T-ara at the Cyworld Dream Music Festival, July 23, 2011 (From left to right: Hwayoung, Qri, Hyomin, Boram, Jiyeon, Soyeon, Eunjung)
|Also known as||Tara, Tiara|
|Origin||Seoul, South Korea|
|Labels||Core Contents Media, CJ E&M (South Korea)
EMI Music Japan (Japan)
|Associated acts||Supernova, SeeYa, Davichi, Coed School, Gangkiz|
|Website||Official Korean website
Official Japanese website
T-ara (pron.: //; Korean: 티아라, Japanese: ティアラ; often stylized as T-ARA or T♔ARA) is a South Korean girl group that debuted in 2009 under Core Contents Media. Before their debut, there was a high level of interest in the group; they were called the "Super Rookies" and had been training for three years prior.
Originally a five-member group composed of Jiae, Jiwon, Eunjung, Hyomin, and Jiyeon, they released their first song "Joheun Saram" (좋은 사람, "Good Person") for the soundtrack of the Korean drama Cinderella Man in April 2009. After Jiae and Jiwon withdrew from the group in June, T-ara debuted as a six-member group with the addition of Boram, Soyeon, and Qri in July 2009.
Their debut studio album Absolute First Album was released in December 2009 and spawned several hit singles including "Geojitmal", "TTL (Time to Love)", "TTL Listen 2", "Bo Peep Bo Peep", "Cheoeum Cheoreom" and "Neo Ttaemune Michyeo". The album was followed by the group's first extended play, Temptastic (2010), which included the top-five singles "Wae Ireoni" and "Yayaya". John Travolta Wannabe (2011) produced "Roly-Poly", the Gaon chart's number one single of the year, which earned the group several awards and nominations as well. In less than six months, the group released their third extended play Black Eyes (2011), which spawned three number one singles: "Cry Cry", "Uri Saranghaetjanha" and "Lovey-Dovey". The lead single, "Cry Cry", became the group's first number one on the Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100.
In 2011, T-ara signed a $4.3 million contract with the company J-ROCK for their Japanese debut, the highest out of all the girl groups debuting in Japan. Their major record label is EMI Music Japan while their management and promotional marketing takes place under J-ROCK. The group's first single was a remake of their 2009 hit "Bo Peep Bo Peep". It ranked at number one on the Oricon weekly charts with 49,712 copies sold, the first time a debuting Korean girl group has done so in the charts' history. T-ara released their debut Japanese studio album Jewelry Box in 2012, which peaked at number two on the Oricon charts.
The group has added three members to their lineup since debut: Hwayoung in 2010, Areum in June 2012, and Dani was announced to be joining the group in December 2012 (although she has yet to join the group). Hwayoung later departed the group in July 2012. T-ara uses a rotating leader system in which a different member of the group is elected as leader each year, in order to give both the group and the individual members the opportunity to grow in a new direction.
Early beginnings and pre-debut projects 
The original five T-ara members (Jiae, Jiwon, Eunjung, Hyomin and Jiyeon) were trained together for three years under Mnet Media. The meaning behind the group's name, which is based on the word "tiara", comes from the idea that they will become the "queens of the music industry". In April 2009, they released their first song "Joheun Saram (Ver. 1)" (좋은 사람, "Good Person") for the Cinderella Man soundtrack. Jiyeon teamed up with labelmates SeeYa and Davichi for a collaboration single titled "Yeoseong Shidae" (여성시대, "Women's Generation"), which was released in May 2009.
In June 2009, Mnet Media announced that Jiae and Jiwon would be leaving T-ara due to differences in music style. The first new member to be added to the group was Boram, the daughter of singer Jeon Young-rok and actress Lee Mi-young. Soyeon, a former trainee of Girls' Generation, and Qri were added to T-ara three weeks prior to debut. In early July 2009, the group was moved from Mnet Media to its subsidiary company Core Contents Media.
