“Our love for BTS is what unites us. It feels like such a break. Here, it doesn’t matter what I look like or where I come from.”
-Army at Citifield Stadium
In a world where social media dominates the playing field, BTS have thrived. During the beginning of their career, the band had a small group of fans that adored them and knew exactly what the band was capable of. With the chance to share BTS around the world through the web, it didn’t take long for the fandom that came to be known as ARMY to flourish.
The name BTS stands for Bangtan Sonyeondan, or Bulletproof Boy Scouts. Their name was chosen with the hope of blocking out stereotypes, criticisms and expectations that hit youth like bullets from older generations. They hope to protect the values and ideals of today’s youth.
With their name’s meaning in mind, ARMY was born.
The actual meaning behind ARMY is “Adorable Representative MC for Youth” The name for their fandom was released on July 9, 2013 by the boys with a short explanation that ARMY in English is military.
“The body armor and military are always together, so it means that ARMY and BTS will always be together.”
-A quote from the band in the Hello kpop article: Bangtan Boys (BTS) Reveal Their Official Club Name.
RM spoke on the Ellen show when asked what ARMY stands for, saying-
“Our name in Korean stands for Bulletproof Boy Scouts and so it’s like we got this army, right beside us.”
One of the many things that separate BTS from other artists is how devoted to their fans they are. It’s what made ARMY who they are today. BTS have several different ways of communicating with their fans outside of their music. V-Live is one of these examples. A show that they do where members switch off talking to ARMY.
It shows us BTS in their natural habitat. Things as mundane as eating or getting ready for bed. Winding down after a show or just hanging around the dorms with their animals. Sometimes the members will just set up at a desk and read what fans are writing to them while they are live.
It’s for reasons like this that ARMY love them as much as they do. Seeing sides of BTS that aren’t just the idols. Nothing will ever say for sure if BTS are showing us their true colors, but the videos and posts that they share sure feel like their natural, true selves.
These videos have made it possible for fans all over the world to become a true part of ARMY. Members of the fandom have taken it upon themselves to translate as many videos as they can on their own time to other languages so that anyone, anywhere can watch and fall in love with these seven men. As much talent and perseverance as BTS have, some of their success is definitely thanks to ARMY for spreading the love as far as they possibly can.
ARMY All Over the World
ARMY come from all over the globe. There are many diverse groups of people and different languages coming together to form one because of BTS. ARMY in South Korea are referred to as K-Armies (K for Korean) while Japanese Armies are referred to as J-Armies (J for Japanese). International Armies are usually referred to as I-Armies or I-Lovelies (I for international). When communicating online, this is how ARMY tell each other apart. As much as it pains I-Armies, K and J Armies get much more personal experiences with BTS. High-Touch events are offered in both countries. A High-Touch event is when you get to walk by the Idols in an organized line and high five the members from across a table as you go.
Both countries also have fan meets where you can meet with the members, get autographs and speak with them briefly. All members of BTS speak a decent amount of Japanese, as they release albums that are in the language. It makes sense that they wouldn’t do it in other countries as the language barriers are unfortunately a thing, but also BTS have become so popular that it’s impossible to do them everywhere they go. They try and make up for it by making each concert a memorable experience. They always speak to us as much as they can between songs and try to be their normal, goofy selves whenever possible.
Could you imagine ever being this close to BTS?
The message that BTS tries to convey is something that speaks to all ARMY on a personal level. Love yourself. Speak yourself. Be yourself.
Throughout the years and through all of the albums, BTS has tried to convey messages of positivity for ARMY. It’s because of that, that a lot of ARMY all over the world have donated to causes, started their own fundraisers, and made a huge difference throughout the world.
When BTS launched the “Love Myself” Campaign with the hashtag #endviolence to help protect children who were being bullied, ARMY followed suit. They launched their own campaign to end bullying. The campaign offers round-the-clock help on social media to help those who need support in many different languages. The official website they created being www.spreadlovepositivity.org
“ARMY and BTS fans are an absolutely amazing force to be reckoned with. I would liken it to the Beatles, where fans are just wildly involved and the group is so wildly involved with their fans. There’s a two way love-affair going on. Fans can’t get enough of the group and the group can’t get enough of their fans.”Cara Stevens
Cara Stevens went from being a fan of BTS to becoming the author of the unofficial fan guide “BTS: Rise of Bangtan”. The book speaks about the campaign ARMY did to help stop bullying and about what the website offers for support.
