Hello, everyone, and welcome to our annual special edition of ICYMI! If you still remember, this article is here to provide a dedicated summary of an entire year’s worth of news, releases, achievements and more in one easy-to-digest article. This year, we saw many updates, both positive and negative, while also having to say goodbye to some of our favourites as our favourite grim reaper, the military service notice, came knocking. Additionally, we saw a number of our favourite artists across the Asian pop spectrum once again return with new music, some of which are highlighted in our releases section, as well as various long-lasting controversies to rock not just the Korean, but also the Japanese Entertainment Industry. Just like in previous years, our team has spent the latter half of the year combing not just the forum, but wider social media in order to ensure that this article is up to editorial standards. We hope you enjoyed 2023 just as much as we did!


Disclaimer: the writing of this portion required a lot of reading and researching. Some stories deserved more than a short paragraph to be told completely; however, I had to keep some recaps relatively short. I hope that the information here will still be accurate enough, and if that isn’t the case, then feel free to correct me in the comments section below!


#1- To start the year, the contract dispute between the Loona members and their agency, Blockberry Creative (BBC) began to take off! Nine members of Loona officially filed lawsuits against BBC where they requested a termination of their exclusive contracts. Of these nine members, only four Loona members — ChoerryHeejinJinsol & Kim Lip — were able to successfully win their lawsuits. Then, the following month The two remaining Loona members who had not filed lawsuits, Vivi & Hyunjin officially filed an injunction seeking the termination of their contracts. In addition to these lawsuits, Blockberry Creative submitted a petition to Corea Entertainment Management Association (CEMA) & Korea Entertainment Producers’ Association (KEPA) in an attempt to ban Chuu‘s entertainment activities within the Korean entertainment industry. Thankfully, they both denied their petition and Chuu has continued to be active within the entertainment industry. It wasn’t until June that all of the LOONA members would officially leave Blockberry Creative.    

#2- January also saw various new relationship announcements. Song Joongki took to his fancafe to reveal that he had married his girlfriend, Katy Louise Saunders. The actor also announced that the pair were also expecting their first child together. Their son was born in Rome on the 14th of June. Then in Japan, singer-songwriter Aimer took to Twitter (now known as that she had gotten married to music producer Tobinai MasahiroHyuna & Dawn were also rumoured to have gotten back together in January. However, as of now, nothing has been confirmed or denied regarding their relationship status. 

(Main sources:, @KoreanUpdates on, @balloon_wanted on, kpopers_family on, @gointosubbit on, @Aimer_and_staff on, @tokyohive on


#1- Our biggest story in February was the acquisition dispute between SM Entertainment & Kakao against the formers founder and former Chairman Lee Soo-man. On the 7th of February, SM Entertainment and Kakao Corp. officially announced that they had signed a business agreement together. This business agreement would give the latter exclusive access to the distribution of SM artists’ music, albums and related content, as well as open talks for a future co-produced group in the future. In addition to this agreement, Kakao had also — at the time — become SM Entertainment‘s largest shareholder after the purchase of 9.05% of the company’s shares. Following this announcement, Lee Soo-man, who was the largest individual shareholder of SM Entertainment — at the time — announced that he would officially begin legal proceedings against SM Entertainment after the company had failed to consult him before making this decision. Following this, Lee Soo-man would approach HYBE in order to circumvent the acquisition of SM Entertainment by Kakao Corp. This was accomplished by allowing HYBE to acquire his 14.8% stake to officially become the largest shareholder of the company. This came shortly after HYBE America purchased the U.S. hip-hop label, Quality Control. In an official press release, HYBE shared that they are “aware of the concerns that fans, artists, employees, and shareholders of SM have, due to rumours and speculations around the company. HYBE fully respects the direction laid out in SM‘s 3.0 growth strategy, as well as the value and vision SM‘s employees and artists have created.” Unfortunately for Lee Soo-manKakao‘s acquisition of SM proved to be a success, as it was announced in March that their purchase offer had been accepted. Along with Kakao‘s current stake of 4.9% in SM Entertainment, they were also required to purchase 35% more via their tender offer and were expected to take over HYBE’s 14.8% stake in the company as well. As of the time of writing, HYBE still holds onto an 8.81% stake in SM Entertainment, while Kakao is the company’s major shareholder with a 39.87% stake across their two companies (Kakao Corp. & Kakao Entertainment).

#2- SM Entertainment released its 3.0 growth strategy in the final weeks of February. In this strategy, they declared the four key strategies that they would be implementing through SM 3.0: an IP (Intellectual Property) strategy, a multi-production centre/label system-based system, a business strategy, and a global expansion and investment strategy. Through SM 3.0, SM Entertainment officially announced that various artists would be returning with group, unit, or solo activities throughout the year. They also announced that they would be working towards protecting their artists from online harassment and that NCT‘s infinite expansion would finally come to an end. The group would officially become a fixed unit following the debut of NCT NEW TEAM (NCT Tokyo) in 2023. The final seven group members would be determined in September through the pre-debut survival show, NCT UNIVERSE: LASTART. Following the conclusion of the program, the debut line-up was confirmed to consist of SionRikuYushiJungminDaeyoungRyo & Sakuya. It was later announced, however, that Jungmin had officially left the group and returned to his status as a trainee due to health concerns.

(Main sources:,, @balloon_wanted on, @KoreanUpdates on, @winteraphy on, @_tassia_a on, @HYBEOFFICIALtwt on


#1- We said goodbye to numerous celebrities in March as they prepared to undertake their mandatory military enlistment. Many celebrities bid us goodbye in March when their stage outfits transformed into military uniforms with combat boots. WINNER‘s Mino made his official enlistment on the 24th of March, Ong Seungwoo & BTS’ J-Hope made their enlistments in April, while GOT7’s Park Jinyoung officially enlisted on the 8th of May. Other notable enlistments included: Monsta X’s MinhyukExo’s KaiWINNER’s leader KangSeungyoon & N.Flying’s Kim Jaehyun.

#2- Also in March, we also saw several artists announce their upcoming tour plans. South Korean rock group, Rolling Quartz toured the US in May, while NMIXX‘s NICE TO MIXX YOU tour took place from May to June throughout the US & South East Asia. Then, moving onto world tours and RED VELVETMAMAMOO & iKON all held global tours in 2023. MAMAMOO began the US leg on their MYCON tour in May, iKON‘s world tour, Take Off took place between May & September, while RED VELVET greeted fans around the world from April to July through their R to V global concert tour.

