Did you know that K-pop stars have to go through a long period of training in order to debut? South Korean music companies put these “trainees” through months, or sometimes years, of training in singing, dancing and rapping. Some of your fav K-pop stars have trained for longer periods of times than others — like Stray KidsBang Chan who trained for seven years and TWICE‘s Jihyo who trained for 10!

Keep reading to see all the K-pop stars who trained for over five years in order to debut as a K-pop artist.

Stray Kids leader Bang Chan has opened up a few times about what the trainee process was like for him. During Stray Kids’ appearance on the Zach Sang Show in February 2020, he revealed he could still remember the pressures he was feeling at the time, with the biggest being if he could “make it or not.”

“Seven years [of training] is quite a long time,” he said during a 2018 showcase for their debut album I am NOT. “The hardest thing about it was when the other trainees who were with me would leave the agency. The most painful moments were when I ended up alone. Of those people who left, some have gone on to debut under other labels and others have changed career paths.”

He added, “However, I met the other members of Stray Kids and happy moments began filling that loneliness. I never knew I’d be able to make my debut with the people I wanted to be with. I’m so happy right now.”

The K-pop leader explained that the hardest part of being a trainee was seeing people “come and go” during a 2022 interview with Eric Nam. “You get close to people, but then, you know, they end up not making it. Or they end up debuting before I do,” he explained.

ICYMI, while anyone can enter the K-pop training process and practice for years, it’s still possible that they can still get kicked out from their music companies at any time for lack of talent or skill.

“There was one time [when], besides me, everyone got cut,” he explained. “Then I was like, ‘Wow, what is happening here?’ And then I fell into a really deep depression. I don’t want to say it was depression, but I was like, ‘I’m not gonna be friends with anyone. I do not want to experience this pain again, I’m not gonna be friends with anyone.'”

Click through our gallery above to uncover all of the K-pop stars that had very long training periods.

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