BTS, the popular K-Pop band is a highly successful and popular cultural troupe. However, as per the South Korean government, this will not exempt them from serving in the military.
As part of South Korea’s conscription system, able-bodied men in the country are required to spend two years in the military service, by the time they are 28. There have been times, however, when athletes and musicians have been exempted from serving in the armed forces.
There were speculations floating around that as per some new guidelines on conscription waivers, BTS and other internationally successful artists could be exempted from this service. However, Lee Nam-woo, an official of the defense ministry announced last week that K-pop stars must take a break from their singing careers.
“Exempting pop culture artists from military service, even though they have made a contribution to the country’s reputation, is not in line with the government’s stance to uphold justice and fairness,” the ministry announced, according to Reuters.
All the seven members of the K-Pop band are in their 20s. However, Jin, the oldest member will have to enroll himself by the end of next year, before turning 28.
According to Yonhap News, the minister of culture, sports and tourism, Park Yang-woo has expressed his hope that BTS would get an exemption. “Unlike classical arts or sports, it is difficult to fix the criteria of the selection in the popular culture and arts fields,” the minister said.
BTS’ management company, Big Hit Entertainment, however, has shut down all rumours and speculations, saying, “We aren’t sure why such a story was reported, but those reports about BTS enlisting in the military this year are not true,” as reported by a portal Showbiz Cheatsheet.
Billboard journalist, Tamar Herman, said the group is in support of the military service. “There’s this idea that this might put a halt to their popularity, but their fandom is so big, I personally don’t think it will,” Tamar said, adding, “Only time will tell.”
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