South Korea May Force BTS To Join Their Military

The K-pop boy band BTS may be trading in their stylish stage outfits for military uniforms.

The complicated issues revolves around South Korea’s mandatory military service for all males aged 18-28.

In 2020, under a revision of the country’s 2019 law, BTS members were able to delay their military service until they were 30.

However one of their members, Jin, will soon be turning 30 and it is a HUGE debate amongst our South Korean allies.

(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

EXEMPTIONS ARE LOOKED AT AS SPECIAL TREATMENT

Under South Korean law, all able-bodied men between age 18 to 28 are required to undergo 18-21 months of military service, as part of the country’s efforts to defend against North Korea. However the law does allow for special exemptions for athletes and others that enhance the country’s prestige.

When the South Korean soccer team won the Asian Games for example, they were all granted the military exemption.

The question is – does BTS, one of the biggest groups in the world, rise to that level?

The issue of exemptions is highly controversial and looked down upon by many as being unfair. All other males have to give up their professions for over a year and a half while they are conscripted. That means they literally have to stop their career paths or schooling to join the military. Why are some forced to serve while the wealthy or privileged get special treatment?

Higher-ups in South Korea’s military say they believe the K-pop superstars should have to serve.

Lee Ki Sik, commissioner of the Military Manpower Administration, told lawmakers that it’s “desirable” for BTS members to fulfill their military duties to ensure fairness in the country’s military service. Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup made similar comments at a parliamentary committee meeting. Culture Minister Park Bo Gyoon said his ministry would soon finalize its position on the issue.

OutKick has reached out to the South Korean U.S. consulate for comment.

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 19: BTS performs onstage during the 2017 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 19, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)

THE COUNTRY IS DIVIDED ON THE ISSUE

According to an Associated Press survey, 54% supported BTS joining the military. 61% said they believe in exemptions for entertainers such as BTS.

Those that argue in favor of BTS’s exemption cite the economic prosperity the band brings.

BTS has reportedly earned the country over $3.5 billion. That’s a ton of money from just 7 pop group members. If one or a few of them have to join the military for over a year and a half, without a doubt it would have an impact.

Imagine being in BTS – literally one of the biggest pop groups in the world, making tens of millions of dollars. Then all of a sudden it just stops so you can go to the barracks and report for training?

I also understand the South Korean citizen’s that argue against their exemption. As we’ve seen here in America especially in the last few years – where our leaders and the influential received preferential treatment and didn’t follow the same mandates that they imposed on the rest of us.

“Rules onto thee and not for me,” makes people extremely angry and bitter, and rightfully so. We’ll see if the power of music can change that.

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.

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