For the first time, the National Defense Commission will assess BTS’ military service benefits to decide if they will be excused from serving.
K-pop has grown in popularity all around the globe. However, its icons have always had a strong sense of patriotism for their homeland and culture.
There has been ongoing speculation regarding BTS’s future since the boy band’s meteoric rise to fame. Interview questions are always aimed towards their future in Korean culture, related to their ultimate military recruitment.
Every male citizen of South Korea (and other east Asian nations) must join for an 18-month term in the military. The enlistment age was originally 28 years. However, it was raised to 30 years in December 2020.
Those who join must spend two years of their lives in the military before reaching 30. This law applies to all males in South Korea, except for athletes and persons with impairments.
Enlistment of K-pop stars
Over the years, many celebrities have entered the Korean military and then returned to continue their entertainment careers as if nothing had happened. However, it was observed that their popularity dwindled over time as no fresh releases were made (while group members entered the military one by one).
EXO, 2PM, Big Bang, and a slew of other boy bands have been very successful, yet following their obligatory military service, each of these groups’ global influence has dwindled.
With that stated, it is a well-known truth that BTS has significantly contributed to the growth of the South Korean economy. BTS’ success is driving travel to Korea, language study in Korea, and interest in Korean culture, beauty, cuisine, movies, television, and music all over the globe.
Is BTS eager to join the army?
BTS is expected to bring in $5 billion to the South Korean economy per year. As a result of their accomplishments, South Korea’s government approved a law in December 2020 raising the age limit for K-pop stars enrolling in the military from 28 to 30. This was done before Jin, BTS’s eldest member, celebrated his 29th birthday last year.
BTS military service exemption, discussed at the National Defense Commission second lieutenant on the 9th. pic.twitter.com/qPr3yut5td
— anne⁷ (@mpeachyungs) September 8, 2021
Fans have speculated that BTS may be excused from military service due to this abrupt regulation change just before his birthday. Many inquiries have been thrown at members of BTS in the last few years about their feelings about being called for obligatory military duty.
BTS’s Jin has always handled these concerns admirably, stating that he is not afraid of getting recruited. He said that serving the nation would be a pleasure for him and the other members of the band and that if he is summoned for enlistment, he will go without hesitation.
The recruitment of BTS has become the subject of official debate
Surprisingly, the Korea Music Contents Association (MCON), an incorporated organization dedicated to the growth of the K-pop business, has rejected proposals to alter the Military Service Act to exclude members of BTS.
Rep Yoon Sanghyun first proposed the amendment in June of 2021, asking for a change to the Military Service Act to exclude pop culture artists from obligatory military service. Due to this request, the South Korean National Defense Commission will hold a hearing on September 9 to examine the idea before deciding.
MCON Association’s Statements
The National Defense Commission will assess BTS’ military service benefits for the first time. MCON Association offered an industry perspective on the official review report from the National Defense Commission, published at the end of August, to support their position that popular culture celebrities should not be excused from obligatory military service.
According to the MCON Association, popular culture’s contribution to Korean history pales in contrast to sportspersonas’ accomplishments. A certain method to evaluate sportsmen’s qualities is via the Olympic games and other competitions.
They also said that there is a significant danger of controversy in popular culture since it is directly linked to personal profit activities and tends to adapt to public popularity, which is contentious and certainly not the goal of sports.
Image courtesy of BBC Radio 1/YouTube