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 M.A.,
Seoul National University B.A.
Occupation Founder, majority shareholder, and producer 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 1997 SBS Awards Festival for Best Producer
Seoul Music Award for Best Producer
1998 SBS Awards Festival for Best Producer
2000 Good Deed Artist Prime Minister Award
2004 SBS Awards Festival for Producer of the Year
2005 LA Honorary Ambassador Certificate of Merit by the Mayor of Los Angeles
China's South-East Music Chart Award for Best Overseas Producer
2008 Mnet Golden Disk Award for Record Producer of the Year
2009 Château Mouton Rothschild Commanderie de Bontemps
2011 Seoul Cultural Arts Awards for Pop Music Producer's Award SM Entertainment
The 2nd Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards for the Orders of Cultural Merit (the highest honor awarded at the Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards)
The 1st Korea Music Copyright Awards for Album Producer
2012 1st Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards for the Kpop Contribution Award
The Korea Society 55th Anniversary Gala Dinner Culture Award Honoree

Lee Soo-man (born 18 June 1952) is a South Korean musician, MC, and the founding chairman and producer of S.M. Entertainment, South Korea's largest entertainment company. He was a pioneer of the Hallyu Wave and therefore named as 'the President of culture'.[2]

Lee started his career as a singer while attending Seoul National University in 1972. He founded the agency in 1989, which is now one of the largest management and 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,[3] 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. 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: Entertainment 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 Production. 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.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Lee Soo-man's wife, Kim Eun Jin, died due to cancer on 30 September 2014.[5]


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. ^ Template:웹 인용
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Kun-ouc, Park (25 February 2010). "Lee Soo-man steps down from SM board of directors". 10 Asia. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Lee Soo Man's (Former SM CEO) wife dies of cancer" (in Korean). Seoul: newsdaily.co.kr. 5 October 2014. 

External links[edit]