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ZeA from acrofan.jpg
ZE:A in August 2011
Background information
Also known as Children of Empire
Origin Seoul, South Korea
Genres Pop, dance
Years active 2010 (2010)–present
Labels Star Empire/KT Music
IMX Inc./Universal D (Japan)
Sony Music Entertainment(Asia)
Warner Music Chinese Mandarin Group
Associated acts ZE:A FIVE, ZE:A4U, Nine Muses, Jewelry, Seo In Young, Park Jung Ah, V.O.S
Website cafe.daum.net/Starempire
Members Kevin
Lee Hoo

ZE:A (Hangul: 제국의 아이들), also known as Children of Empire, is a South Korean 9-member boy band formed under Star Empire Entertainment. The group released their debut EP, Nativity, and lead single, "Mazeltov" on January 7, 2010,[1] alongside their showcase performance five days later. The group debuted on KBS's Music Bank on January 15, 2010.



Under the name Child of Empire, following their appearance on Mnet's Office Reality,[citation needed] the group gained attention by performing various guerilla shows[2][3] and creating UCC (user created content) videos.[4] They have also appeared in a documentary-styled show Star Empire, and later getting their own documentary show titled Empire Kids Returns, showing them performing in wingcar performances around Seoul and training. The group faced controversy in December following the similarities of the group's name to Brown Eyed Girls's JeA. The group later changed the pronunciation of the name to avoid implications.[5]

2010: debut

Releasing teasers beforehand,[6][7] the group debuted with their EP, Nativity under the name ZE:A, on January 7, 2010.[1] Immediately they garnered attention, reaching number one on both the "Album Chart" and "Artist Chart" on Daum on their debut day.

2010: Leap for Detonation and Level Up

ZE:A performing at the Cyworld Dream Music Festival, July 23, 2011

The group made a comeback on March 25, 2010 with the release of their second mini album, Leap for Detonation. Produced by Brave Brothers, the title song "All Day Long" is melodramatic and featured a major change in style.[8] The group released both a music video and a short music drama for "All Day Long" where member Kim Dong Jun played the lead actor. The music drama and video also featured labelmate and upcoming member Park Min Ha from Nine Muses. The group's third single, "Level Up", was released on July 8, 2010 in digital format only. No music video was ever released for "Level Up"–only two teaser MVs were released prior to their comeback.

Their official fanclub name was announced in June through an image posted on their official Daum cafe. Back in April, Star Empire revealed the top ten nominees for the potential fanclub name. After a long voting process, ZE:A's (or ZE:A STYLE) was decided as the group's official fanclub name.

2010-2011: Asian tour and Japanese debut

The group have started off their Asia promotion tour starting with Thailand at the end of July 2010. Other showcases and promotional events occurred in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and more in this tour.

On September 22, 2010, the group released their Japanese debut single ZE:A!(ゼア!). The single placed third on the Oricon daily chart. On December 21, 2010, ZE:A released their Japanese single album, Love Letter/My Only Wish, and placed second on Oricon daily chart.[9]

It was announced on January 16, 2011 by Japan's Sankei Sports that the group will have leading roles for the Japanese-Korean collaboration movie RONIN POP.[10]

2011: first album Lovability, special single "Exciting!" and Japanese single "Daily Daily"

ZE:A in February 2011

The group released their first full length album, Lovability, on March 17, 2011 with "Here I Am" set as the lead single. The official Korean MV for "Here I Am" was also released on March 17, 2011.[11]

Promotions for Lovability were cut short due to "Be My Girl", a song off Loveability, was deemed unsuitable for minors.[12] On March 16, a representative from Star Empire announced that the group will be donating a portion of their tour profits from the first half of 2011 to aid in the relief of the Japanese earthquake and tsnuami.[13]

At the end of June, Star Empire announced that the group will be releasing a summer single. While filming the jacket album for Exciting!, member Hyung Sik fell off the yacht with member Dong Jun. Hyung Sik was saved by Dong Jun and the group's manager, while suffering a minor ankle injury.[14][15]

A Comeback Teaser was released on July 5. On July 8, 2011, the music video for title track "Watch Out" was released and the group also made their comeback on KBS's Music Bank the same day. On July 8, for the first time, the group took the number one spot on Hanteo's real-time album sales chart. On July 29 a 1:30 minute Full Music Video of "Heart For 2" was released on ZE:A Official YouTube Channel (ZEA2011).[16]

After two weeks of promoting "Watch Out!", the group started their follow-up promotion with "Heart For 2".

Early October, Star Empire announced that a new Japanese single will be released on November 22. The single will contain 4 tracks, a new ballad song titled "Daily Daily", a Japanese version of "All Day Long" and instrumental versions of both songs. According to Star Empire, there will be 2 DVD versions, version A and version B; version A containing Daily Daily music video & the making of the music video while version B will contain Daily Daily music video & the making of the jacket photo shooting. On November 2, 2011 a 30 second preview of 'Daily Daily' was uploaded on the ZE:A Official YouTube Channel (ZEA2011), 5 days later on November 7, 2011 a 30 second preview of 'All Day Long' Japanese Version was uploaded. November 24, 2011 the full Daily Daily PV was uploaded.

