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Tanaka Koki: Youngest K-pop rookie, 12, won't debut anymore with PSY's boy group LOUD

Japanese member Tanaka Koki is born on January 29, 2009, and was only 12 when he participated in the survival show in September 2021
Tanaka Koki will not debut with LOUD (@PNATION_LOUD/Twitter)
Tanaka Koki will not debut with LOUD (@PNATION_LOUD/Twitter)

Debuting in K-pop has a lot of physical demands and obsessive fans tend to drop idols as they get older and get married. On top of that, male idols’ biggest obstacle is the mandatory military service that they have to complete before the age of 30 which leads to them going on hiatus, sometimes for years after which they lose the public’s attention. This is why K-pop labels try to have their artists debut at a younger age so that they can be active for a longer time. But this has backfired as seen in the case of PSY’s upcoming boy group LOUD.

We have had idols like f(x)’s Krystal and BTS’ Jungkook debuting at age 14 and 15 respectively. SHINee’s Taemin was known as the baby of K-pop since he was one of the youngest idols to debut -- at the age of 14. One of the pioneers of K-pop in the West, BoA herself was 13 when she debuted as a soloist. But fans nowadays think it is too stressful for an artist in their early teen years to debut in K-pop and have voiced their opinion strongly to the extent that Tanaka Koki, a 12-year-old member of LOUD has decided to drop out of the group.

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Tanaka Koki to continue his training (@PNATION_LOUD/Twitter)

Tanaka Koki to drop out of LOUD

Legendary idol PSY became a loveable CEO of his own label when he launched P Nation and signed on artists who deserved a second chance like Hyuna, Dawn and Jessi. He then teamed up with JYP on the survival show ‘LOUD’ and selected the seven winners that would get to debut in his first boy group LOUD. The six oldest members are all born between 2002 and 2005. However, Japanese member Tanaka Koki is born on January 29, 2009, and was only 12 when he participated in the survival show in September 2021.

Koki was the youngest member of LOUD (@PNATION_LOUD/Twitter)

On January 24, PSY’s label P Nation released a statement regarding the status of Tanaka Koki. They shared that the young boy had been training and preparing for his debut with LOUD with much passion. And while they have not mentioned if the fans’ opinion swayed their decision, they explained that they had a discussion with Koki and his parents. They “have collectively agreed that it would be in Koki’s best interests to pursue further training before making his official debut.” P Nation said that based on this decision Koki would not be part of LOUD but would still be a trainee under the label.

He would be continuing to train and develop as an artist until he is ready to debut. Koki also shared a letter asking fans to wait for him till he was ready. There have been many K-pop idols who did sign with agencies when they were as young as Koki and trained for several years before debuting. TWICE’s Jihyo was 8 when she became a trainee and debuted after 10 years. Johnny Suh’s case was similar to Koki’s as he would have debuted with EXO but ended up training for 9 years before joining NCT.