BTS to get cultural medal for spreading Korean culture: South Korean presidential office

The seven-member K-pop boyband BTS performing to some 40,000 fans at Citi Field in New York on Oct. 6, 2018. They are the first K-pop act to perform in the stadium. PHOTO: NYTIMES

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - K-pop sensation BTS is being commended for its contributions in spreading Korean culture and language, South Korea's presidential office said on Monday (Oct 8).

Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said it was decided at a Cabinet meeting held earlier in the day to award the seven members of the boy band with a fifth-class Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit.

"Many young people overseas are now singing Korean lyrics, one of the examples of (BTS) contributing to not only spreading Hallyu, but also Hangeul," Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon was quoted by Mr Kim as saying. Tuesday marks South Korea's annual Hangeul Day.

Veteran actor Lee Soon-jae will also receive the Hwagwan medal, while the Grand Order of Mugunghwa - the top order of any kind in South Korea - will be bestowed upon French President Emmanuel Macron for his contribution to the relationship between the two countries.

The Order of Cultural Merit is awarded by the president to those deemed to have given outstanding meritorious services in the culture and arts field serving the interest of promoting Korean culture.

Actor Bae Yong-joon, who contributed to spreading the word for Hallyu to encompass Korean arts with his popularity in Japan, received the Hwagwan award in 2008. He is best known for his roles in Korean dramas such as Winter Sonata.

BTS is among the most popular and perhaps singularly most successful Korean musical acts internationally as of today. It remains the only K-pop artist to top the Billboard 200 albums chart - having done so with Love Yourself: Tear and Love Yourself: Answer - while no other Korean artist had even cracked the top 30.

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The boy band also has a number of accolades under its belt, including the top social artist award at the Billboard Music Awards and being featured on a number of popular United States shows, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Late Show with James Corden.

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