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‘BTS army’ mania, explained: Why the K-pop band became so popular

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It’s a “Dynamite” time to be a BTS fan.

The South Korean septet became the first K-pop act to be nominated for a Grammy in November and, at the 2021 Grammys on Sunday, they’ll be up for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their No. 1 hit “Dynamite.”

And you can bet that the members of the BTS ARMY will be pulling for RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook — who will also be performing at the Grammys — with all of its explosive might.

ARMY stands for Adorable Representative MC for Youth. The name was chosen by Big Hit Entertainment, the company that launched BTS into the pop stratosphere.

“It is because ARMY exists that we exist,” Jin has said.

Here’s a look at the formidable — and fiercely loyal — fan base behind BTS. 

BTS
BTS made history by becoming the first K-pop act to be nominated for a Grammy.
Getty Images for Dick Clark Prod

They make a difference

After BTS and Big Hit Entertainment donated $1 million to the Black Lives Matter movement, the ARMY sought to #MatchAMillion through fan charity Twitter account @OneInAnARMY — and they rallied to reach that goal in just 25 hours. Last year, OIAA raised funds for children in South Korean orphanages that were under mandatory quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic. There are even ARMY factions that provide counseling and tutoring services.

BTS fans watch them perform.
ARMY members stan for their band in Central Park.
Getty Images

They break down language barriers

The ARMY has fan translators, so that BTS’s Korean lyrics, interviews, videos and other content can be understood whether you speak the language or not.

They live on Korean time

Before BTS albums drop in Korea, ARMY members have been known to set their clocks to Korean time, so that they won’t miss a minute of the band’s promotional activities online.

BTS performing in Los Angeles in December 2019.
BTS performing in Los Angeles in December 2019.
Getty Images for iHeartMedia

They eat up BTS — in the kitchen, too

The ARMY has gone so far as to share BTS-themed recipes. On the website BTSARMYKitchen.com, you can find a recipe for Jin’s Packed Lunch, which includes rice cakes, soy sauce, garlic, black pepper and toasted seaweed crumbles — with beef stew meat optional.

BTS fans
BTS fans show their love before a concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Getty Images

They’re philosophical

They’re up on Jungian philosophy — based on Carl Jung’s concepts of extravert and introvert personalities, and the power of the unconscious — which has been embraced in BTS albums. The band even named one of their LPs after Jung’s book “Map of the Soul.”

They have their band’s back

When the ARMY grew suspicious that BTS’s TikTok had been hacked this week, they implored Big Hit and TikTok to get to the bottom of it — stat.

They show up — even in the cold

When BTS was appearing on “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” to ring in 2020, ARMY members lined up for days around Times Square to show their support.

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