In their acceptance speeches, BTS thanked their fandom, ARMY, and those who they've worked with, and reflected on the recognition. "We’re often overseas, and many people sing along with our songs in Korean and tell us proudly that they studied Korean,” said Jin according to Soompi. “It makes me proud. We’ll continue to try to increase knowledge about our culture.”
“I’m happy that it seems that we’re really becoming the hope of popular culture,” said J-Hope, referencing his stage name. “The Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit is such an immense award. It’s an award that carries weight and includes the hard work of many staff members, BTS’s blood and sweat, and the cheers of ARMY all over the world.”
Jimin later took to social media to thank fans, saying, "Together [I/we've] received this award. Seriously thank you."
Aside from BTS, other musicians including Red Velvet, who performed in North Korea as part of a diplomatic contingent in April, and Guckkasten, whose Ha Hyun-woo performed at the Olympics Opening Ceremony in February, were at the event, where both were winners of Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Commendations. Other popular entertainers, including Yoo Jae Suk, and industry creatives were also awarded at this year’s event.
BTS returned to South Korea earlier this week after spending over 50 days in North America and Europe amid their Love Yourself world tour. During their jaunt, the group spoke at the United Nations about self-affirmation while in New York, and performed in front of and met the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in while in France. They will release “Waste It On Me” with Steve Aoki on Thursday (Oct. 25)