BTS mandatory military service

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Emily Montalvo

Sophomore Samuel Gardiner with his BTS hoodie on during lunch.

Fans of the K-pop boy band were shocked when the band announced they would take a break from performing for the first time since their 2013 debut. The band’s seven members Jung Kook, V, Jin, Jimin, SUGA, RM, and JHope, announced back in October that they would then carry out their military duties. What seemed to be a small break would turn into three years. For those who didn’t know, the band must take a break for a few years to complete their military service, a requirement all able-bodied men between 18 and 28 years old must fulfill in South Korea. In 2020 South Korea’s parliament passed a bill allowing pop stars – namely those who “excel in popular culture and art” – to defer their service until the age of 30. With lawmakers spamming at Parliament and surveys showing sharply split public opinions over offering exemptions to BTS members, their management agency said in October that all BTS members would perform their compulsory military duties.

Superfan sophomore Samuel Gardiner said about the band enlisting, “I am deeply saddened to hear the seven members will not continue promoting as a band for a while, but hopefully they will reunite in the future and give the ARMY (the BTS fandom) more amazing songs.” Jin, the oldest member of the band, who is currently 30 years old, entered the Yeoncheon training center on December 13, 2022, and has since been selected to serve as an assistant instructor at the Yeoncheon army base in northern Gyeonggi province according to the South Korean military. He will learn military basics such as rifle shooting, grenade throwing, and marching practices. All South Korean men are required to enlist by the age of 28 and must serve for a minimum of 18 months. BTS’s oldest member, Jin, was initially set to enlist by December 2020; however, the South Korean government created a new exception just three days before the artist’s 28 birthday. We hope that they can come back stronger and more united from this. As of January 19, 2023, Jin completed five weeks of basic training as part of his mandatory military service in South Korea. BTS is expected to come back together in around 2025.