BTS is a household name in the music industry. One of their most recent achievements was notching five No. 1 hits in less than a year, becoming the first group to achieve the feat since the Jackson 5 in 1970. Considering the septet has millions of ARMYs supporting them, there’s no doubt this is only the beginning of their success on the charts. Since they continue to gain fans every comeback, new ARMYs might wonder, “What does BTS stand for?” There are actually a couple meanings to the name — neither of which are “behind the scenes,” btw.
First of all, in Korean, BTS stands for "Bangtan Sonyeondan," aka, “a group of bulletproof boys,” or the official English title, "Bulletproof Boy Scouts.” Shorter versions of the name are “Bangtan” or “Bangtan Boys.”
In a May 2016 interview with Affinity, J-Hope explained they chose "Bangtan Sonyeondan” because it means to “block out stereotypes, criticisms, and expectations that aim at adolescents like bullets.” At the beginning of their career, the group expressed this concept through their logo, which used to be a bulletproof vest, as well as their songs like “Attack on Bangtan” and “We Are Bulletproof Pr. 2.” This is why BTS also named their fandom “ARMY” to go along with their theme.
After BTS gained more global popularity in 2017 following their Wings tour, which spanned across Asia, South America, and North America, they changed their logo to reflect their growth as a group. BTS unveiled their sleek new logo in a July 4 video that year and unveiled a second name behind BTS in the process.
At the end of the clip, RM proclaims “Beyond The Scene, BTS,” thus introducing fans to a new, English interpretation of their identity for the first time. While fans were initially worried the boys were leaving behind their original name, the septet reassured ARMYs “Beyond The Scene” was just going to be another part of their identity (in other words, they are still very much Bangtan Sonyeondan in Korean). They said they would still focus on “protecting the adolescence and its values,” but would now also represent the “young generation that doesn’t settle” and “ceaselessly progresses forward, beyond the current scenes of reality it faces.”
To this day, BTS keeps their message behind "Bangtan Sonyeondan” alive through their lyrics. For example, in their 2020 Map of the Soul: 7 track “We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal,” the guys sing, “Throw stones at me/ We don’t fear anymore/ We are we are together, bulletproof.”
Both meanings behind BTS’ name are so inspiring!