Jin, the eldest member of boy group BTS, has begun preparing for military service.
The agency Big Hit Music announced on Oct 17th, “Jin will cancel the request to delay enlistment in late October and follow the enlistment procedure of Military Manpower Administration. Other members plan to carry out their military service sequentially based on their own individual plans.”
Jin was born in 1992 and is 30 years old this year. According to the revised Military Service Act in 2020, his enlistment has been postponed until the end of this year after being recommended by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The current Military Service Act stipulates that people with special skills in the arts and sports fields prescribed by Presidential Decree and recommended by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism may be incorporated into arts and sports personnel.
However, the Enforcement Decree of the Military Service Act does not include “popular culture” as a specialty in the arts and sports fields, raising the issue of equity for popular cultural artists who promote national prestige.
As BTS withdrew their “postponement of enlistment until the age of 30”, Jin is expected to enlist as an active duty soldier as soon as a notice of enlistment is issued. Depending on the timing of the enlistment notice’s issuance, it is predicted that he will wear a military uniform within this year.
During the “Yet To Come in Busan” concert for the promotion of the 2030 Busan World EXPO held in Busan on October 15th, BTS mentioned that it was their “last concert”. Earlier in June, they announced their plans to focus on solo projects rather than group activities for the time being, and this was a decision based on their military service duty.
Jin’s enlistment date has not been specifically set. However, he is expected to enlist in the military after releasing his new song as the second member to make a solo debut following J-Hope.
The background of BTS’s enlistment announcement can be considered a solution for the group’s long-run activities. Even though their military postponement was guaranteed until the end of this year under the current regulations, the withdrawal itself can be seen as their effort to emphasize the “choice and decision” of each member, rather than a “forced enlistment”.
Regarding the military service issue, BTS has firmly insisted on their position of “enlisting with my own will when the time comes”. However, opinions on the introduction of alternative services for BTS members were suddenly raised among people in the pop culture community, leading the political world to discuss the pros and cons and causing controversies to arise.
Last month, 60,9% of the survey respondents agreed to the revision of the Military Service Act to include pop culture and art artists who contributed to promoting national prestige like BTS to fulfill their military service as arts and sports personnel. This number overwhelmed the 34.4% of respondents who disagreed. As a result, a fierce argument about the pros and cons of this issue among lawmakers over the introduction of an alternative military service system for BTS was included in the National Assembly’s parliamentary audit with the participation of the Military Manpower Administration.