BTS Can Put Off Mandatory Military Service After South Korea Changes the Law for Pop Stars

New law lets pop artists who advance country’s international reputation wait until age 30 to serve

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K-Pop superstars BTS aren’t just a crew of incredible entertainers, they’re also a crew of young South Koreans whose ages range from 23 to 27. Which could have posed a problem very soon, since that means they’re all subject to the country’s mandatory military service, which according to South Korean law must begin by a person’s 28th birthday.

But luckily for fans of the “Dynamite” hit-makers, the South Korean National Assembly passed a new law on Tuesday allowing people to put off compulsory military service until age 30. And all you have to do to qualify is be an internationally recognized pop music powerhouse. No, seriously.

South Koreans are required to spend at least 21 months in the military — which can take aspiring artists out of their craft during crucial years of development. But people who achieve distinction in certain sport or artistic fields are allowed to skip military service altogether, including athletes who earn medals at international competitions and award-winning classical musicians. However, until today pop music stars were definitely not included.

The new law, passed according to ABC with BTS in mind, doesn’t let pop stars opt out of service entirely, but it does decree that they can put off their military service until age 30, if the South Korean minister of culture determines that “a pop culture artist” has “greatly enhanced the image of Korea both within the nation and throughout the world.”

And since BTS recently became the first Asian pop group to top the US Billboard pop charts, they definitely qualify.

For those of you keeping score, here is when the individual members of BTS will have to swap incredible dance moves for formation marching:

Jin: Dec. 4, 2022.
Suga: March 9, 2023
J-Hope: Feb. 18. 2024
RM: Sep. 12, 2024
Jimin: Oct. 13, 2025
V: Dec. 30, 1995
Jungkook: Sep. 1, 2027.

So BTS fans, you have a few more years before the band will have to figure out how to get along without Jin for 21 months. Why not celebrate by watching the video for “Dynamite.”


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