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Synonyms: Army, BTS Fandom, A.R.M.Y., Adorable Representative MC for the Youth
See also: Fandom Nickname, Fan army
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ARMY is the name given to the worldwide K-pop fanclub of K-pop group BTS. It stands for Adorable Representative MC for the Youth. In Korean, the name is 아미. It holds special meaning since the word "army" is associated with the military and body armor, which goes along with BTS's larger concept of being protectors and speakers for today's youth.

ARMY is known for its international philanthropy in humanitarian causes like environmental clean up, tree planting, and school building. Their numbers are powerful, being capable of charting music high without industry support and overwhelming voting websites. On the other hand, it is also known as toxic and obsessive with invasive sasaeng-like fan behaviors.


ARMY membership is subject to the discretion of each individual fan. There is an official membership one can buy, provided by BigHit Entertainment. However, many fans don't buy the official membership and still consider themselves an ARMY.


ARMY was officially established on July 9, 2013 with the first recruitment under BigHit Entertainment.


ARMY's numbers were relatively small during this time. BTS were known as a nugu group, which means a group that is not well-known or famous. Although ARMY was small, it had many international fans from outside of South Korea due to BTS's music encompassing genres such as hip hop and rap.


ARMY was still relatively small during this time.

The fandom established a monthly selca day called #ARMYSelcaDay to share selfies and other photos of themselves with fellow fans on Twitter. Many fans enthused about releases such as BTS' WE ON Webtoon, member birthdays, and music releases.


ARMY began to grow in this year due to the release of BTS' The Most Beautiful Moment in Life pt. 1 mini-album that featured a popular title track song called "I NEED U." This mini-album established the Bangtan Universe. BTS won their first music show award with this song, which ARMYs gathered to vote for across social media platforms. Songs such as Dope were also popular internationally, gaining BTS solid fanbases on website such as Tumblr and Twitter.

This year, the #PlagarismBoys Controversy also happened.


ARMY grew quickly this year due to releases such as BTS' "Run" and "Blood, Sweat, & Tears."

ARMY faced its largest fanwars against EXO-Ls during this year. Events such as BTS GDA Black Ocean 2016, May "Terror" Month of 2016, and Break Wings Project happened.


BTS made their American debut with their song DNA from their mini-album Love Yourself: Her which gained critical acclaim worldwide and is seen as their breakout into the west. To celebrate the band's fourth anniversary, fans purchased a Time Square billboard to display congratulatory messages. [1]


White Paper Project


Purple Carpet




Fandom Culture

Fanfiction Culture

Archive of Our Own

The most hit work on Archive of Our Own in the BTS category is House of Cards. The most kudo'd work is The Songbird and the Sea. Other popular works include UKIYO and Wonder (BTS Story).

Popular tags for ARMYs on Archive of Our Own are Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics, College AU, Modern AU, and Canon Compliant.


On Tumblr, ARMYs are organized into networks and typically write y/n fanfiction. A small handful of active writers write the majority of fanfiction on Tumblr and fanfiction is shared through recommendation lists and network tags.

Relationship with other Fandoms


The BLINK and ARMY fandoms have a strained relationship due to competition in streaming, sales, and popularity.


When BTS passed One Directions records, there was some beef with One Direction singer Liam Payne and Directioners.[2]


Controversy and Criticisms

Massive threads by BTSARMY against the racist actions of radio host Matthias 'Matuschke' Matuschik

In February 2021, the German radio host Matthias Matuschik made comments on his local, government-funded German radio program about the [K-pop] group BTS.

Matuschik hosts a small weekly, program segment on the regional public Bavarian radio station Bayern3 which is completely in German, where he made a comment about the band regarding a cover-version of the Coldplay song "Fix You" in which he likened the K-POP wave and BTS to a virus and that he wished that the K-POP trend is over soon "(...)Some crap virus, for which there will hopefully soon be a vaccination as well." and called the band members "these small pisser".[3]

The character of the programm which marketed as "Matuschke – der etwas andere Abend" ["Matuschke - the somewhat different evening"] and according to one of the statement issued by the radio station that it is "the hallmark of this show and also of the presenter to express his opinion clearly, openly and unvarnished. "

Soon enough, English-speaking BTS Fans started trending hashtags against Matuschik on Twitter as well against the radio station Bayern 3 and called Matuschik and his comment racist. They asked for an apology by Matuschik and Bayern 3.

Both Matuschik and the radio station released two statements, even available in English, but the BTSArmy still wanted Matuschik fired (#Matuschik_OUT, #MatuschikMussWeg, trending hashtags like #Bayern3Racist that called that Matischik and Bayern3 racist. Matuschik received "serious threats" against himself and his family following the incident, according to a Bayern3 statement, and he had to set his personal Twitter Account to private.

