BTS will still have to carry out compulsory military service at home in South Korea despite their showbiz status.
South Korean male citizens between the ages of 18 and 28 have had to carry out military service for around two years since 1957, and according to the Hollywood Reporter, the huge boy-band are no exception.
Korean Ministry of Defence officials told the site this week that “an exemption will not be possible.”
Women may voluntarily enlist but aren’t required to serve.
This has been a talking point among the BTS Army for quite some time now, with band member Jin, who turns 27 in December, saying during an interview on “CBS Sunday Morning” back in April: “As a Korean, it’s natural, and someday, when duty calls we’ll be ready to respond and do our best.”
The rest of the K-pop band will be turning 28 over the next few years.
Fans have now asked if the singers can complete the military service together, if exemption isn’t an option. One change.org petition asking this of the government has so far garnered over 20,000 signatures.
THR reported, “There are several categories of public figure who are currently able to score exemptions from service, but none apply to pop stars like BTS.”
However, the rules are different for award-winning classical musicians, some of which are eligible for exemptions.
A Ministry of Defence official said, “The Ministry of Defence is currently debating with related authorities on improving the current alternate service [program] in place of conscription, but nothing has been decided as to when a change may take effect.”
280 artists and 178 athletes have been exempted from military service over the past 10 years.