(Main sources:, theseoulstory on, @balloon_wanted on, @NMIXX_official on, @iKONIC_143 on, @RBW_MAMAMOO on


#1- AKB48 announced that they would be dissolving the team structure in each of their Japanese sister groups to organize themselves into two separate units. Each 48G-associated group will now consist of two separate units: active members and research students. The research students team would consist of trainees yet to make their debut in an official capacity, while the main group line-up consists of all active 48 group members from their respective groups. The final team stages took place in August. Following this announcement, at least two prominent AKB48 members have chosen to graduate from the group, Honda Hitomi & Kashiwagi YukiHonda Hitomi will graduate in January 2024, while Kashiwagi Yuki will make her graduation in March after a whopping 17 years with the group.

#2- Following the damning revelation that Hook Entertainment had been embezzling Lee Seunggi’s earnings and revenue from his music career for over 18 years, the Ministry of Sports, Culture & Tourism passed an act named in the actor’s honour, the ‘Lee Seunggi Act’. As a result of this act, entertainment companies would be required to disclose earnings to their celebrity employees at least once a year or when requested, and the length of time that minors would be allowed to work per week would be substantially decreased based on their age, the ministry would be given the authority to investigate any claims of abuse and contracts are now required to include the length, settlement methods & cost deduction methods prior to the initial signing of the contract. We would later see this policy officially wielded through Exo CBX‘s payment dispute with SM Entertainment later in the year.

The Oscar-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto passed away on the 28th of March following a prolonged cancer battle. He was 71 years old.

ASTRO’s lead vocalist Moonbin died from an apparent suicide on the 19th of April. He was 25 years of age. The idol is survived by his parents, along with his younger sister, Moon Sua of Billlie.

(Main sources:, @nugupromoter on, @ryuichisakamoto on,, @balloon_wanted on, @KoreanUpdates on, @znftna on, @48RequestHour on


#1- We had two major contract disputes make it to the top of the headlines between May & June! The first dispute involved Exo members BaekhyunChen & Xiumin. The three took legal action against SM Entertainment after the label blocked the artists from viewing their own financial accounts with the agency. The trio also further complained about the excessive duration of their individual contracts, which far exceeded the 7-year maximum length set by the Korean Fair Trade Commission following TVXQ’s legal dispute. The group also filed a complaint to the Fair Trade Commission in relation to their complaint. The dispute only ramped up over the following three weeks with comments from SM and the three Exo members regarding their contractual dispute, while BigPlanetMade (BPM) also released a statement after being accused of interfering with legal discussions between SM Entertainment and the three complainants. The contractual dispute was finally solved during the final weeks of June when the company released a joint statement with the three Exo members. The statement shared, “We are glad to announce that SM and the three artists have resolved our differences and reached a mutually amicable settlement” and that “We will make negotiations and modifications to our contracts and further solidify our relationships.” In regards to the supposed interference by BPM, the company shared that they had received a tip-off from a third party that they had been interfering with their artists, but that “thanks to the recent conversation, we learned that we misunderstood some parts. We are sorry to the people involved.”

#3- Also in May, we saw various line-up alterations and announcements related to new and old groups alike. TEEN TOP restructured themselves into a four-member group after TOP MEDIA announced that the group’s leader, CAP would be leaving the group after a series of controversial actions on a YouTube livestream. The idol’s contract was later terminated with his agency. Then on the 24th of May, it was announced by SM Entertainment that Sungchan and Shotaro would be leaving NCT to re-debut in the company’s new rookie boy group, RIIZE. Previously, the pair were expected to debut in NCT’s 6th and final unit, NCT TOKYO. Now moving on to girl groups and BRAVE GIRLS revealed that they would be making their return under a new name, BB GIRLS after the group’s prior disbandment announcement in February. Meanwhile, YG Entertainment officially revealed the full lineup of their upcoming girl group, BABYMONSTER. The group made their debut in November as a 6-member group consisting of RukaPharitaAsaHaramRora & Chiquita.

Trot singer Haesoo passed away on the 15th of May. She was 29 years old.

(Main sources:,,, @balloon_wanted on, @kchartsmaster on, @nugupromoter on


#1- In June, FIFTY FIFTY officially kicked off their legal dispute with their agency ATTRAKT. The four group members filed a lawsuit to nullify their contracts with the agency. This occurred following the revelation that Warner Music Korea had been courting the group members in an attempt to poach the group from ATTRAKT. Later it was shared that the group’s producer, Siahan had committed forgery concerning the copyright ownership of the group’s smash hit, ‘Cupid’ in an effort to line his own pockets. As of the time of writing, FIFTY FIFTY is effectively in limbo. The group’s eldest member has returned to ATTRAKT after learning that she had been lied to and cheated out of her share of the royalties by THE GIVERS producer, Siahan. The remaining three members — AranSio & Saena — have had their exclusive contracts terminated by ATTRAKT and lost their most recent appeal against the agency in Seoul’s high court. As a result of this decision, ATTRAKT will be pursuing legal action against the trio.

#2- We had several announcements regarding health-related hiatuses in June. SHINee’s Onew temporarily halted entertainment activities after being advised to do so by a health professional. As a result, the idol was unfortunately unable to participate in the group’s 15th-anniversary concert & album promotional activities. NCT’s Johnny sustained a collarbone injury which required the idol to halt group activities while he worked to recover, while aespa’s Giselle was unable to participate in the group’s US activities due to poor health.

(Main sources:, @209_archive on, @visuallyuno on, @SMTOWN_USA on, @theseoulstory on, @nugupromoter on


#1- Various announcements related to upcoming concerts and events were revealed in July. STAYC & ENHYPEN kicked off their world tours in September and October respectively; while B.I began his Europe tour in September. Then moving on to events and LESSERAFIM took part in the TMEA Music Festival in early July, while KBS Music Bank held Music Bank in Mexico with NewJeansSTAYCAB6IXITZY, and more.

#2- Following Sungchan & Shotaro’s exit from NCTSM Entertainment took to social media to announce that they had plans on debuting, not just one, but two new boy groups by the end of the year! Firstly, Sungchan & Shotaro would be returning to the spotlight through their newest Korean boy group RIIZE. The group officially made its debut in September with the single, ‘Get A Guitar’. Then later in the year, we would see the formation of NCT’s final unit, tentatively named NCT NEW TEAM, which was formed via an idol debut competition show, NCT Universe: LASTART. The group has yet to make their official debut but, as of the time of writing, has released a pre-debut single, ‘Hands Up’ on the 19th of October.

Chinese-American singer-songwriter Coco Lee passed away from an apparent suicide on the 5th of July. She was 48 years old.

