(born January 1, 1986), better known mononymously as Sungmin
, is a Korean pop singer and actor. He is one of the four lead vocalists of the super boy band Super Junior. Sungmin is also a martial artist, being one of the two members of the group to frequently perform Chinese martial arts in Super Junior's dance routines, the other being Han Geng.
Sungmin was born in the Ilsan district of Goyang, Gyeonggi. He has a younger brother, Lee Sungjin. He entered the 2001 SM Youth Best Contest
and jointly won first place for the Best Outward Appearance award with future band mate Donghae. Together, they signed a contract with SM Entertainment and began to receive training in singing, dancing, and acting.
In 2002, Sungmin was briefly placed in a project R&B group with Xiah and future band mate Eunhyuk. Along with Typhoon, Rose, and Attack, the six of them made their first television appearance in a show called Heejun vs. Kangta, Battle of the Century: Pop vs. Rock
Moon Hee-jun taught Typhoon, Rose, and Attack on how to properly sing rock while Sungmin, Xiah, and Eunhyuk were taught other singing techniques by Kangta. The six trainees quickly separated a year later, however, when Typhoon, Rose, and Attack debuted as member of rock band TRAX and Xiah debuted as a member of TVXQ. Both Sungmin and Eunhyuk joined ten other trainees and formed the group Super Junior 05, being the first generation of the rotational boy band Super Junior. Right before Super Junior debuted, Sungmin made a brief appearance on the MBC drama Sisters of the Sea
, playing young Kang Dong-shin.
Super Junior 05 officially debuted on November 6, 2005 on SBS's music program Popular Songs
, performing their first single, "TWINS (Knock Out)". Their debut performance attracted over 500 fans and also garnered oversea viewers from both China and Japan. A full studio album was released a month later, which debuted at #3 on the monthly MIAK K-pop album charts.
In March 2006, SM Entertainment began to recruit new members for the next Super Junior generation. However, plans changed when the company added in a thirteenth member, Kyuhyun, and the company declared a halt in forming future Super Junior generations. The group dropped the suffix "05" and became officially credited as Super Junior. The re-polished group hit big after they released their first CD single "U" the following summer, which became Super Junior's most successful single in the music charts until the release of "Sorry, Sorry" in March 2009.