"In the meantime, the presenter and his family receive serious threats. We ask, despite every sympathy for the indignation, that the discussion must remain on a substantive level.


"The history of Matthias and his actions in the past (such as his involvement in refugee aid and his ongoing commitment against right-wing extremism) clearly show that xenophobia and racism in any form whatsoever could not be further from his mind. He has also tried to address this in the afore-mentioned programme, but this does not change the fact that many of you have found his statements hurtful or racist. For this we deeply apologize. We will work through the issue again in more detail with Matthias and the team in the next few days."


After a large part of the German news coverage that reported about the incident sided with Bayern 3 decision to side with Matuschik, ARMY, western celebrities (MAX[5] and Steve Aoki[6]), journalists, radio hosts (JJ Ryan[7]) and Asian activists in both America and Germany deemed Matuschik's and the station's statements and apologies inadequate to the damage they've done to not only BTS, but to Asian people at large. ARMYs, with the help of journalists and activists, started trending hashtags on Twitter for several weeks to bring attention to the racism condone by the German media. (#GermanMediaRacist or #GermanMEDIA_racism).

Some BTSARMY Twitters also hijacked the #imnotanvirus hashtag in the controversy, which was created for whole another purpose one year prior.[8]

With the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes worldwide due to COVID-19 and this event with BTS, German ARMY fanbases contacted and are working with local activists to support Asian-German organizations against anti-Asian racism in Germany. They trended hashtags and keywords. (#NOtoRacism, #WeCantBeSilenced and KEEP FIGHTING, WE WON'T GIVE UP) They have also shared resources about anti-Asian racism in Germany and links to donation drives to organizations working to bring awareness to the hardships of Asian people in Germany.[9]

Contrary to the US, there was no significant rise in physical attacks against Asian population in Germany after the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, as published by the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (bpb) and that Asian immigrants were generally viewed as more positive than other groups.

(...)Im Vergleich zu anderen (post)migrantischen Gruppen erleben sie weniger häufig direkte Ablehnung und Ausgrenzung und werden von der "Normalbevölkerung" positiver wahrgenommen. Die Ergebnisse zeigen aber auch, wie unsicher dieser Zustand ist. Bestehende Vorurteile und Ablehnungen können in realen oder imaginären Krisensituationen schnell aktiviert werden und zu kleinen und großen Ausprägungen von antiasiatischem Rassismus führen."

"(...)Compared to other (post)migrant groups, they experience direct rejection and exclusion less frequently and are perceived more positively by the "normal population". However, the results also show how uncertain this state of affairs is. Existing prejudices and rejections can be quickly activated in real or imagined crisis situations and lead to small and large expressions of anti-Asian racism."


Spam replying of "Fancams" on Twitter to unrelated twitter posts and threads

BTS Fans and K-POP fans in general are known to post unrelated pictures of K-POP artists and gifs to random twitter posts and threads, which is an against Twitter rules since it disrupts people’s experience on Twitter and can be reported by Twitter users as spam.

Platform manipulation and spam: You may not use Twitter’s services in a manner intended to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people’s experience on Twitter. Learn more.

The Twitter Rules

2021 Award cycle in the western world

BTS broke many records in 2021 with the help of Army, who often see the success of their idols as a reflection of the fandoms hard work and effort. Sales of their albums caused Dynamite to skyrocket up the charts in a way other fans felt was 'inauthentic' or 'bought'. The common Army justification is that the placing is justified because it reflects Army's love for BTS.

When BTS' Dynamite was nominated but did not win at the 2021 Grammy Awards, Army lashed out at the grammys with the hashtag #scammys

"After the boyband’s song Dynamite lost out to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s Rain On Me collab, the fandom took aim at the Recording Academy by making #scammys trend on Twitter."


"(...)Though the septet was content with all the love they have received for their Grammy nomination, it was their teeming fan-base, widely known as BTS ARMY, which let them down this time around.

(...) The moment BTS' Dynamite was nominated at this year’s Grammys, ARMY had high hopes that their favourite K-pop band would surely bring the prestigious award home. Dynamite had topped the Billboard's main singles chart last year and had garnered over 800 million YouTube views in January this year, resulting in the band earning its first-ever career No. 1 on the Billboard's main singles chart. The song then stayed at the position for months.

But despite all that, BTS just couldn't land on to their maiden Grammy victory, which would have been a huge honour for a K-pop band. Their loss didn't go well with BTS ARMY, which began trolling the Grammy Awards, saying that it has lost its relevance.

Winning and losing is part and parcel for any artist and it shouldn't be compared with one's success or failure. BTS has already won billions of hearts across the globe and made its presence felt not just at the Grammys, but also in the international music space. Army's emotions are understandable, but they should've cherished BTS' biggest moment of their career rather than putting them on a wrong pedestal."


See also

Further Reading/Meta