On November 22, the single was released and were placed 3rd on the Oricon Chart just a few hours after release. The PV was released on November 23.

2012: Delayed Comeback, Sub-Unit Announced, Spectacular, Phoenix, Beautiful Lady

During the brief break various ZE:A members ventured into drama appearances and variety appearances. Notably, Im Siwan received national fame for his role in the MBC fictional historical drama The Moon That Embraces The Sun playing the teen version of the prince's scholar, Heo Yeom. The drama was broadcast from January 4 to March 15, 2012.[17][18]

ZE:A's comeback album was set to release on June 21, 2012, but in May, ZE:A's agency, Star Empire Entertainment, announced that the group would postpone their comeback because of an injury to member Jun Young's right ankle.[19]

It was then later announced that ZE:A's Ha Min Woo would be forming a unit group with two Japanese artists, Nikaido Hayato (singer of Alpha), and actor Sasake Yoshihide. The group is called 3Peace Lovers, and their first single, "Virtual Love," was released on June 26, 2012.[20]

On June 14, ZE:A's Daum Cafe released information about the comeback album and uploaded 4 10-second preview songs on the ZE:A Official YouTube Channel (ZEA2011). The second studio album was revealed to be titled "Spectacular" and will be featuring eleven songs in the tracklist. The comeback is confirmed to be set on July 4. On July 3rd, ZE:A hosted a showcase promoting "SPECTACULAR" performing songs from the album, which was streamed live on their official YouTube channel (ZEA2011). On July 3, ZE:A's official channel (ZEA2011) uploaded the music video for their title track "Aftermath" from their album "SPECTACULAR."

On August, it was announced that Kwanghee will be the new cast of MBC We Got Married and will be Coupled with Sunhwa SECRET.

On August 26, ZE:A uploaded the music video for their title track "Phoenix" from their fourth single album, Phoenix.

Promoted as a special gift for ZE:A'S, a non-album single named Beautiful Lady was released on December 7, 2012. The MV was released the same day with various scenes featuring ZE:A's Park Hyungsik and 4Minute's Nam Ji-Hyun whom were casted in the reality show The Romantic and Idol.[21]

2013: Illusion, Beautiful Lady

ZE:A made their comeback with "Ghost of Wind" on August 8.

Hyungsik was cast in The Heirs as Jo Myungsoo

Minwoo was cast in a Japanese Musical Summer Snow

ZE:A having their full scale first concert in Korea - Illusionist on 23 November.

2014: First Homme, Junyoung's stage name adoption, Project Sub-Unit

On May 23, 2014 Star Empire Entertainment announced that ZE:A would have a comeback, after a ten month hiatus, with their second EP. Following the announcement various teaser pictures were released.[22][23][24]

The music video for the title track of First Homme, Breathe, was released on June 2, 2014.[25] Televised music show promotions for First Homme started on June 5th on M! Countdown. Breathe was simultaneously promoted for two weeks with another song off their EP, St:Dagger.[26] Both tracks were produced by Brave Brothers.

Following First Homme promotions, Junyoung teased pictures of various ZE:A members recording in the studio in late July.[27] He would later confirm on Instagram of a new ZE:A sub-unit which would consist of Kevin, Heecheol, Junyoung, Dong-jun, and Taeheon.[28] The new sub-unit was announced to release a Japanese single but it was shared only to fans that attended an exclusive fanmeet.

On August 22, 2014, ZE:A leader Junyoung announced during their ZE:A's Day fanmeet that he would officially begin promoting under ZE:A under the stage name Lee Hoo (이후). He cited negative feelings surrounding his name as a reason to change his name.[29] He would be the second member to adopt a stage name.

Star Empire Entertainment began releasing teaser pictures of their first project-unit on August 22 that included Nine Muses member Kyungri, a company trainee named Sojin, and ZE:A member Kevin.[30] The unit was announced to be called Nasty Nasty is debuted on September 3, 2014 with their title track Knock.[31]


Stage name Birth name
Romanized Hangul Romanized Hangul
Kevin 케빈 Kim Ji-yeop 김지엽
Kwanghee 광희 Hwang Kwang-hee 황광희
Siwan 시완 Yim Si-wan 임시완
Lee Hoo 준영 Moon Jun-young 문준영
Taeheon 태헌 Kim Tae-heon 김태헌
Heechul 희철 Jung Hee-cheol 정희철
Minwoo 민우 Ha Min-woo 하민우
Hyungsik 형식 Park Hyung-sik 박형식
Dongjun 동준 Kim Dong-jun 김동준


Main article: ZE:A discography



Mnet Asian Music Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
2010 Mazeltov Best New Male Artist [40] Nominated


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External links