BTS members to go to military starting with oldest member Jin

October 17, 2022

All members of K-pop supergroup BTS will go to the military to fulfill mandatory service, starting with the oldest member Jin, the band’s agency said Monday.

“Jin will revoke his request to delay his conscription at the end of this month and will follow conscription procedures required by the Military Manpower Administration,” Big Hit Music said in a public notice to the local bourse. “Other members will fulfill their military duty in turn according to their individual plans.”

Jin, born in 1992, had his conscription delayed till the end of this year under the Military Service Act revised in 2020.

In South Korea, all able-bodied men are required to serve in the military for about two years. But the current law allows global award-winning athletes and classical musicians recommended by the minister of culture, sports and tourism to do alternative services in their respective fields instead of serving in active military duty.

Bills that would include globally recognized male pop culture artists, like BTS, in the program are still pending at the National Assembly amid a lingering debate over whether the K-pop giant should get exemptions in recognition of its contribution to improving the country’s brand image.

With Monday’s decision, the septet will pause working together as a group for the time being.

Jin is expected to enter the military some time after dropping his solo song, as he announced during a concert in the southeastern port city of Busan on Saturday that he will be the second BTS member to make a solo debut, following J-Hope.

But Jin can go within this year at the earliest if he revokes the postponement this month and if there are few people waiting to go to the military, according to officials at the Military Manpower Administration.

“We have so far discussed with the artists about their plans to carry out the military duty,” Big Hit Music said. “We have thought a lot about the timing of announcing the decision and judged that now, when the concert to promote Busan’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo is over, is the best time,” it added.

The agency then expressed hope BTS can be reunited as a full group by 2025, asking for the people’s generous understanding of the difficulty in pinpointing the exact time frame.

BTS debuted with the single “2 Cool 4 Skool” in June 2013 and has risen to global fame. It has become the first K-pop act to top the U.S. Billboard’s Hot 100 main singles chart and Billboard 200 main albums chart, and now has six songs and albums that hit the top of the charts, respectively.

“BTS will focus on solo projects for a while according to the members’ individual plans for fulfilling the military service,” the agency said.