Kangnam (singer)

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Background information
Birth name Yasuo Namekawa (滑川康男)
Born (1987-03-23) March 23, 1987 (age 31)
Tokyo, Japan
  • Hip hop
  • K-pop
  • Singer
  • television personality
Years active 2008–present
Labels Jungle Entertainment
Associated acts M.I.B, Cream, 5Zic, SIMS

Yasuo Namekawa (born March 23, 1987), better known by his stage name Kangnam, is a Korean-Japanese singer and television personality. He was the vocalist and oldest member of the South Korean hip-hop group, M.I.B. He made his recording debut in South Korea with the single, "Say My Name," just before his debut as a member of M.I.B.


Early life and career beginnings (1987–2010)

Kangnam was born on March 23, 1987 in Tokyo, Japan, and is half-Korean (his mother is Korean) and half-Japanese (his father is Japanese). An only child, he spent most of his childhood in Japan, and also spent some years in Hawaii. In March 2008, Kangnam debuted with the stage name Ya-Cha as a new member of the Japanese band Kick Chop Busters (KCB).[1] However, he left the band in 2010 for unknown reasons, without his parents' knowledge. Kangnam has stated in interviews that his family is wealthy, but he does not receive financial support from them.[2]

School life

Kangnam attended Hawaiian Mission Academy in Honolulu for a period before transferring to another school to finish high school.[3] He then returned to Japan to finish his studies. Kangnam briefly attended Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was majoring in Communications, but he left the school to pursue music instead.[4]

Career in South Korea (2011–present)

In South Korea, Kangnam debuted as a member of M.I.B (band) under the label Jungle Entertainment on October 25, 2011, with the title track "G.D.M" aka "Girls, Dreams, Money." His solo song "Say My Name" was released on October 17, 2011 as part of a spin-off promotion to prove that each member is capable of standing alone. Kangnam is also an accomplished guitarist and pianist.[5]

In 2012, Kangnam appeared in a CF for Epson, an electronics company that specializes in image-related products.[6] Also in 2012, Kangnam took on his first acting role in the tvN sitcom "21st Century Family", and he became the host of the Japanese rendition of Mnet's Jjang.[7]

On the October 3, 2014 episode of I Live Alone Rainbow segment Kangnam revealed that he had only $3 in his bank account. In subsequent Entertainment Relay interviews, he reported that his income had increased significantly, as he became involved with more CFs and variety shows.[8] In October 2014, Kangnam became a permanent cast member on MBC's I Live Alone.[9] In November 2014, Kangnam became an exclusive model for the shoestore ABC Mart, alongside model Nam Joo-hyuk.[10]

Kangnam as one of the MCs of KCON JEJU 2015

Kangnam finally saw the fruit of his labors towards the end of 2014, four years after his debut, hitting a year-end festival stage as an MC, as part of the "Lucky Boys" project for 2014 SBS Gayo Daejun. On the December 26 episode of MBC's I Live Alone, Kangnam opened up about attending year-end festivals for the first time since his debut: "Singers usually appear on TV to sing at the end of each year. Every year, I have been watching TV thinking ‘I’ll do that next year,’ and somehow four years have passed.” [11]

On December 26, 2014, Kangnam released his second solo track, "What Do I Do", which soared to #1 on Daum's real time charts. Kangnam also ranked #1 on several real time searches, including Naver, Melon, Mnet, and more.[12]

In February 2015, he was appointed the honorary ambassador for the fourth KCON music festival and convention for its first time in Japan. Kangnam also performed at the concert on April 22. He has said that his fluency in both languages will allow him to "act as the bridge between the exchange of culture from both countries."[13][14]

Solo career in Japan (2016)

Kangnam released his Japanese solo debut single album Ready to Fly on May 25, 2016 under CJ Victor Entertainment.[15]

Personal life

On July 14, 2017 Kangnam's agency confirmed he and Uee are dating. They appeared together in a South Korean documentary based reality show Law of the Jungle.[16][17] On August 1, 2017, the couple was confirmed to have broken up after three months of dating.[18]


For Kangnam's work with M.I.B, see M.I.B's discography.

Digital singles

Year Title Peak chart positions Album


2011 "Say My Name" non-album single
2014 "What Do I Do" non-album single
2015 "Chocolate" non-album single
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.


