After announcing a hiatus, the members of BTS have shared surprising news that they will serve in the South Korean military – thus fulfilling an obligation for healthy men under the age of 30 in the country.
The announcement ends years of speculation over whether the K-pop sensations should be exempted, given their international artistic accomplishments. Big Hit Music said all seven members of BTS plan to reconvene “around 2025, following their service commitment.” The announcement comes on the heels of the band's free concert in support of South Korea's World Expo bid on Saturday (October 15), which saw BTS temporarily reunite to perform in front of 12,000 people in the city of Busan.
While this means the likelihood of BTS appearing live together in the next two years is pretty low, BTS won't exactly be gone. The group's individual service periods may offer each of the members chances to pursue solo careers. Jin, who announced a solo single yesterday (October 16), will enlist later this month, once his release campaign concludes.
Park Jiwon, CEO of Big Hit parent company Hybe, also explained that BTS has planned for the military hiatus by recording new content in advance. He said in a letter to shareholders, “Individual activities for several of the members are planned into the first half of 2023, and we have secured content in advance, which will enable BTS to continue their engagement with fans for the foreseeable future,” according to The Associated Press.
The Korean public has been divided over whether the government should force BTS to enlist. The mandatory service of 18-21 months has applied to all healthy men since 2013, when the government scrapped a loophole that allowed entertainment figures to produce promotional material for the military in lieu of combat service. BTS members will receive five weeks of combat training before being assigned to their units, just like other South Korean men.
See the official announcement for BTS' military service below.
[공지] 방탄소년단 병역 이행 및 향후 활동 계획 안내 (+ENG/JPN/CHN) pic.twitter.com/jntF90agO4— BIGHIT MUSIC (@BIGHIT_MUSIC) October 17, 2022
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