Super Junior debuted as a second-generation K-Pop boy group under SM Entertainment in 2005.
Although initially debuting as 12 members, maknae Kyuhyun joined Super Junior in 2006, completing the group as their 13th member.
Super Junior is approaching their 18th anniversary, and over their long career, the group has experienced many K-Pop “firsts.”
In 2005, former Super Junior member Han Geng became the first Chinese K-Pop idol after initially auditioning to be a part of SM Entertainment‘s popular first-generation group, H.O.T.
Although his debut was an accomplishment to be celebrated, the Super Junior member faced setbacks when the group began promoting on music programs.
At the time, only three broadcasting channels in Korea allowed foreigners to appear, and due to restrictions related to his Visa, Han Geng faced difficulties joining the group on music shows.
To be able to perform alongside his fellow members, Han Geng wore a mask onstage until the restrictions were lifted to avoid fines or the possibility of being removed from the country.
The restrictions and hiding his identity during performances added to Han Geng’s difficulties under SM Entertainment.
While Han Geng was eventually able to promote without a mask, it wasn’t the end of his troubles, which was evident when he sued SM Entertainment in 2009 to terminate his “slave-like” contract, eventually winning the case in 2010.
During his promotions with Super Junior, Han Geng was particularly close with fellow member Heechul, who he remains friends with to this day. One of the most touching moments of their friendship during Super Junior’s debut era became one of K-Pop’s biggest mysteries.
Watching his friend suffer due to the restrictive regulations surrounding his broadcast appearances, Heechul boldly removed Han Geng’s mask during one of the group’s performances while encouraging Han Geng to perform at the front of the stage.
Some fans have heard of the moment of protest, while others weren’t aware it happened. This is likely due to the fact that a video record of the event seemingly doesn’t exist, with many believing SM Entertainment had the video proof deleted.
In an interview, Han Geng confirmed that the moment did, in fact, occur, recalling his fear on stage and his instinct to hide in order not to face penalties.
I was very scared at that time. Always hiding. But Heechul said, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay,’ and he pulled me out. He even pulled off my mask. I was standing there, head down. I was really scared back then.
— Han Geng
3-When Hangeng had to perform with a mask on due to visa issues Heechul took off his mask and pushed him forward on the stage.pic.twitter.com/mZfPg3Alnt
— Masha🍁0T15💙 (@sjmelody99) November 15, 2022
Many have wondered what happened to “the lost video” and if it still exists or will ever resurface.
This isn’t the only K-Pop memory that netizens have questioned. Check out more in the article below: