BTS

With the Order of Cultural Merit, BTS Soars Even Higher

BTS has been deluged with accomplishments, awards, and accolades, and though some of them were quite meaningful and surprising, perhaps the biggest honor they’ve managed to snag recently was the Order of Cultural Merit at the 2018 Korea Popular Culture and Art Awards ceremony.

The Order of Cultural Merit is an award given by the President and is meant to recognize those who have served South Korea by promoting its culture and art, thereby increasing awareness and respect for the country’s culture. There are five degrees of the award, each with a different ribbon that signifies to which grade the honor belongs. The BTS members received the fifth grade, known as 화관 (Flower Crown). This makes BTS the only K-Pop group to receive the prestigious honor (PSY, a soloist, received the fourth rank of Jeweled Crown in 2012).

For BTS and ARMY, the weight of this award is not lost. Yes, BTS has achieved so much in such a short time, but winning an Order of Cultural Merit is beyond what anyone could have expected. Various K-Pop groups receive commendations from the Ministry of Culture at the same awards ceremony (BTS received this in 2016), but moving up to this higher honor is so, so rare.

As the members ascended the stage and took the mic to give a thank-you speech, leader Kim Namjoon mentioned that although he normally speaks, he wanted to let the other members have a chance to talk on this day. “I want to give this honor to all ARMY,” he concluded. Taehyung commented that he didn’t really know how to express his feelings but that he believes his family is proud. “ARMY, I can’t express it well, but I’m really thankful for you, and I love you,” he said.

Yoongi recalled some of their various achievements of the past year and stated, “I think this award is a huge honor. We will let the world know about Korean culture with the hearts of national representatives.” Jin noted that he was proud and mentioned that they’ve noticed, while abroad, that “many people sing along in Korean and said proudly that they study Hangeul.”

Jimin stated, “This award is big because it was made with the members, the staff, the company, and you all. So I want to tell you that everyone has a share in this award.” Hoseok commented that, “It’s an award filled with the weight of our staff’s hard work, BTS’s blood and sweat, and the cheers of ARMYs from all over the world.” He didn’t forget to shout out his love for ARMY at the end of his speech.

Finally, Jungkook thanked the fans and expressed his uncertainty at receiving the award: “Truthfully, I think this award is still too much for us. However, I will accept it thankfully with the meaning that it’s an award telling us to put more effort in going forward.”

When the group was nominated, the Ministry of Culture listed their worldwide success, number one album on Billboard, and the fact that they’re made up of singer-songwriters as contributing factors to their nomination, and eventual win, of the Order. The award is all about promoting Korea’s culture and art, and BTS has certainly achieved this beyond what anyone else has been able to do. They’ve increased the force of the Hallyu Wave in Japan, the U.S., Europe, and around the world.

BTS being the only K-Pop group to receive the award is certainly meaningful, but even beyond this, they’re also the youngest recipients in history. It will be really difficult for anyone younger to receive the award, at least for many years, since youngest member Jungkook is only 22 years old (21 internationally).

Needless to say, the BTS members are certainly proud, but so are their families, their countrymen, and their fans. BTS reached uncharted waters way before they were awarded the Order; this is simply the next level that their tidal wave of success has claimed.

 

Sources:

Korea Times

'대중문화예술상' 방탄소년단, 최연소 화관문화훈장 "韓 문화, 세계에 알리겠다"

My translation of the above article

Translation: Korea Popular Culture and Art Awards: BTS are the Youngest to Receive Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit. “We’ll Spread Korean Culture Around the World."

On the afternoon of October 24th at Seoul’s Olympic Park, BTS (Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung, Jeon Jungkook) received the Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit during the 2018 “Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards” ceremony. They are the youngest recipients on record.

On this day, Leader RM stated, “Thank you so much. As the leader, I communicate our thoughts and feelings, but today I want to let my friends talk a lot. I want to give this honor to all ARMY.”

Jin said, “First, thank you so much for this award. We go abroad often, and many people sing along in Korean and said proudly that they study Hangeul. I was proud. I’ll continue to put in efforts in the future to let others know about our culture.”

Taehyung expressed, “I don’t really know right now. I don’t know how I should express what’s in my heart. I think my family is really proud of me. ARMY, I can’t express it well, but I’m really thankful for you and I love you. I wish only good days for all of the people here.”

Yoongi, who called it a “family honor,” said, “There were many events this year. The #1 on Billboard, Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, the UN speech. I think this award is a huge honor. We will let the whole world know about Korea with the heart of a national representative.”

Jimin said, “Coming out here makes my heart feel like it’ll explode. This award is big because it was made with the members, the staff, the company, and you all. So I want to tell you that everyone has a share in this award. Also, since we’re the youngest here, it’s an honor to be able to meet all of the seniors (in the industry) here.”

