Even The Highest-Ranking Members Of The A.R.M.Y. Don't Know Everything About BTS

Shining through the city with more than a little funk n' soul, South Korean pop group BTS have set the world alight with their dynamite musicality and personality alike. The seven-member ensemble, comprised of RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, have sold millions of albums, filled countless stadiums, and spread endless amounts of love and good will with the world since their debut in 2013.

A group this special to so many is certain to have their superstitions, and for the septet, the number seven signifies more than just the number of members in the group. "The seven of us are on a boat, looking in different directions but going the same way. That's how I describe BTS," leader RM said in the 2020 docuseries "Break the Silence" (as translated by PinkVilla). These lucky seven have certainly made their impact together and as individuals in the realms of music, entertainment content, global affairs, and beyond. "As we continue, I can't think of anything better than this," Suga shared in the same docuseries. "Rather than doing something on my own, the seven of us doing it together has a more synergistic effort. Could there have been a better match?"

The popular group's adoring fans certainly don't think so — but even the highest-ranking members of the A.R.M.Y. don't know everything about BTS.

One name doesn't define BTS

The biggest K-pop group in the world doesn't let one acronym sum them up. BTS is short for the Korean moniker Bangtan Sonyeondan, which translates to "Bulletproof Boyscouts," per Esquire. The idea of being bulletproof took on a meaningful quality to the members. "'Bangtan' means to be resistant to bullets," member and dance captain J-Hope once described to South Korean radio program "Kiss the Radio" (as translated by Affinity magazine). "So it means to block out stereotypes, criticisms, and expectations that aim on adolescents like bullets, to preserve the values and ideal of today's adolescents."

In 2017, the group's label HYBE (formerly Big Hit Entertainment) unveiled a new logo and branding concept that symbolized doors. One logo, with the doors facing outward, marked BTS and their new identity as "Beyond the Scene." According to the label, per Esquire, this "symboliz[es] youth who don't settle for their current reality and instead open the door and go forward to achieve growth." There was also a logo, with doors facing inward, for the A.R.M.Y. — the widespread BTS fanbase. "More than anything, it shows that ARMY and we, BTS, are connected as one," the band wrote on Twitter during the launch (translation by Billboard).

That's not to say their name can't get cutesy ... fans have also taken to lovingly calling the boys "Tannies" as a shortened form of "Bangtan Boys."

BTS' fanchant is key to their identity

Like many other South Korean pop groups, BTS has an established series of fanchants — or, scripted cheers that fans say together during concerts and appearances. Many different chants take place during their songs, with each having a chant developed by either the artist's agency or the fans themselves. "I think originally it was created by the fans to show the members and the group support during songs," one fan of K-pop explained to NPR in 2022. "But now a lot of groups actually do fanchant guides so that you know exactly what to say and when." The fan added, "It's mostly so that the fans can be involved in the performance, but it also contributes to the atmosphere of the overall concert."

The official BTS fanchant can be heard in just about every one of the group's performances. Oftentimes, it's said in rhythm and at the top of the song. For example, at the beginning of "DNA," fans scream the members' names in order, starting from the leader and then moving through the oldest member to the youngest with, "Kim Namjoon! Kim Seokjin! Min Yoongi! Jung Hoseok! Park Jimin! Kim Taehyung! Jeon Jungkook! BTS!"

Fans all over the world (even including megastars like Justin Bieber) utilize the chant to not only show their love for their favorite group, but also to show off their prowess as fans. The BTS A.R.M.Y. is known for their zeal — and their skillful fanchants certainly add to that.

Auditions for this K-pop group were an arduous process

One of the most storied parts of the K-pop industry is the grueling audition and training process. For some, training can happen quickly, but many train for years before either being named to a group or being dropped altogether, as an ex-trainee for BTS detailed to Vice in 2022. For his part, J-Hope previously shared in an appearance on on "You Quiz on the Block" (as translated by Soompi), "I had to give up on a lot [to be a trainee]. It was something I really wanted to do, so I endured. But it was really hard when people asked me when I was going to debut."

BTS came together as serendipitously as their lucky number seven suggests, as StyleCaster recounted. Leader RM, then known as Rap Monster, was discovered first in Korea's underground rap scene. Next, Suga and J-Hope auditioned and rounded out the group's rap line, while Jin and Jungkook started the formation of the vocal line. V, the sixth member to join, didn't originally plan to audition; in fact, he ended up making an impromptu impression on the judges while showing support for a friend at their audition. As the last member of the vocal line, Jimin became the seventh member of the group after many years of training as a dancer.

"At first, [training] was hard because I didn't know what I needed to do," Jimin shared on the same episode of the tvN talk show. "... The members filled in what I lacked. I got a lot of help from them."

