U-KISS (Korean: 유키스; Japanese: ユーキス) is a South Korean boy band formed by NH Media in 2008. Their name is an acronym, standing for Ubiquitous Korean International Idol Super Star. The group’s current lineup is composed of Soohyun, Eli, Kiseop, Hoon and Jun.
Their breakthrough hit was Man Man Ha Ni (2009) from their EP Conti UKISS. U-KISS is known for their international popularity, especially in Latin America where they have conducted various tours. They released their first full-length album Only One on February 3, 2010. In September 2011, U-KISS released their second full-length album, NEVERLAND. They made their formal debut in Japan in 2011 with the release of the single “Tick Tack”. Their second Japanese single was entitled “Forbidden Love” while their first Japanese full-length album was A Shared Dream (2012). Since their debut, the group has released three full-length albums, twelve mini-albums/EPs, one special mini-album (created for their fans), and various singles. They have also released seven Japanese full-length albums, one Japanese compilation album, and five Japanese mini-albums/EPs. The group has also participated in various TV reality shows and films.
U-KISS was first formed as a six-member boy-group in 2008. Kibum and Kevin were members of the boy band XING but left the group in early 2007. The other four members were all individually selected by NH Media through auditions. U-KISS debuted in Japan on August 15, 2008 at the Power of Atamix 08. The group debuted in South Korea on August 28, 2008 with a release of their first mini album, New Generation, (N-Generation) on September 3, 2008 and a live performance of their first song Not Young on Mnet. Even though they were newcomers in the industry, U-KISS was considered for Japan-Korea collaborative project. A popular entertainment company, Yashimoto Group in Japan, invested 150 billion KRW to groom U-KISS as an internationally known group.
U-KISS released their second mini-album Bring It Back 2 Old School in 2009 with its title song, I Like You which made them popular in Thailand. The third mini-album titled Conti UKISS launched Kiseop as the seventh member of the group. The title track “Man Man Ha Ni” was released following a change in their line-up. The fourth mini album Break Time was released in 2010, along with their title track “Shut Up!. The group’s first full-length album, Only One, was released on February 3, 2010 spawning their highest chart-topping single in the Philippines, Bingeul Bingeul. The album also topped Hanteo Charts, Hot Tracks, Syn-nara Records and Evan Records in just one day. U-KISS then played in Malaysia, Mongolia and Japan to promote the album. U-KISS promoted the album in the Philippines through a series of mall shows, wherein they sold more than 1,000 copies in one day which breaks the record of the highest sales in a launch, earning them a million pesos. Due to the said success, the group had their first major concert in the Philippines dubbed as U-KISS First Kiss Tour in Manila. Aside from their music career, U-KISS also starred in their own variety shows, All About U-KISS, ‘’UKISS Vampire’’ and ‘’Chef Kiss’’ while the members also appeared on other shows. Kevin and Xander joined Arirang’s radio show Pops in Seoul hosting the ‘All About You’ segment and were also featured on Brave Brother’s song, Finally. Kim Eli also became an emcee of MBC’s show, Fusion. The new member Lee Kiseop appeared in a variety show known as Uljjang Shidae 2 (Pretty Boys and Girls Season 2) . Dongho also made many appearances on shows, The Invincible Baseball Team, Idol Maknae Rebellion and My Black Mini Dress. Kibum along with Eli, also starred in the Thai drama Autumn’s Destiny wherein their voices were dubbed due to the fact that they cannot speak Thai.
A US album was cancelled due to member termination of contract. Alexander and Kibum left the band in 2011, and were replaced by former Paran member Kim Jae-seop (AJ) and a former solo artist, Yeo Hoon-min (Hoon). The new U-KISS released their fifth mini-album, Bran New Kiss, and a new ballad song, “0330”. U-KISS released their second full-length album, NEVERLAND, in September with their singles “NEVERLAND” and “Someday”. A DVD, U-KISS Days in Japan, debuted at No. 8 on the Daily Oricon Chart published on March 30, 2012. A compilation album called First Kiss placed second on Oricon daily charts on the day of its release. They also released the Japanese version of Bran New Kiss on August 24, 2011. The group released their first Japanese album, Tick Tack, and their second Japanese album, Forbidden Love, simultaneously with their first Japanese full-length album, A Shared Dream. The album peaked at No.6 and No.2 respectively.
In 2012 they participated in the Music Bank concert held in Paris, France. The group became the first K-Pop group to perform in Colombia in line with the celebration of 2012’s Los 40 Principales along with international star Shakira.
The group had their sold-out concert tour dubbed U-KISS 1st Japan Live Tour 2012 in March that was held in Zepp Hall all over Japan. The tour lasted from March 2, 2012, to March 25, 2012. In the second week of June, two additional shows were sold-out.
In 2012, U-KISS has been chosen as Number 1 Hallyu group to watch out in Japan, while Kevin was chosen as Luckiest Hallyu Star of 2012.
They released their 6th mini-album in South Korea, DoraDora on April 25, 2012. In May 2012, DoraDora gained first spot on Germany’s German Asian Music Chart. The group also releases their 7th mini-album or the special album, The Special to Kissme on June 5. The second single “Te Amo” was released on June 1, 2012 on various music sites that immediately placed No.4 on ‘Soribada’. The group released their third Japanese single, “Dear My Friend” on July 5, 2012. It was used as a theme song for a Japanese anime, Stormy Night (Secret Friends).