“It’s really a very, very deep fan base, and they’re a wonderful, wonderful supportive group of people.”
Other things that ARMY have done throughout the years include but are not limited to:
Donating profits from an exhibition under the bands name to National Council for the Blind, Mercy Malaysia, and the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia.
Raising money under the bands name for a group that helps disadvantaged children around the world grow up in safe and educated environments. This project was done for Suga.
Donating to UNICEF to support children with disabilities.
Purple Ribbon Project: Where ARMY use purple ribbon to create a barricade between ARMY and BTS for both the safety of BTS and the safety of ARMY.
ARMY in the Philippines donated 100k of rice to children in the name of BTS for the Wings Tour.
Donating blood to the American Red Cross to save lives, spreading the word through the hashtag #btsdonorarmy
Donating to the Korea Childhood Leukemia Foundation in 2017 for Jungkook’s 21 birthday.
Organized a collection all across Nepal, raising money to collect goods to help the victims who suffered a massive flood.
“You Never Walk Alone” album release: Korean ARMY donated 580k of rice to the Institute for Health and Welfare’s Child Support Agency
Russian ARMY donated 15,000$ to help children and young adults that suffer from life-threatening diseases. More than 5,000 ARMY donated to celebrate BTS’s fourth anniversary.
After the Russian ARMY donated, Madrid and Spain ARMY stepped up, donating to Save the Children. The project was called “Charity present.” This too was done for BTS’s fourth anniversary.
Pakistani ARMY also donated for BTS’s fourth anniversary to the oral health campaign Because Everyone Deserves To Smile. The campaign sent dentists to schools for free.
Korean Army adopted five whales under RM’s name by donating to WWF for RM’s birthday.
There is also a Charity Run in the works being organized in the Philippines for BTS’s fifth anniversary. All of the proceeds will go to UNICEF. The run will be on June 16, 2018.
These are just some of the bigger projects that have been done in the name of BTS by ARMY. All of these were found on koreaboo.com There are many, many more projects and campaigns that have been done. Listing them all would make this article double, maybe even triple in size.
While doing a lot for the world in the name of BTS, ARMY have also done a lot for BTS themselves. Just this year when there was an incident in Japan involving one of the members, fans rallied to show their support for them by streaming their song “2!3!” from the “Wings” album. The project was called #ProjectBuy23 and this song was specifically chosen because it is the first song BTS wrote that was dedicated to the fans.
Fans also voted endlessly to get BTS awards like the Billboard Music Awards “Top Social Artist” two years in a row. They have also won awards like “Best Fan Army” and a “Popularity” award at the Asian Artist Awards. Jin dedicated this award to ARMY, saying-
“We always believe the award does not belong to us but to you.”Jin, Asian Artist Awards, 2018
This year as well, for the third year in a row, BTS won the “Artist of the Year” award at the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA). On stage, most of the members broke down with their honesty. Jin mentioned that this might have been the end for them but they had a lot of talks with each other and decided to stay strong. Winning this award specifically meant a lot to them, and we are so proud of our boys for being on top yet again.
They have also been nominated for their first ever Grammy award for next year. The “Love Yourself: Tear” album earned the nomination for Best Recording Package. This award is a big step for them internationally, and all of us will be rooting for them!
As a website, we also have our own project going that ends December 31, 2018. Any ARMY who would like to email us with their own story about what BTS means to them is more than welcome to share. All of us have a very special and personal bond with the band. As similar as the stories may be, each and every one of us as ARMY is unique. The project is called Speak Yourself: Thank you, BTS! We will feature these stories after they are reviewed in our posts. It’s a way to show BTS what they mean to us and to help ARMY grow closer to one another!
ARMY really are a force to be reckoned with. We are capable of doing so much good in the world. We have already done so much and I can’t wait to see what we do in the future!