Is South Korea’s Mandatory Military Service The Real Reason Behind BTS Hiatus?
Seoul: Hearing about BTS’ taking a hiatus a few weeks back left the worldwide ARMYs heartbroken.
The surprise decision by South Korean boy band BTS to take a break from live shows has rekindled debate about mandatory military service in a country setting global pop-culture trends while facing a decades old Cold War threat.
For those who are unaware, in Korea, it is mandatory that every man between the ages of 18 and 28 is required to perform compulsory military service for two years.
According to reports it’s now being claimed that the South Korean Parliament is now debating a new amendment that would allow K-pop stars (across South Korea) to do just three weeks of military training. Yes, you read that absolutely right. This comes after BTS members (RM, Jin, Suga, Jimin, Jungkook, V and J-Hope recently announced a hiatus and gave exhaustion as the reason for it.
Lawmaker Sang-Hyun claimed that BTS’ main reason for the hiatus was ‘waiting for parliament to decide has been hugely stressful’ for them. He said, “The members cited exhaustion and the need for rest as the main reason but the real reason was Jin‘s military service.”
Meanwhile, a few weeks back the septet members had announced that they were taking a hiatus after going through exhaustion and as they all wanted to focus on their individual careers. However, a few hours later the Korean boy band’s agency shared, “BTS are not taking a hiatus. Members will be focusing more on solo projects at this time.”
A Gallup poll in April showed nearly 60% of South Koreans supported the bill exempting globally successful K-pop stars from full military service, with 33% opposed.
The band and their management company have steered clear of the debate but in April Big Hit official Lee Jin-Hyung told a news conference in Las Vegas that some band members were having a “hard time” because of “uncertainties” over the parliament debate. He called for a decision.
Jin asked hours later about Lee’s comments, said he was letting Big Hit handle the issue though adding that what Lee said reflected his view.