BTS, the biggest names in K-Pop, announced Monday that they will sign up for Korea’s mandatory military service, with Jin initiating the process at the end of October.
The move means that the septet will become temporarily inactive as a group. But, “both the company and the members of BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment,” said label Bighit Music.
“The members of BTS are currently moving forward with plans to fulfill their military service. Group member Jin will initiate the process as soon as his schedule for his solo release is concluded at the end of October. He will then follow the enlistment procedure of the Korean government. Other members of the group plan to carry out their military service based on their own individual plans,” Bighit said in a statement.
“With the release of their first anthology album earlier this year it opened the path to allow the members to take some time to explore individual projects. As part of the HYBE family, we support and encourage our artists and are beyond proud that they will each now have time to explore their unique interests and do their duty by being of service to the country they call home,” the label added. “After the phenomenal concert to support Busan’s bid for the World Expo 2030, and as each individual embarks on solo endeavors, it’s the perfect time and the members of BTS are honored to serve.”
Over the weekend, the band made headline with their massive free concert in Busan, in support of the southern port city’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo. It was viewed by upwards of 50 million people, their management firm Hybe entertainment calculated. The event was titled “Yet to Come.”
“Yet To Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)” is more than a track from their latest album, it is a promise, there’s much more yet to come in the years ahead from BTS,” said Bighit. The band was formed in 2013 and hit the big time in 2016.
The decision by BTS to enlist helps avert a sticky situation for South Korea’s government. Military service is compulsory for all able-bodied males under 30-years-old. The current system allows for some exceptions on the grounds of exceptional service to the country. Some top athletes and classical musicians have been excused on this basis, but pop artists have not.
Politicians have wrangled over making BTS the first K-Pop exceptions and earlier this year even discussed some lighter form of military service in which they might still be able to perform.
In June, during a Korean-language interview, the band members said that they would be taking a “hiatus.” But within hours, Hybe issued a statement saying that the work “hiatus” was an English mistranslation. Instead, they would be allowing time to pursue solo projects.
Jin, who is the oldest and turns 30 on December 4, announced during the Busan concert that he will soon be releasing a single “with someone that I’d always really liked.”
Originally published at variety.com