2009–10: Debut, Absolute First Album and Temptastic 
T-ara made their debut on MBC's Radio Star talk show on July 29, 2009. Their first performance was on Mnet's M! Countdown music show on July 30, where they performed "Geojitmal" (거짓말, "Lies") and "Norabollae?" (놀아볼래?, "Wanna Play?") from their debut single. Their debut was looked upon negatively by webpostings, where people stated that it was lipsynched and commented that it seemed like an "elementary school" performance. The group announced afterwards that future performances would be live. In September 2009, Eunjung, Soyeon, Hyomin and Jiyeon collaborated with labelmates Kwangsu, Jihyuk, and Geonil of Supernova for the single "TTL (Time to Love)". It was released on September 15, 2009, and became both groups' first number one song as it topped many of the online charts. T-ara and Supernova collaborated again for "TTL Listen 2", a sequel to "TTL (Time to Love)", which was released on October 9, 2009, and included all the members from both groups.
T-ara released their debut studio album, Absolute First Album, on November 27, 2009. In order to determine the album's title track, Core Contents Media held a survey in which the public had to choose between "Bo Peep Bo Peep" or "Cheoeum Cheoreom" (처음처럼, "Like the First Time"). 9,000 people took the survey on various music portals with 53% (4,770 people) choosing "Cheoeum Cheoreom" over "Bo Peep Bo Peep". However, the latter was promoted on music shows instead for unknown reasons. "Bo Peep Bo Peep" peaked at number four on the Gaon chart, while "Cheoeum Cheoreom" peaked at number ten. They held their comeback performance on Music Bank on December 4, 2009. At the 24th Golden Disk Awards, T-ara was awarded Rookie of the Year along with girl group 4minute.
The group won their first-ever music show award with "Bo Peep Bo Peep" on the New Year's Day episode of Music Bank. The song went on to win five awards in total: two on Music Bank and three on Inkigayo, earning them a "Triple Crown". Later in January 2010, the group announced promotions for their follow up single, "Cheoeum Cheoreom", which ended quickly as Soyeon was diagnosed with H1N1. The same month, T-ara made a cameo appearance on the seventh and eight episodes of God of Study, in which Jiyeon played a lead role.
In February 2010, the group announced a re-release of their debut album under the title Breaking Heart. The two lead singles, "Neo Ttaemune Michyeo" (너 때문에 미쳐; "I Go Crazy Because of You") and "Naega Neomu Apa" (내가 너무 아파, "I'm Really Hurt"), were digitally released on February 23, 2010, and peaked at number one and number thirty-one on the Gaon chart, respectively. T-ara held their comeback performance on the same day on M! Countdown, and won several music awards for "Neo Ttaemune Michyeo" over the course of their promotions: two consecutive Mutizen wins on Inkigayo and one first place award on M! Countdown. Breaking Heart was released physically on March 3, 2010, peaking at number two on the weekly Gaon chart and number thirty-five on the yearly chart; selling 40,695 copies. After promotions for "Neo Ttaemune Michyeo" ended, T-ara performed "Naega Neomu Apa" on music shows until early April 2010. In June 2010, the group donated all the proceeds of the World Cup merchandise sold on their online clothing shop T-ara Dot Com to a charity for African children.
In November 2010, The group starred in the third season of the reality show Hello Baby, in which they took care of Moon Mason and his two brothers. T-ara released the digital download for "Wae Ireoni" (왜 이러니, "Why Are You Being Like This"), the lead single for their first extended play, Temptastic, on November 23, 2010. Temptastic was released in digital format on December 1, 2010, along with their second single, "Yayaya". The album's physical release was delayed until December 3 due to the bombardment of Yeonpyeong earlier in November 2010. T-ara held their first comeback performance through Music Bank on December 3 and began promotions with their new seventh member, Hwayoung, and new leader, Boram, and received two consecutive wins for "Wae Ireoni" and "Yayaya" on M! Countdown.
2011: John Travolta Wannabe, Japanese debut and Black Eyes 
The group's second extended play John Travolta Wannabe was released on June 29, 2011, and peaked at number three on the Gaon charts. The only single from the album, "Roly-Poly", was released on the same day and peaked at number two on the Gaon charts and number four on the newly-created Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100. The single went on to attain great success, becoming the top grossing and most downloaded song of 2011 in Korea according to Gaon, with a record $2 million in sales and 4,680,253 downloads. "Roly-Poly" was awarded Best Music Video at the 3rd Melon Music Awards and Singer of the Year (July) at the 1st Gaon Chart Awards, and was nominated Best Dance Performance by a Female Group and Song of the Year at the 13th Mnet Asian Music Awards.
