And Finally Artist News

BTS might be able to do military service while still performing

By | Published on Monday 1 August 2022


With BTS definitely not on hiatus, the debate continues regarding how South Korea’s compulsory military service rules will impact on the K-pop powerhouse. And now the country’s defence minister has suggested maybe BTS members could continue to be involved in the group while also fulfilling their military service obligations.

Under South Korean law, all able-bodied men must begin serving around two years in the military at some point between the ages of eighteen and 28. There are formal exemptions for athletes and classical musicians with an international following, but nothing for pop acts.

The oldest member of the group, Jin, who is 29, has so far avoided conscription thanks to a change in the law that allowed some pop artists to defer the start of their military service until the age of 30.

That recent rule change was very much in response to the negative impact military service could have on the BTS enterprise – and, by association, the Korean economy – with some arguing the new law was written so that only BTS members would qualify.

However, that rule change only delays Jin’s military service, rather than providing a full-on exemption, and while further more radical amendments to the law are being considered, the idea of allowing BTS members to avoid military service entirely is controversial in some quarters.

According to News1 in Korea, the country’s Defence Minister Lee Jeong-seop commented on all this earlier today and proposed a compromise of sorts. He reportedly stated: “I believe BTS could enlist in the military and still be given time to practice and perform overseas”.

He added that his ministry continues to review possible options, and that allowing BTS members to balance their military service commitments with their pop careers is being considered. And such a compromise, he reckons, might be in the national interest, and good for the group too.

According to Reuters, the minister added of that compromise: “As many people highly value [artists serving] in the military, that may help boost their popularity even more”.