BTS releases albums in series

As of this writing, BTS has almost 20 short- and long-form albums to their name — and that's just their Korean-English discography. The group, already known for their penchant for symbolism, have organized their music into eras. Even from the beginning, the group has charted their way to the top by charting their growth as artists and as people.

Their debut EP "2 Kool 4 Skool" featured their first single "No More Dream" in 2013 and kickstarted the "School" trilogy. Next came the "Youth" trilogy (also known as "Hwa Yang Yeon Hwa," "HYYH," or "The Most Beautiful Moment in Life") in 2015, which introduced an associated universe that even has its own webtoon. The subsequent eras (BTS' "Wings" series, the "Love Yourself" series, and the "Map of the Soul" series) led the band to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which halted their plans to tour for their acclaimed "Map of the Soul 7" album. The pivot from live performances turned BTS toward "Dynamite," the Guinness World Record-breaking all-English single that launched the group into mainstream airwaves more than ever before. Other English-only singles — "Butter" and "Permission to Dance" — followed soon thereafter, marking their pandemic era as their most successful yet.

In 2022, BTS released the "Proof" anthology set to symbolize their first decade as a group and move forward into their next era. "I think it's time for us to move beyond astonishing people and think again about what kind of messages we can send people now," RM told Weverse Magazine at the time.

They produce music for themselves and other artists

BTS' talent expands beyond their vocal and dancing ability. While all of the members have participated in producing, the rap line (RM, Suga, and J-Hope) serve as the main producers on much of the group's discography.

According to the Korea Music Copyright Association's Twitter account, RM was credited as the youngest and second-most credited Korean artist in 2022. RM previously wrote for K-pop acts like 2AM before joining BTS. He's also worked with labelmates Tomorrow X Together (aka TXT). "[Producing and writing for other artists] gives me other avatars and characters," he explained in a Rolling Stone "Musicians on Musicians" interview with Pharrell Williams that November. "When it comes to me, it's a complex, and it always comes with the pain to confess. But it's still the most important part for me."

Suga has produced songs for artists worldwide, from South Korean mainstay IU to American acts like Halsey. "I'm the producer for those songs, sure, but the owner is someone else, you know?" Suga shared with Weverse Magazine. "In that case, they're commissioning my work." J-Hope has also produced multiple mixtapes, including 2022's "Jack in the Box," the first full-length solo project released by a BTS member. The album earned him numerous awards and a history-making headlining spot at Lollapalooza. "I have always thought hard and long about what type of music I can show to the world as J-Hope," he told Variety that July, adding, "But ... because I'm the first one to release a solo album, I do feel the weight on my shoulders."

BTS tends to break their own records

The world's biggest South Korean group doesn't stay in one realm when it comes to making an impact. According to Forbes, BTS has broken countless Billboard records, set new standards for social media engagement, and seen soaring ticket sales across stadiums worldwide. They were even holders of more than 25 Guinness World Records by 2022, per Billboard. These include the most weeks spent by a K-pop act on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Dynamite," which spent 32 weeks on the chart after its 2020 debut. The group's individual members themselves are also known to break some records. For example, "Left and Right" — Jungkook's 2022 collaboration with Charlie Puth — set a Spotify streaming record by a Korean soloist with almost 9 million single-day streams. Meanwhile, Jin's solo single "The Astronaut" became the fastest song by a Korean soloist to sell 1 million copies.

BTS' power is strong enough to even outshine themselves, especially with social media. In 2022, they became Instagram's most followed musical group with 60,151,959 followers — a Guinness World Record that surpassed their own original following of more than 40 million in 2021. But this is just a taste of their pop culture dominance — there are still YouTube records, movie box office sales, and more that BTS' purple-hued light have touched.

No matter what ceilings they are crashing, the team always finds solace in celebrating together. As Jin once revealed to Weverse Magazine, "There are some things you can do and some kinds of happiness you can only experience as a group."

This K-pop band has multiple variety shows

Between TV and the web, there definitely isn't a shortage of content when it comes to BTS, but several programs in their roster have become bona fide fan-favorites over the years. "RUN BTS" is arguably the most beloved of the programs, with many YouTube compilations being dedicated to its meme-worthy moments. The variety show, which began in 2015, features the boys playing games, going on adventures, and indulging in light but committed cosplay. As of this writing, there are nearly 160 episodes of the show, which became available on the group's YouTube channel with English subtitles for the first time in January 2023.

Other shows like "BTS: Bon Voyage" — which began in 2016 — focus on the band's travels and their camaraderie with one another. The series has logged four seasons across locations including Sweden and Finland, Hawaii, Malta, and New Zealand. There's even a show dedicated to BTS' staycations called "BTS In the SOOP," which premiered in 2020. The wholesome show features the members embarking on a secluded staycation in the Korean wilderness together, where they amuse themselves and unwind with day-to-day activities. Seeing the idols painting, cooking, and exercising together became a source of serotonin for the homebound A.R.M.Y. during the pandemic.

