Lee Ja-yeon, the head of the Korea Singer’s Association, has advised BTS against embarking on their previously announced extended break.
The association released a statement on June 22, per The Korea Times, where a “concerned” Lee wrote about a personal unease regarding the possible consequences for the K-pop industry stemming from BTS’ break.
The K-pop boyband first announced last week that they would be “[taking] time to explore some solo projects” during a live broadcast celebrating their ninth anniversary. The boyband are set to embark on an extended break in order to pursue personal endeavours.
“I’m concerned that the Korean wave centring around BTS, which has the strongest cultural soft power in Korea and the world, may fade away … Like a ‘second Beatles’ won’t arrive easily, it is unlikely for there to be a ‘second BTS,’ so I’m worried that hallyu may be cut,” the statement read.
Further in the statement, Lee requested for the K-pop juggernauts to “reconsider” their decision to go on the extended break, writing: “You may have made the decision after deep deliberation, but would you reconsider [a withdrawal of the decision] for the sake of Korea’s music industry?”
According to The Korea Times, Lee’s statement also posited that without the presence of BTS, there would also be a lack of their fanbase, officially named ARMYs. The association head claimed that as a number of BTS’ followers are considered “hallyu followers”, she suggested that the break would “result in the decline of hallyu-related tourism”.
The association’s statement also touched on the impending military enlistment of several of the band’s older members, and called on the South Korean government as well as the National Assembly to further revise the Military Act to allow for exemptions of select pop stars from military duty.
Lee Ja-yeon’s call for BTS to withdraw their extended break has since faced backlash from the band’s fanbase. One fan on Twitter wrote in a viral response to the association’s statement: “I did not sign up to be a missionary of hallyu wave and Korean culture… leave BTS alone.”
Similar sentiments within the fanbase have also sprouted online since, with another adding that they were “here for BTS and BTS only, and that includes supporting their much deserved break”. Meanwhile, another ARMY on Reddit wrote that “BTS did not release an hour long video explaining everything for people to guilt trip them to keep working”.
Lol I did not sign up to be a missionary of Hallyu wave and Korean culture! I’m here as a fan of BTS & I sure as hell ain’t going anywhere & on behalf of BTS, no they will not consider coming back to save your falling Industry! LEAVE BTS ALONE #BTSItsOkayToRest pic.twitter.com/oALr3g39Zx
— Trusfrated⁷ 💜🫂 (@skBTSenthusiast) June 22, 2022
I don’t care about the hallyu wave, the needs of the korean industry, or the korea singers association. and I definitely didn’t sign up to be the “missionaries of hallyu culture armys” tf. I’m here for bts and bts only. and that includes supporting their much deserved break.
— agust d⁷ (@pjmyoongii) June 22, 2022
In other news, BTS’ new anthology album ‘Proof’, which was led by ‘Yet To Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)’, has earned the group their sixth Number One on the Billboard 200. The 48-track compilation debuted at the top of the chart for the week ending June 16, with 314,000 equivalent album units sold in the US.