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South Korea: K-pop star J-Hope off to military service

April 18, 2023

BTS boy band member J-Hope has enlisted for mandatory military duty. South Korean men are required by law to perform 18-21 months of military service.

J-Hope pictured with a shaved head, saluting
Public opinion is split on whether K-pop stars should be exempt from military serviceImage: YNA/dpa/picture alliance

K-pop sensation J-Hope, who forms part of South Korean boy band BTS, began compulsory military serviceon Tuesday.

News agency Yonhap reported that the singer, whose real name is Jung Ho-seok, reported for duty at Wonju army boot camp, situated about 87 kilometres (54 miles) east of Seoul.

J-Hope poses for a photo with BTS members
J-Hope reported for duty at army boot camp in Wonju in Gangwon provinceImage: Yonhap/picture alliance

'I'll be back later' — J-Hope

Fans of the star arrived at the location with large photos of J-Hope and authorities had to send military personnel and police to help maintain order.

"I'll be back later," the singer said on Monday in a post on fan platform Weverse.

The singer is now the second member of the band to report for duty in South Korea's military, Jin, the oldest, who joined the military in December.

The country requires all deemed fit for perform 18-21 months of military service under a conscription system designed to deter aggression from rival North Korea.

There are exemptions under certain circumstances for athletes and certain categories of musicians, however K-pop musicians do not qualify.

Public opinion is divided on whether such exemptions be extended to cover K-pop stars or the exemptions be revoked for everyone.

The band's agency last year said that all members planned to complete military duty by 2025.

K-Pop stars in the army now

kb, jcg (AP, Reuters)