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How Super Junior became legends—according to Ryeowook and Leeteuk

Super Junior Leeteuk and Ryeowook answer questions

Hello everyone. We are Super Junior!”

Super Junior’s Leeteuk and Ryeowook greeted the press enthusiastically with their signature hand sign over a video call. It took a lot of constraint on our end to stop ourselves from responding, “We are Elf!”

Elf is the name of their fandom. Answering their greeting has become second nature to their fans. It is also a testament to Super Junior’s uniqueness.

They have always been trendsetters since the group’s inception and the way they greet their fans have become an integral part of their legend.

Leeteuk, the group’s leader, and Ryeowook, the vocalist from the maknae (youngest) line, met with the press to promote their Disney+ documentary “Super Junior: Last Man Standing.”

The title of the show is part of the lyrics of the song “Super Man,” a song that tells the story of Super Junior.

Leeteuk took the role of going through the questions that were sent in advance. He held the list in his hands and Ryeowook pointed at him and told everyone that he’s the emcee. Both smiled widely.

Inside jokes

It’s easy to miss these details. But the two would share inside jokes for the duration of the interview, bits and pieces that fans love to pick up on.

Ryeowook said that he was very surprised to see that their agency, SM Entertainment, still had footage of them from when they were young. It was a delight for him to see those clips.

“SM is a big and scary company,” Leeteuk jokingly said, referring to SM’s footage library. Ryeowook laughed and gave a thumbs up.

They said that this footage is fun and enjoyable content for both old and new fans. Leeteuk asked what Ryeowook would tell himself if he could go back to the day they debuted.

“You are going to be the best so don’t be afraid. When I was watching the documentary, [I saw that back then] I couldn’t even introduce myself,” he said.

Leeteuk agreed and reenacted the interview clip of Ryeowook from the documentary. Ryeowook joined in and the two laughed. They would laugh and joke about this again later in the interview when they talked about the crises that the documentary showed. It was Ryeowook’s biggest struggle featured in the show.

“If I were to go back to 17 years ago, I would tell myself that we are doing great. There are things that I couldn’t fix but it was the best I could give. There are things I wanted to change but I think I did what I could,” Leeteuk said.

New TV

Super Junior’s leader is considered the best in K-pop. He not only stood as the leader of their group, but of the rest of SM Entertainment as well. SHINee’s Onew and EXO’s Suho have told numerous stories of how much they relied on him.

Leeteuk shared how he wanted to watch the documentary on a big screen at home and so he bought a new TV and he watched it four times. All the fans knew about this purchase as he read the instructions for it during his regular Youtube Live. The stream was sublime comedy. Ryeowook admitted that his parents have not watched the show yet and that he needs to go to their house to install Disney+ himself.

“I told my mom to come home quickly so she could watch it. I told her that she would cry when she sees the documentary,” Leeteuk said. But Leeteuk shared that she didn’t cry while watching the two episodes—she shed tears when it was over.

The two shared that after the premiere, Super Junior talked about the documentary in their group chat. Leeteuk said that Kyuhyun left a message for them. Kyuhyun said that he was really touched and that they were really good.

“It was a really good memory,” Ryeowook said.

As an idol group that has lasted for 18 years, Ryeowook said that he felt the responsibility and pressure of moving forward and being role models for the younger groups.

“I heard that the winner is the last man who smiles. In 20 years’ time, I still want to be able to say that Super Junior will be the last man standing,” Leeteuk said.

Ryeowook said that one of the reasons for their longevity was the fact that they didn’t take any breaks. They established a system wherein some of the members would continue working and promoting as Super Junior while the others were in the army.

This is a system that other idol groups have now adapted.

Center of the group

“I think our visuals, especially our Siwon … If he were to debut nowadays with the looks he had then, he would’ve taken the K-pop world by storm. I now understand why he’s the center of the group,” Ryewook said, giving a thumbs up.

“Now you know why Eunhyuk is not our center,” Leeteuk chimed in, making Ryeowook laugh.

“Eunhyuk hyung is cute, too,” he said.

Ryeowook said that what was not included in the documentary were the trips they went on as a group. Leeteuk nodded his head.

“If you can see our daily lives in the documentary, you will see how we overcame the crises,” Ryeowook said.

Only Super Junior

Them being with their other friends would help their fans understand who they were, he said.

Leeteuk jokingly said he doesn’t have any friends. He added that if there were more episodes to the show, he hoped that it would be one that would tackle their plans for the future. He said that he wants to work with other boy bands.

What sums up their 18 years? Ryeowook answered simply: “Love.”

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“Only,” Leeteuk replied. “I would say only, instead of best, because there are things that only we could do.”

“Only not eonnie, okay?” Ryeowook said. Eonnie means older sister.

Ryeowook said that whenever there is conflict in the group, he would cry. He recounted that he once had a fight with Siwon. Leeteuk said that their maknae is the type who doesn’t get into fights, but when he does, it’s a big one.

Leeteuk asked how they patched things up. Ryeowook thought about it.

“It’s lame but because we’ve been together for so long, we just naturally patched things up,” he said. Ryeowook said that he believes he settled things with Siwon on the same day. He faced a camera directly, gave it a finger heart and said, “Love. Siwon Love.”

What surprised Ryeowook in the documentary was that he found out that the members avoided him when he first came in.

Meanwhile, Leeteuk said, “I was very surprised about Siwon’s solo interviews, because there was also an interview with our COO. But Siwon looked more like the CEO than the [COO] himself.” The two laughed. He is referring to Tak Yeong-jun, chief operating officer of SM Entertainment.

Elfs love them

They talked about the memorable milestones of the group. Ryeowook named the launch of “Sorry, Sorry,” his album “The Little Prince” and Siwon’s dramas.

“Super Junior is the full package. All the members have a different charm, we’re all so different and that’s what sets us apart from other boy bands and other boy groups. That’s why Elfs love us,” Ryeowook said.

Leeteuk added that they’ve been through so much together, showing their strengths and individuality. It’s the reason why they are loved. He admitted checking fan sites of other boy groups during his idle time to search for their group.

He said,”I saw one of their fans saying that SuJu is the only group who has been [around] for so long but they are still competitive. I want to work hard to stay competitive.”

They ended the interview by promoting Yesung’s “Sensory Flows” album. And of course, by introducing themselves again.

They are Super Junior.

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