K-Pop

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.

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