- The head of the Korea Singers Association issued a statement on June 22 in The Korea Times imploring BTS to “reconsider” the group’s temporary break.
- Lee Ja-yeon expressed concern that without BTS, the K-pop industry and the hallyu (Korean wave) would decline.
- Army was quick to descend on social media, criticizing the remarks and expressing support for the members to take their needed break and focus on their individual projects.
- BTS announced a break earlier this month following the release of their anthology album, “Proof.”
Lee Ja-yeon, head of the Korea Singers Association, is facing backlash after saying she was “concerned” about the K-pop industry following BTS’ announcement of their temporary break.
The June 22 statement from Lee comes via The Korea Herald, where she writes, “I’m concerned that the Korean wave centring around BTS, which has the strongest cultural soft power in Korea and the world, may fade away … Like a ‘second Beatles’ won’t arrive easily, it is unlikely for there to be a ‘second BTS,’ so I’m worried that hallyu may be cut.”
Hallyu (Korean wave) is an industry term referring to the global rise of Korean culture and soft power through various means like music, arts, food, fashion and language. As BTS have achieved many milestones, from visiting the White House and U.N. to shattering music and world records, they have contributed significantly to pushing the hallyu wave.
Lee goes on to conflate BTS fans, Army, as hallyu followers, and worries that BTS’ break would lead to “the decline of hallyu-related tourism.”
She urges BTS to “reconsider” their decision, pleading: “You may have made the decision after deep deliberation, but would you reconsider [a withdrawal of the decision] for the sake of Korea’s music industry?”
With the sentiments from Lee, it is not a surprise the Korea Singers Association, like the Korean Culture Minister, also weighed in on BTS members’ upcoming military enlistment, asking for the group to be given an exemption.
Army was quick to descend on social media to criticize Lee’s statements and express support for the seven members’ planned break, who have had a busy year with concerts in Las Vegas and a three-disc anthology album called “Proof,” even making their return to Korean music shows to promote it.
“I don’t care about the hallyu wave, the needs of the korean industry, or the korea singers association. and I definitely didn’t sign up to be the ‘missionaries of hallyu culture armys’ tf. I’m here for bts and bts only. and that includes supporting their much deserved break,” one user wrote.
I don’t care about the hallyu wave, the needs of the korean industry, or the korea singers association. and I definitely didn’t sign up to be the “missionaries of hallyu culture armys” tf. I’m here for bts and bts only. and that includes supporting their much deserved break.
— agust d⁷ (@pjmyoongii) June 22, 2022
So The Korean Singer’s Association is telling all of y’all that that Hallyu money depends deeply on what BangTan do. 🧐 How many ways do Korea have to say it. Hope they figure out that BangTan don’t owe 💩 to Hallyu and the reason they would struggle is bc the label makes them+
— A Brand New Day ⁷ (@ABrandNewDayAFC) June 22, 2022
Despite taking a break from the group, the members have plenty of solo activities for fans to look forward to. J-Hope is set to make history headlining at Lollapalooza, and Jungkook will feature on Charlie Puth’s upcoming song. During BTS’ Festa dinner where they announced their break, all seven members teased new solo music, although no official dates were given.
Featured Image via BANGTANTV