Mandatory military service in the K-pop world

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South Korea is a country that takes mandatory military service very seriously. There you don't have the same waiver option you have in Brazil and other countries. A person who does not obey the law loses his freedom by staying in a penitentiary. And this time is also very sad for fans as no exception is made for K-pop groups or other artists who reach the age of 30.

Military service starts from the age of 20, but becomes mandatory from the age of 30. The service lasts up to 3 years and is a harrowing time for fans, as many are at the height of their careers and have to take a break to fulfill with the law of the country.

In this article we will understand more about this subject, which artists have already served in the army, what measures the government is taking to solve this and if this law means the end of the career of the K-pop band of the moment: BTS.

How does compulsory military service work and how long does it last?

Military service in South Korea extends to both men and women upon reaching age, but is mandatory only for men. The enlistment law has been in existence since 1957. And the service is not only for those born in the South Korean country, but also extends to those who have dual nationality and have opted for Korean. It also has a relationship with people who have lived in South Korea for a long time.

South Korea's military mandate is among the 4 strictest in the world, behind only North Korea, Israel and Singapore. So the man has a period of 18 to 28 years of age to enlist, if he doesn't, he can be arrested. And the way inmates are treated there is not very attractive either! A person can go decades without their freedom.

The situation is so serious that even if the person has some health or physical problem, they must enlist, but they do a type of non-active service as if it were a voluntary service aimed at society. In this case, the person stays in this type of service for two years.

There are some exceptions in the case of enlistment aimed at Koreans who have diabetes, as it is a disease that leaves the person weak, with food restriction and if the person is injured, healing takes a long time and can aggravate the problem, in which case the person can ask for dismiss. Another exception is for Olympic athletes who win a gold medal, as it is considered a form of service to the country.

The recruitment time will also depend on the type of service chosen. The People Online showed the duration for each of the military services:

Non-active service (social work) - 2 years

Non-active service (industrial technician) - 2 years and 10 months

Non-active service (doctors, lawyers, veterinarians) and researchers) - 3 years

navy - 1 year and 9 months

Army - 1 year and 9 months

Naval Army - 1 year and 11 months

Air Force - 2 years

Korean artists who will serve in the army soon

The fans' hearts aches in this period, although for many it doesn't seem like a big deal, but the removal of certain members of a group to mandatory military service can cause the band to lose its strength over time.

Oh and it's important to point out that in South Korea a person's age is counted in a different way. When the person is born, they are 1 year old, as the time of gestation is taken into account, and then the age counts normally. So they take into account the age there. Some K-pop singers are already a few steps away from enlisting. Let's see what they are.

1 - Jin (BTS)

Jin or Kim Seok-jin (김석진) born on December 4, 1992, he is the oldest in the group. So taking into account the age in Korean in December he turns 30, which is the limit that the government has set for artists at the height of success to enlist. Jin is a tenor and plays guitar. He has been in the band since the beginning in 2013.

2nd – Wonho (Monsta X)

Wonho or Lee Ho-seok (이호석) is already 29 years old (Korean age) and is a former member of Starship Entertainment's band Monsta X, he joined the band in May 2015. He stayed in the group until the launch of his career solo in April 2020. He stands out for having a very beautiful face, so he is also dedicated to the modeling career since 2018 for big brands.

3 - Jay B (GOT7)

Jay B or Lim Jae-beom (임재범) turns 29 Korean years old in January 2022. His career began in 2012, but he became known for joining the group Got 7 formed in 2014. In addition to singing, r Jay B is also an actor, having participated in 3 dramas and various variety shows.

4 - Vernon (Seventeen)

Hansol Vernon Chwe (한솔 버논최) is 24 Korean years old. He is a rapper, singer, songwriter and dancer for the group Seventeen. Vernon was born in NY, United States, but at age 5 he moved to South Korea, so he has dual nationality and when a person chooses South Korean nationality, he must enlist, otherwise he is treated as an immigrant.

5 - Mino (Winner)

Mino is the stage name of Song Min-ho (송민호) the rapper, singer and songwriter is 29 years old in Korean and has been a member of the group Winner since 2015. His career began in 2011 and he is still active today. The artist won the Discovery of the Year award in 2016.

6 - Suga (BTS)

sucks his name is Min Yoon-gi (민윤기) turns 29 in March 2022. He has been in BTS since his debut in 2013, where he became better known, but 3 years earlier he was already part of a rap group.

7 - Xiumin (EXO)

Xiumin whose name is Kim Min-seok (김민석) he is 32 Korean years old and is already serving in the army. He started his career in 2012 when he joined the band EXO and stayed until 2019 when he had to leave for his military service.

The BTS Law

The group BTS is one of the most influential bands in South Korea. This group contributed a lot to the hallyu phenomenon and it's only growing and conquering more people all over the world and taking its cultural aspects. As most of the members are almost the same age, surely with the time of enlisting approaching people couldn't help but manifest in some way.

Despite several attempts to come to an agreement, the group BTS has still not been able to get exemption from mandatory military service, the only progress in fact was that the deadline set has increased. They would have until the age of 30 (Korean) to enlist instead of 28. It turned out that this measure extended to every South Korean artist. THE Korea Music Contents Association (MCON), an association dedicated to the development of the K-pop industry, has so far not agreed to the exemption of artists, but it is already an agenda to be evaluated.

What do you think of this law? Will they soon get an exemption or some kind of alternative service?

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