(Main sources:, @balloon_wanted on, @BI_131 on, @BELIFTLAB on, @STAYC_official on, @theseoulstory on


#1- In August, the fallout from the Johnny Kitagawa scandal continued following Kaouan Okamoto’s revelations & the BBC-led investigation earlier this year. The company officially announced the results of its internal investigation related to the multiple sexual abuse claims against the former agency head. The label, which was founded — and named after — the now-deceased businessman Johnny Kitagawa came under fire earlier in 2023 when it was shared through the media that the label had created an unsafe environment for its trainees and employees. This was discovered after substantial evidence was shared stating that Johnny Kitagawa himself had actively participated in the grooming and serial abuse of a multitude of young (often underage) trainees and artists under the label. The result of the company’s internal investigation was revealed in August. The current head (at the time of the report’s release) of Johnny’s and AssociatesJulie ‘Keiko’ Fukushima would step down from her official position as head of the agency, and the former Shonentai member and Jonny’s artist, Noriyuki Higayashiyama would take over her position as CEO. This decision also came under some criticism as Noriyuki, similarly to Kitagawa, has also faced a series of abuse allegations on his own. It was shared that there were various abuse allegations levelled towards the new head as well.

Through the internal investigation, there was a series of recommendations put forward by the investigative body. It was recommended that Julie KeikoKitagawa’s niece, and CEO at the time, should step down from her position as the head of the company to prevent another reoccurrence of gross negligence on behalf of the agency. The investigation officially determined that there had been a widespread period of abuse beginning in the 1950s all the way up to the 2010s, and that Kitagawa’s sister had helped cover up for the agency founder. Later in the month, it was announced that Keiko had stepped down from her position as CEO and that JohnnyKitagawa would have his Guinness World Records purged from their Japanese website. In addition to this, the company would be changing its name to SMILE-UP following widespread criticisms that continuing to operate under the legacy and name of a serial abuser would be inappropriate and further tarnish the reputation of not just the management company, but would also cause their artists to lose out on opportunities in the future. Then in November, it was announced that Atsushi Fukuda, president of the consulting firm, Speedy assumed leadership of Johnny and Associates’ new yet-to-be-named company as president. In total, over 400 people had filed complaints with the agency reporting that they had been abused by the Japanese businessman. Among them was former Kiss-My-Ft2 member, Iida Kyouhei. He shared that he had not actually quit the band to pursue an education — as he had originally stated — but rather that he had suffered from abuse at the hands of Kitagawa between the ages of 13 and 18.

#2- Numerous legacy SM artists began to depart from SM Entertainment throughout the month. Three SUPER JUNIOR members: EunhyukDonghae, and Kyuhyun officially departed SM in search of new companies. Kyuhyun officially signed with YooJae-suk’s current agency, Antenna, while his fellow members Eunhyuk & Donghae set up a new agency, ODE Entertainment for the management of both their solo activities, as well as their SUPER JUNIOR D&E schedules. Then in August, SNSD’s Sunny officially departed from the company following the expiration of her contract. Each of the idols will continue to work with SM for their group schedules with SUPER JUNIOR & SNSD respectively.

(Main sources:, @JpopProjectNews on,, @antennamusic on, @balloon_wanted on


#1- Earlier this year, Blockberry Creative announced via the media that they would be taking action against their former artists. Five LOONA members — HyunjinViviGowonHyeju & Yeojin — decided to promote under the title LOOSEMBLE. Following this decision, Blockberry Creative chose to pursue the group for copyright infringement. Then, in September, it was shared by the groups’ legal representatives that they had officially won their case against Blockberry and that they would be keeping the rights to their name.

#2- BLACKPINK’s contract renewals became a contentious issue throughout the second half of the year. In September, YGEntertainment announced that they were currently in discussions with the members regarding their upcoming contract renewals. It was later shared that only Rosé had decided to renew her contract with the agency despite the company reportedly offering a contract worth over $40 million USD to BLACKPINK’s Lisa. It was later rumoured that BLACKPINK members Jisoo & Jennie would be establishing a one-man agency separate from YG to focus on their individual activities. As of the time of writing, YG has since stepped out to reveal the status of BLACKPINK and the group members’ personal contract status with the company.

#3- HYBE shared a press release to announce that the remaining active BTS members would be announcing their upcoming enlistment plans before the conclusion of 2023. As of the time of writing, all of the remaining BTS members have since made their enlistments. BTS’ Suga began his military enlistment on the 22nd of September as a public service worker, The idol was unable to serve as an active-duty soldier due to a prior shoulder injury that he sustained before his debut as an idol. The four remaining BTS members — RM, V, Jimin & Jungkook — would officially make their enlistments in December. Then on the 20th of September, BTS‘ agency, BigHitEntertainment announced that all seven BTS members had opted to renew their contracts with the company. According to DaolInvestment & Securities, the initial down payment for the contract renewal is estimated to have a value of at least ₩21 billion KRW.

(Main sources:, @_vvinnyvv on, @Koreaboo on, @KoreanUpdates on, @kpopers_family on


#1- The FIFTY FIFTY controversy began to wrap up during the final few months of the year. The group members released a series of statements on the 14th of October. We discovered that FIFTY FIFTY member Aran‘s health concerns were more severe than we first thought. The idol revealed that during the beginning of the year, she had contracted chronic cholangitis with polyps — which had the possibility of developing into cancer if left untreated — and further detailed that ATTRAKT had blocked her from receiving treatment up until April 2023. Then in another statement, Sio shared that she had undergone a strict dieting regime that had caused the idol to develop kidney-related health issues. Then in mid-October, it was shared that Keena — who is FIFTY FIFTY’s eldest member and the member to train the longest at ATTRAKT — had officially withdrawn her case against ATTRAKT and its CEO after sharing that she had been grossly misled by their producer Sihan. The remaining three FIFTY FIFTY members remain in a legal battle against the agency and have since had their exclusive contracts terminated by the company. As of the time of writing, the three remaining members have lost their appeal in the Seoul High Court. ATTRAKT has shared their plans to continue FIFTY FIFTY around Keena through the addition of three new members. The company is also pursuing a legal case against the three former FIFTY FIFTY members for damages.

#2- While the year begins to wind down, we also had a few announcements related to the upcoming End Of Year awards shows. The Melon Music Awards announced that they will be holding their ceremony on the 2nd of December at Inspire Arena, South Korea. While the M-net Asian Music Awards were held on the 28th & 29th of November at the Tokyo Dome in Japan, and the Golden Disk Awards will be held on the 6th of January in Jakarta. Meanwhile, MBC has shared that they have officially reconciled their differences against HYBE and their artists following the fallout from BTS’ decision to forgo attending the annual MBC Gayo festival in 2019 in favour of attending and performing at New Year’s Rockin‘ Eve in the U.S. This announcement has paved the way to allow not just BTS, but other HYBE artists to once again promote on MBC produced programs such as the end-of-year gayos.

