While many avid TREASURE fans probably know that the group was originally planned to have 13 members, this might not be common knowledge to casual listeners. Since the group only has 12 now, some might be curious as to where the mysterious 13th pre-debut member went!

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For those who aren’t familiar with how the group was created, the members were originally found through the survival show put on by YG Entertainment, YG Treasure Box. Airing between November 2018 and January 2019, the show featured 29 male trainees competing against one another in order to make it onto the company’s new boy group.

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The first four members — Haruto, Yedam, Junghwan, and Junkyu — were announced at the show’s finale on January 18, 2019. At this point, the idea was for TREASURE to have seven members, and the other three — Jeongwoo, Jaehyuk, and Hyunsuk — were revealed over the next couple of days.

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YG Entertainment’s teaser for final member lineup

However, YG Entertainment’s CEO, Yang Hyun Suk, announced in late January that he would be creating a second group from six other trainees that placed high on the show. This group, later given the name MAGNUM, was going to be comprised of Mashiho, Doyoung, Yoshi, Jihoon, Asahi, and Ha Yoonbin.

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The final members of MAGNUM

A few days later, it was confirmed that the idea for these groups was for them to first debut together as one unit — TREASURE 13 — before breaking off to promote separately as TREASURE and MAGNUM. Their debut was planned to happen sometime between May and July of 2019; however, it was around this time that scandals began surrounding YG Entertainment which led to Yang Hyun Suk stepping down as CEO, and their debut was put on hold.

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The original line-up for TREASURE 13

Things were fairly quiet until January 6, 2020, when it was announced that Ha Yoonbin would not be debuting with MAGNUM, and had in fact canceled his contract with the company on December 31, 2019. This lead to the reorganization of the members into a single team that debuted in August 2020, which is the 12-member group TREASURE that we know today!

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But just what happened to Ha Yoonbin, and why did he end up leaving the group?

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Though the details are vague, it’s said that he simply canceled his contract with the agency due to differences in musical direction. Only a few days after YG Entertainment announced his departure, Ha Yoonbin, also known as Ben, released his first solo music video called “Wounds” on January 13, 2020.

Seemingly pursuing a solo rapping career, he released his second music video, “Knight”, on July 6 of the same year. Since then, he has released 6 solo songs and promotes through SoundCloud and his music videos on YouTube.

While it’s unfortunate that he didn’t end up debuting with the highly successful TREASURE, at least he is still pursuing his passion and making a career for himself!