Year Title Peak chart positions Sales Album


2015 "My Type" 2
  • KOR: 778,193+
non-album single


Television series

Year Network Show Role Notes
2013 SBS I Can Hear Your Voice Thief Cameo (episode 17)
2014 SBS Pinocchio Song Cha-ok's student Cameo (Episode 20)

Variety show

Year Title Network Notes
2012 W. Military Academy Mnet Main cast
21st-Century Family tvN Host
2013 Happy Together 3 KBS Guest (Episode 257)
Hello Counselor Guest (Episode 139)
2014 I Live Alone MBC Guest (episode 73, episode 75) Regular Cast (Episode 77-137)
Inside Story Salon JTBC Main Cast
Hello! Stranger MBC Regular Cast
Running Man SBS Guest (Episode 220, Episode 248)
Radio Star MBC Guest (Episode 406)
Animals Main Cast
2014-2015 Off to School JTBC Regular Cast
2015 Law of the Jungle in Yap Islands SBS Cast member (Episodes 163-165)
Invisible Man KBS Main Cast
Hello Counselor Guest (Episode 216)
Unpretty Rapstar Mnet Guest (Episode 3)
King of Mask Singer MBC Episode 37 (with the stage name "Musical Prodigy Conductor Mozart")
Running Man SBS Guest
2016 Happy Together 3 KBS Guest with John Park & Henry Lau (Episode 457)
Cool Kiz On The Block Cast member (Episodes 146-149 & 151-163, 166-167)
A New House for Me Season 2 JTBC Episode 7
Law of the Jungle in Papua New Guinea SBS Regular member
Law of the Jungle in Mongolia
Law of the Jungle in East Timor
2017 Law of the Jungle in Kota Manado
Law of the Jungle in Sumatra
Law of the Jungle in New Zealand
Law of the Jungle in Komodo
Law of the Jungle in Fiji
Law of the Jungle in Cook Islands
Elementary School Teacher Main cast
Radio Star MBC Guest (Episode 511), Host (Episode 539)
Thinking About My Bias Cast member
Battle Trip KBS2 Contestant with Lee Tae-gon (Episodes 65-67)[21]
The Return of Superman KBS2 Guest (ep. 198)
2018 A Man Who Feeds the Dog Season 2 Channel A Lee Tae-gon's Guest (Episode 42, 43)
태어나서 처음으로 E Channel Main cast

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2014 MBC Entertainment Awards New Star of the Year I Live Alone Won
2016 SBS Entertainment Awards Rookie Award, Male Law of the Jungle Won


  1. ^ "Kick Chop Busters". J Pop Asia. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Kangnam talks about M.I.B not being popular, the debts to his company + desire to work with San E & Jay Park". All K-Pop. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Kangnam to re-attend school he got expelled from in Hawaii for 'I'm Going to School'". All K-Pop. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "'Inside Story Salon' it turns out Kangnam attended the prestigious Temple University". Naver via Osen. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "M.I.B Profiles". Freelance. Archived from the original on April 24, 2013. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 
  6. ^ "M.I.B's Kangnam jams on the electric guitar in his first CF for Epson". All K-Pop. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "M.I.B's Kangnam to star in new sitcom, '21st-Century Family'". All K-Pop. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "M.I.B's Kangnam reveals his income from being an idol". All K-pop. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "M.I.B's Kangnam becomes a fixed member of 'I Live Alone'". All K-pop. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "M.I.B's Kangnam and Nam Joo Hyuk become new models for 'ABC Mart'". All K-pop. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "M.I.B's Kangnam Talks About Attending Year-End Festival for the First Time Since Debut". Soompi. 2014-12-27. Retrieved 2014-12-27. 
  12. ^ "M.I.B's Kangnam scores #1 on music charts for the first time since debut". All K-pop. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "KCON 홍보대사 강남 "센스있게 한류 알릴 것"". JoongAng Ilbo. March 22, 2015. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  14. ^ Oh, MiJung (March 23, 2015). "M.I.B′s Kangnam Appointed as Honorary Ambassador for ′KCON 2015 Japan′". CJ E&M Mwave. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  15. ^ ""韓国で大活躍"KangNam「ずっと日本デビューしたかった!」デビュー曲MVをKstyle独占先行公開!". KStyle (in Japanese). 21 April 2016. 
  16. ^ Kyoon Min Si (July 14, 2017). "Actress Uee, singer Kangnam confirms romantic relationship". The Korea Herald. Retrieved July 14, 2017. 
  17. ^ Jaeyeon Woo (July 14, 2017). "Uee, Kangnam confirm dating rumors". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved July 14, 2017. 
  18. ^ Min Si-kyoon (August 1, 2017). "Uee, Kangnam break up after dating for 3 months". The Korea Herald. Retrieved August 2, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Gaon chart search". Gaon. Archived from the original on December 5, 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  20. ^ "Gaon chart search". Gaon. Archived from the original on December 5, 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  21. ^ "'배틀트립' 이태곤, 멕시코 칸쿤 '해저 박물관' 위해 스쿠버 다이빙 자격증 취득". Donga News (in Korean). Retrieved 26 August 2017. 

External links

  • Official Website
  • Official Japanese Website
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