According to South Korean media, the eldest member of the K-pop phenomenon BTS ‘Jin’ will enlist on December 13 and serve as the group’s first soldier.
Because South Korea is still nominally at war with nuclear-armed North Korea, all able-bodied men under the age of 30 are required to serve for around two years in the military.
That indicates that 29-year-old Jin, the senior member of the wildly successful septet, is getting close to the age cutoff.
He will start his required five-week training at Yeoncheon in Gyeonggi Province before being sent to a “frontline unit,” according to a report by the Yonhap news agency, which cited sources in the military and business.
On social media, the musician had earlier made a suggestion that he had been put in charge of the front lines.
Fans were devastated and moved by the news; some even expressed worry for Jin’s safety.
BTS is recognized for contributing billions to the South Korean economy, and despite holding fewer concerts during the coronavirus pandemic, its label saw a rise in income.
However, the possibility of being required to serve in the military has long hung over the K-Pop artists, sparking a controversy in South Korea about whether they merited exemptions, which are granted to, for instance, classical musicians and Olympic medalists.
Last month, their agency made the announcement that the band members would begin their required military service with Jin. BTS may be permitted to continue performing and rehearsing for worldwide concerts even while completing military obligations, according to comments made by Seoul’s defence minister in August.
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