BUCK-TICK‘s Sakurai Atsushi sadly passed away from a brainstem haemorrhage on the 19th of October. He was 57 years old.

(Main sources:, @nugupromoter on, @soompi on,, @theseoulstory on, @balloon_wanted on, @fromisnaver on


#1- BIGBANG‘s leader G-Dragon found himself in some hot water recently when it was shared that the idol was being investigated under suspicion of drug use in November. This came about as a result of an ongoing criminal investigation against the now-deceased South Korean actor Lee Sung-kyun, who is known for his roles in the Oscar-winning film Parasite as well as for starring opposite IU in My Ahjussi. On the 25th of October, It was announced that the Idol had officially been booked on drug control charges on the suspicion of consuming a controlled substance. The idol was later tested for drugs and was cleared from all suspicions after the National Forensic Service officially announced that both his hair and nails had tested negative for drugs.

#2- Also in November, we saw several high-profile people receive sentencing as a result of various unrelated controversies. Former YG CEO, Yang Hyun-suk for his actions against Han Sohee. The former CEO had reportedly coerced and intimidated the former idol trainee, who was — at the time — a public interest informant. Meanwhile, former Exo member Kris Wu lost the appeal to his rape and mass indecency charges, while a former HYBE dance trainer has been fired from the company for fraud and embezzlement. The former employee has been reported to have extorted over 5 billion KRW from HYBE, his fellow co-workers, and business partners. He was using HYBE‘s name and reputation to promote investment towards discovering and producing new songs. It is unknown whether HYBE will be pursuing legal action against the former employee at this time.

#3- As the year came to a close, we also saw a series of group changes. To start, Jpop group FAKY shared that they would be suspending official group activities on the 13th of January. The members will either graduate from the group or begin to focus on their solo careers. Now moving on and two idols will be taking indefinite hiatuses from their respective groups, NAME‘s Jin Zihan & RIIZE‘s Seunghan. It was shared that NAME‘s Jin Zihan will be withdrawing from a variety program due to health reasons and, as a result, she will be unable to participate in any upcoming group activities as well. Then RIIZE member Seunghan has also announced that he’ll be going on hiatus following a series of widespread controversies centred around the idol group member. Meanwhile, YG Entertainment officially shared that their rookie group, BABY MONSTER would be debuting one member short. The company revealed that Korean member, Ahyeon would be departing from the group before their official debut in November due to a series of personal reasons. However, YG still holds out hope for the trainee to rejoin the group in the future. BABY MONSTER officially made their debut on the 27th of November with the single ‘Batter Up’.

K-Indie singer-songwriter Nahee passed away. She was 24 years old.

(Main sources: @DailyCpop on, @kchartsmaster on, @riizepics on, @RORANGDAN on, @ JPopProjectNews on, @PopBase on, @dramapotatoe on,, @theseoulstory on


#1- We had five high-profile enlistments in December. For BTS, the remaining four members all enlisted for active-duty service in early December. RM & V enlisted together on the 11th of December, while Jimin & Jungkook enlisted the following day on the 12th. Earlier, it was reported that V would be joining a special ops division in the military that is an anti-terrorist department under the direct supervision of TheBlue House which was later confirmed by the idol himself via weverse. Then on the 21st of December, we saw Exo‘s Sehun officially begin his military enlistment. This marks the final members of both Exo & BTS to begin their military service.

#2- We had some new updates to contract negotiations in December. Most notably with BLACKPINKYG Entertainment shared that all of the BLACKPINK members had officially re-negotiated their contracts with the company to continue their group activities under YG. Then it was later shared by YG that they had lost the rights to manage the group members’ solo careers and that the group members would be free to sign with new companies for the management of their solo activities. As a result, BLACKPINK‘s Jennie established her own agency, ODDATELIER for her future solo schedules. While on the topic of idol-established agencies, it has been shared that PENTAGON member Kino, who departed CUBE earlier this year, has created a one-man agency titled NAKED. Then moving onto the topic of moving to a new label, and LOONA member Yves has shared that she has signed on to a new company and is currently in the process of working on a new album.

South Korean actor Lee Sun-gyun of ‘Parasite’ & ‘My Ahjussi’ passed away on the 27th of December. He was 48 years old.

(Main sources: @Popbase on, @orerry_nim on, @balloon_wanted on, @theseoulstory on, @kchartsmaster on,,


During the final few months of the year, our team gathered in order to select songs that, in our belief, accurately represented the year of 2023. This time, we’ve attempted to select an equal ratio of male-to-female artists for our writers to feature. We know that no such list can be completely unbiased, however, we hope that the songs we’ve chosen can accurately represent the year in East Asian pop. We hope you will enjoy our selection, and in case your favourite song didn’t make it on the list, don’t hesitate to promote it in the comments! You can find a playlist for this year’s best releases here!

#1- IVE / I AM (APRIL 10)

IVE‘s April comeback, I’ve IVE consisted of two releases: their pre-release ‘Kitsch‘, along with their lead single ‘I AM‘. The group officially made their return with their first full album, I’ve IVE on the 10th of April 2023, which was released concurrently with the group’s title track. Two weeks before the group’s official comeback, we saw the release of ‘Kitsch‘, a BLACKPINK reminiscent pre-release with an addictive hook and a rap-focused bridge. Through ‘Kitsch‘ the group members work to embrace the tacky and over-the-top style that is defined as ‘Kitsch‘. Now moving onto their title track, and ‘I AM‘ is a grand over-the-top release that is highly challenging from a vocal standpoint. Written by the Kpop powerhouse songwriters Kim Eana — best known for Brown Eyed Girls‘ smash hit ‘Abracadabra‘ — and longtime SM collaborator Ryan Jhun. The song shares the uplifting message of finding a person who will love you for who you are. With this release, the group has made an effort to showcase their stunning vocals through a highly technically challenging song that doesn’t just require belting, but also sustained vocal control. Overall, it’s a great single that may present a challenge to the group when performing live. It forces, not just the group’s main vocalist, but the other vocalists to heavily contribute to the single through the display of various high notes throughout the single. As for the b-sides on I’ve IVE, I highly enjoyed the upbeat nature of ‘Not Your Girl‘ alongside the tropical-sounding ‘Lips‘.