The group released a limited edition re-issue of John Travolta Wannabe, titled Roly-Poly in Copacabana, on August 2, 2011. The title track, "Roly-Poly in Copacabana", is a eurodance remix of "Roly-Poly", named after the song "Copacabana" which was popularized in the 80's in Jongno disco clubs. The album peaked at number three, while the single peaked at number forty and forty-five on the Gaon and Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100 charts. The group began follow up promotions for the remixed single on Music Bank.
T-ara released their debut Japanese single "Bo Peep Bo Peep" on September 28, which peaked at number one on the Oricon weekly singles chart with 49,712 copies sold, making them the first non-Japanese girl group to rank at number one for a debut single in Oricon history. The single peaked at number one on the Billboard Japan Hot 100, and was certified Gold by the RIAJ for both full-length cellphone downloads and PC downloads.
In November 2011, T-ara released their third extended play Black Eyes which charted at number two on the Gaon charts. The album was preceded by the release of "Cry Cry", which peaked at number one on the Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100 and won two consecutive first-place awards on M! Countdown. The music video for "Cry Cry" was noted for having a 1,000,000 Korean won production budget and a thirty-minute drama story line. The group released their second Japanese single, a remake of "Yayaya" from their Temptastic EP, on November 30. The single peaked at number seven on the Oricon charts and number six on the Billboard Japan Hot 100.
In December 2011, Core Contents Media announced that T-ara's third leader Hyomin would be passing on her leadership to Soyeon. The group performed a three-day mini-concert tour titled X-mas Premium Live, that was held at the Shinagawa Stella Hall in Tokyo, the Zepp in Nagoya, and the Zepp in Osaka. T-ara rose to become the second biggest girl group in Korea in 2011 by ranking at number eight on the Gallup Korea poll. T-ara and Davichi released their Christmas ballad, "Uri Saranghaetjanha" (우리 사랑했잖아, "We Were in Love") on December 23, 2011; which was later included on T-ara's Funky Town re-release album. The single reached number one on the Gaon Chart and peaked at number two on the Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100. Both groups performed the song weekly on SBS's Inkigayo in the midst of T-ara's heavy preparations for their year-end ceremonies.
2012: Jewelry Box, Day by Day and line-up changes 
T-ara re-released Black Eyes under the title Funky Town on January 3, 2012. The album peaked at number one on the Gaon weekly album chart and number two on the monthly album chart, selling 43,049 copies. "Lovey-Dovey" was released as the second single from the album, which peaked at number one on both the Gaon and Billboard Korea K-pop Hot 100 charts. The single has sold more than 3 million digital copies in South Korea alone.
In February, Forbes Korea, in celebration of their ninth year of establishment, reported the year's list of the "Top 40 Power Celebrities". T-ara ranked on the list at number seventeen, thus making them as the third most powerful girl group and the seventh most powerful female celebrity in Korea.
In April, Core Contents media announced that two new members were to be added to T-ara's line-up in July, thus transforming T-ara into a nine member group. On May 30, 2012, 14-year-old Dani was announced as one of the group's new members. However, she will not officially debut with T-ara until she feels 'ready' to join, and is currently in training. She later starred in the drama version of T-ara's "Day by Day" music video. On June 14, 2012, Core Contents Media introduced 18 year-old Areum as the last of the two new additions to the group.
The group released their first Japanese album Jewelry Box on June 6, 2012. The album debuted at number two on the Oricon weekly albums chart with sales of over 57,000 copies. They embarked on their first Japanese concert tour T-ara Japan Tour 2012: Jewelry Box in Nagoya on June 19; the tour's attendance was expected to exceed 40,000 people. Four singles have been released prior to the album: "Bo Peep Bo Peep", "Yayaya", "Roly-Poly" and Lovey-Dovey".
In July, T-ara released their fourth extended play, Day by Day, which charted at number five on the Gaon chart. The title track, "Day by Day", was released as a single on the same day, peaking at number two. The first comeback performance for "Day by Day" was held on July 7, 2012, on Music Core, which was back by a 70-person orchestra and featured the stage debut of the group's eighth member, Areum.
