The full story of NCT‘s Shotaro—from NCTzen to actual NCT member in just one year—will leave you in awe of his skills (and make you wish you could be as successful a fan as he is!).

Osaki Shotaro was born on November 25, 2000 in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. At the time, he was his parents’ only bundle of joy—though he’d later receive the gift of a younger brother and sister.

shotarostory_1
Baby Shotaro

From the youngest age, Shotaro always loved dancing because his mother was an avid dancer too. So, at just five years old, his parents decided to enroll him at EXPG Studio—a renowned dance training school in Tokyo.

shotarostory_2
Pre-debut Shotaro

EXPG Studio is where hundreds of Japan’s most famous performers trained, including I-LAND runner up K.

shotarostory_7
| Mnet

With his raw talent and expert training, Shotaro soon became an incredibly skilled dancer with a bright future ahead of him. As a teenager, he became a backup dancer for the 19-member Japanese boy band EXILE, who founded EXPG Studio. Many fans believe he may have become an EXILE Tribe member in the future—if he hadn’t embarked on the K-Pop path, of course.

shotarostory_4
Pre-debut Shotaro

It wasn’t until the age of 18 that Shotaro’s dream of becoming a K-Pop idol began. From February to March 2019, NCT 127 held the first Japanese leg of their NEO CITY – The Origin tour, and there was one very special NCTzen watching the show…

shotarostory_8
“NEO CITY – The Origin” in Singapore | Marcus Lin

It was none other than Shotaro himself! One of the NEO CITY – The Origin shows in Saitama was broadcast on Japanese television, and Shotaro found himself watching it. In a fansign, he revealed that as soon as he saw the NCT 127 members performing, he knew he wanted to be a singer just like them.

shotarostory_3
Pre-debut Shotaro

But little did Shotaro know that he was about to become one of the few K-Pop fans who actually achieve their dream. In November 2019, around the time Shotaro was turning 19, SM Entertainment contacted him asking him to audition for the company!

shotarostory_6
Pre-debut Shotaro

Shotaro was an avid TikTok user at the time, performing various dance covers for his thousands of followers. However, contrary to popular believe, it’s likely not the reason he was scouted. According to reports, Shotaro’s dance teacher at EXPG Studio had connections in the K-Pop industry. After seeing how special Shotaro’s skills were, the teacher used their connections to recommend him to SM Entertainment’s casting agents.

Of course, Shotaro still had to audition to secure his place. He sent a dance video to SM Entertainment online and awaited the company’s response. In the meantime, the incredibly hardworking idol-to-be joined world-famous Japanese singer GACKT on his 20th Anniversary KHAOS Tour as a backup dancer, performing in 20 shows over two months.

shotarostory_9
Shotaro (bottom left corner) on the “KHAOS” tour. | @gackt/Instagram

And by March 2020, Shotaro finally had his future set—SM Entertainment accepted him as a trainee! Shotaro once revealed that only started learning the Korean language in March when he knew he had to prepare to move there.

shotarostory_5
Pre-debut Shotaro

Not long after, Shotaro boarded his flight to South Korea and joined SM Entertainment in person. With over a decade of training and immense talent in dancing, it seems the company saw no reason to put him on the back burner. Instead, they decided to make him one of the newest members of NCT. He may just be the most successful fan in history!

shotarostory_10
Shotaro’s “Year Party” teaser, shot in July 2020. | SMTOWN/YouTube

SM Entertainment announced Shotaro and Sungchan‘s addition to the group in September, and by October 2020, Shotaro was already making his K-Pop stage debut.

shotarostory_11

shotarostory_11

From his dancing prowess to his Korean skills, it’s almost hard to believe he’s only been in the K-Pop industry for a few months. Of course, when you’re this naturally talented, nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams.