BTS has become one the biggest K-Pop groups in the world, breaking world records and bringing joy to fans. The day that many fans hoped would never come has arrived. Jin, one of the eldest members of BTS, started his military service on Tuesday, December 13th. Serving a pledge that ended a broad debate about South Korea’s mandatory requirement. The singer’s enlistment, Kim Seok-jin, caused the pause of one of the biggest boy bands in the world.
On Tuesday, he entered the military training center in Yeoncheon County in Gyeonggi Province, near North Korea’s border. Even though BTS’s label had requested people to stay away, many fans and reporters gathered outside. They hoped to catch a glimpse of the idol in one of the dozens of cars entering the compound. You can see the guards patrolling the front gate in the picture above while the wardens directed traffic from local media videos displayed.
Their management had mentioned that the group would come back around 2025.
What are the terms of the South Korean Military Service?
South Korea’s mandatory military service applies to all able-bodied men over the age of 18. This rule is viewed as necessary for the country’s defense against North Korea. However, a debate from the public and legislative spheres has raged about whether BTS should be exempt from their requirement, given their significant contributions to South Korea’s economy.
Given the band’s global success, the South Korean Parliament revised the law in 2020 to give artists the option to defer their enlistment to the age of 30. Otherwise, Korean men are required to enlist in the military by age 28, barring a few exceptions, including Olympic champions.
What happens now to BTS?
Despite the debate of whether BTS was deemed worthy of exemption from military service, the decision became final by October of this year. Their label Big Hit Music, announced the members would fulfill their duties in the military.
The band had announced their hiatus from group activities back in June. This gives each member the opportunity to explore solo music careers. The shocking news naturally saddened fans from around the world. Yet, they stand with the boys and their decision to fulfill their requirements.
“It’s really sad because the relationship he has with his fans is close, he’s a member that just brings comfort,” says a fan.
On Tuesday morning, Jin posted one last goodbye to his fans on the social media platform Weverse, captioning, “It’s curtain call time.”