K-Pop and K-Dramas: Understanding Taehyung

Shot of Kim Taehyung (V) from a promotional photoshoot. Copyright goes to BTS and the HYBE Corporation.

Hey! Hallie here!

Anyone who’s stuck with this blog for a while knows that my bias in BTS is J-Hope. I’ve talked about him pretty often and I love him a lot. But Taehyung is my bias wrecker. His personality tends to draw me in. But coming into BTS as ARMY, it took me the longest to warm to Taehyung. He was quiet and sometimes standoffish in interviews, he seemed childish at times, and many ARMYs spoke about how immature he had been in years past. I couldn’t really seem to get a handle on his personality. Now that I’m much deeper into ARMY, I find him to be the most relatable member in BTS. I don’t know him personally, and I’m certainly not saying I truly understand him because that isn’t possible for someone who has never met him, but I find I can connect to a lot of the things he says and does. For the people who are also struggling to wrap their heads around Taehyung, here’s what I discovered about him over time.

Interviews:

I’m going to start by talking about interviews because these are what I watched first in an attempt to get to know the members a bit better. If you’re from the US, like myself, and are using mostly American interviews to try to get to know them, it’s important to be aware of how bad some American interviewers are. They can be really invasive and insensitive to Korean culture. Earlier in their career, when Namjoon was the only English speaker, Namjoon was able to filter out more offensive questions or statements to keep things light. Now that the other members understand quite a bit of English, this isn’t really the case anymore. And Taehyung is one of the people who becomes the most protective and annoyed when these questions come up. Sometimes he’ll shut down and refrain from speaking. Which is actually a very professional response to rude comments. Other times he’ll add in a sarcastic jab or a sideways glance. But he’s never rude. He’s always pleasant and attentive, regardless of the nature of the interview. In more respectful interviews, like those in Korea, he’s almost adorably pleasant especially when the subject of ARMY is brought up. Taehyung knows he deserves a level of respect. It’s why he stays off of WeVerse when something comes up in his personal life or jokes with fans about how strange it is that so many of them want to marry him without knowing him. It’s admirable of him to know how BTS should be treated and to prioritize it the way he does without bringing any self-centeredness into it.

Childishness?:

I’m not talking about immaturity here. I’ll talk about that in a second. I’m talking more about his sudden goofiness. Taehyung will switch between stoic to adorably hilarious without any notice whatsoever. When I first saw it, I mistook it for childishness. Like he was hiding his more goofy nature behind a stoic facade that he was always ready to drop at a moments notice. My thoughts about this were furthered when I heard him described as “innocent” by Jimin in a few interviews. I can say now that Tae isn’t faking stoicism and his innocence has nothing to do with his goofiness. Tae is very open about his emotions. More than most people. Namjoon has even talked about how his openness threw him off at first. When Tae’s upset it’s clear, just as when he’s delighted or when he’s tired. It’s cool to see how in touch he is with his emotions even though he’s talked about how he feels like he isn’t in touch with them enough. While I can’t exactly pinpoint what Jimin was talking about when he described Tae as “innocent”, I can echo Tae in his assessment of himself. He views himself as a curious person who is still trying to figure out more about himself and the world. The way that he chooses to embrace himself in order to learn more about himself is something I wish I was capable of.

Immaturity?:

A lot of baby ARMYs hear about how immature Taehyung was in the past. Taehyung has written a song about how much he’s grown up over the years, “Inner Child”, and Tae and Jungkook had a conversation in ‘In the Soop’ where Tae tried to bridge a gap between them that he felt occurred when Tae became more mature. Watching ‘Bon Voyage’ showcases just how much he’s grown. He went from wandering off on his own while the staff specifically attempted to prevent him from doing so, to ensuring his adventures were enjoyable for all parties involved. In early seasons he would try his best to get out of doing chores whereas he later decided to completely take over dish washing because he felt bad that he couldn’t cook. And, as you can see, these are all small signs of immaturity. He wasn’t self absorbed or rude, but he was a bit of a troublemaker. He’s been generously open about his journey growing up, especially in the Korean music industry, and it’s entirely relatable. His youth has been very public because of his profession, but he’s promoted the importance of change through that and it’s pretty incredible.

And that’s it! I love talking about Tae because he’s such a unique personality in the music industry. He’s genuine without ever being self-absorbed. He’s open about his journey but knows what situations call for privacy. In a group with Namjoon and Yoongi, it can be easy to miss how intelligent the other members are. But all of them have their own lessons to teach and unexpected wise words. It’s just another reason why I love BTS.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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