BTS‘ Suga, also known as Agust D — which is an anagram of Suga DT (DT being Daegu Town) — came back with his most personal album yet through the release of D-Day on the 21st of April. This is the idol’s first official solo album and the completion of his album trilogy following 2016’s Agust D & D-2 in 2020. With this album, the idol has chosen to promote a total of three tracks from his 10-track album: ‘Haegeum‘, a trap-influenced social commentary that serves as the album’s lead single, ‘People Part 2‘ a pre-release collaboration with fellow Kpop soloist and longtime collaborator, IU & ‘AMYGDALA‘, our topic of the day. ‘AMYGDALA‘ was the final of the three promoted tracks to receive a music video, as well as the only one to receive an age restriction warning due to the heavy themes that not just the song, but also its music video chooses to touch upon. Within his Disney+ special documentary, Road to D-Day the idol shared that he had chosen the name ‘AMYGDALA‘ as this part of the brain is where all of a person’s most painful memories are stored. As a result, the idol had to touch on some heavy emotions in order to successfully complete the single. He chose not to shy away from touching on ideas stemming from his own personal struggles and tragedies throughout his career as a soloist — as seen through his 2016 b-side ‘The Last‘, which discusses topics related to self-harm — but ‘AMYGDALA‘, in particular, is one of his most raw songs to date. It touches on painful topics such as his father’s prior cancer diagnosis, his shoulder accident, as well as his mother’s health issues all through the mask of an auto-tuned rap-heavy trap release. Overall, D-Day is a fantastic album with many great B-sides such as ‘AMYGDALA‘ as well as lesser-known b-sides such as ‘Polar Night‘ & ‘Life Goes On‘ to effectively showcase the idol’s talents not just as a rapper, but also as a producer.


BLACKSWAN is a 4-member group whose origins begin all the way back in 2011. The group’s first iteration debuted as Rania in 2011 before re-branding as BP Rania in 2016 (Black Pearl Rania) only to finally rebrand once more in 2020 as BLACKSWAN through the release of their October 2020 album, Goodbye Rania. Throughout their time as both Rania, as now as BLACKSWAN, the group has had over 25 members both join and depart from the group since their 2011 debut. BLACKSWAN made their return in May 2023 with the two-track single album, That Karma, and its title track ‘Karma‘. This marks the group’s first official comeback following Leia‘s hiatus, while also acting as the debut album for members NveeSriya Gabi. It was only in July that we learned — via the group’s leader Fatou — that Leia had already departed BLACKSWAN after it was shared that the group would remain as a four-member lineup consisting of the currently active members of NveeSriyaFatou Gabi. Now moving onto the single, and ‘Karma‘ is an Indian-inspired anthem that, depending on who you ask, may finely skirt the line between cultural appreciation or appropriation. As for the music video, it is a highly polished piece that was shot entirely in India. Through this release, it seems that the members are seeking to embrace their diversity as an entirely foreign Kpop group through the celebration of cultural diversity that is visible through the release of ‘Karma‘. Overall, it’s a solid release and we’re looking forward to seeing just how they re-invent themselves through this new lineup of BLACKSWAN!


On the 26th of July, Kenshi Yonezu returned with a new single, ‘Spinning Globe‘. The singer-songwriter has continued to show both his beautiful vocals and stunning lyricism through this release, which also acts as the theme song for The Boy and the HeronHayao Miyazaki‘s first feature-length directorial piece in over ten years. Yonezu was invited to compose the song four years prior to the film’s initial release. This was achieved after Miyazaki personally sought out the singer after the former came across Yonezu‘s 2020 Tokyo Olympics tie-in song, ‘Paprika‘, a catchy and upbeat single that was especially popular with children throughout the country. When speaking about Miyazaki‘s commissioning of him for the soundtrack, Yonezu — who is a big fan of the director — stated that: “It is also a way for me to give back what I have received from Miyazaki-san all my life. Thank you for continuing to make movies over the years, and please keep on making more in the years to come.” Upon the release of ‘Spinning Globe‘, it managed to rank #1 on various music distribution sites, both on their real-time and daily charts, as well as officially achieving RIAJ gold certification status mere weeks after its debut. It became Yonezu‘s 14th song to rank 1st on the Oricon weekly digital single ranking and as such, the artist broke his own record for the most number-one digital singles on the chart. As for the song itself, ‘Spinning Globe’ explores the themes of self-discovery and finding comfort in companionship through Yonezu‘s poetic verses and stunning vocals. This chamber-pop composition — similarly to Miyazaki‘s previous work with Joe Hisaishi — was constructed around the use of a chamber orchestra alongside Yonezu, who provided the piano instrumental for the song.


BTS’ V dropped ‘Love Me Again’ in August. A pre-release of the BTS members’ debut solo album, LayoVer. Through this release, the idol became the final BTS member to make his solo debut as a part of BTS’ Chapter 2 promotions. Despite Jungkook officially releasing his debut solo album, Golden in November, he had been actively promoting throughout the past two years with various solo releases and collaborations with Western artists — such as his July ‘Seven’ collaboration with U.S-based rapper Latto — as well as his 2022 FIFA anthem ‘The Dreamers‘. Thus making V the final BTS member to officially release solo content. According to HYBE the concept for the second chapter of the BTS Chronicle will be primarily centred around solo albums and collaborations as each of the members either prepare to participate — or are currently in the process of completing — their mandatory military service. BTS is set to officially re-group in 2025. With the release of LayoVerV has leaned into his strengths as a deep-voiced vocalist, while also highlighting his appreciation for the RnB & Blues genre or music, the latter of which is not often seen within the Kpop industry. Now moving on to the single, and ‘Love Me Again’ is a wistful R&B that you could almost expect to see played in a Jazz lounge. It is by far the best pre-release from LayoVer. So much so that it sounds like it could have even possibly been a contender for the title track at some point in the album’s production. Similarly to his two other promoted singles, ‘Slow Dancing’ and ‘Rainy Days’, the idol has taken a muted and subdued approach to the release of ‘Love Me Again’. Something that is not often seen throughout the idol’s group releases as a member of BTS. Overall, it was a great release that perfectly complimented the idol’s musical interests to become one of the defining soundtracks of August.


The Zico-produced boy group, BOY NEXT DOOR made their first official comeback in September with their best-selling album to date, Why.. and its promotional single ‘But Sometimes’. An Indie-rock inspired break-up song that continues the plotline established throughout the group’s past two singles, ‘But I Like You‘ and ‘Serenade‘. Through this release, the group continued with the indie-rock-based sound that they established for themselves following their debut earlier in the year. This time, the group returned with their EP, Why.. which became their best-selling album to date with over 300K copies sold in a little over a week. Through their title track, as well as the accompanying album, the group has cemented their indie-rock signature sound. This is particularly noticeable through the atmospherics of the group’s title track, as well as through their B-side, ‘ABCDLOVE‘. Now moving on to the visuals and the group made the decision to work with RIGEND Film for the production of ‘But Sometimes‘. The studio behind the music videos for Lay‘s ‘LIT‘, as well as fellow HYBE labelmate SEVENTEEN‘s ‘Rock With You‘. Now as for the accompanying b-sides found on this release and we have two new b-sides included in Why.. ‘ABCDLOVE‘ & ‘Crying‘. Out of all of the b-sides on this release, I found that ‘Crying‘ was the standout track on the album. This is a much more mellow-toned single compared to both the lead single, as well as the accompanying b-sides. However, this aspect does not take away from how much I appreciated this release. Altogether, Why.. is a great follow-up release to the group’s official debut earlier this year! This release has worked to further cement their signature sound, while also giving us some fantastic B-sides in the process.


