When Did &Team Debut?

The 2022 HYBE Labels Japan reality competition series, &Audition – The Howling –, was rather unique as such shows go, for more than one reason. For one thing, it was creating an international pop group trained in the K-pop system, though it would primarily operate in Japan to start. For another thing, four of the group’s members had already been confirmed prior to the debut date — K, Nicholas, EJ, and Taki, who had previously competed on the 2020 survival competition series, I-Land. Nonetheless, those four trained alongside 11 other trainees in the series, and at the end, a nine-member group was established at the live finale on September 3, 2022: &Team. Now here is the complete answer to when exactly K, Fuma, Nicholas, EJ, Yuma, Jo, Harua, Taki, and Maki made their official debut as &Team in Japan.

&Team Officially Debuted on December 7, 2022 with First Howling : ME

HYBE marks December 7, 2022 as the official debut date of &Team, and it is the date that their debut mini-album, First Howling : ME, was released globally. However, First Howling : ME actually became available for sale offline in Japan on December 6, 2022, and in fact, &Team even performed lead single “Under the skin” live in full for the first time on that same date, on an episode of Nippon TV’s Sukkiri. So, one could reasonably argue for December 6 as their debut date as well.

Incidentally, &Team had actually released their first official music video, for “Under the skin,” two weeks earlier, on November 22, 2023. On December 5, 2022, they released an extended version of that music video that offered some narrative connections to a shared mythology with fellow HYBE group Enhypen. Then on the day of their debut, December 7, they released a second music video, for “Scent of you.”

In total, First Howling : ME contains four songs: “Under the skin,” “Scent of you,” “BUZZ LOVE,” and “The Final Countdown (&Team ver.).” “The Final Countdown” had originally been the theme song to &Audition – The Howling –.

On December 8, 2022, &Team held a debut showcase at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, which has a capacity of 10,000, and the event was streamed online by HYBE. It was there that EJ explained the group’s introduction, which is (spoken in English), “We link.” He said that the concept of the group was “&” and “connection,” so saying that the group “links” with fans worldwide fit well. Since then, &Team has gone on to have various comebacks, earn new fans, and more directly enter the Korean market.

In summary, &Team made their official debut on December 7, 2022, but their first mini-album, First Howling : ME, actually went on sale one day earlier in Japan. The group represented a major step forward for HYBE on an international level. For more about the group, check out how old the &Team members currently are and who their leader(s) is.

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