhwa, which means myth or legend, is best known for being the oldest K-pop group that has maintained its original lineup, paving the way for longevity for other K-pop “idol” groups. The group debuted on March 24, 1998 with SM Entertainment. They were with Good Entertainment (2003-2008) until forming their own company, Shinhwa Company (2011-present). Original members include leader Eric Mun (Mun Jung-Hyuk), Minwoo (Lee Minwoo), Dongwan (Kim Dongwan), Hyesung (Jung Pil-Kyo), Junjin (Park Choongjae) and maknae Andy (Lee Sunho). Not only is the group one of the oldest “idol” groups, it has also pioneered promoting as a group while also supporting the individual careers of its members. One of the key factors in their longevity can be traced to the group’s constant presence in the public eye, before and after a four-year hiatus. In addition to consisting producing high-quality albums, “some members act, others make music, and some are even involved in helping others produce the next generation of idol groups” (The Altantic). Their long career can also be traced to their musical development: “They may not have branched out and stretched the limits of pop, but they were always able to adapt to changes in pop music itself over the years. Their singles generally represent the sound of K-pop at the time they were released to the point w[h]ere you can basically start with “Resolver” and listen to their singles all the way up to “Venus” and have a history lesson along the way” (seoulbeats). Their fandom is called Shinhwa Changjo, which means creating a legend.
Amy He. “What the Backstreet Boys Could Learn from K-pop.” The Atlantic. 23 Jul 2013. Evernote.
Gaya. “SB Exchange #14: The Legend of Shinhwa.” seoulbeats. Evernote.