This year, we’ve decided to expand our ICYMI song coverage past the general pop releases and move on to artists we would not often cover, such as virtual idols, V-Tubers and soundtrack appearances. You may have first noticed this during our coverage of the Hatsune Miku x Pokemon collaboration in the latter half of the year. This time we’ll be covering Ado — pronounced ahh-doh like the Kyōgen term — who made her return in October with a new single, ‘Kura Kura‘. This is the artist’s 20th overall digital single, which also acts as the latest OP for the hit anime SPYxFAMILY. Unlike most other mainstream singers, Ado has opted to remain relatively anonymous throughout her music career. This can be seen through her decision to promote similarly to a V-Tuber; by remaining as a faceless voice throughout her time actively promoting in the Japanese music industry and promoting behind a hand-drawn avatar instead. Ado made her return in October with a dizzying release, ‘Kura Kura‘, the Japanese onomatopoeia for dizziness. Through this release, the singer has opted to explore the themes of uncertainty by drawing parallels between a person’s ideals to the harsh reality that is often life. This is accomplished by blending her stunning vocal technique with an upbeat and jazz-like instrumental in order to create a stunning overall presentation that perfectly fits the tone of SPYxFAMILY.


Former LOONA member Chuu made her official solo debut in October with ‘Howl‘ from the 5-track album of the same name. This came following the idol’s exhaustive legal battle against her former management company, Blockberry Creative where she cited a lack of trust in the company, payment disputes and more in the legal application for her contract nullification. Following the filing of this lawsuit, the idol was promptly kicked from the group without any mediation between herself, the other members, or Blockberry themselves. After this, the company sought to hold a comeback for LOONA only to face fan backlash in the form of a large-scale boycott and subsequent injunction applications from each of the remaining LOONA members. This is Chuu‘s first officially promoted solo foire in six years following her pre-debut release ‘Heart Attack‘, and her first official release following her departure from LOONA, whose fate is currently up in the air as each of the members have subsequently left Blockberry Creative to sign on with new agencies instead. Now moving on to Chuu‘s solo debut, and ‘Howl‘ is an ethereal and atmospheric EDM single that perfectly showcases the idols’ vocals. While ‘Howl‘ lacks any larger-than-life vocal technique, it still manages to showcase her charming vocal colour through the light and airy vocalisations seen throughout the song. My only complaint is that it felt far too short. Sitting at only 2 minutes and 50 seconds total. Other highlights of this release include the overly charming ‘My Palace‘, the EDM-filled ‘Hitchhiker‘ & the stunning pre-release ‘Underwater‘. Overall, it’s a solid solo debut with various appealing qualities strewn throughout it.


Taemin returned with his latest solo release, ‘Guilty‘ in July along with the 6-track EP of the same name. This comes following fellow member Key‘s solo release in September, as well as SHINee‘s June group comeback, ‘Hard‘. However, it’s been implied that the group will be taking an extended hiatus as SHINee‘s leader Onew has been placed on an extended health-related hiatus for a currently unknown issue. Now moving on to Taemin‘s latest solo foire and Guilty is a 6-track mini-album where the idol has returned with his first official solo release since his discharge from mandatory military service earlier this year. According to Taemin himself, the EP has taken creative inspiration from Georges Bataille‘s 1957 book, L’Erotisme, while the music video for the album’s lead single has explored themes from the Herman Hesse novel, Demian. For this comeback, Taemin has presented ‘Guilty‘ as an operatic performance piece that works to play into the idol’s strengths as a fantastic all-around performer. This is accomplished through the addition of the idol’s airy vocals throughout the chorus to accentuate the song’s visual performance through its choreography and presentation. Some of my favourites from this release, aside from the lead single include the sweet & synthy ‘She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not‘ alongside the laid-back outro song, ‘Blue‘. Overall, it feels like with Guilty, Taemin along with his producers, have chosen to be widely experimental with his title track this time, while choosing to play it safe with the b-sides. This seems to have worked in the favour this time as ‘Guilty‘ took off on Tik-Tok and Twitter (now known as not just within various Kpop fandoms, but within the wider fandom population as well. All in all, it’s a great release that has only further worked to cement Taemin‘s reputation as a stellar performer.


WayV made their return on the 1st of November with their 2nd studio album, On My Youth, and their first comeback in almost a year as a full unit and their first release since Lucas‘ official departure in May 2023. This comes following the group’s participation in the annual NCT promotions in Golden Age. I will save commenting on my thoughts on the sustainability of these 20-member group promotions, as my opinion is largely negative towards SM‘s management of this strategy (let’s just say they’re actively contributing to Mark’s potential insomnia with these back-to-back comebacks). The group came back with two promoted singles again this time around, their lead single ‘On My Youth‘ — which shares its name with the album title — and the b-side ‘Poppin Love‘, a techno-influenced EDM/pop single with an addictive hook. Now moving on to the group’s lead single and ‘On My Youth‘ is an experimental EDM-influenced release that works to each of the group members’ strengths exponentially. Through this release, we see the group lean into the futuristic and experimental sound that they have become known for establishing. The group has effortlessly blended multiple different languages to create a high-quality sound, while also establishing a far more palatable form of noise music when compared to the groups’ more experimental sub-units such as NCT127. This is the beauty of the initial concept of NCT, to have the ability to cater to a variety of different audiences while retaining their overall fandom. Though your mileage may vary on the opinion of how successful they’ve been in achieving this goal. As for the b-sides, I found the soft and wistful nature of ‘No One But You‘ to appeal to me the most. Especially with the way that the rappers were able to effectively blend in a melodic rap variant to more effectively suit the song’s overall tone. All in all, it’s a fantastic release, and I just hope that SM/Label V can allow the group to come back more often going forward.


