Kpop Group BTS Will Still Have To Serve 2-Year Military Service; No Exceptions


You’ve earned billions for the country, inspired millions of fans and made their days better, and are now internationally famous and liked.

You’ve made it big.

That’s basically the best thing you can do for anyone already right? Afterall, money’s the best superpower, and you haven’t done anything worth criticising.

Image: Memedroid

In fact, the country’s much better well off with you contributing. You even received The Order Of Cultural Merit by the Government!

You’d expect… Just maybe you’d be given the option to get an exemption for the two-year military service in light of your contributions.

BTS is in that situation, and so far, the reply from the South Korean Government seems to be nope.

Image: LG Electronics

Korean Ministry of Defence Says “Exemption Will Not Be Possible”

In South Korea, male citizens between the age of 18 and 28 will need to serve about two years of military service.


If you’re a Singaporean reader I’m sure you can sympathise with that. Not serving means punishments like the prohibition on overseas travel.

Over there, they don’t serve immediately at the age of 18. BTS’s oldest member, Jin, will be 27 this December and the other six members will also reach the age of conscription in the next few years.

But despite their achievements and the lobbying from BTS fan groups, The Hollywood Reporter was told by the Korean Ministry of Defense that “an exemption will not be possible”.

Which is confusing to say the least.

Image: Giphy

So it begs the question:

Who Can Be Exempted?

Currently, there are several categories of high achieving public figures who can score exemptions, including athletes and musicians or artists.

For instance, in September 2018, Son Heung-min, the 27-year-old South Korean soccer player playing for English Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspurs secured an exemption when the Korean National Team defeated Japan to win the gold medal at the Asian Games.

But those don’t apply to pop stars like BTS.

Which smells like bull, since to my ears that sounds like it’s saying “my music is more music than your music”. Especially considering that this exemption law was first drafted in 1973. It’s almost as if music changes with times.

Thomas shall represent my feelings on this. / Image: r/Memetemplatesofficial

But don’t take my word for it.

In July 2018, a lawmaker Ha Tae-kyung had suggested that the system was outdated.

“You are given an exemption if you win No. 1 in violin, piano and classical music competitions

“However, you are not given an exemption for ranking No. 1 on the Billboard charts.”

In the last 10 years, 280 artists and 178 athletes have been given exemptions.


Anyway, this is a controversial topic over in South Korea.

And regardless of what you or I think, it doesn’t matter because…

BTS Members Themselves Want To Enlist

Yep. Though I started the article sounding like BTS wanted to be exempted, that wasn’t actually the case.

In an interview with CBS, Jin himself said:

“As a Korean, it’s natural, and at some point, when task calls we’ll be all set to respond and do our finest.”

Do Jong-hwan, who heads the country’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, also has this to say:


“It is a shame that it is being reported as if the seven members (of BTS) are excusing themselves from military enlistment. As a matter of fact, they intend to do the exact opposite.”

So the question now is, what if there are those who deserve the exemption and want to be exempted?

Do also added, “The Ministry of Defense will work with the culture and arts department head to devise a reasonable alternative solution for artists.”

And as the Ministry of Defense told The Hollywood Reporter,

“The Ministry of Defense 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.”


In other words, we can all put down our pitchforks for the moment.

Image: Giphy

But it’s okay. They should have the experience, since they command the BTS Army, right?

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