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Agency says BTS members will be required to serve in South Korea’s military service

Their management company announced Monday that members of the K-pop group BTS will be fulfilling their South Korean military obligations. This effectively ends a debate about whether to exempt them from their obligation because of their artistic achievements.

Big Hit Music announced that Jin, the oldest member of the band, will not request a delay in his conscription at month’s end and will instead complete the necessary conscription steps. According to Big Hit Music’s notice to financial regulators, it said that the six remaining members plan to join the military. This was described by the company as management-related information which could affect investment decisions.

Big Hit released another statement via Twitter, stating that the company and members of BTS are “looking forward” to reconvening around 2025 after their service commitment.

The timing of the service has not been disclosed. According to their label, the band performed in Busan together over the weekend for the city’s EXPO bid. This will be their last concert together as a group before they leave the military.

Hybe Corp., which is the parent company to Big Hit, stated in an email to The Associated Press that each member of the BTS will concentrate on their activities for the moment based on their plans to join the military.

This announcement was made after Lee Ki Sik (commissioner of the Military Manpower Administration) told lawmakers this month that BTS members should fulfill their military duties to ensure fairness and justice in the country’s military services.

Officials at the Military Manpower Administration stressed that Jin and other BTS members would receive five weeks of combat training after enlisting. Then, they will be assigned to units and duties.

After years of South Korea’s military assigning enlisted entertainers duties in producing radio and TV material for the military, the “entertainment soldiers” system was resigned in 2013. This was due to complaints about fairness.

In August, Defense Minister Lee Jongsup stated that if BTS members joined the military, they would likely have the right to practice and join back the group for overseas tours.

As Jin was facing possible enlistment in the first quarter of the next year, it was hotly debated in South Korea whether the BTS members should serve in the army. Jin will turn 30 in December. This is the age when men cannot delay enlistment. Others are between 25-29 years old. Suga turns 30 in March.

South Korean law requires that all able-bodied men serve 18-21 months in military service. However, special exemptions have been granted to athletes and artists who can excel in certain international competitions tied to national prestige.

The band, which also includes J-Hope and RM, Jungkook and V, was formed in 2013. It has a large following of worldwide supporters, who call themselves the “Army.”

BTS gained a large following in Asia and then expanded its popularity in the West with “Dynamite”, its 2020 megahit. This song, which was written entirely in English, made BTS the first K-pop group to reach the top of Billboard’s Hot 100. The band has played in sold-out arenas all over the globe and was invited to speak at United Nations meetings.

The South Korean draft is disruptive to young men’s professional and academic careers. Therefore, it is extremely sensitive to discuss the creation of exemptions or dodging military duties. Recent opinion surveys revealed that there was a split in the public’s opinion about whether BTS members should be serving in the military

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