Seniority is important in South Korea to such an extent that it is common for people to ask each other’s age upon meeting them. This is because the difference in age between two people can determine the degree of politeness and formality that should be used when speaking Korean. Indeed, degrees of politeness and formality are actually fundamentally baked into the Korean language itself, which is not so much the case with English. And in the world of K-pop, seniority continues to be important. It’s fairly common for the oldest member of a K-pop group to be its leader, for instance. However, when it comes to Belift Lab K-pop boy group Enhypen, this is actually not the case! The leader of this group is the second-youngest member, which is pretty rare! So among Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, Jungwon, and Ni-ki, here is who the leader of Enhypen is and why he was chosen.
Jungwon Is the Leader of Enhypen
The leader of Enhypen is Jungwon, and the reason is somewhat surprising. Enhypen was created from the reality competition show I-Land, but deciding who would lead the group apparently took 40 days. As Jungwon explained in an interview with Weverse published in December 2020, “We all thought Heeseung [the oldest member] would be the leader until the day before we had that meeting on [reality show] ENHYPEN&HI. But then he called me over before bed and told me that he wanted me to be the leader. He thought it would be better if he remained a team member and the oldest member because if the oldest member also becomes the leader, the other members might be hesitant to express their opinions clearly. And he said the pressure that comes with being a leader can change people.”
So, the oldest member could have been the leader, but he actively chose not to be! This is reminiscent of Le Sserafim, where the oldest member, Sakura, had it stipulated when she joined Source Music that she would not be the leader of the group. However, this is of course not the only reason why Jungwon was selected. Rather, he is reliable and embodies several leadership traits. For example, when Jungwon was announced as leader, Jake said that Jungwon was someone he depended upon “a lot” and that he expected Jungwon to only become even more reliable. Most fans would argue that this has indeed proven to be the case.
To summarize, Jungwon is the leader of Enhypen because the choices had been narrowed down to him and Heeseung, but Heeseung wanted Jungwon to be the leader. For more about the group, check out how old the Enhypen members are.