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15 Utterly Fascinating Facts About Some Of The World's Biggest K-Pop Stars

I'm sorry, BTS brings in how many billions to the South Korean economy?!

1. BTS's leader RM, formerly known as Rap Monster, told Yahoo! Entertainment that the sitcom Friends played a pivotal role in helping him become fluent in English.

RM performing on stage

RM explained, "It was like a cliché for the Korean parents in my hometown to let their kids watch Friends." He watched it over and over again with Korean subtitles, and said that the cast's English was "clear and easy to understand."

RM waving from the red carpet

True super fan that he is, RM shared his favorite character and plot line: It's Chandler and the relationship between Ross and Rachel, respectively.

Rachel piggy backing on Ross's back

2. RM's fellow BTS member, Jin, told GQ that he's a "big fan of Chris Martin," and that the Coldplay frontman gave him an unexpected gift following the collaboration of their two groups.

Jin giving waves with both his hands at an event

"After our collaboration, we had a chance to see him again in the US. When just the two of us were in the studio, I said to him, 'Hey, your guitar’s cool.' I mean, I’m such a big fan. Honestly, everything about him is cool. But he suddenly handed the guitar over, saying it was a gift," explained Jin. "I hadn’t been implying anything with my comment. Even in my dazed state, I was so excited I didn’t know how to respond."

BTS on stage with Coldplay

He went on, "I asked him multiple times if he was serious, because I just couldn’t believe it. I was so grateful. I heard later on that he knew I was a fan. Maybe that’s why he gave it to me? This is all an assumption, of course."

close up of Jin

3. Under South Korea's Military Service Act, all able-bodied men are required to serve around a year and a half in the military before they turn 28. While Olympic medalists and highly accomplished classical musicians are eligible for exemptions, K-pop stars currently aren't, though according to Variety, some in South Korea are seeking to change that.

BTS posing on the red carpet

At a 2022 press conference, South Korean Culture, Sports, and Tourism Minister Hwang Hee said, "The system has been operated meaningfully to give those who have enhanced the national status based on their excellent skills more chances to contribute to the country, and there is no reason the popular art-culture field should be excluded from this. Somebody should be a responsible voice at a time when there are conflicting pros and cons ahead of the enlistment of some of the BTS members."

BTS performing on stage

According to Bloomberg, 29-year-old Jin hasn't signed up for service yet because of a 2020 law that permits pop culture figures who offer "great contributions" to their nation a two year extension on the usual deadline. But he will have to enlist before the end of the year if the law doesn't change, as will, eventually, the other members of the band, which Hwang said would result in a "cultural loss for mankind."

BTS on stage

4. Speaking of the "great contributions" of BTS: According to NPR, it's estimated that BTS brings in $5 billion per year to South Korea's economy.

BTS during an interview

5. Suho, the leader of EXO, did serve in the military, and he told Rolling Stone that he was able to apply his K-pop skills to his new position.

close up of Suho

Suho said, "Regardless of what I’m doing, it’s taught me to be more open-minded and has given me the tools to connect and communicate with all kinds of people."

Suho waving from the red carpet

6. Seventeen member, Woozi, told Rolling Stone that when he wrote the line "I want to know our problem, blood type or DNA" for the band's first English-language single, "Darl+ing," he didn't realize that blood types don't have the same connotations in the US and other English-speaking countries as they do in South Korea.

Woozi waving from an event

(According to The Korea Herald, blood types in South Korea are "widely believed to be predictive of personality and temperament.")

members of Seventeen posing during an event

Woozi said, "I actually thought that blood types were a thing in the United States and other countries when I wrote the song, I didn’t know it wasn’t a thing. I don’t particularly believe in blood types, but when I was writing this I thought it would be something fun and cute. ... Maybe I should’ve included zodiac signs in the lyrics."

Seventeen performing on stage

7. When they were selected as K-pop trainees by industry powerhouse YG Entertainment, the members of girl group Blackpink — as well as other potentials who didn't make the cut — spent 12 hours a day, every day of the week, learning all the skills they'd need to become stars.

Blackpink performing on stage

Jennie, who called the experience "more strict than school," told Billboard, "Somebody would come in with a piece of paper and stick it on a wall, and it would say who did best, who did worst, who’s going home." Lisa added that the trainees were given letter grades.

Blackpink performing on stage

Ultimately, Jennie spent the most time as a trainee, logging six years, while Rosé spent the least, at four. Jisoo and Lisa landed in the middle, with five years apiece of training.

Blackpink performing on stage

8. The music video for Blackpink's "How You Like That" set three Guinness World Records: "Most Viewed YouTube Video in 24 Hours," "Most Viewed Music Video on YouTube in 24 Hours," and "Most Viewed YouTube Music Video in 24 Hours by a K-Pop Group."

the members in a dark room for the video

The video garnered 86.3 million views over the course of its first day online. It currently has over a billion.

the group dancing in front of backup dancers in the video

9. According to Elle, Blackpink's Lisa, who is from Thailand, was YG Entertainment's "first non-Korean idol."

close up of Elle singing

10. The group's rallying cry is "Blackpink in your area!" Jennie explained to Elle, "When we say ‘Blackpink in your area,’ we’re literally saying we’re in your area with good music, with good energy — we’re here for you."

close up of Elle dancing

11. Girls' Generation member Seohyun told Billboard that when the group first started working together, they would "talk endlessly" about the life and career ahead of them. One early decision they made was to act as "the bridesmaids and the wedding singer" for all of their fellow bandmates' future weddings.

Girls Generation performing on stage

12. When asked by Billboard about the most memorable crowd response to one of their performances, Red Velvet's Joy replied, "On an overseas tour, I was really moved by our international fans who memorized the lyrics in Korean and sang along to all our songs. They even made a special chant for each song. It blew my mind in the best way possible!"

Red Velvet on stage

13. Alongside having the wherewithal to memorize lyrics in their non-native language, Red Velvet's fans are innovative: The band told Interview that at their first event, which took place before they had an "official light stick," fans waved feather dusters, "because they were the same color as our hair back then."

Red Velvet dancing on stage

14. According to Rolling Stone, the thirteen members of Seventeen were each given a pinkie ring upon their debut in 2015, and they get a new one for each subsequent album release. As of April 2022, they were on their fifth ring.

Seventeen dancing on stage

15. And finally: I.M. of Monsta X told Consequence of Sound in 2021 that the group had lived together for "seven, almost eight years."

close up of I.M

He explained, "Well, we’ve lived together for seven, almost eight years, before the debut, because we live in the same dorm and we are still living in the same dorm, so I think we are closer than family, our personal family, because we stay together, we sleep together, we eat together, we do everything together. We’re getting old at the same time and doing everything."

Monsta X performing

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