Ten years ago this week, K-pop sensation BTS’ first single was released. In recent days, the South Korean capital Seoul has been abuzz with activities surrounding the Bangtan Boys. The highlight of the festival is band member RM’s interaction with fans on Saturday night. The event, which took place at a park near the Han River in Seoul, will be broadcast live.

No More Dream was released on 13 June 2013; First single by RM (Kim Nam-joon), Suga (Min Yoon-gi), J-Hope (Jung Ho-seok), Jin (Kim Seok-jin), Jimin (Park Ji-min), V (Kim Tae) -hyung) and Jungkook (Jeon Jung-kook). At the time, the seven members had already completed grueling training to become pop idols, which was made possible by Big Hit Entertainment. This entertainment company is now known as Hybe Corporation. The single turned out to be the prelude to a very successful career. Not only in Southeast Asia, but also in America and Europe.

“The whole month there has been talk of activities around the anniversary,” says Flora Smit, Korean Studies researcher at Leiden University and K-pop connoisseur at ANP. The band’s official postage stamps went on sale last Tuesday. Korea Post, the national postal company, has issued a set of ten postage stamps. Last month they went on sale and within three hours 120,000 sets had already been sold. There’s plenty of purple on the street – BTS’ color – and all kinds of activities are organized for the mostly foreign fans of the seven-member formation. According to Smit, who is now back in the Netherlands, it was striking that there were so many international guests in the capital. According to him, this too had to do with the lifting of corona measures, but it is clear that many people still came to BTS’ celebration. In Seoul, it is also a useful response. For example, there are special BTS tours to places that are important to the group and large posters of the band hang in tourist centers.

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“The executives are very happy to have BTS as ambassadors for South Korea,” says Smit. “K-pop has now evolved into a ‘soft power move’ for the country. It’s actually been around for over twenty years, but thanks to BTS, the genre has taken off internationally in the last ten years. Your The country has such a beautiful picture, so of course everything will be beautiful.” According to the K-pop expert, it’s not just about the music. “Fans want to eat the food BTS eats, they want to wear the clothes the boys wear and they want the same smartphones as the band members. BTS is ideal for putting South Korea on the map culturally.”

With the new song Take Two, BTS is celebrating the anniversary of their first single. The band would take a tightly orchestrated break until 2025. This is related to the military service that members have to fulfill, but it also gives musicians room to develop themselves, says Smit. The new single was therefore recorded much earlier to keep interest in the band alive. Successful return possible in 2025.

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