The youngest, Jungkook, stated, “Truthfully, I think this award is still too much for us. However, I will accept it thankfully with the meaning that it’s an award telling us to put more effort in going forward. Thank you to all of the ARMYs, family members, and Bang PD who always cheer for us and believe in us. We’ll continue to contribute to spreading Korean culture throughout the world.”

Hoseok said, “I’m really happy that we’re becoming a hope for popular culture. The Order of Cultural Merit is a really big award. It’s an award filled with the weight of our staff’s hard work, BTS’s blood and sweat, and the cheers of ARMYs from all over the world. Going forward, we’ll coolly do our activities to be a hope for popular culture.” “ARMY I love you!” he cried out.

By entering the Billboard chart, giving a speech at the UN Assembly, having a World Tour, and participating in the AMAs, BTS has grown into the representative group of K-Pop culture with these many great achievements.

Source

Figuring out the Canon of BTS’s HwaYangYeongHwa

*This was cross-posted on my Tumblr and was done several months ago. I will be writing a follow-up with a full timeline for the HYYH series and Bangtan Universe!

I think almost everyone thought we were done with the HYYH era—I vaguely remember one of the members confirming this in an interview. When the WINGS era began, it was clear there were some links, but as explained by the members in interviews, WINGS was the story of the young boys who grew up and then met temptations. So it seemed that this was the post-HYYH era, but little did we know, there’s more to the story (apparently).

What sparked my interest in discussing canon was the release of the new Love Yourself posters and highlight reels (because the Chinese in the title is part of 起承转合, progression of  a story). At the time of writing this, only two reels have been released, but we can assume there will be four. And who knows what else after that.

This tweet hits the nail on the head, at least in my opinion. I’ve translated it below (it’s a little rough, but I think it’s correct…)  

“Because there is a BU logo on the back of the concept book and on the HYYH note, I went to look at the music video credits. The music videos that have BU attached are only “I Need U,” “Run,” and “Blood, Sweat, & Tears.” “Fire,” “Young Forever,” “Not Today,” and “Spring Day” don’t have it. I think that this BU is like MCU, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it means the world of the BTS main characters. So I think that the works that tell the story have this logo attached.  ‘BU content certified by BigHit Entertainment’: The videos where this sentence is in the description box are videos where the boys’ story is being told. And because the Love Yourself content that’s coming out now has this logo, the story is unfolding here. Like the short films and prologue video, the story-heavy videos have this logo. On the other hand, mix tapes and performance-heavy videos like “Dope,” “Fire,” “Not Today,” and choreography videos do not have this attached.”

Ah, that makes so much more sense now. We need to learn to separate songs, video story-telling, and what’s considered canon. I went through the videos and checked too. “I Need U,” “Run,” “Blood, Sweat, & Tears” and the Prologue video, WINGS Short Films, and the Love Yourself Highlight Reels all have the BU sentence. None of the other videos do. But what’s curious is that the Japanese versions of “I Need U,” “Run,” and “Blood, Sweat, & Tears” ALSO have this BU sentence in the description. So they should be considered part of this universe.

I expected that the sentence would appear on the Japanese version of BST after reading the HYYH note and that tweet. At first I didn’t think it was really part of the story, but rather a sort of re-representation of similar themes/story as its Korean counterpart, just like the Japanese versions of “I Need U” and “Run.” I really didn’t expect the logo to be on the Japanese versions of the latter two, because they don’t really add to the story. That’s really the only part that sort of confuses me, but I’m just taking it as they’re part of the universe because they are still related to the story of these same characters. Yes, these videos are choreography-based, which the Japanese version of BST is not. But they do show scenes that mimic the Korean videos, so the storyline is still present. Just ignore the choreo parts, because that’s not part of the story :)

I plan to work with ALL of the videos once everything is released from Love Yourself. Actually… I may work on it in the meantime and just update my explanations as we get more content, because the Love Yourself series is projected to last until the first part of 2018!!

So what about the videos that aren’t canon?

Of course, choreography videos and mixtapes have their own purposes. They’re for fun and artistic expression, so they have nothing to do with any of the series or the story. Anything prior to I Need U is not in the same “universe” (does the BU stand for Bangtan Universe? Who knows…).

Dope, Young Forever, Fire, Save Me, Spring Day, and Not Today aren’t canon. Dope was a B-side used for follow-up promotions. I think Dope was just for fun and follow-up promotions, which BTS doesn’t do the same way they used to. Fire and Spring Day are both the titles from repackages and supplements, so they are on theme with youth (even HYYH’s themes in general), but they are just that: supplements. They’re extra content that relates to the theme BTS wants to talk about. Young Forever also fits the overall theme. I think Not Today and Save Me were also just extra videos produced for fans—they communicate some similar messages, again showing a different side of the themes, but they’re also supplementary.

This is the most sense I can make of it for now! I do plan to try and analyze the entire timeline and story later.