In most K-Pop groups the eldest member is usually selected to be the leader (if there even is a leader). This is largely due to the Korean culture emphasizing age and hierarchy, such as addressing people as “hyung”, “unnie”, “nuna”, “oppa”, etc. Being the eldest makes you the easy choice to be the leader because the younger members are more likely to listen to you due to your authority/age.

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Kwon Eunbi, the leader of IZ*ONE (also the eldest)

There is a select few who actually is the leader of their respective group, but aren’t the eldest. Here are some of those leaders and why they were selected.

1. RM (BTS)

RM is actually in the middle in terms of age order in BTS. He’s revealed that he was the first piece in the formation of BTS and that he was the beginning of BTS.

He then goes to explain how there can be some difficult times because of the Korean culture valuing age and how that can cause some minor issues.

In the end, RM has proved his worth as a great leader with the success of BTS.

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2. Jihyo (TWICE)

When TWICE was initially formed, Park Jinyoung had a talk with the members about how each group needs someone to their representative, kind of like the CEO of a company. That every group needs someone that could express all the member’s opinions into one.

One thing that he values in a leader is sacrifice and always putting the other members before themself, to never be selfish.

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In the end, the Twice members voted in private of who they wanted as their leader and Jihyo was selected.

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3. Suho (EXO)

Suho is a unique leader in terms of SM Entertainment groups because they’ve had a reputation of ALWAYS allowing the eldest to be the leader. Suho explains that he was selected to be the leader of EXO due to his seniority and that he was the first EXO member.

While Suho might not be the eldest member of EXO, he is the 2’nd eldest, so he’s not far off in terms of age hierarchy.

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Suho comforting Sehun

4. JB (GOT7)

JB was most likely to be selected as the leader of GOT7 because he had the most experience out of all the members due to his debut with JJ Project alongside Jinyoung.

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JJ Project JB

With JB being the older of the two and being the 2’nd oldest member, it must have been clear who their leader should be.

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5. Kang Seungyoon (WINNER)

Kang Seungyoon or Yoon was actually not the initial leader of WINNER. Mino was the original leader when they were in the survival show, Who Is Next Win. It was once Mino had an injury that it was changed.

Yang Hyunsuk decided at that moment they needed a new leader and chose Seungyoon. This might have been due to Seungyoon’s composing skills and experience in the industry, both of which YG Entertainment highly values when choosing their leaders.

It was never revealed if Seungyoon would be the permanent leader at the time, or if it would return back to Mino once was healed. Seungyoon is currently leading WINNER as their youngest member and is defying the usual characteristic of oldest=leader.

WINNER Seungyoon