Core Contents Media officially announced Hwayoung's immediate departure on July 30, 2012, after being with the group for one year and eight months. Core Content Media's CEO, Kim Kwang-soo, claimed that Hwayoung's contract was terminated "in deference to the complaints by T-ara's staff of nineteen people". He has also stated that the bullying controversy was not the reason for her departure. The controversy caused the group to temporarily suspend activities, while the members continued with their individual activities. Both Hwayoung and the other members of T-ara have said that facts about their bullying issue were distorted by netizens, but on the other hand confirmed there were conflicts and negative feelings between Hwayoung and other members.
It was later announced that there would be no changes to T-ara's upcoming comeback, however, their agency took the statement back and announced that their comeback would be postponed indefinitely. Their Day by Day extended play re-issue, Mirage, was eventually released on September 3, 2012. Two singles, "Sexy Love" and "Najgwa Bam (Love All)" (낮과 밤, "Day and Night"), were released from the album on the same day, with "Sexy Love" peaking at number four on the Gaon charts and number three on the Billboard Korea K-pop Hot 100 charts. "Najgwa Bam (Love All)" was a collaboration single featuring T-ara's Areum with Gun-ji of Gavy NJ and Shannon.
On September 10, 2012, it was announced that the group would release a best of album in Japan consisting of all of their Korean singles to date (excluding "Day by Day" and "Sexy Love") in celebration of one year since their Japanese debut. The album was eventually released on October 10. On September 25, T-ara released the Japanese version of "Day by Day", which is mainly composed of scenes from their Korean music videos for that song. In October, T-ara released the Japanese version of "Sexy Love" and shortly after, the group departed to Japan to promote for their upcoming single.
2013: Sub-unit activities and second Japanese album 
T-ara released their sixth Japanese single "Bunny Style!" (バニスタ! Banisuta! ) on March 20, 2013. The single was released in ten different editions: seven regular editions that contain a solo song by one of the members, and three limited editions which contain a song performed by a sub-unit. The A-side "Bunny Style!" is their first ever original Japanese single. To promote the single, the group held special showcases in fifteen Japanese cities; starting on February 20, 2013, at the Sapporo Factory Atrium and ending on March 9, 2013, at the Seagull Square in Nagasaki. The group's journey was broadcast on their official Nico Nico Douga channel.
In early April 2013, it was announced that T-ara would be forming a sub-unit with the members Eunjung, Hyomin, Jiyeon and Areum called T-ara N4. This is a shortened form of 'T-ara Brand New 4', signifying the transformation of the four members. The sub-unit debuted on April 29, 2013, with the song "Countryside Life" (전원일기) produced by Duble Sidekick. T-ara will be performing at the Nippon Budokan on July 12–13, 2013, to celebrate the release of their second Japanese album due July 31, 2013.
T-ara N4 
In early April 2013, T-ara's agency Core Contents Media confirmed the launch of the group's first sub-unit T-ara N4, consisting of four members: Jiyeon, Eunjung, Hyomin, and Areum. The group's debut song, "Jeon Won Ilgi" (전원일기), was inspired by the 1980s drama of the same name. Produced by Duble Sidekick, it is a "funky and intense" dance song with elements of hip-hop. T-ara N4 released a series of photo and video teasers throughout the month, and the music video for "Jeon Won Ilgi" premiered on April 28, 2013. On May 12th T-ara has been invited to visit Chris Brown on the set of his latest music video. Thanks to the new addition to T-ara; Dani who has known Brown from elementary school. Rumors that T-ara N4 will release American Version of "전원일기" featuring Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg, T-Pain and Ray J.
A sub-unit called QBS was announced in May 2013, featuring members Qri, Boram and Soyeon. The group will focus on the Japanese market, and will release their debut single "Kaze no Yō ni" (風のように, "Like the Wind") on June 26, 2013.
Before their debut, T-ara had been getting many proposals for endorsements ranging from refreshments, apparel, cosmetics, and communications. In October 2009, The group signed a contract for their first commercial-film with Nonghyup Apples. They recorded the song "Apple Song" especially for the CF, which was later included and retitled as "Apple is A" on the group's debut studio album Absolute First Album. In 2010, the group modeled for such companies as Mentholatum Korea, Tedin Water Parks, and Olympus cameras. T-ara was chosen to model for Tedin Waterpark again in 2011. In February, T-ara and their labelmate Supernova signed an endorsement contract with Japanese family restaurant chain Gusto.
