BTS has recently been under fire. This is because there is a possibility that they will be given military service exemption based on the promotion of national prestige.
BTS‘ military service issue has been frequently mentioned for a long time, but on April 8th, remarks that pulled the trigger of the controversy appeared. HYBE Entertainment‘s CCO Lee Jin-hyung said, “It is true that artists are having a hard time because the military service system has changed in recent years and it is difficult to predict the timing.”
When questions about the military came up, netizens’ reactions became serious due to the position expressed by BTS members themselves. Member Jin confessed, “I talked a lot with the company and entrusted all military service-related tasks to the company.” Previously, many responded, “BTS says they will join the military. Why are other people making a fuss?” However, after the remarks, the position that it is “unfair” has increased noticeably.
Women-centered online communities and men-centered communities, which have different atmospheres, also seem to have narrowed down to one opinion on this issue. Although not everyone agrees, reactions continued such as “Isn’t it enough if they just go?”, “There are many groups that are active even after military service”, “In Korea, military issues are very sensitive”, “If they are given special treatment, how about other men?”…
BTS‘ military service issue is receiving a lot of attention abroad. Numerous media outlets report the situation of Korea and BTS, and there are often long debates among fans.
The debates among overseas fans are not much different from those in Korea. There are fans who claim that BTS deserves an exemption, but many also strongly oppose the position that preferential treatment should be given. Even among K-Pop fans, those who have been waiting for their favorite group to finish their enlistment claim that it is against fairness to give preferential treatment to only BTS, saying, “What chart rank should be used to decide one’s military exemption?”
It is literally a war between BTS fans and fans of other groups. As the time got delayed further, even fans become exhausted, and some even say, “If I had to delay my enlistment for such a long time because of the military enlistment issue like that, I would be really upset.”
Overseas fans who defend BTS’ position said, “They would be able to do more outside the military because they are in the role of promoting Korea and its culture”, “It’s a matter for BTS and those involved to decide. Let’s just trust them”, “It’s not BTS’s fault, isn’t it the problem of the officials who have been delaying the decision for several years?” and “If BTS enlists, K-pop will never grow.”
On the other hand, fans of groups such as EXO and BIGBANG, where most of the members have completed their military service, showed a particularly sensitive reaction. If BIGBANG and EXO went to the military, they argued that BTS should go as well, and the issue of BTS receiving special military service is strongly opposed because it can lead to a problem of superiority gap. Some even claim that BTS‘ popularity after 2015 is because other groups have gone into the military.
Why does this debate have to happen? This is because the standards are still ambiguous. Some people questioned the meaning of awards ceremonies that pop singers receive because idols do not have proper awards like soccer players or classical musicians.
The problem regarding BTS‘ military service, which is getting worse day by day, is that it is facing strong opposition, especially among those in their 20s and 30s who have spent two years in the military or have waited for their loved ones to finish their enlistment. In the political arena, as opinions in favor prevail, it is expected that the issue of special military service will be discussed more quickly through the National Assembly.