The remaining four members of K-pop supergroup BTS are scheduled to begin their military service in mid-December, joining the three already serving, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday. The seven-member group is on temporary break while members carry out the country’s mandatory military service, a requirement for all non-disabled men in South Korea before they turn 28. BTS’s management has sought a special exemption for its members, but lawmakers have rejected calls to allow the entertainers to defer their conscription for at least two years.
RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook will reportedly enter boot camp simultaneously on Dec. 11, with RM and V starting as back-line members while Jimin and Jungkook will serve as front-line members. According to Yonhap, the simultaneous enlistment of the four members will mark a first for a South Korean band.
BTS has become one of the world’s most popular bands, earning accolades from critics and winning hearts worldwide with their cappella renditions of ballads and dance tunes. The boys have also embraced social justice causes, including supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and giving $1 million to the anti-violence campaign launched after the killing of musician George Floyd. Their legions of fans have also matched their donations, raising millions of dollars.
South Korea’s law requires non-disabled men to serve 18-21 months of military duty. However, it provides exemptions for athletes, classical and traditional musicians, ballet dancers, and other dancers who win top prizes in competitions that enhance national prestige. The law doesn’t include pop stars, though lawmakers in 2020 passed legislation that allows them to defer military service until they are 30.
BTS member Jin, born Kim Seokjin, is the oldest among the band’s current lineup of seven, so he was expected to be the first to start his service. However, his enlistment was delayed in January 2023 by a court ruling that the Ministry of Defense had wrongly denied him a visa to enter the United States.
In an announcement Tuesday, the band’s management, Big Hit Music, said it had withdrawn its request to delay Jin’s enlistment and that he was set to begin his military service in December of this year. The news was met with joy by fans, who have offered a variety of messages and gifts to the star.
While BTS is on a hiatus, the company says the members will return together in 2025 once they complete their military service. It will also work to keep the band’s brand going while the boys are gone, including planning to release new music and a documentary. The documentary will be titled BTS Monuments: Beyond the Star and feature footage from the band’s recent world tour. BTS made its debut in 2013 with the album 2 Cool 4 Skool. The group comprises RM, Jin, SUGA, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. The band’s latest single, a remix of its hit song “DNA,” is available for streaming on Spotify.