In 2011, T-ara modeled in commercial-flims for sports brand Spris, electronics brand iRiver, software company Windysoft, optical store Look Optical, instant noodles brand Shin Ramyun, Crown Mountain and many others. T-ara launched their own café franchise called Cafe Page One that will expand into a chain of 500 nation-wide stores. The name of their café was influenced from the cafe that member Eunjung ran in her drama Coffee House. Cafe Page One was opened on July 1, 2011, where the members were present to greet the customers. The same year, T-ara was chosen as the new advertisement models for cosmetics brand Tony Moly. The group is expected to model for the brand in not only South Korea, but China, Japan, and other Asian countries as well. T-ara is also the first idol group to sign a contract with online shopping mall Hi-Mart. In February 2012, T-ara became models for the chicken chain Brilliant Chicken.
Hwayoung's contract termination 
||This section may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience. (May 2013)|
From July 25 to July 26, the group was in Japan performing at the Nippon Budokan for the final shows of their Japanese tour. Hwayoung was unable to participate as she had injured her leg earlier and was put in a wheelchair. However, she was able to come on stage in crutches for a part of the concert, as well as perform her rap portion in "Day by Day" while seated in a chair. After the concert, some of the other members began to tweet about the differences in the level of determination and that they all should work harder. Hwayoung then tweeted about sick person and her twin sister, Hyoyoung who was in another group from the same company, 5dolls tweeted about someone who is pretty but is bad. These tweets had caused the netizens to become suspicious and started to accuse the other members of bullying. Evidences by the netizens which consist of cropped videos and pictures with slanderous captions had confused fans and non-fans alike to believe that the bullying rumour was true. An anonymous internet user, claiming to be a former back-up dancer for the group, wrote in detail of an incident where Jiyeon once slapped Hwayoung across the face, however, Core Contents Media responded that the testimony had been fabricated. Many months later the anonymous user was later detained at the Gangnam Police Station and accused of defamation of character and it was revealed that he was just a teenager and had never worked as a back-up dancer.
A video of "bullying" incidents surfaced, but netizens later discovered that it had been made up of clips taken out of context from variety shows and live performances. Other evidence on Twitter surfaced that indicated that T-ARA had in fact been welcoming and kind to Hwayoung, including instances where the older members said that Hwayoung, while not having been a part of the group for as long as some of the others, was in fact a valued member. In an article posted to AllKpop, it was said "It should take more than some out-of-context photos, anonymous forum posts, and unsubstantiated stories to convince the world that T-ARA is a pack of evil bullies who tormented and assaulted their bandmate. This is 2012, but right now people are acting like it’s the 1600s and we’re all at the Salem witch trials."
Core Contents Media announced that Hwayoung would be leaving the group on July 30, 2012, "in deference to the complaints by T-ara's staff of 19 people..." Afterwards, they released another explanation whose truth value was doubted by witnesses. On July 31, 2012, Hwayoung tweeted her apology and told fans to stop. Before this tweet was posted, Hwayoung was seen heading to the building of Core Contents Media alongside her sister. The entertainment company revealed that she went to personally apologize to the CEO. Agence France-Presse stated on August 1, 2012, that T-ara's official fan club had reportedly lost 6,000 members in the aftermath of the controversy.  The group also lost endorsement deals, were forced to cancel concerts, had fan cafes shut down, netizens called for the members to be removed from their current television shows, and much more.
T-jinyo, an online group that demanded the truth from T-ara was formed. Although more than 30,000 people signed the online petition but the peaceful rally in front of CCM building had to be cancelled because they couldn't gather 30 members to be present at the rally. The CEO announced that he was willing to meet the representatives of T-jinyo and explain the truth but until the end none of them actually went to see The CEO. Soyeon was the first member to speak up about the issue and mentioned about her frustration with the company for dismissing Hwayoung. She also mentioned that the members were upset when Hwayoung who was given medical leave went to beauty parlor when the rest of the members had to practice for their Tokyo Concert. Hwayoung never denied this on twitter.
