© 2022 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

BTS announces upcoming Korean military service

The band BTS poses during the Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles in 2020.
Emma McIntyre
/
Getty Images
The band BTS poses during the Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles in 2020.

All seven members of the globally mega-popular K-pop band BTS will be serving in the South Korean military, the band's label and management company, Big Hit, announced Monday.

Big Hit, says that BTS plans to come back together as a group "around 2025," after all seven members complete their service.

"Since the creation of BTS over ten years ago, the band has risen to international success, broken records, and catapulted K-Pop into the global stratosphere," Big Hit's statement reads in part. "BIGHIT MUSIC has focused to the milestone moment when it would be possible to respect the needs of the country and for these healthy young men to serve with their countrymen, and that's now."

Big Hit says that the first BTS member to enter the military will be the group's oldest performer: Kim Seok-jin, who is known as Jin. The 29-year-old plans to enlist as soon as his solo project is rolled out later this month.

Under South Korea's conscription system, the country requires all able-bodied men to serve at least 18 months in the armed forces by age 28, due to ongoing threats from North Korea. There are exemptions available for certain athletes and performing artists, especially those working in classical and traditional music.

When Jin turned 28 in 2020, the government offered him a tw0-year delay in entering the army in recognition of BTS's efforts in "enhancing Korea's international image." He was one of the the first K-pop stars to be offered such a reprieve.

In June, the band announced via video that it was taking a break of then-unspecified length. The group's rapper RM, also known as Kim Nam-joon, said in that video, "After 10 years of living as BTS and working on all our schedules, it's physically impossible for me to mature anymore."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.