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10 Best Korean Entertainment Maknaes

Maknae is a Korean word that pertains to the youngest in a group.

Often, it comes with certain expectations or stereotypes. Maknaes are often the bullied (affectionately) by the hyungs (Korean term for an older man if the speaker is a man too). They are childish and often cause trouble. They are expected to be cute, a little naïve, irresponsible and generally just someone that is taken cared of.

This is not exclusive to Koreans, of course. Even in other cultures, the youngest is often perceived as the spoiled one. In Korea, it is a little highlighted because of the strong emphasis on age hierarchy. Older people are granted special privileges just because they are older. On the other hand, maknaes are also provided certain privileges just because they are young.

However, Korean entertainment has seen some of the most talented maknaes. In fact, some maknaes have eneded up being more prolific and/or successful than their hyungs.

Here are 10 of the most prolific maknaes.

Click here and read about the impressive transformation of Japanese idols to bad boys in movies that proved they are more than just a pretty face.



I wouldn’t say that being popular bothers me but there are times when I feel the pressure of expectations because despite being contented with what I have, I can't stop aiming for more. I have to be better. So from time to time, I remind myself to not be concerned with “How popular am I? How much am I loved?” but to put all of my effort into becoming better in the things that are important.

- Taemin

Maknae of Shinee

  • debuted (common english term used by Korean fans pertaining to a celebrity's launch) at 15 and was only thought to be the dancer and maknae
  • often laughed at for being gullible (watch Key's story below) and absent-minded member
  • has to be taken cared of to the point where he becomes the priority of the members when eating and resting
  • also, occasionally, made fun of for the fun of it

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The Rise of the Maknae

  • has developed great singing voice that can hit the high notes (see video below), has a unique tone and can sing any genre. Many believe that had he debuted later, he would be the center of the group
  • multi talented - can rap, sing, dance, play musical instruments (see video below)
  • launched a solo career with his first mini album, ACE, with a totally different image and concept and pulled it off. In fact, his single made an all-kill*

*all kill is a Korean term for a song or album that gets the number one spot of all big music charts simultaneously



Maknae of the longest running boyband, Shinhwa

  • perceived to be the weakest physically and "least talented" in the group since his rap parts are always the shortest
  • the baby of leader, Eric
  • one of the favorite targets of tricks

Rise of the Maknae

  • launched a solo career in 2007 with Extraordinary Imagination
  • founded TOP Media and manages two of the most popular boybands in Korea, 100% and Teen Top
  • first to venture into musical stage plays among Shinhwa members
  • has proven to be smart not just in business but also in different variety show often compensating his lack of physical strength with brilliant strategic thinking
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#3 Lee Kwang Soo


Maknae of Running Man

  • was bullied from Episode 1 and eventually became the favorite target of Kim Jong Kook, Running Man's strongest member
  • developed to become the ultimate betrayer of Running Man and many believe that it will be hard for him to shake off the image and he won't be able to get roles other than that of someone stupid

The Rise of the Maknae

  • his intelligence in developing his character in RM is apparent. What started out as a bullied character has turned into an unpredictable, scheming,wise maknae that can muster up enough intelligence and courage to stand up against his hyungs and noonas
  • he has also managed to get movie and tv roles that not only breaks away from his bullied maknae character in RM but also gives him the opportunity to display his acting talent. His latest movie, Confession, paved the way for him to get his first lead role in a movie to be shown 2015 title The Mutant.He was a newbie actor when he debuted in Running Man but he managed to build a strong acting career even as continue to become a popular variety star
  • he is also considered the most popular in other Asian countries as evidenced by Running Man's Asia tours. He is so popular that even RM production team is baffled by it

#4 Lee Seunggi


Maknae of 1N2D, one of the highest rated show on Korean TV of all time

  • he has been in the entertainment industry for a while but being the maknae in 1N2D gave him that boost he needed to become a household name.
  • being the youngest, he was often bullied and left to do the hardest tasks.
  • other members set him up and gang up on him all the time. Who would forget that episode when they left in him alone without money in an island and made to figure out by himself how he can follow the rest of the group to the other island

Rise of the Maknae

  • Lee Seunggi managed to emerge the victor in every situation they put him into using nothing but pure wits and resourcefulness
  • he also managed to have the most successful career outside of 1N2D with endless stream of TV and movie hits including the now legendary My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox and Gu Family Book
  • he is one of the most bankable and awarded Korean actor

