ENHYPEN: Reckless Icons with a History of Controversial Remarks

ENHYPEN once again made headlines due to another verbal slip-up

On the 29th, ENHYPEN member Ni-ki sparked controversy while communicating with fans on the fan community platform Weverse. When a fan mentioned “Korea is off tomorrow,” he responded with “Tomorrow is a holiday?” Another fan explained, “Yes, it’s Independence Movement Day,” to which he replied, “I envy that.”

However, when this exchange became public, he faced criticism from netizens. Independence Movement Day, also known as March 1st Movement, commemorates the Korean people’s declaration of independence and resistance against Japanese colonial rule on March 1, 1919.

ni ki-enhypen

Particularly troubling was his casual mention of Independence Movement Day as merely a holiday and his expression of envy, compounded by the fact that he is a Japanese member, which led to even greater criticism.

Ultimately, Ni-ki posted an apology, stating, “I apologize for expressing recklessly about the important national holiday of Independence Movement Day. I realized my mistake and immediately deleted the post. I will be more careful in the future.”

ENHYPEN, formed through the survival program ‘I-LAND’ in 2020, has previously faced criticism for several reckless remarks.

Member Jungwon, during a live broadcast after the 2021 College Scholastic Ability Test, commented, “But here (fan meeting), if you were coming tomorrow, wouldn’t you have missed it?” Although Sunghoon tried to remedy the situation by saying, “It’s okay if you miss it, you can come here for comfort,” Jungwon remarked, “The CSAT isn’t that important.”

enhypen jungwon

His remarks downplaying the importance of the CSAT received widespread criticism online, leading Jungwon to apologize, stating, “I want to apologize for my insensitive remarks regarding the feelings of test-takers.”

In January of the previous year, member Jay also made a verbal slip-up regarding Korean history. During a live broadcast, in response to Sunghoon’s comment that studying Korean history is interesting, Jay said, “I find world history interesting. Korean history doesn’t have much information. It feels like it ends too quickly after studying for a few weeks or just skimming through. It’s like a short story.”

Despite being born in the United States, Jay received backlash for his remarks seemingly disparaging Korean history, considering he received all his primary education in Korea. Jay published an apology letter, but it sparked further controversy over its sincerity. Ultimately, Jay issued a second apology, acknowledging his lack of vocabulary to express his apology properly and admitting his reckless behavior regarding Korea’s deep history.

Another time, when talking about “countries I want to travel to,” Jake said, “I’ve never been to Europe,” and Jungwon replied, “I’ve only been to Europe once. America is also part of Europe, right?” After that, netizens started heated debates over whether that knowledge was basic.

However, before discussing those obvious things, it’s important to know that ENHYPEN is a music group with high rankings on the Billboard charts in the United States. They didn’t even know they achieved success on the charts in which country, so why would they do promotion?


ENHYPEN comprises members of diverse backgrounds, including a Japanese member (Ni-ki), Korean-American member (Jay), and Korean-Australian member (Jake). Their multinational composition contributes to their popularity overseas, making them a group with extensive international activities.

However, as a K-pop group, it is expected that all members should have a basic understanding of Korean culture and history. Given that they have already faced criticism for historical missteps in the past, they should have been more cautious. Repeating similar incidents with a different member within a year indicates a problem.

ENHYPEN has faced three instances of verbal missteps already. Perhaps more important for them than chart performance is education in history and speech, don’t you think?

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