The fascinating phenomena of the Bangtan Boys
It’s a weekday. It’s midnight. You’re trawling through YouTube looking for cat videos. You stumble upon a video entitled ‘2016 Summer Package - BTS in DUBAI’ – you live in Dubai so you click on the video because that’s how the internet works. You can’t really explain what happens next. You are left in equal parts mesmerised and utterly confused for the next minute and forty-nine seconds of your life. You have just been introduced to the crazy world of South Korean boybands. A world where peroxide hair and vertically striped t-shirts rule the roost.
Uploaded on the 18th of July, the teaser video for BTS’s latest DVD release has already received over 400,000 views on YouTube. Before we get any further we think that it’s best you watch it for yourself:
Right, still here? Good. Still confused? Same. Well here are the basics you need to know in order to comprehend what you’ve just watched. BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, are a seven-member South Korean boyband formed by media conglomerate Big Hit Entertainment. They’re basically the Korean One Direction. Except there’s seven of them. And they use a lot more hair dye.
Having recently travelled to Abu Dhabi to attend KCON 2016 (an international K-pop convention dedicated to all things Korean), the band took some time out of their busy schedule to travel around Dubai and shoot photos and footage for their upcoming DVD. You can see the troop visiting iconic Dubai locales like The Dubai Fountain within the teaser, as well as partaking in typical tourist activities such as sandboarding. There is no better word than ‘Troop’ to describe this group either, with their obsessively dedicated fans proudly referring to themselves A.R.M.Ys. Although the mantle is a little intimidating, we’d know who’d we back in a fight with Directioners, that’s for sure.
It’s difficult to summate just how popular BTS are, so it’s probably best to let the numbers do the work. The main number who will doing the heavy lifting is that of the number two. Two as in, The Most Beautiful Moment In Life, Part 2: their 2015 album which charted at number one on the Billboard World Albums Chart – making them the first K-Pop act to ever achieve this feat. And two for the 2.7 million followers they have on Twitter. The group have an avid social media following across all platforms with a staggering 1.4m on followers Instagram, and that’s excluding the millions who follow each individual member of the boy band and the numerous unofficial fan accounts. The Bangtan Boys have such a vice-grip on the internet that Forbes recently named them as the most retweeted artist on Twitter in March 2015. An impressive achievement, especially when most of us regular human beings are filled with a sense of smug pride when receiving three retweets on an above average tweet about Donald Trump. So just imagine the sweet, sweet digital gratification that these young men are receiving on a daily basis. And we do really mean young as well, with the oldest member of the band being only 23 years old.
Riding the wave of the K-pop craze that many believed peaked in 2012 with PSY’s Gangnam Style, the Bangtan Boys have successfully managed to market themselves as a Baskin Robbins-like collation of different flavours and personalities. Don’t like one of the members? That’s fine! There’s still six more to choose from. If you had a difficult time naming anyone apart from Justin Timberlake in NSYNC then you’re not going to have much luck with the Bangtan Boys. But thankfully for you I have compiled all you need to know about each member (according to dodgy internet fan-sites).
Band Name: Jin
Real Name: Kim Seok-jin
Interesting Fact: Jin likes to be called ‘Jin Hime’ (or, Princess Jin) by Japanese fans. Keep doing you, Jin.
Band Name: Suga
Real Name: Min Yoon-gi
Interesting Fact: Suga thinks that his legs are nice. We agree.
Band Name: J-Hope
Real Name: Jung Ho-seok
Interesting Fact: J-Hope’s face is 27cm long. How the fan-sites found this out I do not know but I am also unwilling to question it's veracity.
Band Name: Rap Monster
Real Name: Kim Nam-joon
Interesting Fact: Rap Monster is the only member with an official Wikipedia page.
Band Name: Jimin
Real Name: Park Ji-min
Interesting Fact: Jimin once wanted to be mechanized human from the manga Galaxy Express 999. Don't ask. We don't know either.
Band Name: V
Real Name: Kim Tae-hyung
Interesting Fact: When V was younger, he got spit on by a Chimpanzee at the zoo. These fan-sites know things...
Band Name: Jungkook
Real Name: Jeon Jeong-guk
Interesting Fact: Jungkook’s favourite foods are bread, pizza, and anything with flour. A true connoisseur.