Aside from album releases, the group is also set to perform along with Girls Generation and SHINee at the K-POP Nation Concert in Macao 2012. Member AJ was admitted at Columbia University of United States in 2011. It was made announced on July 29, 2012 in their Japanese Live Tour that AJ will be in hiatus for 5 months and will no longer attend activities of U-KISS starting August to concentrate on his studies. According to NH Media, AJ will return in early 2013, meanwhile, U-KISS comeback in September will only feature 6 members. Before AJ’s temporary departure from the group, the group attended the A-Nation opening ceremony at the Tokyo National Stadium. On August 9, 2012 they are expected to represent Korea in the Asia Progress M, part of the A-Nation’s activities, the biggest music festival in Japan. The group also performed on August 26, 2012 with Hamasaki Ayumi, M-Flo and Big Bang at the Ajinomoto Stadium.
U-KISS had the last leg of their Japan Tour in Budokan wherein they garnered 10,000 audience, their biggest to date. Meanwhile, the group released their fourth Japanese single, One of You on September 5, 2012. On its first week, it peak to No. 1 at the weekly chart of Tower Records. On September 20, the group released their 7th mini album “Stop Girl” and planned to actively promote it in 10 countries including Thailand, Philippines, United States and China.
U-KISS received a special achievement award in recognition for their contribution to the Hallyu Wave. The group attended Arirang TV‘s celebration event for their milestone of reaching over 100 Million clients. At the event, U-KISS was awarded the “Special Hallyu Achievement Award” from the minister of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
U-KISS released their fifth Japanese single, “Distance” on December 12, 2012.
U-KISS participated in the Dream KPOP Fantasy Concert in Manila, Philippines, on January 19, 2013. Alone was released on February 13, 2013, and was used as the theme song for Japanese broadcasting channel NHK’s drama Bookstore Worker Michiru’s Personal Story. U-KISS released their third full-length album, Collage, featuring AJ, on March 7, while the lead single “Standing Still”, composed by Ryan Jhun, was released on March 6. The group also performed at the “Formula 1” event held at the Petronas Tower in Malaysia on March 22, 2013, sharing the stage with K-pop group 2NE1 and American artists Backstreet Boys and Demi Lovato.
A sub-unit, uBEAT, debuted at the end of April, composed of Eli and AJ with Kevin featuring on the title track as the main vocalist. Avex Trax announced that U-KISS were to release their second full-length Japanese album, “Inside øf Me”, on July 24, 2013.
In October 2013, it was announced that Dongho was to leave the group due to health and personal issues. They toured America, and made media appearances.
On May 15, 2014, NH Media announced, via U-KISS’ official Korean website, new member Jun to the public. Also cited was the extension of rapper/composer AJ’s hiatus, as he continues his studies at Columbia University. On June 2, 2014 Jun made his first debut with UKISS and they released the 9th mini album ‘Mono Scandal’ along with the 19+ rated MV ‘Quit Playing’ which became a title track. On September, they held European tour at Moscow Russia, London-England and Paris France.
U-Kiss made appearance on M! Countdown with performances title track Playground on January 22.The title track later released along with their tenth mini album, Always on January 23. U-KISS’s 4th Japanese album, Action was released on March 18. It charted second on the Daily Oricon Chart the first day and topped the chart on the second day of the release. It also ranked at number 4 on the Weekly Oricon Chart with 20,297 copies sold.
U-KISS released their 11th Japanese single titled “Stay Gold” on September 9, 2015. It charted second on the Daily Oricon Chart and third on the Weekly Oricon Chart with a total reported sales of 44,418. On December 23, 2015 U-KISS pursue their Japanese promotions with release their first special Christmas mini album “The Christmas Album”.
On February 23, 2016, U-KISS releases their 12th Japanese single Kissing to Feel, followed a month later by the release of their fifth Japanese album One Shot One Kill on March 23, 2016. The “One Shot One Kill” PV was released on March 9.
In late May 2016, U-KISS announced that their 11th Korean mini-album would be released on June 7.U-KISS’ 11th mini-album, Stalker was released on June 7.Part of the profits from the album was reportedly donated to charity event.
On August 29, AJ announced that his contract had expired with NH Media and officially departed from the group.
On March 2, 2017, Kevin announced his official departure from the group after his contract had expired with NH Media. The group later will continue promotion as a five-member group. Eli, Soohyun and Kiseop, are now the only remaining original members, whereas the two first renewed their contracts with NH Media.
On September 6, NH Media reported that Kiseop had suffered second degree burn injuries due to an explosion that took place during the group’s music video filming. They went onto explain that ten fragments of material had become lodged in his body and that he had been transferred to a hospital in Incheon to receive treatment.
On October 28, Jun joined survival program The Unit and passed with a superboot. He finished as 1st place and is currently promoting with the boy group UNB which consists of finalists from the show.
On December 28, Soohyun enlisted for his mandatory military service.
In 2018, U-KISS released two Japanese full-length albums, “Link” and “Glory”. For their 10th year anniversary, they returned with the Japanese single “Scandal”
On June 7, 2011, U-KISS along with other K-Pop groups like 2NE1, MBLAQ, 4minute, FT Island and B2ST held a special show dubbed as Seoul-Osaka Music of Hearts to raise funds to help the victims of the 2011 Japan earthquake. The group also became the first K-Pop Idol to hold a fan-meeting in Cambodia held on June 18, 2012 dubbed as Share The Love Charity Concert. The fanmeeting leads to a charity organization in a nearby school wherein the members interacted with the kids and passed out baseball bats and other baseball equipment for the children. The show, as a part of the benefit project was sponsored by famous Cambodian people and was even attended by the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen.
On February 1, 2013, Soohyun and Kevin hosted a charity event for Jakarta after the heavy flooding. Soohyun and Kevin auctioned 2 CDs which they interacted with to raise the value, along with clothing that they’ve used. Two albums were auctioned live with total sales of Rp3.500.000 (roughly 350USD). The two members also held a press conference explaining why their showcase would be postponed to April. Along with the press conference, they also visited Pluit where they held the charity session and interacted with kids who were affected by the flooding.