One of Jin's musings during a Season 2 episode seems to sum up their feelings best (via Koreaboo): "You know those days when you've done absolutely nothing, that people might look at you and say, 'You wasted your day away?' That's the kind of living that gives me rest."

BTS members have animated alter egos

BTS has not one, but two separate cartoon personas that align with each of the seven members. In 2017, the K-pop group joined forces with creative studio Line Friends to launch BT21, a series of animated characters designed by the members themselves. "Since its launch ... the brand has captured the hearts and minds of youths worldwide with its charming designs, unique concept and thoughtful storytelling," the BT21 company website reads.

BT21 has since become a worldwide phenomenon, with each of the cute characters taking on personalities of their own in web series and music videos on the brand's official YouTube channel. Even the real-life members themselves tend to keep their animated alter egos close to them, particularly Jin and his llama-based friend, RJ.

There are also cartoon-sized versions of the "Tannies" called Tiny Tan, which was launched by their label in 2020. The chibi-style characters take inspiration directly from the group's music videos, appearing as miniature replicas of the boys in adorable animated fashion. Similarly to BT21, Tiny Tan has spawned an avalanche of merchandise. From air purifiers to facial masks and just about anything in between, there's no shortage of personal touches that these BTS-related brands haven't tapped into.

They are proud spokespeople of their country and culture

The members of BTS are not just artists — they are globally recognized representatives of their native South Korea who are striving to make an impact. In 2017, the group became UNICEF ambassadors through their LOVE MYSELF collaboration, which tied in with the same era name that houses several of their albums from the late 2010s. "We started LOVE MYSELF as a way to reach young people and help improve their lives and rights," the group said in a statement. "During the process, we also strove to 'LOVE MYSELF' ourselves, and we as a team and as individuals grew as well." The effort has raised more than $3 million to aid UNICEF's campaign to advocate for mental health care and end violence and abuse worldwide.

BTS has also served as special representatives of their country at the United Nations. They became the first K-pop group to ever appear at the global summit in 2018, where leader RM gave a speech to help launch the UN's Generation Unlimited program that was designed to educate and employ young people.

The band made a second appearance at the summit in 2021 when they accompanied South Korean President Moon Jae-in as Special Presidential Envoys for Future Generations and Culture. All seven members participated in a speech this time and spoke on a number of topics affecting young people, particularly climate change and the global pandemic. BTS even filmed a special performance of their song "Permission to Dance," which was streamed as part of the General Assembly and viewable worldwide.

BTS isn't BTS without their A.R.M.Y.

In their song "Magic Shop," BTS utilizes call and response to communicate with their fans through the lyric, "So show me (I'll show you)" — something that is common across multiple planes for both the artist and the audience. As previously mentioned, the BTS fanbase is known as A.R.M.Y. (aka "Adorable Representative M.C. For Youth"). This K-pop fan base prides itself on connecting with the band's members not only through their music, but also their message. "The music and the spirit of the guys is at the core and the inspiration for all of it," one fan explained to Time

The feeling is certainly mutual between BTS and their A.R.M.Y. — remember, this pairing even has complimentary official logos that demonstrate visually how they come together for the better. "Our love life — twenty-four hours, seven days a week — is with all the ARMYs all over the world," RM once shared with Esquire.

The mutual dedication to each other is a special trait, of which many have taken note, including other pop artists. "Can you imagine if everyone's fans thanked them by organizing charity in their name?" singer and BTS collaborator Halsey shared on the "Zach Sang Show" in 2019, having experienced this when the A.R.M.Y. wanted to express gratitude toward her. "What a better place this world would be."

The members of BTS are humanitarians at heart

From individual donations to children in their hometowns to donating $1 million to the Black Lives Matter movement, BTS has made sure to shine their light on more than just the stage. Per People, the group has taken many efforts to give back to both their home country and the world at large. To list their many philanthropic deeds would take much more space than we have here, but it's important to note that the band has inspired members of their dedicated A.R.M.Y. to contribute in their own ways, too.

When BTS made their Black Lives Matter donation in 2020, their loyal fanbase not only matched, but eventually surpassed the group's donation in less than 24 hours. Per the One in an ARMY website, the A.R.M.Y. has also mobilized in a global fashion to support individual members' causes. To celebrate member J-Hope's birthday in 2019, for example, the fans donated to a number of charitable causes in South Korea to spread the hope that their idol embodies. Fans also rallied on Twitter in 2020 to raise funds to aid in the recovery of the Assam Floods in the Indian state.

"We and our ARMY are always charging each other's batteries," RM shared with Esquire. "When we feel exhausted, when we hear the news all over the world, the tutoring programs, and donations, and every good thing, we feel responsible for all of this."