In May, the Korean pop group BTS visited the White House raise awareness of the upsurge in violence Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. It sparked interest in the pop sensation in the United States and many are now wondering where their name comes from.
How did the group form?
In 2010, a senior executive of Big Hit Entertainment, CEO Bang Si-hyukwas interested in taking rappers from Seoul who had gained an audience and create a rap group. However, plans changed and in the end a boy band pops. The role model was Seo Taiji and Boys, a popular group in the 1990s. The members ended up reuniting reunited in 2013 when clips of the band’s music were released, they drew attention on social media, including Sound Cloud and YouTube.
The name in Korean is Bangtan Sonyeondanor the Bangtan Boys. Affinity Magazinehighlighted remarks made by BTS member J-Hope that the name is “deepand that “‘Bangtan’ means to be bulletproofso that means block stereotypes, criticisms and expectations that target teenagers like bulletsto preserve the values and ideals of today’s teenagers.
When the members were reunited, they lived together in a house paid for by the record company where they rehearsed fifteen hours a day. In 2017, the group underwent a kind of rebranding and the group announced that their name would now mean “beyond the stageas part of their new brand identity.
Diplomatic power of BTS
Since 2018, the South Korean government has used the group as a cultural and political emissary overseas.
That year, in September, the group was invited to address the United Nations General Assembly. Later that year, BTS was invited to an event to celebrate diplomatic relations between France and South Korea. The band performed at Korea-France friendship concert in Paris.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in made the group one Special Envoy of the President for Future Generations and Culture.
In this role, they are responsible for raising “awareness on global agendas, such as sustainable development, to our future generations and to strengthen the nation’s diplomatic power around the world.” As such, they traveled to the United States at the end of May.