BTS – Anpanman (English Translation and Ramblings)

Track 09 on Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’ album.

Korean lyrics from Naver Music.

Written by: Pdogg, Supreme Boi, Bang PD, RM, Suga, Jinbo

Anpanman is an anime superhero with a bun for the head.   I haven’t watched this before but I hear he’s not very strong but well meaning and self-sacrificing…

I believe “An” comes from “anko” which is red bean jam paste.  And “pan” means  “bread.”  So “Red-bean-bun-man”, where “Anpan” is the red bean bun.

anpan

 

This song is especially fun because “Anpan” kind of rhymes with “Bangtan” :)

 

In early days, BTS referenced a lot of outside works of music/art/literature in their songs.  What struck me in this album (this song as well as others) is that they reference some of their own works from the past.

I guess there are only so many words you can put in the lyrics of a 3-4 minute song, and using other references to give deeper layers of meanings to these words make the song more interesting.  Obviously, early in their career, they couldn’t reference their own works.

It kind of makes me proud that they have created enough significance and meaning in their own work over the years, that they can layer meanings of their current work from imagery and quotes from their own past. In a way, it seems to really fit the growth to “love yourself.”

 


 

Waiting for you Anapanman
Waiting for you Anpanman

 

I don’t have bulging biceps nor pecs
I don’t have super car like Batman
Really cool hero is my idealistic dream
But all I can give is just Anpan (redbean bun)
I had dreamed a hero like Superman
I jumped up with all my strength, high up the sky, “bang bang” 
the expression “bang bang” in is used as of sound effect when hyper children are jumping around (pronounced more like “bhang”)
I’m not afraid of getting my knees scraped
The daydreams of my innocent childhood.
The above section is interesting because the last words of each line all end in either ah/an/ang sound.  In addition, almost all the lines (except Superman) also ends in words that have “ah/아” as vowel in the last 2 syllables/characters.   If we use the letter x as the stand in for other consonants, you could say almost all lines end with:  xaxxax, which gives the song an interesting sound.

 

I’m not a superhero
Don’t expect a lot from me
“I can be your hero”
hero but not ‘super’ hero?
I really don’t know if these words are even fitting for me to say
But I really gotta say them, mom.

If I don’t say them, who will
You can call me, say Anpan 

 

Waiting for you Anpanman
(Lemme hear ya say, lemme hear ya say)
Waiting for you Anpanman
(Turn it up, turn it up, turn it up)
I’m gonna try a little harder to be strong
(Lemme hear ya say, lemme hear ya say)
I’ll be your strength

(Turn it up, turn it up, turn it up)

 

I keep turning turning my Anpan
Keep ballin’ ballin’ still Bangtan
I open my eyes and suddenly hero
means, suddenly found self to be a hero when waking up one morning
but still in a maze
still in the maze of “Young Forever”?  Still the same Bangan lost in the maze of life, afraid but still going forward?  Where they claim they want to be young boy forever?
That young man, young man, young man
Continuing to be secretly secretly full of injuries
But ballin’ ballin’ still Bangtan
Even if it hurts, still hero
The fear put behind (us)
Anpanman panman panman.
The line, “Even if it hurts, still hero”
to hurt is “apa/아파” which sounds similar to “anpan” (especially as the “n” sound is not as strong in Korean).
So “Even if it hurts, still hero” can sound like “Even Anpan is a hero” (아파도 hero/안판도 hero).
It’s interesting that the “pan” in “anpan” sounds like the French word “pain”, meaning bread.. but coincidentally in English is…pain…that can hurt.    (EDIT:  I thought it came from the French word “pain” but apparently, the origin of the word “pan” is from”pão” which is Portuguese)
I wonder if it’s RM’s doing- this feels like his style.  Wordplay possibly extended to Korean + English + Japanese + French mixed with anime references.

