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Enhypen’s Kyocera dome debut proof they’re on same path as K-pop legends

Enhypen in Kyocera

Inquirer Lifestyle attended Enhypen’s “Manifesto” in Kyocera Dome to witness the historic concert of the boys.

Photos courtesy of Belift Lab

OSAKA—Enhypen’s story started at a mysterious building in the middle of a forest, an “I-Land,” where they battled for their dreams and surrendered everything they could to make it to the stage. More than two years after their debut, they find themselves at a different building, a venue known for creating musical legends. Now, Enhypen stands on the stage of their dreams, fresh off a sold-out world tour.

After touring Japan in 2022, the seven boys of Enhypen returned to this city for a record-breaking show at Kyocera Dome. On Jan. 21 and Jan. 22, they made their official dome debut with “Manifesto.” With this show, Enhypen became the fastest post-2019 K-pop group to host a solo dome concert.

The boys filled the venue with around 80,000 fans over the weekend, selling out both dates. The show was also available at 163 cinemas in South Korea and Japan. Fans across the world were also able to enjoy the concert through an online live stream.

Kyocera Dome has always been “the dream” of many musicians. It marks a turning point for every K-pop group’s career. Holding a solo dome concert is a tangible monument of support from your fans, and being able to fill the venue gives the artist the much-coveted proof of their success, much like any trophy from any award show.

Sellout crowd

Many icons like BTS, Blackpink, Seventeen, SHINee and EXO have filled the same dome, and sold out their concerts and world tours. These groups have gone on as legends in the music industry. Enhypen’s “Manifesto” in Osaka proves that they’re on the same path.

While playing Kyocera Dome means you’ve made it, selling it out is another story. Drawing a crowd that big, with fans from all over the world doing everything in their power to support you, is everything any idol could wish for.

Even upon getting on the train to the dome, fans of Enhypen already swarmed the Osaka Metro. Every Engene (the group’s fandom name) at the venue dressed for the occasion. They carried around slogans with Enhypen’s faces on them, their bags filled with photo cards and merchandise of the group.

Fans of all ages were trying to memorialize the milestone, taking photos of the colorful banners of their idols that surrounded the dome. The show felt just as meaningful for their fans, as just a few months ago Enhypen was playing venues in Japan half the dome’s size.

Drop everything

Photos don’t do Kyocera Dome justice, and being there at the scene was much more surreal. Inquirer Lifestyle was lucky enough to witness this milestone firsthand.

When we received the invite from Belift Lab, we hopped on a Cebu Pacific flight and booked every travel essential from Klook PH. Luckily, the airline flies daily from Manila to Osaka.

We dropped everything just to catch the second day of the show. The whole experience was heightened by the fact that we were meeting them again for “Manifesto” in Manila, Feb. 3 to Feb. 5, where the show sold out so quickly that they had to add a third date (already sold out, as well).

Enhypen were just boys when we first saw them, trying to manage their teamwork to overcome every challenge hurled at them. Their struggle for stardom was chronicled in “I-Land.” It was in this reality show that they were first introduced to the world, and where they proved that they deserved to be on stage. In a span of two years, they’ve become K-pop’s fastest double-million sellers. They’ve garnered over 1.5 billion streams on Spotify. Just a year after their debut, the boys entered the Top 10 of the Billboard 200.

‘Go big or go home’

Now, they’re performing at the largest venue of their career as one of the first fourth-generation K-pop groups to have played Kyocera Dome. This is no ordinary feat, especially for a group that would still technically be considered rookies.

But the boys of Enhypen are no ordinary musicians either. Jungwon, Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo and Ni-ki have always been pushed by their thirst to prove themselves—their desire to “go big or go home” making them the industry mainstays they are today.

Enhypen has won and pushed through every hurdle they’ve come across, this well-earned bravado showing on stage at Kyocera Dome.

When they took the stage at Kyocera, they were the coolest and most confident we’ve ever seen them. The boys talked to their Engenes in Japanese like longtime friends. Enhypen were at ease on stage, smiling and laughing over silly mistakes in their speeches.

The three-hour show unfolded like a novel, with every song dedicated to the story of Enhypen’s genesis. When they first debuted with “Given-Taken,” they introduced themselves as powerhouse performers, staying true to their dark and mysterious lore. Since then, the boys have shown different sides of themselves, writing their own songs and wanting to show fans their personal stories.

Cheeky greetings

At some point, they even mimicked different animal noises, trying to outdo each other, which of course, fans loved. The entire dome also swooned when Heeseung’s ad-libs echoed throughout the venue. The group’s main vocalist cheekily greeted Osaka fans with a special melodic speech, thanking fans while flexing his vocal chops: “Osaka, oh yeah, arigato. Thank you,” he sang soulfully, earning laughs from the crowd.

The boys even treated fans at Kyocera Dome to an exclusive performance of their “Wings” dance break, which they’ve only performed for an award show. To make the night even more memorable, the septet also made sure to perform their Japanese discography, with songs like “Always” and “Make the Change,” making it to the Osaka setlist. K-pop groups only ever perform their Japanese songs in Japan, which is why a lot of Engenes had Kyocera Dome on their bucket list.

To get closer to their fans, the boys were carted around in two retro cars as they performed the viral hit “Polaroid Love.” It was effective, with every giddy Engene screaming and standing. Those things were not allowed in Japan, but hey, fans couldn’t help it.

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40,000 light sticks

What made Kyocera Dome so monumental was its ability to pack thousands who all shared the same love.

Enyhpen look over a technicolor ocean of 40,000 Engene-bong (light stick), a must-have for every fan, as it changes colors and matches the beat of every song they perform. It’s a sea of lights, vibrant and dazzling, and overwhelming to a certain point. Each one of those lights is someone who believes in these seven boys. It’s an Engene who’s been there even before they debuted. The fan who flew in from another country just to celebrate her birthday with them.

Perhaps, a fan who defied every office mandate about visas just to get to Japan. Yes, we know this from personal experience.

More for Enhypen

In “Shout Out,” a fan favorite, the boys took on a circular platform. They looked around the venue with their eyes filled with gratitude. It was a poignant and sincere moment that marked the upcoming end of the show. The seven boys then proceeded to do a full bow on stage for their fans. For anyone familiar with K-pop, the full bow is the highest form of respect.

“We had two unforgettable nights here at Kyocera Dome. We would like to thank our Engenes for gifting us this special memory and also give ourselves a pat on the back for our efforts on stage. Without our Engenes, we would not have been able to make it here. We promise to add your support to our music to carry it further across the world,” the boys said in a speech, taking turns to speak both Korean and Japanese.

This show at Kyocera Dome is their “Manifesto,” a declaration of their status as K-pop’s fourth-generation hot icons, and a testament to the outstanding achievements they’ve racked up in such a short time.

There’s more to come for Enhypen, and we’ll make sure to be there through it all.

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UPDATE: We also want to share how this article was published on the pages of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. So here it is:

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