FOR years, the issue of whether the seven members of BTS would be enlisting for their mandatory military service had been looming over their heads, with fans worldwide divided upon whether the group should take a break in order to fulfil their obligations.
After years of uncertainty, the group announced in October it would go on mandatory military service, starting with the oldest group member Jin, who turned 30 on Dec 4, which was the cut-off age for enlistment.
Eventually, it was revealed that he would be enlisting on Dec 13, and fans soon discovered that he would be heading to a recruit training center in Yeoncheon city.
On Tuesday, the band’s management company, BigHit Music, issued a statement via the fan community site Weverse, noting that Jin would “fulfill his required time with the military by enlisting in the army” and asking fans to respect his privacy.
The message went on to state that no “official event” would be held to mark the occasion. What’s more, the South Korean music label implored fans to avoid the area altogether.
“The entrance ceremony is a time to be observed by military personnel and their families only,“ reads the statement. “In order to prevent any issues that might occur from crowding, we ask fans to please refrain from visiting the site. Instead, we ask you to keep your heartwarming words of support and farewell in your hearts.”
The exact duration of Jin’s enlistment is unclear – South Korean men typically serve between 18 and 24 months – but one enterprising fan created an app that listed a countdown for 18 months, for other fans to check and observe his ‘progress’ in the military.
The assumed discharge date for Jin, which is listed as June 12, 2024, is coincidentally the same date as BTS’ debut anniversary.
BigHit had earlier confirmed that “all seven members of BTS” would be enlisting in the military, but so far have not released any news about when the remaining members would be called up.
The group plans to pursue individual projects and reunite in 2025 after all have served their time.