She was spotted by talent scouts while on a shopping trip with her mother, auditioned for K-pop super label JYP Entertainment in Japan, and joined the company’s training programme in January 2014.
Mina was spotted by talent scouts while on a shopping trip with her mother in Japan.
Her role in Twice
Of all the group members, Mina has spent the least amount of time in training. The nine-member group was formed from the finalists of reality-TV girl group survival show Sixteen, which ran between May and June 2015 in South Korea. Mina, one of the contestants, maintained good scores throughout to secure her place in the final line-up.
is the main dancer in Twice
. Her years of professional training as a child led to her taking part in a contemporary-dance performance with bandmate
on Korean TV show Hit the Stage
, as well as staging special dance performances during the group’s tours.
The Japanese star is one of Twice’s four non-Korean members, and has played a role in boosting Twice’s popularity across Asia. The girl group has enjoyed considerable chart success in Japan and, in 2019, was the first K-pop girl group to conduct a multi-city dome tour of the country.
Mina has been a hard worker all her life and her dedication is clear in all facets of her career. In 2016, Twice took part in the annual Idol Star Athletics Championships (ISAC), in which K-pop stars compete in Olympic-like events. Mina spent months practising for a rhythmic gymnastics routine, but dropped her hoop several times during her performance.
The singer was reportedly upset after the showing – leaving her fellow Twice members emotional as well – but her graceful routine left an impression on many people nonetheless.
of 2PM, a fellow JYP label mate, shared her performance on Twitter, saying: “[Twice
] must be so busy … it’s incredibly impressive how she prepared something like this even when she is not able to get any sleep.” Mina
competed again at the 2017 iteration of ISAC, and won gold for her routine.
The singer has also spoken out about the mental health issues that artists face in the K-pop world. In July 2019, JYP Entertainment announced that Mina would take a break from the entertainment industry.
While many K-pop agencies typically only release vague statements and refrain from discussing
, JYP announced that Mina
was suffering from “
and insecurity towards performing on stage”.
Mina sat out Twice’s 2019 “Twicelights” tour, but her fellow members did not shy away from mentioning Mina or discussing her absence, keeping her as part of the group’s conversation.
A young Mina before her debut with Twice.
has since made occasional appearances with the group and is expected to join activities again soon, the steps she has taken to reduce the
, anxiety and stage fright have had an impact on the industry.
In her own words
As a Japanese woman born in America and performing in a K-pop group, Mina has seen the many ways people can connect beyond culture and language.
Mina is one of Twice’s four non-Korean members.
“Even though we speak a different language, fans from all over the world were able to relate to our lyrics,” she told entertainment magazine and website Billboard when discussing about Twice’s international appeal. “I think this just goes to show the power of music, and that we are all human and experiencing the same things.”
And when it comes to
says the support from fans makes a difference. She told website Popcrush in 2019 that “feeling the love from all our fans helps us love ourselves, keeps us mentally healthy”.