The military future of BTS is now clearly defined

BTS is undeniably the biggest boy band in the world, but as it turns out, there may be a limit to the privilege that comes with it. There has been debate for years about whether or not the group’s members should be exempted from South Korean conscription. The issue was hotly debated, with strong arguments on both sides. As the Korea Times reported in September 2022, MP Kim Young-bae, MP for Korea’s main opposition Democratic Party, argued that globally successful pop stars like BTS should be given an alternative to military service. Because, according to Rep. Young-bae, “Korean pop stars operating internationally make unimaginable economic and social contributions.” However, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup countered that offering an exemption for BTS would raise questions of fairness, according to Korea JoongAng Daily.

In the end, the band kept quiet on the subject, although they announced back in June 2022 that they would be taking an extended hiatus to analyze the future of their music. At the time, a rep told Rolling Stone, “They’re not on hiatus, but will be making time to explore some solo projects at this point and remain active in a variety of different formats.” Well, it seems that’s more than just artistic Differences were involved in the decision, and with member Jin soon turning 30 (the minimum draft age), we finally know what all seven members have in mind for their military futures.

Will BTS join the South Korean military?

The speculation is over: BTS plans to enlist in the South Korean military and will not seek an exemption from the country’s strict conscription laws. The band’s management, BIGHIT MUSIC, confirmed the news on October 17, 2022 on Twitter, amid news that all seven members would complete their mandatory service as soon as possible. The label noted that while the band is on hiatus and its members pursue solo projects, “it is the perfect time and the members of BTS are honored to serve.” BIGHIT also announced that Jin, who died on April 4 December 2022, turning 30, “will begin the process once his schedule for his solo release in late October is finalized.” The announcement praised the group for their decision to serve their country before ending on a hopeful note for fans. “Both the company and the members of BTS look forward to reuniting as a group following their service promise around the year 2025,” the statement affirmed.

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As Forbes explains, military service in South Korea is compulsory for all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 35. Minimum length of service depends on which branch of the military one joins, starting at 18 months for the Army, 20 months for the Navy, and 21 months for the Air Force. Alternative service can result in jail time, according to Al Jazeera, and only a few athletes and performers have ever been granted an exemption, according to The Guardian.