In a new cover story for Rolling Stone, BTS addressed one of the things that’s most concerning to their fans who know about South Korea’s mandatory military service: If this looming draft will break the group up? Due to the active tensions between North and South Korea, this 21-month army term is required for all men to start before their 28th birthday, and group member Jin turned 28 last December.
That month, though, the government issued a directive that “a pop-culture artist who was recommended by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism to have greatly enhanced the image of Korea both within the nation and throughout the world” can defer their enlistment until the age of 30. “I think the country sort of told me, ‘You’re doing this well, and we will give you a little bit more time,’ ” Jin said of the law, telling Rolling Stone further that he considers serving to be “an important duty for our country. So I feel that I will try to work as hard as I can and do the most I can until I am called.”
He also said he hopes the group will continue to have the success they’re currently experiencing — even if it means without him. “I have no doubt that the other members will make a good decision because, you know, this is not something that I can tell them what to do,” he said. Even if they continued on without him for a while, he added: “I’ll be sad, but I’ll be watching them on the internet and cheering them on.”
Even with the two year grace period, the military requirement remains a concern for the group at large: RM is turning 27 soon, J-Hope is 27 and Suga is 28, too. Who knows if the government will further modify the draft, or if the band will find a workaround, but so far, that requirement seems like the only thing that might slow the success of BTS. Read the full cover story here.