Another K-Pop Star Is in the Army Now

BTS' Suga begins his mandatory military service in South Korea
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2022 8:56 AM CST
Updated Aug 8, 2023 1:00 AM CDT
BTS' Jin Shows Off His Army Buzz Cut
FILE - BTS member Suga attends an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 12, 2023, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
UPDATE Aug 8, 2023 1:00 AM CDT

A third member of K-pop group BTS has begun his compulsory military service in South Korea. Following the enlistment of Jin, the group's eldest member, in December, a second member, J-Hope, followed suit in April. Now it's Suga's turn, the AP reports. "We would like to inform our fans that SUGA has initiated the military enlistment process by applying for the termination of his enlistment postponement," Big Hit Music said in a statement regarding the rapper/singer/songwriter, who earlier this year went on his first solo tour. "We ask you for your continued love and support for SUGA until he completes his military service and safely returns. Our company will spare no effort in providing support for our artist."

Dec 13, 2022 8:56 AM CST

Despite his pleas for fans to stay away, hundreds turned out to see Jin, the oldest member of K-pop group BTS, submit to mandatory military service at an army training center in South Korea on Tuesday, per CNN. After years of delays, band members are expected to submit to mandatory military service for at least 18 months. Jin, the oldest member of the group at age 30, is first to begin the process. He arrived at the Yeoncheon army base in Gyeonggi province—less than 10 miles from the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea—in "a motorcade of six black vans," per CNN.

"It's time for a curtain call," Jin wrote Tuesday on social media platform Weverse, per NPR. Days earlier, he'd showed off a fresh buzz cut. "It's cuter than I had expected," he wrote. It will be quite a change of lifestyle for the singer, whose real name is Kim Seok-jin. Before assignment to a unit, recruits will complete a five-week basic training course involving exercises in marching, rifle shooting, and grenade throwing. When not training, they'll share bunk beds in a barracks with no cellphones allowed, though Jin is to be granted limited cellphone use on weekends, per CNN. It notes fans can submit letters that will be "printed out and given to him."

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One 40-year-old fan who took the subway, bus, and a taxi to get to the base said she was worried Jin would "suffer in the military," especially during "a very cold winter," per CNN. "We wish him all the best and stay safe and healthy and we will wait [for] him the 18 months," said another fan. Other BTS members are expected to follow Jin in performing their compulsory military service, to last between 18 and 21 months. Management agency Big Hit Music says it and the band "are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment," per NPR. (More BTS stories.)

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