BTS tell K-pop fans: Don’t wave us off at military bases

36 minutes ago
About sharing

Jung Kook, V, RM and Jimin are set to begin their mandatory military service, perhaps next week
By Zoya Mateen
BBC News, London

Four BTS band members have urged their fans not to turn up at army camps when they begin mandatory military duty.

The K-pop stars’ label announced that RM, Jimin, V and Jung Kook would enlist soon – some reports say next week.

Later on Tuesday, the four also posted a video, with RM saying they could become a “nuisance” for other soldiers enlisting and their families.

Three older band members are already in the army, with Jin, the oldest, being the first to join last December.

Their send-offs had attracted crowds of fans, endearingly known as the ARMY, who gathered outside the military bases to say goodbye.

As South Korea is still technically at war with North Korea, nearly all able-bodied men are obliged to enlist for 18 months by the time they turn 28.

Sitting on sofas with his bandmates, RM said in the video: “I would appreciate if you avoid coming to see us on the day.”

Earlier, the group’s label Big Hit Music said that the enlistments were “upcoming” for the four, but didn’t disclose the exact dates. Local media reports suggest that all will start next week.

It also asked fans to avoid visiting military bases on the day the band members turn up as there would be no “separate official events”.

“We ask that you only give a warm send-off and encouragement to RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook with your heart,” it added.

BTS’s sudden and expected announcement to take a break, just days after releasing a new album last year, had shocked millions of fans. The band, however, has promised to reform in 2025.

In their live stream, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook talked about the band’s decision to hit pause so that they could all focus on personal projects and prepare for service.

“It’s going to take some time but it’s no big deal. We’ve been active for 10 years. One-and-half years will go quick,” RM says.

All four were sitting around tables full of food – pizzas, breads and soda – laughing and joking until the 24th minute when Jung Kook, who has already shaved his hair for military service, sombrely says: “There is something we want to askā€¦ Other people will be entering service too. So if possible, I wish you would avoid coming.”

RM continues: “Other soldiers and their parents will be there. We could become a nuisance.”

He and V then jokingly bow to the camera before RM adds: “It can be dangerous.”

For a long time, it was rumoured that the government might allow the members of BTS to skip military service, given that the band – whose enormous popularity has earned them comparisons to the Beatles – had is easily one of the country’s biggest cultural exports, bringing in billions of dollars.

But although South Korea offers exemptions from military service to some people, including Olympic medal-winning athletes and some classical musicians, this does not apply to K-pop stars.

Related Topics

More on this story

17 October 2022