The world of K-pop is very calculative, from the wardrobe to names. One of the first things you get to know a group by is their names. Group names can be classic, like the Wonder Girls, or creative, B1A4. B1A4 stands for their blood type (four members with A-type and one member with B-type) or the alternate meaning: be the one, all for one. There are many groups that go by acronyms: BAP (Best, Absolute, Perfect), VIXX (Voice, visual, value in excelsis), and AoA (Ace of Angels). The acronyms and letters did not stop at group names. Here is a list of idols whose stage names are comprised of 1 or 2 letters.

1. Stage name: BI

Real name: Kim HanBin

Group: iKON 

BI’s stage name comes from a combination of “Be” plus “I”. The leader of iKON has been using this stage name since his debut in 2009, when he featured in MC Mong’s “Indian Boy.” The then-12-year-old introduced himself in the song rapping, “Collaboration with your boy B.I.” 

2. Stage name: LE

Real name: Ahn HyoJin

Group: EXID 

Before debuting in EXID, LE was in an underground rap group called Jiggy Fellaz. The stage name she used during that time was Elly. From Elly came LE. Until this day, she still uses Elly, for example, in her Instagram account: Ahn_Ellybaby

3. Stage name: V

Real name: Kim TaeHyung

Group: BTS 

V’s stage name was chosen last in BTS. He was given three stage name options: Six, Lex, or V (for victory). Big Hit’s founder, Bang SiHyuk, and the members all agreed that V fit him the best. 

Cover image cr: BigHit Entertainment

4. Stage name: D.O.

Real name: Do KyungSoo

Group: EXO 

D.O.’s stage name came from the romanization of his last name, Do. Spelling it out, we get: D-O. 

Image cr: VOGUE

5. Stage name: IU

Real name: Lee Ji Eun

IU’s agency gave her this stage name to represent “You and I.” The talented solo artist says this means, “I and You become one through music.” 

6. Stage name: N

Real name: Cha Hakyeon 

Group: VIXX 

N’s stage name is inspired by his real name (Hakyeon) and the Korean word for fate, in-yeonTaking the yeon out of in-yeon left in, or in this case, N. 

Image cr: Jellyfish Entertainment

7. Stage name: CL

Real name: Lee ChaeRin

Group: 2NE1 

CL’s stage name is derived from the first letter of her first name "Chae" and last name “Lee.” According to her, an additional alternative meaning to her stage name is it is pronounced ciel, the French word for sky. 

8. Stage name: L

Real name: Kim Myung Soo 


When INFINITE debuted in 2010, L would always remind me of the character “L” from the Japanese animation Death Note. The character association was not lost on the group, as L mentioned in an interview early on in their career that it had nothing to do with Death Note, saying that he came up with his own stage name and that “It just happened that way.” In the same interview, fellow INFINITE member WooHyun pointed out that L’s aura and long hair even from their trainee days was quite similar to the character. 

9. Stage name: GD

Real name: Kwon Ji Yong



GD, better known as G-Dragon, came up with his stage name through his real name, Ji Yong. He chose the letter G because it sounds like “Ji” and “Yong” in Korean means dragon. 

10. Stage name: GO

Real name: Jung Byung Hee 

Group: MBLAQ 

GO’s name comes from the spelling of the English word “Go.” His name is meant to “Go forward.” 

Image cr: (1)

If you were a K-pop star, what letter(s) would you go by and why?

Image source as watermarked or referenced.

Watch Lee Hyun Woo and VIXX’s Hongbin as students at a unique martial arts school in Moorim School: