ARMY Voice: The art through a revolution and the love that cannot be duplicated

Paula Basílio 
Revision: Ana Paula Figueiró and Cristina Freitas

There hasn’t been a revolution like this in history. Inspired by the art produced by BTS, ARMY becomes hope, spreads love and solidarity around the world, just like their idols. Returning to the “ARMY Voice” series, this June we will talk about ARMY’s revolutionary power with BTS and the dedication to creating academic and literary projects that are shared by fans around the world. Have a good read!

“Revolution is not an instant event nor only about politics, it’s about our way of life. I think that army who are gathered around the world centering on BTS have been experiencing a new mode of life”, points out the South Korean PhD, researcher, philosophy professor, and author of the book “BTS, Art Revolution”, Jiyoung Lee, in an interview with Painel Olhar. Dr. Lee reflects on the world today, how it has undergone countless changes and is driven by the desire to make money and compete. However, global phenomenon BTS shares a close relationship with their fandom and ARMY creates new paths by adding the union of solidarity, through their power as activists, and the love that unites them with the seven members of the South Korean boy band.

Divulgation: Dr. Jiyoung Lee. 
Source: Bangtan Scholars Website

When she became a member of ARMY, Jiyoung Lee began to observe BTS and the remarkable power of their fandom. When analyzing the lyrics of the songs, she pointed out that they have a meaning of change and social cause. “As a fan, I wanted to let ARMY know who they really are: their political potential, the directionality of their movement, the socio-cultural implications of their activities,” Lee says. With the revolutionary changes in the field of art made by BTS, she organized a research and released on April 19, 2018 the first Korean edition of the book “BTS, Art Revolution.”

    Divulgation: Book BTS, Art Revolution, 2018. 
Source: Amazon 

The book presents the changes that BTS and their fandom ARMY have made not only for achievements in the music industry, but also in the field of art. Lee considers that the boy band causes fissures in the current society and with an oppressive hierarchical structure of today, considering the lyrics of the songs as tools responsible for a patricide on a social level. 

The author quotes patricide, a narrative found in Greek mythology and literature, and is also addressed by the creator of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud with the ‘Oedipus Complex’, concept created by him about a child’s personal mental development related to the father figure. Through BTS one can see the transformation of society’s rules, against prejudice and criticism, through their lyrics, such as addressing the theme of resistance, which was previously used in their musical eras ‘The Most Beautiful Moment in Life (Hwa Yang Yeon Hwa)’ from 2014 to 2016 and ‘Wings’ in 2016.

These eras also have the contextualization of the book “Demian”, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946 and written by the German author Hermann Hesse. Besides the social criticism addressed in their lyrics, BTS also makes use of the creator of analytical psychology Carl Jung with the archetypes and the map of the soul. 

Divulgation: Book Demian, 2015 edition. 
Source: Amazon
Divulgation: Book Mapa da Alma, 2000 edition. 
Source: Amazon

Since the debut on June 13, 2013, BTS has used the tool of inspiration from works of literature and art to build the discography and concepts of each era, whether in music videos or lyrics. University of Nevada sociology doctoral student and administrator of the @ResearchBTS Twitter profile, Nicole Santero, explains the use of this tool in the boy band’s global success, “These works have resulted in profound lyrics and incredible visuals that capture audiences’ attention. There is a complexity to them that makes them so intriguing.” 

Co-founder, leader and member of the Marketing team of the “Bangtan Scholars” academic project, Cecilia Perez, on the other hand, points to the use of literature as a form of personal evolution from ARMY’s point of view, “BTS’ usage of Carl Jung and Herman Hesse to bring forth complex and broad issues surrounding us is sort of like we are growing together to find ourselves”.

Lyrics composed by BTS have gained prominence for their content and political message through a manifestation of freedom, little used by other idols in the K-pop industry from big agencies. For example, in May this year, the academic journal run by law students, called “Harvard Law Review”, tied the song ‘Baepsae’ present in the album ‘The Most Beautiful Moment In Life pt. 2’, released in 2015, to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. 

Divulgation: Harvard Law Review. 
Source: Bangtan Scholars.

According to an analysis made by the Youtube channel “DKDKTV” about Hallyu, the song makes reference to the economic and social pressures that the youth of today suffer from, in this case, the N-po generation, who have given up many social impositions, such as family and marriage, human relationships, the purchase of their own home, among others. 

Some parts of BTS’s composition point to a deep critique of the reality of society, with a provocation for change from the young against the fixed choices of the older generation, with the highlight on social inequality in South Korea, something illustrated in the 2020 Oscar winning feature film ‘Parasite’ and that can be applied around the world. Then another point is opened up about youth unemployment, lack of opportunities, and economic problems, where the older generation persists in saying that the young don’t try hard enough to rise to professional success.

Divulgation: Baepsae – Explained by a korean. 
Source: DKDKTV Youtube

In this discussion, about the difficulties of young adult life, it is possible to notice a message against society, which keeps rules, preventing the realization of dreams and new paths. On this point, BTS has in their discography the composition that marked their debut in June 2013. 

Author Jiyoung Lee noted in her book “BTS, Art Revolution” that on the release of the group’s first album , ‘2 Cool 4 Skool’, which includes their debut song ‘No More Dream’, BTS directly criticized what adults push as success. 

Whether it is the desire for their children to be in famous universities, a well-paid job that allows them to own their own home, among others, this supposed ‘pressure’, has led many young people to give up on their dreams. BTS’s message of response to these societal norms in the song, according to Dr.’s motivational words, is to not give up on your dreams, to find true passions and hope.

In an appearance on the South Korean program, “K-Doc”, Lee explains that the group shares the feelings of resisting and standing up against the criticism and prejudice that young adults have to deal with in society. Amidst difficulties, fear, depression, uncertainty and anxiety, many people have identified with the lyrics of ‘2!3!’, ‘Sea’, ‘Magic Shop’ and ‘Paradise’, which are some examples of compositions that spread self-love and hope. Lee further adds: 

“In the lyrics armys relate to, we can find criticism towards society we are part of, an important message that we need to hear, which most parents and previous generations didn’t give us”.

— Jiyoung Lee

The member of the “Bangtan Scholars” project, Cecilia Perez, highlights the use of these themes in BTS’s compositions, “Through their music storytelling, these themes tend to make better sense of complex ideas, concepts, or information. It’s a natural way of communication and is prevalent in all aspects of human social interaction”. The student Nicole Santero believes that “For fans, the band touching on these deeply personal narratives is really meaningful for them and brings them closer to BTS, their music, and videos”.

By opening up personal questions about personality, BTS added Jungian concepts of the map of the soul and the human mind to the discography by drawing on the theories of psychologist Carl Jung, which made ARMY around the world identify. The  editor and writer Courtney Lazore, comments in an interview on how the subject can attract a certain kind of relationship: “I think many people can see themselves in these theories and can also use these ideas to better understand themselves”.

The online journal by academics focusing on the socio-cultural effects caused by BTS and ARMY, called “The R3 Journal”, agrees with this viewpoint and adds, “It’s an invitation, rather than a command or a condition, to appreciate the music. And many ARMY accept the invitation because they were already asking the same questions BTS asks in their music”, they say. 

Horizontality, rhizome and protest

In the book “BTS, Art Revolution”, author Jiyoung Lee examines the trend towards horizontality about the message shared by BTS, not only through the message in the songs, but also through their videos, whether through lives or through other daily content, such as their tweets, posts on the Weverse platform, the Youtube channel called “BangtanTV”, and the variety reality show “Run BTS”, where they expose their moments, thoughts and concerns.

Also in his book, Lee points out that BTS does not create a fantasy of perfect performers on stage who live in a different world, but a friendship is created through mutual support. According to researcher Nicole Santero, the relationship of BTS and ARMY is different from how people view other boybands, “There is a culture of learning that is fueled through the band that I think is really special when it comes to ARMY, far beyond the superficial idea of what people normally perceive “boy bands” and their fandoms to be”, reports.

In an interview with the “Kpop Herald” portal, Lee tells that BTS’s powerful music, which is one of the main factors in explaining the group’s success, is the spirit and this cannot be duplicated. The boy band makes the fandom understand the shared message, as each song lyrics and non-musical contents are from their personal reflections and ARMY can relate. To explain how we can hitch the honesty of their art’s success around the world, Lee points out:

“The power of the empathy can make listeners into die hard ARMYs since ARMYs  feel like they share deepest thoughts and feelings with BTS and they are healed and soothed by BTS”.

— Jiyoung Lee

Also in his book, Lee defines the BTS phenomenon and the ARMY fandom as a rhizomatic revolution, a theory created by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. According to the article entitled “Rizoma: um método para as redes?”, written by Flavia Turino Ferreira, rhizome is a term used in botany to refer to a type of stem that is present in some plants, which grows horizontally, underground or overhead. Deleuze defines the term as a horizontal network, without a defined center, although not all relationships are like this.

Lee assimilates the philosopher’s concept of “becoming a minority” with BTS and ARMY by citing an example of how the fandom acknowledges their own pains through BTS and relates to their struggles, “When BTS are insulted  and discriminated against by racists and xenophobes, ARMYs are having the same sufferings and they also become minorities in their mind and heart no matter what their skin colors”, reports.

She further makes her point by showing that the power of “becoming a minority” carries revolutionary potential, “the secret of the legendary triumph BTS and ARMY have achieved lies in LOVE and SOLIDARITY(togetherness). It may sound to someone as conventional, but I think the cultural revolution of BTS-ARMY is based on these values”, says the Dr.

Divulgation: Official photo BTS, Big Hit Music. 
Source: twitter @bts_bighit

ARMY’s mobilization to defend BTS gains prominence and even reaches the media. For example, in April of this year, the online format newspaper The New York Times reported on an event that promoted global sensitivity about racist and anti-Asian discourse in the story “When Anti-Asian Parody Targeted BTS, the Boy Band’s Fan Army Mobilized”. A Chilean program called “Mi Barrio,” aired in April of this year, parodied the South Korean group by mocking the language and associating them with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.

The actors impersonated the members by introducing themselves as “Kim Jong-Uno,” “Kim Jong-Dos,” “Kim Jong-Tres,” “Kim Jong-Cuatro,” and “Juan Carlos. The fandom soon came to the BTS’s defense and linked the jokes to the broader ones about racism and xenophobia, such as the emergence of the first Covid-19 case that appeared in China, leading to a wave of anti-Asian speeches and used the hashtag #RacismIsNotComedy on Twitter.

Still talking about positioning and hashtags, in March this year, especially in the United States, there was a wave of attacks on yellow bodies due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the violence suffered by people from this milieu, a petition was raised on social networks called #StopAsianHate. On the 27th of the same month the song ‘Dynamite’ was seen in KTown being used as a force to unite the voice of the protests in Los Angeles.

The South Korean group, Bangtan Boys also did not remain silent to the wave of hate and positioned themselves on their social network Twitter in a moving statement, in one of the quotes they recite an experience suffered for being Asian, “We have endured expletives without reason were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.” 

In this same message, they express that in their lived experiences they cannot compare to those who have lost their loved ones, but these same experiences were enough to make them feel helpless and destroyed in their self-esteem.

In the report published in May by Rolling Stone magazine, titled “The Triumph of BTS”, the group leader RM made a statement about minorities and hopes that they will take something good from BTS’s existence to face their own struggles. “The way we think is that everything that we do, and our existence itself, is contributing to the hope for leaving this xenophobia, these negative things, behind”, says the leader.

Besides the mobilizations made on social networks through hashtags, ARMY also stand out as activists and extend themselves to charity projects, after BTS showed support for several campaigns such as the anti-violence campaign in UNICEF called Love Myself, as well as the donation of 1 million dollars made by the boy band to the Black Lives Matter movement, ARMY is encouraged to do their part too. In this instance, the fandom soon matched the same amount raised by the boy band, and according to the fan-made charity account, @OnInAnARMY, they also reached US$1 million in almost 24 hours.

A study for a revolution

Besides the concept of minorities and the relationship of BTS together with ARMY, Lee also addresses in his book the concept of “Network-Image”, where there is not only one creator and one art lover, but everyone can participate in the creation, and links the BTS productions to the fans, so that the boy band recreates and ARMY interprets it, be it with the songs, music videos, images, through the response of analysis and theories. 

The co-founder of “Bangtan Scholars,” Cecilia Perez, reinforces this idea by citing the evolution of technology as a way of creating content, “ARMYs own content creation is a way of showing dedication and passion for BTS. Today, with the evolution of technology, new media has altered the circumstances of producers and consumers to a great extent”.

Meanwhile, for doctoral student Nicole Santero, fans are influential in promoting BTS even to those who don’t know them, and ARMY is a testament to the power of fandom-managed marketing in surpassing traditional strategies. “ARMYs are incredibly creative and innovative, and have the power to engage those outside of the fandom, allowing people to discover and learn about artists in a more thoughtful way”, she says.

The online academic jornal “The R3 Journal” further emphasizes that this model of creation can influence artists in how they relate to their own fans, “This is part of how the fandom continues to grow, and this behavior might influence and shape how other artists choose to interact with their fans today and in the future”.

Motivated by content creations, ARMY is dedicated to creating new projects on a daily basis. In the case of PhD, film philosophy researcher and author, Jiyoung Lee, her experience came when she delved into developing the concept “Network-Image” for her research.

In a practical example, this happened when she got to know BTS and ARMY, after coming across an analysis video of the music video for ‘Spring Day’ made by an Italian ARMY on the internet, which made her enthusiastic about the quality and depth of research: “The video was the right example of my theoretical concept for me, so I could start writing a book on BTS and ARMY”, states the research.

Lee released the first Korean language edition of “BTS, Art Revolution” in April 2018, and the very next year, the book had an English translation and her main goal being ARMY and researcher was to show the true power of fandom. “I wanted to demonstrate that they can have changed the world into a better one through analyzing the BTS lyrics that ARMY relate to as a social patricide and ARMY’s activities and movements as rhizomatic”, tells.

ARMY members around the world have been inspired by the researcher’s work and have adopted the name ‘Rhizomatic Revolution’ for one of their projects. The so-called ‘The Rhizomatic Revolution Review (The R3 Journal)’ is a free, independent, peer-reviewed, online journal that has Dr. Jiyoung Lee as an advisory board member. The focus of the project is on student academia, art, fandom, economic and sociocultural effects made by BTS and ARMY.

“R3” believes in sharing research by encouraging collective knowledge, “Like BTS’s music and art which doesn’t exist in a vacuum, R3 also understands that academic work does not and cannot exist in isolation. People grow with the sharing of stories and art”, states the project. Through the organization’s website, ARMYs can submit their work to be published in the journal and create visibility about the relationship of academic research to the BTS.

Divulgation: Project R3. 
Source: The Rhizomatic Revolution website

This type of BTS-targeted research gains visibility in several well-known projects, mainly on Twitter. One of the most far-reaching accounts is @ResearchBTS, with over 159,000 followers, is run by doctoral student, bachelor of communication studies and master of journalism with a focus on media studies, Nicole Santero, who is also a researcher studying the culture and social structure of ARMY.

