BTS from Korea. NSTP/pix courtesy of Koreaboo

KUALA LUMPUR: K-Pop giant BTS’ massive success globally is a curious one, since many of its international fans, or Army, don’t even speak Korean.

According to Koreaboo, the seven-member group’s worldwide influence had piqued the interest of a South Korean academic who did some research on BTS’ Korean hit songs and how they were perceived by non-Korean fans.

During a recent winter seminar of the Korean Society of Cultures, Arts and Communication, Professor Noh Byungseong from Hyupsung University in South Korea had revealed that the tunes still provided a positive perception of Korea to the non-Korean fans.

In a survey, where participants were queried on whether the Korean lyrics were a hindrance when listening to songs by BTS, 84.85 per cent responded that it was not.

The majority also knew at least some of the lyrics in BTS’ hit song Idol. Only 4.51 per cent said that they did not know the meaning to any of the Korean lyrics at all.

Interestingly, 68.94 per cent of the participants answered “very much” when asked if listening to Idol made them want to learn Korean, while only 15.15 per cent answered “slightly”.

With 70.68 per cent of participants having studied or are currently learning Korean, Professor Noh explained that BTS had a huge influence on global fans’ decisions to travel to Korea and/or learn Korean.

“When asked about the influences BTS had on them, 30 per cent answered visiting Korea and 28 per cent answered learning the Korean language,” he said.

Professor Noh also talked about how hyperconnectivity via the Internet had helped in building a solid international fan base for BTS.

Not surprisingly, 46.94 per cent of participants got to know of the popular music outfit via the Internet, YouTube and other social media platforms.

40.19 per cent also used YouTube exclusively to find out what BTS’ Korean lyrics meant, while 29.55 per cent used the Internet in general and another 10.61 per cent via other social media to do the same.

With less than 10 per cent using books, classrooms or friends to find the meaning to the lyrics, Professor Noh said: “This generation solves almost everything online.”

Most of the participants were female at 91.16 per cent, with 36.1 per cent within the age group of 15 to 19 and 24.5 per cent from 20 to 24.

Curiously, the oldest fan who participated in the survey was 66.

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