BTS’ seven members were awarded South Korea’s Hwagwan Orders of Cultural Merit in Seoul on Wed (Oct. 24). The septet — RM (Kim Namjoon), Suga (Min Yoongi), J-Hope (Jung Hoseok), Jin (Kim Seokjin) Park Jimin, V (Kim Taehyung), and Jeon Jungkook — are the youngest recipients to ever receive the honor. They were awarded their medals at the 2018 Korean Popular Culture & Arts Awards, held at Seoul’s Olympic Hall.
Earlier this month, South Korean prime minister Lee Nak-yeon announced that the Cabinet had decided to award the chart-topping group the honor for their efforts at spreading South Korean culture and language throughout the world. Cultural Minister Do Jong-hwan gave the BTS members their medals during Wednesday’s ceremony.
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.”
— ????? (@BTS_twt) October 24, 2018
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)