On her Twitter profile, Santero shares ideas, threads with the trending topics of the moment, and Twitter maps as she presents how the social network’s hashtags spread around the world about BTS topics. In addition to “Research BTS”, Nicole is managing editor and reviewer at “The R3 Journal” as well as being a co-founding member of another prominent academic project on BTS and ARMY, the “Bangtan Scholars”.

“A network for connection, inspiration, and growth”, This is how the independent collaborative project “Bangtan Scholars” defines itself and adds to it, “A Bangtan Scholar is anyone who engages in furthering knowledge and research on BTS-focused topics”. Through the project, ARMYs around the globe come together to promote each other’s work, exchange ideas, and share knowledge.

On its page there are a variety of resources aimed at meeting the needs of academic researchers, educators and students in the ARMY community. According to the project’s own website, more than 300 students have already joined to be part of this network and together with the “BTS Syllabus” project, become a search engine with resources to research the BTS.

Divulgation: Project Bangtan Scholars. 
Source: Bangtan Scholars website

The “Bangtan Scholars” project has the editor and writer Courtney Lazore as one of the co-founding members. In ARMY since 2015, she has been part of academic conferences about BTS and its fandom, and today she delves into various projects of the boy band and created the website “The BTS Effect“. On this site, Courtney publishes her texts, research related to BTS and also to the Bangtan Universe, a fictional universe created by the company that manages the boyband, Big Hit Music, for content produced and with characters inspired by BTS members.

Divulgation: The BTS Effect project
Source: Site oficial

About the project, Courtney defines, “The BTS Effect is meant to be a place where I can keep my writing and research, and also a place where I hope to provide useful resources to other fans”. The writer also opens a space for other ARMYs to submit their content for publication, as she believes that the involvement of academic students and researchers can bring attention to the BTS, “I think we all need to encourage intellectual curiosity around BTS, and to encourage students and independent researchers to get involved”, states. She has also co-edited and written a chapter for the book “I Am ARMY: It’s Time To Begin”, published by Revolutionaries in 2020.

Revolutionary publishers, Korean literature and Hallyu

In addition to using the student academy as a means of coming together and showing the art of BTS to the world, ARMY is also dedicated to developing its own business, which is the case for australian CEO, editor-in-chief, sociologist, and author Wallea Eaglehawk. Motivated by the speeches already made by the BTS such as love, non-violence, and justice, she created her own independent book publishing company called Revolutionaries. As the name implies, the publisher aims to publish revolutionary content that can impact people’s lives in some way.

The publishing house is divided into three labels, Revolutionaries, Bulletproof, which is focused on nonfiction and BTS’s relationship with ARMY, and Moonrise, which focuses on literary works with revolutionary content. According to Wallea, the label becomes a way to present the diversity of the fandom through the written word, “Bulletproof’s role within the fandom is to provide a platform for fandom voices, to legitimise fan experiences through written word and to celebrate the diversity of experiences and backgrounds of ARMY”, states the writer.

Divulgation: The writer, Wallea Eaglehawk. 
Source: official website

The Australian author has also published her own book titled “Idol Limerence: The Art of loving BTS as Phenomena“. The nonfiction and social science work delves deeply into the relationship between ARMY and BTS, when contextualizing with her revolutionary theory she is asked if there is a limit between being a fan and a writer, she reveals, “I don’t feel there’s a need to separate my emotions from BTS as my emotions drive me to do the group justice in whatever story I’m telling”.

Other projects by the author are her appearances in the published works, “Love Yourself“, “Through The Darkness, I Will Love Myself“, and “I Am Army: It’s Time To Begin“. Among various social themes, Wallea also mentions feminism within ARMY, “It’s important to acknowledge the power dynamics at play and how they impact the fandom and society more broadly”.

Divulgation: BTS Deluxe Collection. 
Source: Twitter user @walleaeaglehawk

Given the impact of these works within and outside the fandom, Eaglehawk reveals that ARMYs have come to feel seen, heard, and appreciated, and for those who are not part of the fan army she adds, “from people I’ve spoken to who have read our books who aren’t ARMY: We have helped non-fans develop an appreciation for, and a deep understanding of BTS”, concludes.