The controversy caused the group to temporarily suspend activities, while the members continued with their individual activities. Core Contents Media also stated that “The upcoming T-ara concert on the 11th has been postponed, the members of T-ara desperately requested for the agency to postpone their first domestic concert on the 11th.” The representative also added, “While talking it over with CEO Kim Kwang Soo, the members stated, ‘In a situation like this, we don’t think we can show fans bright, happy, and lively sides of ourselves on stage. Fans will probably not enjoy seeing us that way as well,’ and requested for the postponement of the concert.” Hwayoung, the members of T-ara and their families reportedly received death and rape threats, netizens made statements saying they wanted to bomb the CCM offices, and a member of T-Jinyo (the group created to "expose the truth" behind the scandal) threw eggs at the CCM offices.
On August 29, 2012, T-ara released a handwritten apology letter on their official homepage. They stated that there were indeed disagreements within the group, and it was their immature actions (especially by bringing internal conflicts public) that led to Hwayoung's expulsion. They apologized to Hwayoung for getting misunderstood as a victim of bullying from this incident. They ended the letter by apologizing to their families, Hwayoung, fans, and others they disappointed.
Various celebrities and industry professionals in South Korea expressed their concern about the group on Twitter including actor Shin Hyun-joon and singer-rapper E.via. Many celebrities advised the public to not simply believe in rumours that are never proven to be true. Outside the country, Japanese pop-singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and many international fans of the group had also tweeted about the incident.
Their individual activities slowed down, their appearances on tv shows were edited out, their appearances in dramas were shortened. The matters got worse when Eunjung was unfairly removed from the production of drama Five Fingers after she had learnt piano for the drama and attended script reading. On August 28, 2012, Hwayoung tweeted: "Having come across articles about Eunjung unni’s leave from her drama, my heart felt uneasy. It is true that there were confrontations due to differences in opinions with the T-ara members while I was promoting as part of T-ara. However, with the stories about bullying going around and the situation growing worse, my heart was in pain. Both sides have also been really upset and hurt by the distorted facts [that have come out]. However, there were times when I was happy while we were all under one roof, so I want to forget about the past and want us to cheer each other on with smiles on our faces. You all showed so much love, care, and attention to T-ara, so I’m very sorry for having caused concern and worry through this incident to everyone." The drama team, YeIn E&M was later punished by the Korean Entertainment Management Association for unfairly dismissing an actor from a production and caused humiliation, depression and monetary losses to the actor and her agency. The drama company was boycotted by the said Association for two years. On 16 November 2012, Eunjung asked for the sanction against the drama team to be lifted as she had decided to move on and forget about this matter. She also said that she understood the drama company's decision to remove her from the team as she could have caused the ratings to be low. The drama company many months later after the drama had finished airing on television, issued a written apology to Eunjung and asked for the boycott to be lifted.
Korean discography 
Japanese discography 
Concert tours 
- T-ara Xmas Premium Live (2011)
- T-ara Japan Tour 2012: Jewelry Box (2012)
- T-ara 1st Lovey-Dovey Roly-Poly Live in Bangkok (2012)
- T-ara "Sexy Love" Premium Live (2012)
Published works 
- T-ara Private Book (2013) Tokyo: Kodansha, 2013. ISBN 978-4062182201.
See also 
- T-ara videography
- T-ara filmography
- List of awards and nominations received by T-ara
- List of songs recorded by T-ara
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- (Japanese) 遅くなりましたが・・・
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- (Korean) 티아라, 첫 CF 3억대 가까운 개런티 보장 받아
- (Korean) 티아라, 한국멘소래담 화장품 모델 발탁
- (Korean) 큐티 섹시 티아라, 워터파크 모델로 선정!
- (Korean) 림푸스, 티아라와 함께 한 이색출사 진행
- (Korean) 테딘워터파크, 티아라의 두 번째 워터스캔들!
- (Korean) 티아라, 3개월간 30억! CF 대박 홈런
- (Korean) http://news.nate.com/view/20110602n12626
- (Korean) 토니모리, 걸 그룹 티아라 전속 모델 발탁
- (Korean) 티아라, 수억원대 주류광고 모델로 발탁
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