Super Junior’s Original Chinese Member, Hangeng
As one of the biggest K-Pop boy bands of the 00s, it came as a surprise to many the news that one of its core members has filed for a contract termination at the very height of their career. Meet Hangeng, Super Junior’s only Chinese member, included in their original lineup in 2007, who acted as one of the main dancers for the group. Despite having a big role in the group since its start, his presence and appearance have been reduced to a member with a mask on and barely any spotlight. Not only that, as the only foreign member at the time, he seemed to be experiencing a lot of discrimination, unfair treatment, and troubles that have been piling up to the point where he had to file for termination of the contract.
So, are you curious as to how and why Hangeng filed for contract termination? Or maybe how his members responded to the news then and how they feel about it now? Let’s take a look at Hangeng’s career before the contract termination and after he left Super Junior!
Hangeng’s Departure From Super Junior
Hangeng filed for contract termination in late December of 2009, sometime after the release of Super Junior’s legendary hit, “Sorry Sorry.” The news confused fans due to the timing and nature of the report, with fans doubting its credibility and to that, the lack of response from SM Entertainment. Soon after, both parties confirmed that the reports are indeed true and that Hangeng has filed for the termination without first consulting with SM, thus doing it behind their backs in his off time.
At the time, fans were clearly confused concerning the motive of the split and impending termination, believing that everything is fine behind the scenes, as the group just hit the biggest achievement in their careers. Not only that, the song was nominated for multiple daesangs and launched Super Junior’s reputation to the sky. So, why exactly did Hangeng decided to leave the group?
The answer to that question can be found in several of his interviews dating back from 2010 to his most recent one, where he delved into detail about the unfair treatment he had been receiving as one of the only foreign idols at the time, with no particular senior to guide him or law to protect his position. He had struggled a lot with provisions put into law at the time, that limited his salary and his appearances compared to the other members. He revealed that in the first year alone, he was only able to earn 4000 yuan or equivalent to $650 USD. Adding to it, his agency did not do anything to lessen the burden he was under.
At the time, Hangeng expressed his will to become an actor and also to film for some other jobs on the side, like the ones the other members did, as regulars on variety shows, or even just a simple commercial. Despite his desire to do so, SM Entertainment supposedly ignored his request and did not add any such activity to his schedule. They instead added salt to the wound by having him debut again as a rookie in China, in 2008, as part of Super Junior-M. The burden kept increasing, both financially and emotionally, until he could not take it anymore and decided to go through filing the contract termination on his own, without notifying anyone beforehand.
In another interview, Hangeng gave another reason for his contract termination, besides the lack of schedules and pay, which was related to the company culture in itself. He revealed that he could not withstand the pressure the agency put on maintaining a certain image and the restrictions put in place to keep that image. Not only that, but they also had a really strong group mentality that was very foreign to him, such that the language that they all spoke but he didn’t. This difference in culture also became part of the supporting factors for his decision.
When asked whether or not he cared for the fans, he said that he did indeed care for them, it is just that he does not think he has a lot to offer as an idol. He believes that as an actor he could further please his fans and also earn the pay that he needs. Furthermore, he does not plan to become an idol until he is 30 or more like his peers do. To add to that, he does not regret leaving, despite having to leave all the fame and fortune, because his action contributed to the improvement of the conditions of foreign idols that debuted after him.
After he filed for the termination, the Korean ministry in charge of entertainment companies did look into the situation and into the alleged mistreatment that led to the filing of contract termination. This led to laws put in place to limit contracts to a 7-year time period and increased pay for foreign entertainers in the industry, including idols. Hangeng felt that his contract termination was necessary in order to bring change and awareness to the state of foreign entertainers in South Korea.
Recent Interaction with Other Members
After the contract had been terminated, it was well-known that there had been some bad blood between Hangeng and SM Entertainment, especially, with the contract negotiations and court dates piling up and dragging on. With it came the suspicion that the relationship between Hangeng and the rest of the members of Super Junior had also been very tense and hostile, due to the fact that he did all of this without first consulting the members, even the ones he was extremely close to.
Those allegations seemed to have stemmed from nowhere and Hangeng revealed his desire to stand on stage with Super Junior if he could, especially to celebrate Super Junior’s tenth anniversary with a reunion. He said, “When Super Junior celebrated their 10th-anniversary last year, it crossed my mind that I should have stood on the stage with them. If it had been possible, I would have liked to perform with them one more time.”
He added, “I wanted to make the anniversary meaningful to Super Junior fans over the past decade. Recently, I went to Korea and communicated with leader Leeteuk and my former manager. However, for various reasons, my dream of standing on stage together did not come true.”
One of the members of Super Junior that we know he is still in contact with is Super Junior’s visual, Siwon. They have been seen in public quite a few times, as recorded in the videos above. They shared a fairly good natured hug and a handshake as a sign of their friendly relationship.
Another member Hangeng seems to be in contact with is Heechul, whom fans have been shipping since the dawn of day. The two were extremely close while Hangeng was still part of Super Junior, and that friendship remained intact to this day. Hangeng went and met up with Heechul while shooting a project in Korea and he has also recently celebrated Heechul’s birthday with him.
Solo Activities and Latest News
Recently, Hangeng has mostly been focusing on his acting career which was his dream ever since he was still part of Super Junior. He has starred in both domestic and international productions, such as the summer blockbuster hit franchise, Transformers and the highly controversial Chinese-French movie exploring the relationship of two gay men, Seek McCartney. As for his domestic hits, he starred alongside Fan Bingbing in Ever Since We Love, an erotic romance film that is adapted from a novel. Han’s upcoming projects in 2019 include hacker-themed thriller Reborn and modern romantic drama Love Me, Do You Dare.
As for his singing career, as he has planned, Hangeng dropped his last album titled San Geng in 2015, effectively putting his singing career at a hiatus to really focus on acting and his big projects. In another more recent news, Hangeng has recently revealed that he has been in a relationship with actress, Celina Jade. The news was relayed to his fans through his personal social media accounts.
So what do you think of Hangeng’s decision to leave Super Junior? Comment your thoughts in the section below!