BTS Tries to Clarify Hiatus Reports as Label Does Damage Control

Korean pop group BTS and their label HYBE are walking back reports this week that the group is disbanding or going on "hiatus." The boyband released a video this week with subtitles that stated they were going on hiatus. However, their management, HYBE, recently stated that the band wouldn't be breaking up and that the hiatus phrase was a translation mistake.

After posting the announcement about their planned hiatus, the video drew more than 16 million views in just two days. Fans of the group, referred to as ARMY, flooded social media with messages of support and sadness over the news.

The term "hiatus," which was used in the English translation of the original video, caused a lot of confusion among fans. Speculation about the group's possible disbandment led to a quick backpedaling of statements by the label and the group members themselves.

"BTS are not taking a hiatus. Members will be focusing more on solo projects at this time," the label said in a statement, backing off the term "hiatus," claiming it was wrongly translated. The subtitles on the video now have "temporary break" in place of the word "hiatus." It should be noted that, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, "hiatus" is defined as "a short pause in which nothing happens or is said, or a space where something is missing," which is essentially the same as the term "temporary break."Also worth noting is that HYBE stock dropped 28 percent in South Korea following BTS' Festa dinner party video, resulting in a $1.7 billion loss in market value for the company.

In a live video stream on Thursday, Jungkook, the youngest member, tried to clarify matters."We don't have any thoughts of breaking up," he said, adding that BTS still had plans to perform in the future. RM, the group's leader, posted on the social media site Weverse on June 16, saying he had received many messages from people who believed the group was breaking up."Although it's not like I didn't anticipate this or was oblivious that this could happen, I still feel bitter," he said, explaining that he wanted to communicate openly with fans about the group's experiences over the past decade rather than announce its dissolution.

Several South Korean media outlets reported the hiatus within the context that Jin, the group's oldest member, would have to enlist for military service by the end of the year. According to South Korean mandatory military service law, all men under 30 must perform around two years of military service, as the country remains technically at war with nuclear-armed North Korea.

It was long rumored that BTS' seven male stars would be conscripted, with its seven male stars ranging in age from 24-year-old Jungkook to Jin, who is 29, and must sign up by next year or face jail time."Military service was clearly involved in the announcement," Lee Moon-won, a K-pop culture commentator, told AFP, adding that it appeared that the band was not planning to continue making music without all its members present. As successive stints in the military look set to disrupt the septet's globetrotting schedule for the next several years, Lee said allowing the band members to focus on their solo careers was a "logical move."

During the June 14 announcement video, the band members talked candidly about their intense pressure to consistently create and deliver quality music, which ultimately led to their desire to pursue solo careers temporarily." I felt like I was trapped and couldn't get out," said RM, explaining he didn't have much room to grow as a K-pop idol.

He revealed that their goal was to grow and mature as individuals on their own. "I always thought that BTS was different from other groups, but the problem with K-pop and the whole idol system is that they don't give you time to mature, RM said. "You have to keep producing music and keep doing something."

Jimin continued by saying that the group was concerned for their fans and desired to be the type of entertainers that people would remember. "We can't help but think of our fans no matter what, we want to be the kind of artist that can be remembered by our fans," he said. "I think now we're starting to think about what kind of artists we want to be remembered by our fans."