On March 12, BTS gave an interview to the Spanish media “El Pais” in which they talked about Kpop and South Korean culture.
Since then, the interview has garnered huge attention from the Korean public, and translator Hwang Seok Hee, who worked on “Deadpool”, published his assessment on March 14.
Specifically, Hwang Seok Hee started by saying, “I noticed that BTS RM’s K-pop interview gained interest, so I looked at the original text. It’s a compelling observation that Koreans push themselves so hard. Koreans are a nation with a strong desire to improve and compete. Of course, the fact is that the competition has forced us to improve. “
He then expressed sympathy for the RM interview, adding: “Nevertheless, there seems to be a DNA in us (Koreans) that allows us to move forward step by step, even in difficult times.”
Hwang Seok Hee also commented on the point in the interview where RM mentioned the translation “ancestor“. According to the translator, the term does not necessarily mean “ancestor“, but can also be interpreted as “pioneer” Or “precursorand stressed that it was important not to confuse it with a nationalist expression.
“Since the term ‘ancestor of Kpop’ is sometimes used, it may be a valid expression in certain contexts,he added.
Below is RM’s interview translated by Hwang Seok Hee:
Question: Are youth, love of excellence, and overexertion a cultural feature of Korean Kpop?
RM BTS: Westerners don’t understand. Korea is a country that has been invaded, devastated and divided in two. Just 70 years ago, it was a country with nothing. It was a country that received help from the IMF and the UN. But now it is a country that the whole world is paying attention to. How was it possible? How did this happen? This is because people have worked insanely hard to grow. People from countries like France and England who have colonized other countries for centuries come and say, “You are too hard on yourself. Living in Korea is too stressful!”
But to achieve this, these things are necessary. These are also the factors that make K-pop attractive. There are certainly gray areas in judgment, but there are always side effects to things that happen too fast and too intensely.
It may be irritating that Spotify calls us all “Kpop”, but the effect is sure. It’s a premium brand. It guarantees the quality that people who came before us (translated as “ancestors” in other texts) fought for.