BBC- The world's biggest boy band BTS will be abandoning their fandom "army" to join the South Korean military for national service, their agents say.
The confirmation ends years of debate over whether the K-pop stars might be exempted from military duties.
In South Korea, all able-bodied men aged 18-28 must serve about two years.
The seven BTS members had been allowed to put off starting their military service until they turned 30. The oldest, Jin, is currently 29.
He will begin preparations next month, the band's management revealed on Monday. All seven members of the group - the youngest of whom is 24 - also plan on following through with their service, it said.
This is crazy.
BTS is a cash-printing juggernaut. For the past two years, they’ve been the world's highest-grossing musical act. And it hasn’t even been close.
These guys make an obscene amount of money touring internationally, starring in movies, their albums, of course, merchandising everything, and whoring their songs out to any company that wants to pay to use them for commercials.
The fact South Korea’s government is going through with making them serve might seem a little strict, seeing as they’ve made exceptions in the past for lesser-known celebrities-
Viewed by many South Koreans as national treasures - some lawmakers had suggested the band could be granted an exemption so they could keep performing. Such exemptions have been given to Olympic medallists and other high-achieving sports stars, classical musicians and dancers.
But I have a feeling this is only going to make BTS an even bigger worldwide phenomenon in a couple of years.
Personally, I can’t stand these guys. But I respect the hustle. And I respect their patriotism and the fact they’re doing their civic duty to their country, as megastar pop celebrities.
By now everybody knows Elvis’ story either from being alive at the time, reading a book, or seeing the movie.
If these guys are smart, they’ve hit the recording studio and banked 2-3 albums worth of stuff that can be released while they’re serving.
Then, they come off tour and hit their musical reunion tour and make a billion. They’re an even bigger deal and the crazed fans want them even more because absence makes the heart grow fonder. And they’re whatever the term for patriot is in South Korea.
P.s.- can you imagine if we had a requirement like this in our country?