Other projects related to literature and BTS are also present in the fandom, such as the account @BTSBookClub_twt, a book club that shares readings focused on philosophy and literature related to BTS and promotes various discussions. By connecting with fans from all over the world, it has more than 33,100 followers on Twitter. Another social network account that stands out on the same subject is @magicshopbooks, which publishes phrases that connect with the lyrics from a personal perspective. The tweets are about books, articles, poems and theories, the account already counts 15.9 thousand followers.

BTS clearly addresses the influence of various books in their songs and music videos. According to author Jiyoung Lee, ARMY wants to deeply understand what the symbolism of the boy band’s content means, and motivated by curiosity, even by the members’ personal recommendations, they end up naturally inserted into world literature, as well as Korean literature. 

Lee further adds her point of view as a philosophy teacher and the power of BTS to make its fans encouraged by reading. “I, as a Philosophy professor who always try to make students read and think, believe that their power of making people read books and think is really positive and important since there are not many people who can do it”, says.

Many South Korean music artists have also reinvented themselves by relying on literature to create and produce their content, which influences more people to seek out the original point of that work or character mentioned, and there are several platforms that help these fans research where to look for literary works. A very comprehensive example is the platform of the Digital Library of Korean Literature, which boosts the spread of Korean literature and culture worldwide, because it makes available translated works and in the original language, a fact that is not a reality in Brazil.

Digital Library of Korean Literature, DLKL. 
Source: official website DLKL .

According to the study posted in October 2019 by professor and translator Yun Jung Im Park, entitled “A Literatura coreana no Brasil: Quadro atual e desafios”, by the magazine Criação e Crítica at the Universidade de São Paulo, there is a lack of specialized literary translators to perform this work in Brazil, mainly because Korean literature is an unexplored field.

In an interview for “Revista Intertelas”, published in December 2020, the coordinator of the Translation Group for Korean Children’s Literature at USP, Luis Girão, states that the Brazilian literary market is driven by the translation of international best-selling books and that most of the time it is the Korean novels that get more attention, however, not only great narratives the market should depend on. 

He points out that “there are many Korean short story writers and poets whose voices need to be heard, beyond geographical boundaries and reach the ears of humans who experience similar sensations to their own and who are scattered around the world,” he says. Girão gives the example of the consumption of short story collections among Brazilian adults, an area that can become an investment for the market, and there are those who are attracted to this content.

A practical example of Brazilian interest in Korean literature and culture, not only driven by romance, is that of Stephanie Kim, micro-entrepreneur, daughter of Korean immigrants and a marketing graduate. The young woman is known in the social media for having created the first sebo of Korean books in Brazil, the “Kpopster“. In 2021, she took the project off the paper and uses Instagram actively, with about 16.5 thousand followers, to sell the used books. Stephanie believes that through her business she can help people, “this way, I can help two groups of people: Koreans wanting to get rid of their disused books and Brazilians interested in buying Korean books.”

Divulgation: Shopee Store Kposter
Source: Kpopster website (shopee)

The artist also gives an example of the interest and appreciation of her clients in the most varied works, “my clients are very happy and grateful for the opportunity to have Korean books. Some of them even said that it was a dream come true when they got a Bible in Korean. Stephanie sees that Korean literature in Brazil is inaccessible and sees her business as a way to bring people closer to this still shy field in the country. “My goal with the “Kpopster” bookstore is to bring access to this kind of material to Brazilians and bring closer the two cultures that I love!”, adds.

Looking more broadly, Stephanie has noticed an interest in Korean culture by those who consume it, “as I grew up in the Korean community, I attended many Korean events and they have grown a lot recently”, and she adds, “with the Hallyu wave, many Brazilians started studying Korean, with the dream of someday visiting the country”.

