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Asia Minute: K-Pop’s Global Hitmakers Reach New Heights

MTV via AP
In this video grab issued Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, by MTV, BTS accepts the award for best pop video for "On" during the MTV Video Music Awards.

This has been a rough week in South Korea. The number of COVID-19 patients in critical or serious condition has spiked, while part of the country was hit by a typhoon and another is lingering offshore. 


But there was another big story in South Korea this week—and it had nothing to do with public health or natural disasters. 

You may not realize it, but this has been a huge week for the biggest group in K-pop.

For the first time in history, a South Korean pop group hit the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

That would be the seven-member boy band BTS—and its single “Dynamite”—the first song the group has recorded in English.

Up to now, the highest chart spot for a Korean singer was number two—and that was eight years ago. Anybody remember “Gangnam Style?”

BTS started off the week winning MTV Video Music Awards for “best pop,” “best group” and “best K-pop.”

On Thursday, the Guinness Book of World Records announced BTS set a new mark for the most viewed YouTube video in 24 hours—with more than 101 million views for the “Dynamite” video.

Next week comes an appearance on the “Today” show, followed by a spot on “America’s Got Talent.”

Among the fans posting congratulations is South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has posed for photos with the group. He is a politician after all.

Moon called the Billboard achievement “truly amazing” — and a “splendid feat that further raises pride in K-pop.”

In a nod to the continuing pandemic, he added “it will bring huge consolation to Koreans,” as well as “a message of comfort and hope to people around the world who are struggling with COVID-19.”




Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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