All seven members of BTS will serve their mandatory military service in South Korea,their record label Big Hit Music has confirmed.
It comes after the K-Pop titans reunited on Saturday (October 15) for the first time in six months to perform at the ‘Yet To Come’ concert in Busan, South Korea.
Confirming their conscription, Big Hit said in a statement: “After the phenomenal concert to support Busan’s bid for the World Expo 2030, and as each member embarks on solo endeavours, it’s the perfect time and the members of BTS are honoured to serve.”
The statement added that the group’s eldest member, Jin, will be the first to undergo service when he finishes promotional duties promotions for his upcoming solo release later this month.
By law, all able-bodied men in South Korea must serve 18-21 months in the military under a conscription system. But the country gives exemption to athletes, musicians and artists who win top places in international competitions because they are considered to have enhanced national prestige.
Exemptions are given in South Korea for all Olympic medallists and Asian Games champions, with football star Son Heung-min being granted the honour after scooping gold at the Asian Games in 2018.
It is yet to be revealed when the rest of the group will take their turn to serve their country, but the confirmation ends months of public debate on whether the group should be exempted from service.
Last month, Lee Jong-sup, the South Korean defence minister, said he had ordered officials to implement a survey and that his ministry will also look at the band’s economic effect and the overall national interest.
Jong-sup’s ministry later clarified that officials were looking into whether a survey needed to be implemented.
A poll conducted earlier in 2022 showed that around 60% of South Koreans were in favour of a military exemption for BTS.
Since being founded in 2013, BTS have become the most successful South Korean musicians in history, selling over 30 million records.
In 2019, they became the first non-English language act to sell out Wembley Stadium on their Love Yourself world tour.