Of all of the careers that the GFriend members have pursued following the group’s abrupt disbandment in 2021, I feel that Viviz probably has the most promising one out of all of them. However, that may be owing to the fact that they have chosen to promote as a group rather than having to carry an album as solos in the way that Yuju, for example, has. The group returned in November with their latest EP VERSUS. With this release the group has chosen to promote two songs from the album: their lead single ‘Maniac‘, a dance-pop track with an addictive hook, as well as their b-side ‘Untie‘, which is a mature EDM bass-heavy single that offers a social commentary on the often overuse of social media and the lies that we often see spread across SNS. One of the greatest aspects that I feel that Viviz, as a team, has been able to accomplish has been the way that they have been able to accurately showcase the talents of the often underutilized members of GFriend. I feel that Umji, in particular, has grown exponentially from her time as the vocalist and youngest member of GFriend into a powerful vocalist of her own. As for the b-sides on VERSUS, I felt that there wasn’t a single filler track on the album. My personal favourites include the dreamy and melodic ‘Overflow‘ and the bright synth-heavy ‘Day By Day‘. Overall, it’s a great album and a solid step up from the group’s previous album.


If there was one Japanese release that I had on my heavy rotations during the end of the year, it would have to be Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku‘s — or Ebichu for short — ‘BLUE DIZZINESS‘. Ebichu is a 10-member group from Stardust Promotion, which is the home of Momoiro Clover Z. The group has had various changes throughout the years, and their current 11-member line-up began in October 2022 when Yuna Nakamura & Yuna Sakurai joined the group. Both of which, are a whopping 11 years younger than the eldest member of Ebichu (who is 27 at the time of writing). When planning on the features list for this end-of-year wrap-up, I actually planned on featuring the group’s earlier single, ‘Kyo-do?’, which is an upbeat pop brass-heavy single. Then December came and the group came back with their latest single, BLUE DIZZINESS. With this release, Ebichu has returned with an EDM-influenced authentically Jpop single. In all honestly, ‘BLUE DIZZINESS‘ sounds like it was released in the wrong season. Despite it being released during the peak of Winter, it has a highly summery vibe about it. The song’s overall tone, when paired with the soothing accompanying vocals of each of the members accompanying vocals — of which, I was especially impressed by Kobayashi Kaho — results in an overall fantastic release!



#1- BTS also had a big year for Spotify achievements in 2023! For group releases, both You Never Walk Alone and Jimin‘s solo song ‘Filter’ reached new personal milestones. The group’s 2017 Wings repackage, You Never Walk Alone officially became the group’s 6th album to surpass 3 billion streams on Spotify. Then, Jimin’s 2020 solo single of the group’s 4th studio album, Map of The Soul: 7 became the group’s 16th song to surpass 400 million streams on Spotify. Now moving on to solo releases, and the youngest member Jungkook by far had the biggest year on Spotify as a BTS member. The idol smashed the record for the biggest streaming year for a Kpop soloist in Spotify history by having over 676 million (and counting) streams on the platform. The previous record was held by Korean soloist IU with 675 million streams on Spotify. The idol also had three of his songs surpass personal milestones throughout the year. His July hit-single ‘Seven’ became the most streamed song by a Kpop act in 2023 with over 600 million streams on the platform. ‘Standing Next To You‘ became the fastest Kpop solo song to surpass 200 million streams on Spotify. Meanwhile, the idol’s 2020 single, ‘Still With You’, which was officially released on Spotify in 2023, was able to surpass 100 million streams in just a few short months. Now moving on to other BTS members solo releases and Agust DJiminJ-hope & V were also able to gain new achievements. V’s ‘Love Me Again’ surpassed 100 million streams, Agust D’s D-Day surpassed 500 million streams, J-hope’s Jack in the Box (HOPE EDITION) surpassed 600 million streams, while his pre-release single, ‘MORE‘ officially surpassed 200 million streams. Finally, Jimin’s Face surpassed a whopping 1 billion streams on the music streaming platform.


#1- It was a big year for album sales for HYBE artists overall. Despite almost half the group enlisting in the military throughout the year, both BTS, as well as its remaining active group members, were still able to successfully achieve many new milestones for their album sales! The group’s debut album, 2 Cool 4 Skool was able to surpass 500K album sales on the Gaon (Circle) album chart. Then, their fourth studio album, Map of the Soul: 7 became the first Korean-language album to surpass 1 million pure sales in the U.S. Now moving on to its group members and V‘s debut solo album, Layover became one of the best-selling solo albums this year when it was able to sell just short of 2 million copies within the first 24 hours of release. He was only beaten out by fellow member Jungkook, with his solo release, Golden which was able to successfully sell over 2.1 million copies in a single day. Then in December, the idol successfully sold over 500K units of Golden‘s lead single ‘Standing Next To You‘ in the US.

#2- Another HYBE artist who was able to have a massively successful year in 2023 was SEVENTEEN. The group became the first Kpop act to surpass 10 million albums sold in a single calendar year on Gaon (Circle). Throughout the year, the group shattered multiple personal and previously held records by other artists as well. The group’s April album, FML became the best-selling album in South Korean history after it sold over 5.2 million copies. It also broke the record with the highest first-day, and first-week sales in Korean history, while also becoming the most pre-ordered album in Korean history.

#3- Now moving on to other rising HYBE Artists and LE SSERAFIM, NewJeans and BOY NEXT DOOR were all able to successfully achieve new personal records. Both NewJeans and LE SSERAFIM joined the millionaire club after their ANTIFRAGILE & OMG albums were able to cross 1 million copies respectively. While HYBE‘s newest boy group, BOY NEXT DOOR has shown a massive improvement in their album sales after the group’s latest album, Why.. became their first album to surpass 250K sales.


Only six songs this year were able to reach the status of receiving a Perfect-All-Kill (PAK). To successfully obtain a PAK, a song is required to simultaneously hit #1 on all South Korean major music platforms including MelOn, FLO, Instiz, Genie, and more.

#1- IVE was able to achieve a total of 3 PAKs this year, which also ties them with IU as the artist to receive the most total PAKS in a single calendar year. Their April release ‘Kitsch’ became their first PAK in early April, while ‘I AM’ similarly brought them the same achievement in late April. Then they ended the year in November with another PAK, this time with their October release, ‘Baddie’.

#2- (G)I-DLE marked their first PAK of the year with their smash-hit ‘Queencard’ in June. ‘Queencard’ brings the group’s total number of PAKs to 3 following 2022’s ‘NXDE’ & ‘Tomboy’.

#3- NewJeans was able to receive their second overall Perfect-All-Kill in July with ‘Super Shy’ following last year’s ‘Ditto’.

#4- Our last PAK of the year belongs to the brother-sister duo Akdong Musician — or AKMU for short — when their latest release, ‘LoveLee’ was able to consecutively reach the #1 position on all of the major charts. In addition to this achievement, ‘Love Lee’ was able to maintain its #1 position on the MelOn Daily Chart for a whopping 53 days this year. Making it the longest #1 streak on the chart this year. Congrats!