 

I’m a new generation Anpanman
I’m a new superhero Anpanman
All I have is this one punch of a song (or:  one hit song)
uses the word 한방 which means big one hit/punch.  In Korean, it means the one punch that KO’s opponents in fights but this term is not used in music industry at all.  It’s weird that the direct translation actually means “one-hit” in English.  The term is not used for “one hit songs” in Korean.
Lemme say “All the bad men, cop out”
I’m the new generation Anpanman
I’m a new superhero Anpanman
All I have is this one punch of a song
Lemme say “All the bad men, cop out”
UPDATE:  Thanks to Rafaela B and a bunch of people who mentioned “One-Punch Man” in comments!  :)  You guys are ahead of your times!
On V-Live May 28, 2018, RM mentioned the One-Punch Man (Wanpanman) in his review of the album.  Here’s what he says (starts at: 35:22)
The fun thing is, when I listen to Anpanman, you know there’s Wanpanman..  the pronunciation is similar to Wanpanman.  So I was like, “Can we release Anpanman Pt. 2?
As Wanpanman?” 

Like, “I’m Wanpanman that can make you go flying with one punch.”
So I said, “Let’s continue Anpanman with Wanpanman“, but I felt like the polar opposite of Anpanman was Wanpanman..   You know Wanpaman is a bit of a ‘munchkin (Korean slang for people who are good at everything)’.  If he punches once, they all go flying. But Anpanman is weak.  But our Anpanman defeats the Baikinman (The Germ man).

 

 

Sometimes I’m afraid of all these
Because I’ve come to have so many things that I love
Someone tells me, you’re almost an oppressive old man too
You’re not qualified, just do your own job well
But I still want to be a hero
All I can give is a sweet-bean-bun and say that you’ve worked hard
But I’ll fly to you right away if you call me
Please call me to you
Update:  (thanks emmadgallagher in comments!)
‘You can call me, say Anpan’ is about Anpanman being able to hear people in trouble when they call out his name.  (this seems to be one of his special abilities)

 

Waiting for you Anpanman
(Lemme hear ya say, lemme hear ya say)
Waiting for you Anpanman
(Turn it up, turn it up, turn it up)
I’m gonna try a little harder to be strong
(Lemme hear ya say, lemme hear ya say)
I’ll be your strength

(Turn it up, turn it up, turn it up)

 

I keep turning turning my Anpan
Keep ballin’ ballin’ still Bangtan
I open my eyes and suddenly hero
but still in a maze
That young man, young man, young man

Continuing to be secretly secretly full of injuries
But ballin’ ballin’ still Bangtan
Even if it hurts, still hero
The fear put behind (us)
Anpanman panman panman.

 

Honestly
I’m afraid of falling down
Of disappointing you
But even if I have to use all my strength
I’ll always be near you
I’m sure I’ll fall again
This song reminds of Run as well, falling but running.
And make mistakes again
And become muddied again
uses the term for being “full of mud” which is also used as a metaphor for public disgrace/scandals (especially if made to be disgraced by others)
Getting dirty is apparently something that Anpanman tries to avoid (as he is food???)
But belive in me, because I’m a hero.
yeah yeah

 

I keep turning turning my Anpan
Keep ballin’ ballin’ still Bangtan
I open my eyes and suddenly hero
but still in a maze
That young man, young man, young man

Continuing to be secretly secretly full of injuries
But ballin’ ballin’ still Bangtan
Even if it hurts, still hero
The fear put behind (us)
Anpanman panman panman.

I’m a new generation Anpanman
I’m a new superhero Anpanman
All I have is this one punch of a song
Lemme say “All the bad men, cop out”
I’m the new generation Anpanman
I’m a new superhero Anpanman
All I have is this one punch of a song
Lemme say “All the bad men, cop out”

 

25 thoughts on “BTS – Anpanman (English Translation and Ramblings)

  1. Thanks for the such a great information. But, in the section where you were talking about the song #Run
    I guess the line from the #Save me is also related to it or hints to that song. Line was like :-” I need your love before I FALL”.
    So, I guess they were talking about haters who hate them or do chit-chat around them or may be that they(BTS) won’t be able to fulfill our(ARMY) expectations some day {for me that won’t happen ever} and need our help, support, LoVE before they FALL!!!!!

  2. This is totally my favourite song!!! And the lyrics amazing! It helps people to look beyond the stereotypical image of a superhero, anyone can be a superhero , you just need the heart for it❤

  3. Pan is bread in spanish. Japanese learned it from them and remains the same nowadays, nothing to do with french or portuguese. Spaniard conquistadors went on their travels far in asia too, ask Philippines how many words they still have in spanish.

    1. Sorry but the word was introduced to Japan by Portuguese missionaries before its period of isolation ^^ French, Spanish, and Portuguese all come from Latin so it all sounds very similar especially to foreign ears. To Japanese ears “pão” became as “パン”. It’s usually romanized as “pan” which makes it look like Spanish, but actually the pronunciation is closer to “pang” in Japanese.

