The seven members of BTS have announced that they will take a hiatus from their musical careers over the next few years in order to sign up for Korea’s mandatory military service. The internationally successful K-Pop band shared the news today, as one of its members, Kim Seok-jin, who’s known as Jin, will initiate the process of starting his service at the end of this month, Variety is reporting.
As a result of Jin joining the military later this month, the Grammy Award-nominated septet will become temporarily inactive as a musical group. Of the band’s break, its label, Bighit Music, said in a statement: “Both the company and the members of BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment.”
The statement continued: “The members of BTS are currently moving forward with plans to fulfill their military service. Group member Jin will initiate the process as soon as his schedule for his solo release is concluded at the end of October. He will then follow the enlistment procedure of the Korean government. Other members of the group plan to carry out their military service based on their own individual plans.
“With the release of their first anthology album earlier this year it opened the path to allow the members to take some time to explore individual projects. As part of the HYBE family, we support and encourage our artists and are beyond proud that they will each now have time to explore their unique interests and do their duty by being of service to the country they call home,” the label added.
“After the phenomenal concert to support Busan’s bid for the World Expo 2030, and as each individual embarks on solo endeavors, it’s the perfect time and the members of BTS are honored to serve,” the statement also noted.
Over the weekend, the band made headline after they played a massive free concert in Busan, in support of the city’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo. The recent event, which was titled Yet to Come, was viewed by more than 50 million people, their management firm Hybe Entertainment estimated.
The decision by BTS, which was formed in 2013 and garnered global fame in 2016, to enlist helps avert a difficult situation for South Korea’s government. Military service is required by all able-bodied males under 28-years-old for 18 months, due to ongoing threats from North Korea.
The current system allows for some exceptions on the grounds of exceptional service to the country, including some top athletes and classical musicians. One exception includes being able to defer starting service until the age of 30. However, pop artists have not generally been included in the exclusion.
Politicians in South Korea have debated over whether they should allow BTS to become the first K-Pop exception to the military mandate. There were discussions earlier this year about whether the band’s members should be able to perform a lighter form of military service. If they were given that option, the singers would still be able to perform as musicians, but that exception wasn’t granted.
Jin, who is the oldest in BTS, as he will turn 30 on December 4, announced during the Busan concert that before he enlists for his military duty, he will releasing a single “with someone that I’d always really liked.”