BTS May Still Be Able To Perform During Military Service
A shadow is to be cast over the candy-coloured world of K-Pop, as its biggest band gets set to take on a less glamourous new adventure.
The beloved South Korean seven-piece announced on Monday that they would be carrying out mandatory military service, starting shortly with oldest member Jin.
Having put it off for as long as he can, Jin faces the imminent prospect of a full stint – meaning nearly two years out of the public eye – when he turns 30 in December. Under a 2019 revision of the law, globally recognised K-pop stars were allowed to delay their service until their 30th birthday.
The news also means that fans will have to wait YEARS to see the boys reunite, and you can only imagine how the “Army” (not the country’s infantry but the group’s throng of devotees) will feel about that.
"Both the company and the members of BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment," HYBE-owned Bighit Music, which manages BTS, said in a statement.
Here's how supporters reacted to the major update:
\u201clmao, i know we are about to be such a problem to kpop stans\ud83d\ude2d we will keep bts on top even when they are not around. this has fuelled us to go even harder for the boys.\u201d
— nay\u2077 military wife (@nay\u2077 military wife)
\u201c#ForeverWithBTS \nARMY FOREVER BTS FOREVER \nWE LOVE YOU BTS \nWE WILL BE HERE\u201d
— kive\u2077 ; ia \ud83d\udcda (@kive\u2077 ; ia \ud83d\udcda)
\u201ci'll be here with u for the rest of my life \ud83d\udc9c\ud83d\udc9c\ud83d\udc9c\n\nWE TRUST YOU, WE WILL WAIT FOR U @BTS_twt\n#ForeverWithBTS \nhttps://t.co/a9azsDMCxJ\u201d
All able-bodied men in South Korea aged between 18 and 28 must serve in the military for between 18 and 21 months as part of efforts to defend against nuclear-armed North Korea.
Some categories, however, have won exemptions, or served shorter terms, including Olympics and Asian Games medal winners and classical musicians and dancers who win top prizes at certain competitions. A number of lawmakers had called for BTS to also be exempted.
As rumours circulated earlier in the year around whether or not they'd concede to performing their national duty, the country's defence minister said they might still be able to perform overseas while serving in the military.
"Even if they join the military, there would be a way to give them a chance to practise and perform together if there are scheduled concerts abroad," Lee Jong-sup told a parliamentary session in August.
"As many people highly value (artists serving) in the military, that may help boost their popularity even more."
It all comes after the boyband announced a break in June from group musical activities to pursue solo projects, raising questions about their future.
But then much to fans’ delight, they reunited to perform a free concert on Saturday in the city of Busan in support of South Korea's bid to host the World Expo 2030 in the port city.
The concert, Titled 'BTS Yet To Come in BUSAN', drew an audience of about 52,000 people to the city's stadium, according to the Yonhap News Agency.
"If you guys have faith in us, we will overcome whatever happens to us in the future and we will perform with you guys and make music. Please have faith in us," BTS leader RM told fans during the gig, without elaborating further, in an ominous nod to Monday's big announcement.
\u201c"if you believe in us and trust us, we will keep going and continue to share music with you. like hoseok said, please believe in us." \u3161 221015, Kim Namjoon Ending Ment In Busan\u201d