The Real Reason Why Woojin Left K-Pop Band Stray Kids

K-pop groups have had a cult following in the Western world for some time, but the genre has become more mainstream since the late 2010s and early 2020s. For the first time, large numbers of Americans and Brits are paying attention to Korean pop music and its performers. K-pop fans were shocked when they learned Woojin, a member of the Korean boy band Stray Kids, left the group. Here’s why he left the group.

Stray Kids Woojin and Lee Know, Han, Changbin, Seungmin, Hyunjin, I.N, Felix and Bang Chan
Lee Know, Han, Changbin, Seungmin, Hyunjin, I.N, Woojin, Felix and Bang Chan of ‘Stray Kids’ | Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

Why did Woojin leave Stray Kids?

In October 2019, the label that Stray Kids are signed to – JYP Entertainment – posted the following on social media: “Woojin, who has been a member of Stray Kids, has left the team and terminated his contract due to personal circumstances. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused many fans.” According to BuzzFeed, several other prominent K-pop singers have left their boy bands in 2019. Hwall left The Boyz, another K-pop band that was founded around the same time as Stray Kids, while B.I left iKON.

The company also announced that the group’s EP, Clé: Levanter, would be released on December 9th, rather than on November 2nd as originally scheduled; the change in release date was due to Woojin’s departure. According to The Independent, JYP Entertainment apologized for the delay, saying “We once again express apologies to the fans who have waited for a long time.”

JYP’s note also contained a dollop of optimism, saying “We ask for much support for Woojin who will be going on a new path. We also ask for the warm support for the eight Stray Kids members who will once again go on the road towards their dreams with their compass.” The remaining members of the group are Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, I.N., Bang Chan, Lee Know, and Changbin.

Who are Stray Kids?

Stray Kids are a Korean boy band known for their eclectic mix of pop, hip hop, and electronica. They were formed through the television show of the same name, which is a reality singing competition similar to The X Factor. In this regard, Stray Kids could be seen as a Korean equivalent of One Direction.

The group is larger than any popular boy band from the United States and the United Kingdom. For most of its existence, the group had nine members, although that has fluctuated. Kim Woo Jin a.k.a. Woojin, one of the vocalists of the group, departed the group in 2019.

Woojin has a growing solo career

Fans of Woojin and the group as a whole seemed a touch disappointed, though they were all very supportive of Woojin on this new chapter in his life. Since Woojin’s Stray Kids time ended, Woojin has released his debut solo album, The Moment : 未成年, A Minor., done solo meet-ups with fans, worked on self-improvement and merchandise, and he even has his own YouTube channel. 

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