If you’re into K-pop, you’ve probably run into the word “maknae” before, which simply means “youngest” in Korean. While this is a pretty simple concept, the word has become its own noun, and even verb, in K-pop fandoms! Maknae’s of certain K-pop groups have their own special title, like BTS‘ Jungkook coined “the golden maknae” and Stray Kids‘ I.N. known as the “maknae on top.”
Keep reading for more details and a list of the most iconic maknae’s in K-pop.
We, of course, have to start with Jungkook, a.k.a. the golden maknae himself. The reason behind his nickname is because of his affinity to be good at pretty much everything. The K-pop star is a talented singer, dancer, rapper, video director and artist. He’s also probably the most athletic of the BTS members, as they often refer to him as “made of muscles.”
While the nickname is meant to praise the K-pop artist, Jungkook explained during an interview with Rolling Stone in May 2021, that the terms comes with a lot of pressure. “I really don’t want to think of myself as an all-rounder,” he told the outlet.
“People say that I excel, that I’m an all-rounder. Of course I excel in some areas, but I don’t think it necessarily helps to bask in those talents and gifts,” he explained. “You can only improve in a certain area when you really practice, when you really try, when you deep-dive into it. So I really don’t want to think myself as an all-rounder. I just want to keep trying and working hard. And of course I do feel pressure, but those pressures can also drag me to work hard and do best at what I do.”
On top of that, during an interview with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jungkook echoed his past sentiments.
“It’s not true. There are lots of things I am not good at, ” he began. “It is a problem with concentration. Other than the things I like, I can’t concentrate on things I don’t like.”
Another iconic maknae is I.N., who deserves the title of “Maknae on Top,” since he literally wrote a song about it! That’s right, the maknae of Stray Kids released “Maknae on Top” in January 2021.
Some of the (iconic) lyrics include: “Even though I’m polite, I don’t act like the youngest. This year and next year, I’m Stray Kids’ maknae on top.”
Click through our gallery to uncover all of the most iconic maknaes on K-pop.
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