The South Korean entertainment wave originated in the 90s, popularly known as Hallyu, has attracted the West with its musical and cinematographic productions and is spreading worldwide. Korean teacher Sandra Jang sees the interest in learning the language among Brazilians because of the advance of Korean productions, “learning a new language is fashionable and with the Hallyu wave the interest in learning the Korean language has grown a lot. The teacher adds that her role is to introduce Brazilians to South Korea, “my role is to introduce the Korean language and culture in an informative and didactic way to Brazilians showing the cultural similarities and differences”, says Jang.

Divulgation: Teacher Sandra Jang. 
Source: Instagram @professorasandrajang

The case of Milena Abreu, a language student at Universidade Federal Fluminense and Korean teacher, is no different. Motivated by the interest in learning a new language, she reveals that her inspiration was the boy band BTS, “in my case it was no different, because meeting BTS in 2016 I fell in love with the music, the group, but what made me continue in this area and get so involved until today was the language,” she explains.

Milena in Busan, South Korea, in January of 2020. 
Source: Milena’s personal archive

Milena also acts as a link to the South Korean Embassy, being a member of the project ‘Amigos da Embaixada’, to disseminate Korean culture and promote it in Brazil. She understands the importance of her role, even more to change some scenarios in the country, such as the already portrayed Korean literature, “I feel very responsible. I feel a thirst for change every day, from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep,” and adds, “as an Amiga da Embaixada, I try to bring knowledge and give voice to this kind of need, trying to get around the deficit”.

With a deep interest in South Korea, Milena tells how it was to realize her dream of traveling to the country in 2019, “it wasn’t easy to manage to travel, get there, overcome cultural and language barriers, and have the money to support myself for a month and a half.” She adds, ” from the first day I was there I realized that it was the right thing to do, that it was what I wanted to do”.

She dreams of seeing BTS in Korea, but while she is waiting for this dream to come true, she reveals how important they were for her development, “the fact that I was learning the language and understanding what BTS said in interviews, songs and tweets only made me keep going and have the strength to fulfill this desire that became a dream,” the student points out.

Teacher Sandra Jang also mentions the power of BTS in influencing people to approach Hangul, South Korea’s official language, and traditions through their songs, mentioning ‘GO GO’, ‘Dionysus’ and ‘IDOL’, “as all these songs that have made success are sung in Korean, the curiosity of the fans to know better the lyrics, the meaning and the sense of the music comes up”.

In addition to creating an interest in understanding what the boy band means, ARMY takes on a role as a researcher. Student Nicole Santero, as a researcher and part of the fandom, shares her thoughts on the power of ARMY, “I’d love to pass on the idea that if people open their minds to the power and influence of fans, there is so much to learn beyond the fact that they love their artist and the music”.

Meanwhile, Writer Courtney Lazore, believes that publishing the research surrounding the boy band and the fandom, is a way to contribute to history as well as show the ARMY’s voice, “It’s important that we contribute to this history, because if we don’t, we’ll be erased in some ways”, says.

In the middle of her dedication to academic studies and her passion for the artistic work of the BTS, she relates some of her negative experiences in academia and how it is possible to encounter prejudiced comments, “I also sometimes face that kind of prejudices in my life. It is such a depressing and frustrating experience for me, too. Most people live in their own limits and  sometimes academics are worse than other people in that matter”, comments Lee.

During his research process, there were unwelcome comments seen about her book, such as “the author must want to make her book a bestseller since she writes about BTS. She betrays her research career in order to be famous. I decided to pursue what I think significant and important”, declaims Lee.

Dr. believes that the story will be able to prove the value of the fandom and the boy band, moreover, reinforces that the ARMYs researchers should not feel discouraged. In a final encouraging message to B-Armys Academics and all academics studying the South Korean group around the world, she kindly expounds:

“Please don’t be discouraged by the narrow-minded and ignorant people and don’t make others judge your research value. You are not alone and we will win in the end”.

— Jiyoung Lee.

Happy 8-year anniversary BTS!

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