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Counter Culture / October 17, 2022

BTS is joining the South Korean military

Image: Getty Images
Counter Culture / October 17, 2022

BTS is joining the South Korean military

Words: Ellen Kenny

BTS will be abandoning their own “army” for another one as they join the South Korean military for two years.

Another day, another unexpected event for the 2022 bingo card. All seven members the world’s biggest boyband, BTS, will take a break from their music careers to serve their mandatory military duties.

In South Korea, all able-bodied men aged 18-28 must serve about two years, because they are still technically at war with North Korea.

In 2020, South Korea’s parliament passed a bill which allowed K-pop stars such as the Grammy-winning band BTS to extend the maximum age for national service to 30. Exemptions have been given to South Korean musicians, sports stars and dancers in the past, and many assumed that international treasures BTS would also receive exemptions so they could continue performing.

However, the band’s oldest member, Jin, will revoke his request to delay his conscription at the end of the month and enter military service. The six other BTS members also plan to serve in the military soon and are “looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment,” BTS representatives Big Hit Music said in a statement.

The band will perform this weekend in Busan before heading off for service.

What will BTS do during their military service?

Following enlistment, BTS members will receive five weeks of combat training before being assigned to specific units and duties. While South Korea’s military for years had assigned enlisted entertainers to duties related to producing radio and TV material promoting the military, the “entertainment soldier” system was retired in 2013 following complaints over fairness.

The Military Manpower Association has made it clear that members of BTS will receive the exact same treatment as all other soldiers.

However, South Korea’s defence minister did suggest in August that the band could potentially perform together while being enlisted, but that might be a bit difficult on the front lines.

BTS’ fandom, aptly nicknamed the Army, have reacted surprisingly well to the news, praising the band members and reassuring each other that it will be 2025 in no time. In times like this, god bless loyal military wives.

Elsewhere on District: New 24 hour buses are coming to Dublin this Sunday