January 28, 2023

Raven Tribune

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BTS star Jin started military service in South Korea

BTS star Jin started military service in South Korea

Millions of BTS fans around the world, who call themselves the “Army,” mourned the group’s hiatus.

“It was surprising but not expected,” Gurbet Dillon, 25, from Hong Kong, told NBC News. “I respect their decision to put their country first and stop delaying mandatory military service,” said Dillon, who describes herself as a full-time BTS fan.

She added, “2025 will be a long wait but I know all of us, ‘Army’, will be waiting for them to get back together again as BTS.”

South Korean law allows special exemptions from compulsory military service for some, including athletes, traditional musicians, and others who enhance the country’s prestige. Prior to the October announcement of the group’s joining, there was a discussion about whether K-pop stars should be given such benefits given their international popularity.

“Those in the pop culture sector face fewer flaws and injustices, compared to those in the pure art or sports sector,” pop culture commentator Jung Duk-hyun told The Associated Press. “This is likely to remain a contentious issue, so I wonder if it should be discussed continually.”

Lee Jong-sup, the country’s defense minister, said in August that serving BTS members will likely be allowed to continue training and join other non-serving BTS members on overseas group tours.

In October, Jin released his first single, “Astronaut”. During Jin’s absence, the six younger BTS members will also pursue individual projects and BTS will reconvene as a group around 2025 when all seven members complete their military service, according to their Bighit Music label.

“There is a lot more in the coming years from BTS,” the label said.

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Stella Kim reported from Seoul, and Mary Brooking from Hong Kong.

Kriti Gandhi Contributed.