BTS’s RM Hits Back At The West’s Prejudices About Korea And K-Pop In Recent Interview
BTS‘s RM recently sat down for an interview with El País, one of the most noted news mediums in the Spanish-speaking world.
The interview consisted of insightful questions to the BTS leader, and Spanish-speaking fans were generous enough to share it with others by providing English translations. One specific part of the interview grabbed the most attention, and it is where RM boldly hit back at the West’s perception of South Korea and K-Pop in general.
RM's interview with EL PAÍS (Spanish newspaper) | ENG translation (1/2)
💬 "In Korea we work so hard because 70 years ago there was nothing"
🔗 https://t.co/rhdgUHYcx4 pic.twitter.com/ttT8SPFV8Z
— BTS Charts Spain⁷ (@btscharts_spain) March 12, 2023
While talking about his experience as a trainee and then a successful figure in the K-Pop industry, RM was asked if straining hard work and an aim for picture perfection is one of the traits of Korean culture.
This worship of youth, of perfection, of overstraining in K-Pop…Are these Korean cultural traits?
—RM’s Interviewer, El País
To this, RM answered that the West lacks the subjective perspective to understand why certain countries like South Korea put so much emphasis on hard work. He explained, “Korea is a country that has been invaded, devastated, torn into two. Just seventy years ago, there was nothing.” RM continued recalling the past and pointed out how Korea was dependent on aid from the IMF and the UN just a few decades ago. But the country’s global status quo shifted quickly, and now the “world is looking at Korea.”
This swift change in fortune didn’t happen magically. RM pointed out that it directly resulted from “people..working f*cking hard to improve themselves.” The desperation to build back a country that was left with nothing is not easy to understand for cultures who have not experienced it first-hand. That is why “people in the West…,” he noted, “…just don’t get it.”
You are in France or the UK, countries that have been colonizing others for centuries, and you come to me with, ‘Oh God, you put so much pressure on yourselves. Life in Korea is so stressful. ‘ Well, yes. That’s how you get things done.
—RM, El País
This is what, according to RM, gives K-Pop its charm too. Though he was honest to admit that “everything that happens too fast and too intensely has side effects,” he doesn’t agree with the way K-Pop is often portrayed as a manufactured phenomenon. In the following question, the interviewer asked him what he considers the biggest prejudice about K-Pop. He answered, “That it’s prefabricated.” In another part of the interview, he also directly called out how even a partial admission about the K-Pop system’s hardships often gets twisted and exaggerated into some dark conspiracy theories.
Interviewer: Does the system dehumanize?
RM: My company doesn’t like how I answer this question, because I admit it in part, and then the journalists throw up their hands saying, “It’s a horrible system, it destroys young people!”
Though the BTS leader has always been eloquent in his interview, he was unprecedentedly unfiltered in this one. This new level of openness and honesty has taken fans aback so much that this interview has set social media abuzz with conversations around it.
BTS’s RM Is Being Praised For His Unfiltered And Honest Answers To Some Hard-Hitting Questions In His Recent Interview