Netizens have been getting excited as HYBE and JTBC have been teasing their upcoming survival show R U Next? The show takes trainees who will battle for the chance to debut under HYBE’s sublabel BE:LIFT LAB, which is home to ENHYPEN.
Since the first teaser was released, netizens have been anticipating the full lineup as more and more clips of the contestants were released.
After rumors of the contestants, the full lineup of the show was finally released. Amongst all the different trainees, one has particularly caught the attention of fans… but for all the wrong reasons.
One of the trainees is Ena, and according to her photo profile, the Japanese-born trainee is an ESFP. She loves watching dramas and snacking on strawberries and shine muscats. Omurice is her favorite food.
In the video introduction, Ena also revealed that she was the maknae. The Japanese-born trainee shared photos from her childhood and allowed netizens to know her a bit better.
When the photos and information about Ena were released, netizens couldn’t hide their shock after seeing the trainee’s date of birth, which was 17 February 2011, making her 12 years old.
In recent years, there has been a discourse on idols debuting young, and for many netizens, age 12 was just too much for them.
Although it wasn’t certain whether Ena would debut straight away if she won the show, netizens thought it was inappropriate for someone so young to be on a survival show. Not only would it be a lot of pressure and stress to adhere to expectations, but she would be open to being sexualized.
idc about opinions or views, ena should not debut and should’ve never been on the show. if you are voting for her I actually think there’s something wrong with you cause debuting an 11yo CHILD in an industry as tough as the idol industry is just WRONG.
— RU rune? (@rrunext) June 16, 2023
— bing (@bingmeupscotty) June 16, 2023
— RU noah? (@irunext) June 16, 2023
Even in a simple tweet introducing fans to the entire lineup, Ena’s post was full of anger about the possibility of Ena debuting.
It’s disgusting how they let a fucking child participate in this survival show😭 https://t.co/YRrTyh0gQ6
— sweetlikesorn ᗢ (@sweetlikesorn) June 16, 2023
I better not see her debut and we thought 2008 was little???! https://t.co/LzcSLLmZRZ
— 🐰⁷ (@FCBVWonyy) June 16, 2023
she’s literally 11 years old this is CRIMINAL https://t.co/QE60szFAjg
— gracie | LOONA IS FREE (@anonyunjin) June 16, 2023
The debate of minors in K-Pop has always been a hot topic. Yet, Ena being only 12 years old and participating in such a huge show has come as a shock to netizens.
You can read more about the lineup below.