BTS’ Members Will Serve In South Korea’s Military
SEOUL, South Korea — BTS will not be able to perform with its full seven-member lineup until 2025, as the group is headed to the South Korean military. However, the first member to be enlisted, Jin, will release his solo material in the coming weeks.
BTS label BigHit Music, a subsidiary of HYBE, announced Monday that each of the BTS members – Jin, RM, J-Hope, Suga, Jimin, V and Jungkook – is going to face mandatory national service, though timing will vary by member.
“Jin will initiate the process as soon as his schedule for his solo release is concluded at the end of October. He will then follow the enlistment procedure of the Korean government. Other members of the group plan to carry out their military service based on their own individual plans,” BigHit Music said in the statement. It added that the group will reconvene around 2025 after their respective drafts are over.
All able-bodied male South Korean citizens must serve in the armed forces for at least 18 months, though the length of service may vary. Draft begins in the year they turn 18 but the men may postpone it until age 28. In December 2020, the South Korean National Assembly passed the so-called “BTS law” to allow K-pop entertainers to postpone the service until the age of 30, with a recommendation from the culture minister.
Jin is turning 30 in December and is the oldest member. Jungkook, the youngest, is 25 years old.
The mandatory military service for the band as well as Korean male pop stars in general has divided the country in recent years, as K-pop’s popularity has grown worldwide. While many including some lawmakers say the musicians’ contribution to the country’s global recognition should qualify them for an exemption, others that include the defense ministry have opposed the move.
In a country that has superpower neighbors such as China and Russia as well as a saber-rattling North Korea, many people believe that the military service requirement serves as a social equalizer and any attempt to take an easy way out has suspended or ruined the careers of several entertainers and other public figures.
For some observers of BTS, writing has been on the wall since June when the band announced that they were taking a break from group activities to focus on individual projects. In July, J-Hope was the first to release solo material with the album Jack in the Box, which featured singles “MORE.” and “Arson.”
On stage at a special free concert on Saturday, where the band performed 19 tracks in support of the World Expo 2030 bid for Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city, Jin teased his solo project for the first time. “I got the opportunity to work with someone I like, so a single will come out soon,” said Jin.
Separately, J-Hope addressed the future of the band, telling fans that BTS was “in a stage where we need your trust.”
Read the full statement below.
BIGHIT MUSIC is proud to announce today that the members of BTS are currently moving forward with plans to fulfill their military service. After the phenomenal concert to support Busan’s bid for the World Expo 2030, and as each individual embarks on solo endeavors, it’s the perfect time and the members of BTS are honored to serve.
Since the creation of BTS over ten years ago, the band has risen to international success, broken records, and catapulted K-Pop into the global stratosphere. BIGHIT MUSIC has focused to the milestone moment when it would be possible to respect the needs of the country and for these healthy young men to serve with their countrymen, and that’s now. Group member Jin will initiate the process as soon as his schedule for his solo release is concluded at the end of October.
He will then follow the enlistment procedure of the Korean government. Other members of the group plan to carry out their military service based on their own individual plans. Both the company and the members of BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment.
With the release of their first anthology album earlier this year it opened the path to allow the members to take some time to explore individual projects. As part of the HYBE family, we support and encourage our artists and are beyond proud that they will each now have time to explore their unique interests and do their duty by being of service to the country they call home.
“Yet To Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)” is more than a track from their latest album, it is a promise, there’s much more yet to come in the years ahead from BTS.