By JONATHAN HICAP, Manila Bulletin
One of the most popular K-pop bands is in crisis now that a member has decided to leave the group.
|Nicole and Jiyoung (Photo by www.newsen.com)|
In a statement posted on KARA’s Japanese website on Oct. 4, DSP Media announced that Nicole Jung, 21, will not be renewing her contract with the agency when it expires in January 2014.
Gyuri, Seungyeon and Hara have renewed their contracts with DSP Media for another two years, the agency said.
Youngest member Kang Jiyoung, 19, has not yet decided if she will sign another contract or pursue her studies when her contract expires in April next year.
If Jiyoung decides to leave, KARA will only be left with three members.
Even if members leave the group, KARA will continue with their activities, said DSP Media in response to rumors that the girl group will disband.
KARA is very popular in South Korea and Japan and the news has become a hot topic in the media.
The girl group earned 3.417 billion yen (or P1.5 billion) in CD, DVD and Blu-ray disc sales in Japan last year to rank ninth overall among the top earning artists in Japan, according to Oricon chart.
KARA released their fourth studio album, “Full Bloom,” last month and they are set to start their “KARA 2nd Japan Tour 2013 KARASIA” on Oct. 8 in Yokohama. The concert tour finale will be held on Nov. 24 in Kobe.
Nicole’s decision to leave the group was an offshoot of the lawsuit the members filed in 2011 to terminate their contracts with DSP Media.
In January 2011, Nicole, Hara, Jiyoung and Seungyeon announced that they would file a case against DSP Media for contract termination over alleged unfair income distribution and backbreaking schedules.
Among the issues, the members questioned their share in the income they earned from their Japanese activities. Hara later announced that she would not be joining her fellow members in the lawsuit.
A few days later, KARA and DSP reached a temporary agreement for the group to continue their activities so as not to derail their careers.
On Feb. 14, 2011, Nicole, Jiyoung and Seungyeon filed the case with the Seoul Central District Court.
The members and DSP reached an agreement to resolve the issues in April 2011 and KARA continued their activities as five members.
In June 2010, SS501 members including popular star Kim Hyun Joong decided not to renew their contracts with DSP Media and left the agency. The members signed up with different agencies that will manage their individual careers.
Link to my original article on Manila Bulletin online http://www.mb.com.ph/kara-in-quandary-as-nicole-leaves-group/
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