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BTS’s RM insists that group’s break “is not the end for us”

By | Published on Thursday 16 June 2022


BTS are not splitting up. Not at all. It’s just a hiatus, guys. Sure, ‘hiatus’ is generally boyband code for ‘splitting up’, but not this time. Not least because, they’re management company insists, they didn’t even say that they were going on a “hiatus” in the video announcing their hiatus earlier this week. And now the group’s RM has added to all that insisting.

Commenting on the media coverage of that video, he said in a statement on Weverse, according to Koreaboo: “A lot of the screenshots of headlines and articles, which have been shared with me, used aggressive keywords taken out of context, like BTS ‘disbanding’, ‘halting group activities’ and ‘announcing hiatus’. I fully expected this to happen. I was bracing myself for it, too. But it still left a bitter feeling in my heart”.

“As clear as it would have been to those who actually watched it”, he added, “we explained throughout the whole broadcast that this is not the end for us”.

Indeed, throughout the incredibly candid discussion between members of the group on Monday, they stressed that they had no plans to stop working together long-term. However, they did say that they were “exhausted” and had run out of things to say in their lyrics.

In part, RM blamed their workload for both of those things, adding: “The problem with K-pop and the whole ‘idol’ system is that they don’t give you time to mature. You have to keep producing music and keep doing something. There’s just no time for me to think”.

To be fair, the group have been working pretty much constantly for nine years, with just a couple of brief breaks. They definitely deserve a bit of time off. But is that time off a “hiatus”? The group’s management company Hybe – whose share price tumbles whenever there’s talk of BTS coming to an end – says no. In a statement, it insisted that “BTS are not taking a hiatus”, but confirmed that “members will be focusing more on solo projects at this time”.

The extent to which BTS said – or at least implied – they would be pausing their activities as a band for sometime does partly depend on how you translate what they actually said into English.

The subtitles that accompanied Monday’s video did originally have band member Suga saying “we’re going into a hiatus now”, but those subtitles were later amended so that the English phrase he used was “temporary break”. And – also according to Koreaboo – the Korean word he actually used could be translated as “off-season” or “an off-period”.

The latter translations arguably make the band’s break sound more like a natural part of their usual schedule of recording, promoting and touring, rather than something more dramatic. Although, I mean, technically the word ‘hiatus’ just means a temporary break or interruption. But, as noted, it has become quite a loaded word in pop music.

While discussing the planned time apart was definitely something all the members of BTS did as a group in the video, it was RM who particularly spoke at length about the reasons for the decision and his feelings about the K-pop machine.

In his new statement, he admitted that he now wondered if that had been such a good idea, saying: “Now that I see the screenshots of me bawling my eyes out going around the internet, and triggering a lot of misinterpretations, I’m starting to think I shouldn’t have been all that passionate. It seems to me that my courage to be completely transparent and honest always ends up causing unnecessary drama and misunderstandings”.

Indeed, anyone only taking a cursory glance at media reports of this week’s video may well think that the group had basically announced their split. But that was definitely not the case. And it would be a shame if this put them off speaking so openly again in future, because to see an active pop band discuss their career like that was so unusual and utterly fascinating.

Here is the full discussion again, if you missed it: