BTS is so big, they just forced their government to give them a longer leash when they have to give it all up and enlist in the military… which is unprecedented.
South Korea has long had a law called the Military Service Law – which requires all able-bodied men in the country to serve at least 20 months before the age of 28 … and members of the K-Pop boy group do no exception.
On Tuesday, however, parliament changed that – by giving top K-Pop artists (who receive government praise) a 2-year reprieve, which they specifically did to appease the oldest BTS member, Kim Seok-jin, who turns 28 this week.
South Korea’s rationale for bending the rules … BTS brings so much cultural and economic prosperity to the country – especially now that they’ve broken through with an international audience – it would be a shame to snatch a key member when he’s about to to be in the prime of his musical career.
Note that K-Pop singers will NOT be completely excused from serving – they will have to turn down the mic and pick up a weapon of at least 30 under this rule change … but the fact that South Korea has bowed in four for their biggest boy band is astounding.
Strangely, the country allows certain exemptions from its conscription policy – Korean Olympic athletes who win medals and Korean musicians who win awards don’t have to serve at all, as long as they are internationally recognized as such.
Seems like all you have to do to get out of this is bring some glamor (and dough) … and you’re ready to go!