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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, ZE:A J
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, Leap for Detonation, Level Up, concert tour and Japanese debut[edit]

ZE:A released their debut EP, Nativity, on January 7, 2010,[1] having it reached number one on both the "Album Chart" and "Artist Chart" on Daum that same day.

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

They subsequently released their second mini album, Leap for Detonation, on March 25, 2010. The title track, "All Day Long" was produced by Brave Brothers.[6][citation needed] The group released both a music video and a short music drama for the song, featuring member Kim Dong Jun as the lead actor, as well as labelmate Park Min Ha from Nine Muses. The group's third single, "Level Up", was digitally released on July 8, 2010. In June, their official fanclub name was announced to be ZE:A's (or ZE:A STYLE).

At the end of July, the group embarked on their Asia promotion tour, stopping by Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and various other places.

On September 22, 2010, they debuted in Japan by releasing 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. It placed second on Oricon daily chart.[7]

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

ZE:A in February 2011

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.[8]

The group released their first full length album, Lovability, on March 17, 2011 with "Here I Am" set as the lead single.[9]

Promotions for Lovability were cut short due to "Be My Girl", a song off Loveability, was deemed unsuitable for minors.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12][13]

On July 8, 2011, the single "Watch Out" was released and the group 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, another single "Heart For 2" was released.[14]

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 contained 4 tracks, including a ballad song titled "Daily Daily", a Japanese version of "All Day Long" and instrumental versions of both songs. The single was placed 3rd on the Oricon Chart just a few hours after release.

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

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.[15][16]

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.[17]

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.[18]

The group's second studio album, Spectacular, along with its title track "Aftermath", was released on July 4. The album contained 11 tracks. They had a showcase to promote the album, performing various songs.

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.[19]

2013: Illusion, Beautiful Lady[edit]

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[edit]

The group's 2nd EP, First Homme, along with its title track "Breathe", was released on June 2, 2014.[20][21][22][23] Televised music show promotions for First Homme started on June 5 on M! Countdown. Breathe was simultaneously promoted for two weeks with another song off their EP, St:Dagger.[24] Both tracks were produced by Brave Brothers.

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.[25] He would be the second member to adopt a stage name.

On August 22, Star Empire Entertainment announced that a ZE:A's subgroup, Nasty Nasty, would be formed. The group consisted of Nine Muses members Kyungri and Sojin, and ZE:A member Kevin.[26] They debuted on September 3, 2014 with their title track Knock.[27]



Main article: ZE:A discography
  • 2011: Lovability
  • 2012: Spectacular



Mnet Asian Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Result
2010 "Mazeltov" Best New Male Artist[36] Nominated


  1. ^ a b ‘제국의아이들’ 제아 드디어 출격 음원-뮤비 전격공개 ‘돌풍일으킬까’ (in Korean). Joins. 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  2. ^ '제국의아이들 리턴즈', 20일 파이널 콘서트 (in Korean). MyDaily. 2009-11-19. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  3. ^ 11월 데뷔' 제국의아이들, 폭우속 윙카공연 "평생 못잊을듯" (in Korean). Newsen. 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
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External links[edit]