January 15, 2016


Kara Disbands: K-Pop Group Breaks Up after 9 Years

Han Myung-Gu/WireImage
Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

It's a sad day in the K-pop world. Long-running girl group Kara announced it would be disbanding after a remarkable nine years running. 

Their record label DSP Media said three of its remaining four members—Gyuri, Seungyeon and Hara—will not be re-signing their contracts with the company as the members pursue other endeavors. Per the Korea Times, DSP Media left a parting message to the three, saying, "We want to cheer them on and wish them the best." The label added that remaining member Youngji, who joined Kara in 2014, will remain signed. 

Longtime K-pop fans will remember Kara's debut on the K-pop scene in 2007 as DSP Media labeled them the successors to their DSP's previous girl group Fin.K.L, who were massive in the late '90s/early '00s. Kara took a moment to connect with audiences, but eventually blew up thanks to songs like "Honey" and "Mister." The latter helped them become a sensation thanks to its iconic "butt dance" featured in the music video and live performances. The group enjoyed a string of hits with a '80s-tinged, synth-pop sound ("Step," "Pandora," "Damaged Lady," "Mamma Mia") which became a staple of its style.

Kara is also significant as being one of the most successful K-pop groups to enter Japan's massive music industry, helping usher in K-pop's expansion in the market when they debuted in 2010. By 2011, Kara had sold a record number of CDs and DVDs for a South Korean artist, and became the first girl group to hold arena tours in Toyko.

Kara went through multiple members throughout the years. Originally debuting as a foursome, member Sunghee left the group a year after their debut, and Hara and Jiyoung joined. In 2014, Nicole and Jiyoung left the group, which led to a reality show competition to find a new member for Kara, eventually leading Youngji to join the group for its final years.

In the fast-paced K-pop industry, Kara's nine years of domestic and international accomplishments should not be brushed aside or forgotten. Nor should their sugary, synth-pop confections either. Take us out with "Step," Kara: