Lee Soo-man

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Not to be confused with Lee Man-soo.
This is a Korean name; the family name is Lee.
Lee Soo-man
Born (1952-06-18) 18 June 1952 (age 63)
Nationality South Korea
Education M.A. in Computer Engineering
Alma mater California State University,
Seoul National University
Occupation Founder and majority shareholder of S.M. Entertainment

Lee Soon-kyu (niece)[1]

Korean name
Hangul 이수만
Hanja 滿
Revised Romanization I Su-man
McCune–Reischauer Yi Su-man
Awards 2008 M.net Golden Disk Award for Record Producer of the Year
1997 SBS Seoul Music Award for Record Producer
2011 Seoul Cultural Arts Awards for Pop Music Producer's Award SM Entertainment
2012 1st Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards Kpop Contribution Award

Lee Soo-man (born 18 June 1952) is a South Korean music mogul, musician, and record producer. He is the founding chairman of S.M. Entertainment, specializing in K-pop groups.[2] S.M. Entertainment is one of the Korean entertainment industry leaders and Lee Soo-man's stock holdings currently amount to 200.1 billion KRW (approximately US$188.9 million) as of the year 2013 making him the second wealthiest celebrity stockholder.[3][4][5][6]

Lee started his career as a singer while attending Seoul National University in 1972. He co-founded the agency in 1989, which is now one of the largest record labels in South Korea.


1952–1972: Early years[edit]

Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea on 18 June 1952, and entered Seoul National University. He began singing in a coffee house in 1971.

1972–1980: Singer years[edit]

Lee debuted as a member of the defunct folk music duo April and May (4월과 5월) in 1972,[7] and by 1976, with hits like "Happiness", and "One piece of Dream", his career began to take off. The following year, he received the MBC TOP 10 Singer award. Besides singing, he became a successful TV host during that time.

1980–1985: Studying in US[edit]

He formed the band 이수만과 365일 (Lee Soo Man and 365 days) in 1980, which became the first heavy metal band formed in the Korean music industry. But, at the same time, the new Chun Doo-hwan government began its policy of censoring the media. As a result, Lee saw no real future in Korean entertainment. The next year, 1981, he went back to pursuing his original dream of being a top engineer and moved to California to attend California State University, Northridge and to continue work on his master's degree. His primary research area was in the field of robotics. However, Lee witnessed the revolution of US entertainment at that time, and felt there was huge commercial potential in that industry in Korea.

1985–present: Music producer[edit]

1985, just after earning his master's degree, Lee returned to Korea to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. His return was a success in a variety of areas, such as singing, hosting TV shows, and hosting radio programs. Moreover, he was also working as a part-time DJ and managing a restaurant.

In 1989, starting with 200,000,000 won for initial capital, he founded SM Entertainment. In 1995, SM Entertainment became a publicly traded company. After producing H.O.T. in 1996, many others followed, and SM became the biggest entertainment company in South Korea. In February 2010, Lee resigned from his position as a member of the board of directors.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Lee Soo-man's wife, Kim Eun Jin, died due to cancer on 30 September 2014.[9]


As a member of April and May[edit]

  • 4월과 5월 1집 (APRIL AND MAY: The 1st Album), 1972


  • Lee Soo-man, 1977
  • Lee Soo-man, 1978
  • 애창곡집 (Favorite Songs at Home), 1978
  • 이수만과 365일 (Lee Soo-man and 365 Days), 1980
  • Greatest, 1980
  • Lee Soo-man, 1983
  • Lee Soo-man, 1985
  • 끝이 없는 순간 (Endless Moment), 1986
  • NEW AGE 2, January 1989
  • NEW AGE, November 1989


  1. ^ '소녀시대' 써니는 이수만의 조카...아버지도 가수 출신 – 오마이뉴스. Ohmynews.com (January 18, 2013). Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
  2. ^ The Existence of Vision Determines Fate The Dong-a Ilbo 11 August 2004
  3. ^ Korean wave Korea Herald 2008– Page 293 "This is why Lee Soo-man, the founder and producer of SM Entertainment, has a somewhat gloomy outlook regarding the future of the Korean Wave. "The local pop music market almost doesn't exist now – with only a few albums selling over ...
  4. ^ Billboard – 10 June 3, 2000 – Page 77 "Established in 1989 by former singer Lee Soo-man (now the company's CEO), SM Entertainment racked up profits of over 3 billion won ($2.68 million) in 1999 and projects profits of more than 3.7 billion won ($3.31 million) in 2000.
  5. ^ Papers of the British Association for Korean Studies 2003 "measure band, built to emulate the success of H.O.T. An earlier boy band, H.O.T. were put together in 1997 by a manager, Lee Soo Man, a graduate of the nation's top university, Seoul National, and a product of the campus-led 'song ..."
  6. ^ Keith Howard Korean pop music: riding the wave 2006– Page 95 "together in 1996 by Lee Soo Man, a graduate of Seoul National University and a product of the campus-led song movement. Lee surveyed teenage girls, then advertised for dancers who most closely fitted what the girls said they wanted."
  7. ^ According to the band's ex-member Baek Soon-jin, Lee Soo-man was introduced due to his ability to sing which complements the band members' talent in song writing. He later left the band due to health problems. ((People Who We Meet) Folk Duo April and May member Baek Soon-Jin)
  8. ^ Kun-ouc, Park (25 February 2010). "Lee Soo-man steps down from SM board of directors". 10 Asia. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Lee Soo Man's (Former SM CEO) wife dies of cancer" (in Korean). Seoul: newsdaily.co.kr. 5 October 2014. 

External links[edit]