BTS: The Meaning Behind J-Hope’s BT21 Character, Mang

BTS’ J-Hope is your hope, and you’re his hope. When this rapper created his BT21 character, he incorporated heart-shaped lips and his love for dance. Here’s what we know about the meaning of J-Hope’s BT21 character, Mang.

The BTS members created Line Friends merchandise — BT21

BTS are seen backstage during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena
BTS are seen backstage during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena | Emma McIntyre/BBMA2019/Getty Images for dcp

BTS is one of the world’s biggest boy bands, selling out stadiums and creating original merchandise. That includes a line of BTS-themed products available at Line Friends, called BT21.

At BTS concerts, some ARMYs sport BT21 merchandise of their favorite members. Even during one episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the host modeled a BT21 headband of his “BTS bias” — that’s Jimin’s character Chimmy. 

What makes these characters even more special is that they were actually drawn up by BTS. The idols gave their cartoons backstories and original names, with merchandise later available to fans worldwide. 

The BTS members each created a BT21 character, in addition to Van, the BT21 figure that represents ARMY. That includes RJ (Jin), Chimmy (Jimin), Cooky (Jungkook), Tata (V), Shooky (Suga), and Koya (RM). J-Hope created a blue and purple horse-esque character that he named Mang.

What is the meaning behind J-Hope’s BT21 character, Mang?

There’s plenty of meaning behind this loveable cartoon character — even Mang’s name. According to Metro, the word “Mang” has different meanings in Korean. The website reports that “it can translate as ‘a pony’, ‘to fail,’ and it’s the latter part of the word ‘hope’ (huimang).”

While drawing out this character, J-Hope was sure to include heart-shaped lips, noting that his own mouth turns into a heart when he laughs. (J-Hope even thought about making the ears heart-shaped but decided against it, saying it would be too “distracting” in one video.)

“I tried to portray a horse,” J-Hope explained with his final drawing, according to a translation on another BT21 video. “So, horses are kind of disliked as a character, you know. I wanted to break that stereotype. It’s a cute horse. It’s very cute, and I hope you love it.”

According to BTS’ Fandom, just like his creator, Mang loves to dance. Even though Mang is actually “melancholic” in real life, this character is cheerful in appearance. 

In addition to starring in YouTube cartoon episodes, Mang is the star of several BT21 products. That includes a birthday cake flavored lip balm, a wireless charging phone holder, and a bubble tea-themed bag charm, all of which are available on the Line Friends website.

BTS partnered with brands like Starbucks, Louis Vuitton, and McDonald’s

Aside from their collaboration with Line Friends, BTS partnered with other brands. They created the BTS Meal at McDonald’s, even selling original clothing items in conjunction with the brand.

The K-pop group worked with The Coca-Cola Company and Starbucks. They created a “Map of the Soul” pop-up shop in Seoul. Recently, BTS became the brand ambassador for the fashion house Louis Vuitton. 

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