  4. In the cartoon, which you can see on YT, Anpanman and his friends are food and they fight Baikinman who is kind of a hater who likes messing everything up whenever anyone is having a good time (totally kid version of an internet troll). Anpanman flies and if he is knocked down and touches the ground or his head gets muddy, wet, or dirty, usually at the climax of the show, he becomes incapacitated. His friends have to call for help and the baker (his father figure, because he is a bit like Gepetto or the man who made the gingerbread man) bakes him a new clean head, then they throw this head out and stick it onto Anpanman’s body. The old dirty bread head disappears and the new head gives him new strength again. This is why Jimin’s line about falling down and getting muddied. You can see Namjoon stick the face into Jimin in the performance choreo.

    I feel this is a metaphor for haters and negative people “flinging mud” at you in life, and that with support of friends your strength is renewed.

    Anpanman was actually created while the Japanese cartoonist was starving during the WW2 years and fantasizing about food and a superhero who would save people from suffering. In the present day he is the most innocent of toddler cartoons you can find on Japanese TV. Same level as like, Sesame Street age. It’s a show that tries to teach kids kindness and helping others. It also has a little about dental hygiene, handwashing, and various foods like bread, milk, etc. This is because when the character was made they really wanted to encourage kids to try Western style foods because post-war in Japan they had bread, spaghetti, ketchup, mayonnaise, and other unfamiliar foods from the US occupation rations and they needed children to eat for nutrients. You will notice that there is a Shokupanman “dinner bread man” which is a slice of white bread like Wonder Bread, who has stereotypical Caucasian nose. At that time in history (in the US too) that vitamin-enriched white Wonder Bread was thought to be healthy for kids. Now it seems like “omg this show is about carbs!” 😂

    1. Thank you for this. I’ve been too busy to actually watch the Anpanman, but it seems like the anime itself layers quite a lot of meaning onto this song.

  5. This song is amazing. I love how upbeat it is despite the lyrics being about bangtan sacrificing a part of themselves for us. This is one of my favourite songs in the album.
    Ps I think the part about “turning turning my anpan” is referencing how anpanman replaces his head/recharges after he gives part of head for people to eat (kinda creepy when I say it like that) his head sorta spins around really fast. To me, it sorta looks like his new head is being screwed on to his body. (Again, a little creepy)

  6. I see someone already said it but I thought I would comment too. I wonder if 한방 could refer to One-punch Man the manga?? I bet they would love that comic actually, and it makes sense because he’s just a normal guy except for his punches. BTW I’m glad you reminded me of their older referential songs. Now that I think about it this song is kind of like Attack on Bangtan with the anime references. I love these nerds <3

  7. Hi, can I use your annotations on another website? I’ll make sure to credit you of course. Please let me know! Thank you.

  8. The idea that ‘pan’ comes from the French word ‘pain’ isn’t bad. In that way the French-English wordplay with pain works too, but is there any reason why it has to be French? Because ‘pan’ could also come from the Spanish word ‘pan’ meaning bread. Way more easier. Anyway, I love your analysis!

    1. I was pretty sure I read it was from French origin when I was looking it up when I was writing this …but nope, I was wrong. I looked it up more carefully and it says it’s from the Portuguese word “pão” which, strangely, sounds more similar to the way Japanese pronounce “pan.” It says the Portuguese were the first Western culture to have interaction in this area….
      Thanks for bringing it up to my attention. :)

      1. That’s true, but then again French and Portuguese both have a Latin origin, and the French term, more famous due to our food culture (yeah I’m French ^^), so RM could have thought more easily about “pain” rather than “pão”, and the wordplay gets even better!

  9. I’m just in love with this song. It’s so bangtan, so fun and creepy. Anpanman is considered weak but sacrifices himself by letting other people eat a piece of him (literally). So sudenly bts is thrown into a position of superhero, but they are still lost, still get hurt, but choose to answer our calls and sacrifice themselves.

    Ps the one punch/one hit reminds me of one puch man the anime

    1. Updated re: One-Punch man!! Wow!! RM confirmed that he thought of One-Punch man too!!
      My computer broke down so it took a while for me to update. Sorry about that~!! updated!!

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