BTS‘ members on Monday announced that they will complete their mandatory military service, ending years of discussion over whether the chart-topping K-pop stars should be exempted due to their cultural prowess and celebrity status. The group’s management company Big Hit Music said that BTS will reunite “around 2025, following their service,” in an official statement.
Through their service, individual BTS members will continue to pursue independent music projects. The group’s oldest member, Kim Seok-jin, or just Jin, will begin his enlistment process later this month, following the release of his upcoming solo single. The band’s six other members will fulfill their military requirements on individual schedules.
In a letter to shareholders, Park Jiwon, CEO of Big Hit’s parent company Hybe, said, “Individual activities for several of the members are planned into the first half of 2023, and we have secured content in advance, which will enable BTS to continue their engagement with fans for the foreseeable future,” according to Associated Press.
Once they have enlisted, BTS members will receive five weeks of combat training before receiving an assignment to a specific unit. South Korea’s military had previously assigned entertainers to roles related to producing promotional radio and TV content, though the “entertainment soldier” loophole was discontinued in 2013 due to issues of fairness.
In June, BTS shocked fans during their Festa dinner when they revealed plans to take an indefinite “hiatus,” so that each member could focus on their own solo careers. In a one-hour video from the event, Jungkook said, “We’re each going to take some time to have fun and experience lots of things. We promise we will return someday even more mature than we are now.”
Following the announcement, the group clarified that while they will spend time on independent projects, they will be “remaining active as a group.” On Saturday, BTS reunited for a concert in Busan to promote South Korea’s bid to host the 2023 Wolrd Expo.
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