K-Pop fans are hoping that SM Rookies‘ Shohei will be the start of a change in the industry, one which many feel is very important.
When Shohei was announced as one of the members in SM Rookies, he became the subject of some hate comments regarding his age and past job.
As someone born in 1996, many deemed him ‘too old’ to be a rookie, and even more so to be making his debut. Netizens came to his defense when the news of his age spread, claiming that not only was it perfectly normal for him to start his career at the age of 26…
calling shohei old is weird, thats literally the age where people start working??? there's nothing weird about that 😭
— saf 🦦 (@taromarklee) July 2, 2022
…but that clearly he had been picked by SM Entertainment based on talent.
Guys, stop complaining and badmouthing Shohei's age! if SM picks him, it's because he's talented, works hard, so age doesn't matter, and we still don't know if they will become part of SMNBG or NCT
— ` (@smrookiesshohei) July 2, 2022
In a recent guest appearance on THE NCT SHOW, Shohei gained attention not only for his visuals and irresistible deep voice…
— 𓆩♡𓆪 (@forsmboys) July 23, 2022
shohei's voice good lord 🥴🥴🥴🥴🥴 pic.twitter.com/j7lAX1noC5
— ash is doyoung's beer🍺 (@snorlaxdoie_) July 23, 2022
…but also for his distinctly mature vibe. Fans praised his maturity and thoughtful approach to NCT Doyoung and Jungwoo‘s questions.
shohei is so mature and i love that..he was asking the right questions..you can tell he is very passionate and focused about being an artist
— ⲉ⳽👾 (@trbledmelon) July 23, 2022
This has led many fans to hope that Shohei’s debut will change things, especially given the controversially young age at which many K-Pop idols debut these days. The practice of debuting idols at an extremely young debut age has received its fair share of criticism, including from big name idols such as BTS‘s Jin. Jin weighed in on the issue last year, claiming that idols now get their start way too young compared to himself.
I got in at 20 years old. But I think that kids these days do start too young.
This commentary came on the heels of a controversy surrounding the debut of Koki, the 12 year old former trainee that was set to debut with P Nation‘s new boy group, TNX. While netizens praised the boy’s talent, it was undeniable that he was much too young to debut.
Meanwhile, Shohei has not only proven that he’s got what it takes to debut as an SM Entertainment artist, but he has done so while being well above the current average debut age. And rather than this being an issue, fans seem to be just as, if not more, excited about his debut as they would be about a younger idol.
In fact, for many Shohei’s age is actually a plus, as it means he would be much better to handle the pressures and risks of being an idol as a fully grown adult.
Why are ppl being so weird about Shohei being 25/26. oh no a full grown adult with a fully developed brain is debuting instead of a 14 year old who had to drop out of middle school. Do you see how you sound? pic.twitter.com/i4FGYyMjz6
— ExTeenageRobot Redux (@girllwithluv) July 3, 2022
Seeing as Shohei’s debut is already surrounded by considerable hype, fans are hoping that K-Pop companies will take this into account and see debuting older idols as a positive thing.
With controversies continuing to arise around the young age of newly debuted idols, it is time the industry start listening to the fans and established idols who have spoken out against it!
Read further about what netizens had to say about Shohei’s debut below.