BTS Announces Upcoming Korean Military Service
All seven members of the mega-popular K-pop band BTS will be serving in the South Korean military, the band's label and management company, Big Hit, announced Monday.
Big Hit says BTS plans to come back together as a group "around 2025," after all seven members complete their service.
It says in a statement that the moment has arrived when it's possible "to respect the needs of the country and for these healthy young men to serve with their countrymen."
The first BTS member to enter the military will be the group's oldest performer, Kim Seok-jin, who is known as Jin, according to Big Hit. The 29-year-old plans to enlist as soon as his solo project is rolled out later this month.
Under South Korea's conscription system, the country requires all able-bodied men to serve at least 18 months in the armed forces by age 28, due to ongoing threats from North Korea. There are exemptions available for certain athletes and performing artists, especially those working in classical and traditional music.
When Jin turned 28 in 2020, the government offered him a two-year delay in entering the army in recognition of BTS's efforts in "enhancing Korea's international image." He was one of the the first K-pop stars to be offered such a reprieve.
In June, the band announced via video that it was taking a break of then-unspecified length. The group's rapper RM, also known as Kim Nam-joon, said in that video, "After 10 years of living as BTS and working on all our schedules, it's physically impossible for me to mature anymore."