#1- BTS had an especially great year when it came to charts and achievements on Billboard! The group continued their dominance in the charts both with their solo and group releases. The group’s only group release, ‘Take Two’ continued the group’s standing on the Billboard charts when it made its debut at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then moving on to the members’ solo activities, and we saw new releases from JungkookJiminJ-hopeSuga (as Agust D) & V. Starting with the Billboard 200 and we saw JiminJungkookSuga (as Agust D) & V all place at #2 on the Billboard 200 with FaceGoldenD-Day & LayoVer respectively. Meanwhile, J-Hope rose to a new height of #6 on the chart through the special edition re-release of his album Jack in the Box (Hope Edition). Then moving on to the Billboard Hot 100, and we saw two #1 debuts by BTS solos. Jimin’s ‘Like Crazy’ debuted in the #1 position in May, while we saw Jungkook block Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That In a Small Town’ from taking #1 with his solo release ‘Seven’ alongside US-based rapper Latto in July. Also charting on the Hot100 this year was J-Hope’s ‘On The Street’ with J.Cole at #37, Jimin’s ‘Angel Part 1’‘Set Me Free Part 2‘ & his Taeyang collaboration ‘Vibe’ at #65, #30 & #76 respectively, V’s ‘Love Me Again’ at #96, Suga’s ‘Haegeum’ at #58 & Jungkook’s ‘3D’ ‘Standing Next To You’ at #5. Then in Korea, the groups’ English-language single ‘Dynamite‘ became the second-longest charting song ever by an idol group on the MelOn Weekly Chart after it surpassed ‘Boy With Luv‘.

#2- Numerous other Kpop artists charted in the West this year. Aside from BTS-related releases, a total of 27 Kpop albums charted on the Billboard 200 this year. Eight total Kpop albums charted within the top three positions of the Billboard 200.STRAY KIDSTXT & NewJeans successfully placed in the top position with their albums 5-StarThe Name Chapter: Temptation & Get Up respectively. Now moving onto the Billboard Hot 100 single chart. A total of seven singles unrelated to BTS were able to make it into the chart in 2023. FIFTY FIFTY’s smash Tik-Tok hit, ‘Cupid’ was the certified hit of the year after it was able to peak at #17 on the chart and spent a whopping total of 25 weeks on the chart. Two more artists were able to successfully chart their songs this year. NewJeans had a whopping five singles place within the chart. Their singles, ‘Ditto‘, ‘OMG’‘Super Shy’‘ETA’ ‘Cool With You’ peaked at #85, #74, #48, #81 & #91 respectively on the chart, while TWICE spent one week at #84 with their English-Language single ‘Moonlight-Sunrise’.


#1- Like any other year, there were numerous certifications both in Korea and abroad. BTS proved themselves to be powerhouses once more as they received new certifications for not only their group albums, but also for their various collaborations and solo releases. The groups’ 2nd English-language single, ‘Butter‘ gained platinum status in France after the single surpassed 30 million equivalent streams. Jimin‘s ‘Like Crazy‘ from his debut solo album, FACE successfully achieved RIAA platinum certification after selling the equivalent of 1 million units in the US. BTS’ Jungkook Latto’s single ‘Seven’ gained platinum certification in September. This is Jungkook’s second single to achieve this milestone following 2022’s ‘Left and Right’ collaboration with Charlie Puth. Then the idol’s debut album, Golden gained RIAJ platinum certification after surpassing 250K units sold in Japan. Then our final BTS certification consists of PSY & Suga’s collaboration, ‘That That’ received a platinum certification on Gaon (Circle) after the 2022 release surpassed 100 million streams. Meanwhile, SEVENTEEN’s 2023 album, FML was the latest album to successfully go 5 x Platinum on Gaon (Circle). It will join BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7 as the only other album to achieve such a feat. Now moving abroad and BiSH’s final single, ‘Bye-Bye Show’ became eligible for RIAJ gold certification during the single’s first official day of release after it sold over 133K units in a single day.

#2- Then in Japan, the Japanese super duo YOASOBI‘s Smash Hit ‘Idol‘, which serves as the OP to the massively successful idol anime ‘Oshi no Ko‘ set a brand new record on the Oricon chart when it became the fastest song to surpass 5 million plays on the platform. It will join three of the groups’ previous works which have already surpassed 5 million plays on the platform.

The Social Media Team spent the past few days collecting messages on behalf of the staff team!

Vampire: Hello, everyone! As the current Community Manager, I can’t express to you enough how thankful I feel that Hallyu+ is still around at a time when forums like this are becoming harder and harder to come by. The entire Moderator Team will do what we can to keep this little slice of the internet a comfortable, fun, and welcoming experience—so let’s burst into 2024 with a flurry of posts! Have a Happy New Year! ♡

Chiharu: Happy New Year, everyone! May 2024 be better in every way than 2023 was. To those of you who recently joined here from OH, I hope you enjoy your stay and H+ becomes a comfortable home for you~ To the old H+ users, y’all better stay active 🔫. Remember to stan IVE, bow down before Princess Wonyoung, and participate in the H+ events!

fromisSakura: No matter how the year 2023 turned out, know that you have tried your best and given it your all. 2024 will be another new beginning, a new start. Let’s give it our all in 2024 and live with no regrets! May everyone enjoy their 2024, and be successful and most importantly happy! Happy 2024!

Polaris_Tae: Hello Hallyuplussers! Happy New Year, and I hope you guys had another great year together with our fantastic community! Now that 2023 is over, the team would like to give our thanks to all of the users who continue to constantly engage with our content, as well as those who continue to keep the site active and engaging. In 2023, the Social Media Team published a total of 13 articles. All of which consist of our weekly In Case You Missed It series. Next year, we hope to work towards publishing various types of articles in 2024, and we hope you’ll be there for those as well!

This brings us to the end of our journey in 2023. We hope to see you again in 2024 as well. We’d like to thank you once again for choosing to spend your time with us on Hallyuplus. We’ll be back again in 2024 with more great surprises, so make sure to keep an eye out!

We’d like to give a special thanks to all of our Social Media team members, both past and present. We also welcome any constructive feedback to this article, our team in general, or any of our past publications as well. Our team — alongside the GFX team — spent various weeks preparing this article for publication and would like to thank you for sticking by our side throughout 2023 as well!

As always, we have a special raffle planned for those of you who made it to the end of 2023! All you have to do is leave a comment and tell us what you most liked/disliked about 2023 and you’ll go in the running to win  150,000 + 1 Ørb each. The giveaway closes on the 11th of January. The top three winners will be determined by RNG, so don’t forget to drop us a comment!

GFX: @yerm

FEATURED ARTISTS: Joshua (Seventeen), Ado, Woonhak (BOYNEXTDOOR), Fatou (Blackswan), V, Kazami Nonoka (Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku), Xiaojun (WayV), Jang Wonyoung (IVE) & Taemin.