10 K-pop idols who aren't actually from South Korea

10 K-pop idols that aren't from South Korea (Image via YG Entertainment)
10 K-pop idols that aren't from South Korea (Image via YG Entertainment)

With the K-pop industry always looking to do something special or bring something new to the table, it's not a surprise that they're always on the lookout for trainees to recruit; and what better way to unearth talent than to widen the pool by searching outside South Korea?

As the industry grows in popularity, the desire for many people outside of South Korea to make their debut also bubbles up.

We've compiled a list of 10 K-pop idols who aren't from South Korea - some of these faces might surprise you!


10 K-pop idols who aren't ethnically Korean

1) Lisa (Blackpink)

Lalisa Manoban (or simply Lisa) hails from Thailand and was born in the Buriram Province. She speaks English, Thai, Japanese, and Korean. Here's a fun fact: Lisa was the first non-ethnical Korean trainee to not only join YG Entertainment but also to make their debut.


2) ViVi (LOONA)

LOONA's ViVi was born in the Tuen Mun District of Hong Kong. Her real name is Wong Ka Hei; she was a trainee of Polaris Entertainment before being transferred to BlockBerry Creative (a subsidiary of Polaris), where she eventually debuted as a member of LOONA.

She speaks English, Cantonese, and Korean.


3) Lucas (NCT)

With there being 23 members in NCT as of now, it's no surprise that several of them are from countries outside of South Korea. Lucas, or Wong Yukhei, is ethnically Chinese-Thai.

He was born in the Sha Tin District of Hong Kong, and is proficient in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, Korean, and a little bit of Thai.


4) Sorn (CLC)

Sorn, or Chonnasorn Sajakul, is from Thailand - more specifically, Bangkok. She moved to South Korea as a trainee under Cube Entertainment after winning the first season of tvN's K-pop Star Hunt. She speaks English, Korean, Mandarin and Thai.


5) Momo (TWICE)

The TWICE member is originally from Kyotanabe, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Her full name is Momo Hirai. She moved to South Korea in 2012 to be a K-pop idol trainee under JYP Entertainment, and eventually debuted as a member of TWICE in 2015. She speaks Japanese and Korean.


6) BamBam (Got7)

BamBam, or Kunpimook Bhuwakul, is another K-pop idol from Bangkok, Thailand. He and Lisa were in the same dance crew while working in their home country, and are still friends to this day.

He moved to South Korea to be a trainee in JYP Entertainment at the age of 13. The K-pop idol speaks Korean, English and Thai.


7) Fatou (BLACKSWAN)

BLACKSWAN's Fatou was born in Yoff, Dakar, Senegal - her full name is Samba Fatou Diouf. The singer, rapper, and dancer can speak French, English, German, Dutch, as well as Korean.


8) Lay Zhang (EXO)

The K-pop and C-pop idol is from Changsha, Hunan, China; his real name is Zhang Yixing. Lay moved to South Korea after passing SM Entertainment's trainee auditions in 2008, and can speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese as well as English.


9) The8 (Seventeen)

K-pop idol, The8, is Chinese, and was born in Anshan, Liaoning, China. He chose the number 8 to use in his stage name, as it is considered lucky in China. The singer can speak Mandarin, Cantonese, as well as Korean.


10) Amber Liu (f(x))

Amber is Taiwanese and American - her parents are from Taiwan, but she grew up in the United States. She became a trainee under SM Entertainment in 2009, and debuted over a year later in f(x). The idol is fluent in Korean, Japanese, English, and Mandarin.

Also read: Top 5 K-pop soloists in 2021 so far

Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul