Time and time again, South Koreans have expressed how proud they are of BTS. Let’s take a look at just 5 of the times they brought pride to their nation, promoting Korea’s unique qualities and making the country even better.
1. Boosting economy
According to data from Statista, BTS is worth a staggering $4.65 billion USD to Korea. That means the money they make comprises 0.3% of the Korean economy, around half of what airline Korean Air brings in each year.
And their boost to the economy is only expected to increase over time. Within the next 10 years, Business Insider estimates the group will bring in over $37 billion USD. That’s certainly something for the country to take pride in.
2. Seoul ambassadors
Given BTS’s effect on the economy, it’s no surprise the group has been the Honorary Tourism Ambassador of Seoul for three years. As ambassadors, their job is to bring attention to Korea’s capital as a destination for travelers from all around the world—and they do it perfectly.
Their most recent campaign saw each member highlight a different aspect of Seoul. RM’s focus was “Old But New”, Jin promoted city breaks, Suga’s theme was “Recharge”, J-Hope focused on excitement, Jimin promoted the life of locals, V’s part was titled “Getaway”, and Jungkook was all about nature and scenery.
3. Wearing hanbok
Back in October 2019, the Korean government sent BTS a thank you letter for promoting the Korean traditional dress, hanbok. A men’s hanbok is generally made up of a unique long top called a jeogori and loose-fitting pants.
Typically, modern-day Koreans only wear hanbok on special occasions like weddings, birthdays, and the Chuseok (harvest festival) holiday. But BTS have been praised by the government for spreading its cultural significant year-round.
They wore stylish black-and-gold hanbok for the “IDOL” music video, which was packed with references to Korean culture.
Then, in July 2019, Jungkook caught everyone’s attention with his modern-style hanbok. It was so popular, the seller’s website crashed due to an influx of orders from ARMY.
4. Promoting Korean
In the grand scheme of things, there are relatively few Korean speakers. Just 77.2 million people in the world speak Korean—that’s 7% of the number of English speakers (1.132 billion worldwide). Of that amount, almost all Korean speakers are natives (unlike English, which is a second language for most speakers). But BTS is helping to change that.
ARMY, in celebration of Hangul Day, will you join me in posting handwritten notes with @BTS_twt's lyrics in Hangul? Let's show how much we appreciate the beautiful words they've brought to our lives! 💜
— 💜 msbeatrice⁷ 💜 (@msbeatrice_81) October 8, 2019
On Hangul Day (October 9) in Korea, which celebrates the Korean alphabet, ARMY banded together to create a special hashtag: #방탄때문에_한글을배웠다, which means “Because of BTS, I learned Hangul”.
I learned Hangul because I wanted to sing @BTS_twt songs and fanchants, as the romanization always comes in English I needed to know the pronunciation in Spanish, that's why I write the songs and the Spanish pronunciation below🤓💜🥳#방탄때문에_한글배웠다 pic.twitter.com/Ek44U8UGhM
— Diana⁷🇦🇷 exams pray for my soul (@MayaPark28) October 9, 2019
Which is why its no surprise that BTS was selected as 2019’s “Korean Language Lover” by the Hangul Cultural Association. Because of BTS, fans around the world are learning Korean to understand lyrics, cheer fan chants, and more.
BTS really are the main reason why many people gained interest in studying Korean, including myself. Their impact truly goes beyond music and that in itself is an incredible achievement! #방탄때문에_한글배웠다 pic.twitter.com/oeQ2Gklp24
— Mona⁷ 💜 #AyoSUGA (@nanimonanmolla) October 9, 2019
Big Hit Entertainment is also due to launch a “Learn Korean with BTS” app, which is sure to promote the language even further.
I was really never interested in Korean language, but then @BTS_twt happen.
Im slowly learning, and hopefully, one day I'll gain that confidence to write them a letter in Hangul. 😊💜#방탄때문에_한글배웠다 #한글날 #HangulDay pic.twitter.com/9gf7YZqUYi
— 💜Melka⁷💜 (@Its_Melka) October 9, 2019
5. UN speech
And, of course, who could forget when BTS represented South Korea at the United Nations with their UNICEF speech? At the launch of the UN’s Youth 2030 strategy in September 2018, BTS spoke on behalf of UNICEF’s #ENDviolence campaign.
RM made sure to include some background about Ilsan, the part of South Korea where he grew up, in his speech.