HYBE, the parent company of Big Hit Music - the label behind the world's biggest K-pop band, BTS - confirms that the members of the group will be enlisting for South Korea's mandatory military service. The band's eldest member, Kim Seokjin is going to be the first one to enlist, following the release of his solo album by the end of October. Soon after, the enlistment procedures for the other members will commence with due consideration to their solo projects and endeavors. Announcing the news through an official statement, the label also added, "Both the company and the members of BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment."
Here's the full statement:
In South Korea, it's mandatory for every able-bodied man to serve in the military for at least 2 years. The only exemption allowed by the law is in the case of athletes, traditional/classical musicians, ballet and other dancers who have earned and enhanced national prestige.
Irrespective of the members always showing willingness to serve in the military, BTS' enlistment has been a hotly debated issue since a few years now.
Since last year, experts and policymakers have considered granting an exemption to BTS, owing to their boundless accomplishments and their contribution to South Korea's prestige. However, since no official exemption was enacted upon, the label urged the National Assembly to come to a decision soon, citing that the members "are suffering from a lack of clarity."
Regardless of what decision lawmakers take, the label's recent announcement implies that Jin wishes to move forward with his enlistment. In 2020, during a press conference marking the release of their fourth album, Map of the Soul: 7, the artist had shared his thoughts on enlisting for the military.
I think military service is a duty as a Korean citizen, and I will respond at any time if the country calls.KIM SEOKJIN
The label also took to social media to post English, Japanese and Chinese translations of their statement, which was originally written in Korean.