Who Is the Leader of RIIZE?

When SM Entertainment K-pop boy group RIIZE was first revealed, the group composition garnered a lot of attention for how several members were already known to the public. Members Shotaro and Sungchan had originally been members of NCT, another SM boy group, but they departed NCT in May 2023 specifically to join this new project. Meanwhile, Eunseok and Seunghan had been known SM Rookies since July 2022. And although he was not yet a public figure, even Anton came from a K-pop background, as his father is former Lovelyz producer Yoon Sang. That created a lot of speculation about who would lead the group. So among Shotaro, Eunseok, Sungchan, Wonbin, Seunghan, Sohee, and Anton, here is the unusual answer to who the leader of RIIZE is.

The Leader of RIIZE Is No One

When RIIZE formally debuted and even released a lengthy introduction film, neither SM Entertainment nor the group itself ever announced an official leader or assigned member positions. A fan showcase from their debut day, RIIZING DAY : Fan Premiere (released to YouTube on September 18, 2023), also did not offer any member positions. Instead, the members introduced themselves in playful ways on RIIZING DAY: Sungchan is “the energy of RIIZE,” Seunghan is the “goofy one in RIIZE,” Sohee has “unique charms,” Wonbin is a “charming member of RIIZE,” Shotaro is “the eldest who’s like the youngest,” Eunseok has a “low, charming voice,” and Anton is “the youngest who’s actually like the youngest.” As such, it is reasonable to conclude that RIIZE has no leader or assigned member positions.

Previously, there had been speculation that Shotaro could be the leader, since he is both the oldest member of the group and a former NCT member. Even now, he is known to count down the group’s introduction, such as during their first Instagram Live broadcast, which is a task often handled by the leader. However, Shotaro is Japanese, and while there is certainly no rule about K-pop group leaders having to be Korean, it is nonetheless rare for a leader to be non-Korean, for various reasons. (For instance, Japanese Le Sserafim member Sakura actually explicitly mandated that she not be the leader.)

the leader of RIIZE might be Shotaro
Shotaro is the oldest member of the group and leads some introductions, but he is not the official leader.

While it is not extremely unusual for a K-pop group to eschew official positions like “main vocal” or “main dancer” these days, it is rarer for a group to have no leader at all. However, there are a few notable exceptions: Blackpink, KARD, and NewJeans are all examples of groups with no leader. The members instead support each other as needed in their own ways, and that does appear to be the case with RIIZE as well, especially with how warm the relationship seems among the members.

In summary, the answer to who the leader of RIIZE is is that there is no official leader of the group, nor has SM given the members official group positions. Rather, the team members support each other in tandem to excel.

For more about the group, check out how old the RIIZE members currently are, each member’s MBTI, and when exactly they debuted. And for even more in-depth content, check out our archive of predebut photos for all RIIZE members, our archive of all of their music videos, or an explanation of who speaks English or other languages in the group.

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