#5 Jungkook


Maknae of Bangtan Boys

  • Jungkook is a favorite target of his hyungs when it comes to pranks, watch the video below
  • he plays the part well too. He has the messiest room and likes messing with his hyungs rooms. The other members attest just how Jungkook could invade the rooms and beds (especially that of Jimin) of the other members and the other members often have to sleep outside the room

The Rise of the Maknae

  • Jungkook has proven to be the most prolific of the bunch. Being known as one of the three main dancers, he has evolved to show his great singing voice, mastery in different instruments and other arts.
  • if he master songwriting, he may eventually becomes the first legitimate artist/idol.
  • he has released different cover songs which is usually the training ground for idols towards a solo career.

#6 Mir


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Maknae of Mblaq

  • Mir has personally attested to how tiring it is to be a maknae of the group because when one member starts bullying him, the rest follows
  • members make fun of him in almost everything, his english, his food, his clothes and his actions

Rise of the Maknae

  • Mir shocked fans on how he roughed it up in Real Man as he held his own against other more established "manly" celebrities
  • He is the best lyricist in the group and a producer too. He wrote the lyrics to, You're My +, Can't Come Back, R U Ok? and Girl
  • He also co-produced and wrote the lyrics to his first digital single Come On

#7 Kyuhyun


Maknae of Super Junior

  • joining Super Junior six months after they debuted, he was unwelcomed and bullied especially by the leader, Leeteuk
  • he got the least attention by SM because he was the youngest to a point where he was left alone in the dorm while all other members had solo activities
  • Leeteuk never allowed him to talk informally to him

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Rise of the Maknae

  • he later on became known as the evil maknae often pulling off some tricks that made other members fear him such as intentionally cooking bad so he wouldn't be asked to do it again and getting caught drunk and then blaming Leeteuk for it
  • he is the most recent SM artist to go solo and his single, At Gwanghwamun, achieved an all-kill
  • he has also proved his talent in stage acting by doing several musicals including Robin Hood and Singin' in the Rain

#8 Jinwoon


Maknae of 2AM

  • he shares the same fate as Mir of Mblaq, being the favorite target of jokes and pranks in the group
  • he is also given the hardest tasks in the dorm

Rise of the Maknae

  • probably the only idol that successfully separated from his boyband image for a solo career as a rock star which is his real roots having been in a rock band for years before debut
  • plays guitar, drums, bass guitar, bongo and piano
  • wrote and composed all his singles You Walking Towards Me, Now or Never and Psycho
  • had his first solo concert at Hongdae V Hall in Seoul

#9 Seunggri


Maknae of Big Bang

  • other members claim that they don't put Seunggri in trouble, he does it to himself because he is clumsy and does not use his head often
  • however, he is always the last to choose clothes, given the worst seats in cars, made to wear clothes other members rejected and least space in the dorm

The Rise of the Maknae

  • first foreign artist to be an MC in a Japanese show
  • wrote six of the seven songs in his mini-album, VVIP
  • owns several dancing and singing schools in Korea called Joy Dance - Plug In Music Academy

#10 Max Changmin


Of course we saved the best for last...

Maknae of DBSK/TVXQ

  • has always been the kiddo of the group and was given very minimal decision making power
  • was asked by the leader, Yunho, to quit the group shortly after he joined

The Rise of the Maknae

  • has proven to be a prolific lyricist. Has written the lyrics of Evergreen (Only Love), "Love in the Ice" (Mirotic), Sleepless Night (performed by Shinee), Confession, I Swear, Rise, Heaven's Day, Ace (performed by Taemin, and My Thoughts, Your Memories (performed by Super Junior's Kyuhyun
  • has two college degrees and currently pursuing a double degree (Master or Arts and Doctorate) in Inha University


vonniea on May 26, 2015:

Sorry for commenting on this very late since I just found your blog. The RM facts you posted are daebak :)

Err I'm a TVXQ fan, and Yunho didn't ask Changmin to leave After he was in. That time, Changmin was recruited by SM manager without audition and Yunho thought Changmin is one of another less determination trainees, so Yunho, who is in charge of disciplinary (since at that time he was already be a senior trainee), say to Changmin, "If you're going to out then, just go out now."

But not after Changmin's in. Yunho loves Changmin. And he doesn't want Changmin leave. :)

Thankyou, if you don't mind to edit the post. Teehee

Marlene Bertrand from USA on January 03, 2015:

What an interesting culture. These are all very talented and beautiful people.

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