K-Pop Stars BTS To Complete Military Service in South Korea

17 October 2022 | 8:14 pm | Staff Writer

The band will each serve, starting with its oldest member Jin according to their management.

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In a shock announcement on Monday, K-Pop superstars BTS' management have confirmed that its members will each serve in the South Korean military as part of their mandatory service. The band had previously been looking for an exemption to allow them to continue their musical career. 

South Korean Defence Minister Lee Jong-sup said they would look into the group's economic impact, the importance of military service and overall national interest, however it is now clear that the exemption will not be granted. The law was previously changed in 2019 to allow the group to delay their service until age 30. A private government survey earlier this year showed around 60% support for allowing the band's members an exemption for the service. 

The oldest member Jin turns 30 in December, while the band itself announced in June that they would be on hiatus to pursue solo projects. Jin has withdrawn his application to postpone his enlistment and is expected to enroll in the military as an active duty soldier as soon as the notice of enlistment is issued. 

The current Military Service Act stipulates that persons with special skills in the fields of arts and sports prescribed by Presidential Decree and recommended by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism may be given an extension or exemption from service. However, 'popular culture' is not included in the arts and sports specialty.

BTS are the band that put K-Pop on the international map, becoming one of the biggest acts on the planet. Their last four studio albums have all landed in the Australian ARIA top ten while their compilation album Proof, released in June this year hit the top spot. Their single Boy With Luv featuring Halsey was also an ARIA top ten hit. 

Turns out 'pursuing solo projects' can be very different in South Korea...

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