The question of whether BTS will be able to perform while serving in the military is at the centre of a discussion.


The question of whether BTS will be able to perform while serving in the military is at the centre of a discussion.



According to South Korea's defence minister Lee Jong-sup, K-pop sensation BTS would still be able to perform abroad even though they are joining the military. This declaration coincides with continuing discussions regarding whether members of well-known K-pop boybands should be spared from serving in the military.

Since the eldest band member Kim Seok-jin will reach 30 in December of this year—the age at which well-known K-pop artists must postpone entering the military—this topic has recently gained attention.

South Korea is debating reducing the period of military service for idols from two years to three weeks after previously raising the age at which they must begin serving.

Defense Minister Jong-sup told the parliamentary session that even if they enlist, there would be a method to let them to prepare and perform together if there were scheduled concerts abroad. According to a BBC story, he was quoted as saying, "As many people strongly regard artists serving in the military, that may help enhance their appeal even more."

Lee stated that by allowing BTS to continue performing, the South Korean military may advance national objectives without having an impact on the already diminishing pool of resources due to low birth rates, as was mentioned in a Reuters story.

What regulations govern the compelled military service?

All able-bodied men in South Korea between the ages of 18 and 28 are required by law to serve in the military. The South Korean Constitution's Article 39 declares that "all citizens shall have the duty of national defence under the conditions defined by Act," which came into effect in July 1948. Men in South Korea must serve in the military until they are 19 years old, according to the Military Service Act of 1949, which went into effect in 1957. Women are not required to serve in the military, but they are free to do so if they so choose.

Military duty in South Korea is one of the world's longest, lasting around 18 months.

The length of service varies depending on the branch of the military one joins, and either active-duty troops or non-active-duty personnel may be assigned.

Were there any exceptions?

In preparation for the 1976 Summer Olympics, then-President Park Chung-hee initially instituted exemptions from military duty in 1973. This was done in order to give them a greater chance to compete and win medals for South Korea.

Other times, sporting teams might receive exemptions if they did well in their competitions. For instance, in 2002, if South Korea's national football team won the FIFA World Cup, they would receive an exemption. The national baseball team was also eligible for a waiver from military duty if they did well at the World Baseball Classic, an international competition for baseball teams.

Olympic and Asian Games medalists are currently excused from basic military training and merely have to complete four weeks of it.

Are BTS and other K-pop stars excluded from this rule?

K-pop celebrities have not yet been added to the list of exemptions, although South Korean violinists, pianists, ballet dancers, actresses, and directors have all received exemptions in the arts and culture.

Fans of BTS have been requesting exemptions more frequently as a result of the boyband's gradual promotion of South Korean music and culture. Many government representatives are now debating whether new exemptions ought to be put into place as a result of this.

According to Culture Minister Park Yang-woo, "In the case of BTS, I personally wish I could give exemptions for them under specific norms, but the Military Manpower Administration and the Ministry of National Defense are inclined to minimise the total extent of the exemption." It is challenging to institutionalise a waiver system in the popular culture and arts fields because the selection criteria are difficult to fix, unlike in the classical arts or sports, continued Park.

Previously, a measure allowing K-pop singers like BTS to postpone their conscription until the age of 30 was approved by the South Korean parliament. BTS's management company, HYBE Entertainment, has up until this point insisted that the members intend to carry out their obligations under the country's military conscription rules.

Should BTS be excluded from serving in the military?

Unquestionably, BTS has highlighted South Korean culture. They have produced huge international successes like "Dynamite" and "Butter," have spoken at the UN and been called by the White House to talk against anti-Asian hate crimes. They were also nominated for the prestigious prize. They were the first K-pop group to perform at the Grammys.

Recently, when the group apparently decided to take a hiatus in order to concentrate on their separate initiatives, the price of HYBE's stock fell 28% to 139,000 won. Since the company went public over two years ago, this price has been the lowest, resulting in a $1.7 billion market value decline. Since then, not much has changed in the stock price. This sharp decline demonstrates how BTS is not only a cultural phenomenon but also a significant economic player in South Korea.

The government will decide if BTS is granted a waiver from their required military duty. However, the parliament ought to be aware of the part the organisation has performed in enhancing the nation's reputation.

In a news conference in 2022, South Korea's Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Hwang Hee reportedly stated, "It's time to build a system for combining popular culture-art icons as art people. There is no reason why the popular art and culture sphere should be excluded from this. The system has been purposefully handled to allow people who have boosted the national standing based on their excellent skills additional opportunities to contribute to the country.

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