BTS’s fanclub “ARMY” is taking the initiative to correct any distortions of Korean history
Even foreign fans are studying Korean history and using platforms like YouTube and Twitter to promote accurate Korean history.
On Sep 21st, an online community post titled “BTS’s fans are well-versed in modern Korean history” gained attention with photos.
The photos contained an interview from two years ago after BTS won the “Van Fleet Award” for their contribution to the development of Korea-US relations. In the interview, leader RM stated, “This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War. We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together.“
This statement led to strong backlash from China. Chinese netizens accused BTS of ignoring the sacrifices made by Chinese soldiers who fought in the war.
China initiated a boycott campaign. Some Chinese fans even withdrew from the fanclub.
However, foreign fans who accurately studied Korean history left comments criticizing these people.
One foreign fan explained in English, “Chinese history textbook says intentionally wrong information about Korean war. Korean war broke out by North Korea’s sudden attack and China helped North Korea. So USA and so many UN countries entered the war to help South Korea.”
This fan added, “What do you expect BTS to say? THANK YOU FOR KILLING OUR ANCESTORS? THANK YOU FOR SACRIFICING YOUR SOLDIERS TO RUIN OUR COUNTRY? OR THANK YOU FOR HELPING NORTH AT FIGHTING US? Shame on China.”
This comment received nearly 500 likes and garnered a lot of support.
Foreign ARMYs who explained the truth to those who were confused by China’s backlash were praised in Korea.
This is not the first time that overseas ARMYs have stepped up to correct Korean history.
In 2018, when BTS’s Jimin wore a T-shirt featuring people celebrating Liberation Day and scenes of Japan’s atomic bomb attack, Japan imposed sanctions on their appearances (on TV shows…). In response, ARMY initiated the hashtag campaign “LiberationTshirtNotBombTshirt” on Twitter.
They used translations in English and Japanese to spread awareness of Japan’s status as a wartime aggressor and shared historical events such as Liberation Day and the Hiroshima atomic bomb with the world.
In 2019, a famous American broadcasting station introduced BTS in a video that mistakenly marked the East Sea as the Sea of Japan while describing Korea’s location.
Once again, ARMYs worldwide flooded the video page with protests and criticism. The broadcasting station removed the Sea of Japan marking and re-uploaded the video 2 days later.
In Korea, BTS and ARMY are seen as a typical example of artists and fans who exert a positive influence.