Big Hit Entertainment has denied the reports made by National Assembly member Ahn Min Seok, who claimed that BTS will begin enlisting in the military later this year.
Ahn Min Seok is the chairman for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and at a recent meeting, he claimed that one member of BTS would enlist this year.
I think one of the BTS members is going into the military this year. It seems like it has been decided that they will not get any special treatment relating to military service for pop culture artists.
Artists in the fine arts get special treatment when it comes to military service if the place second or first in an international competition. This system was instilled in the 1970’s. At the time, there was a very clear line between fine arts and pop culture, but now, that line is not as clear, so it doesn’t make sense for only “artists” to get such special treatment regarding military service, and ignore pop culture artists.
— Ahn Min Seok
Park Yang Yoo, the Minister of Culture, Sport, and Tourism, also commented on the possibility of special treatment on military service.
There have been many varying opinions on if pop culture artists should be able to receive special treatment for their military service, even before BTS, so we have been discussing this for a long time. But the Military Manpower Association and the Ministry of National Defense believe that special treatment in general should be reduced wherever possible. From our point of view, it would be better if special treatment could instead be extended to better promote our country’s culture and sports.
— Park Yang Yoo
He continued, stating that they continue to be in discussions with the relevant agencies over supporting Idols’ activities.
There are very clearly set competitions, both domestically and internationally, for those competing in sports or fine arts. However, people have pointed out that there are no clear distinctions like that for pop culture, so it is hard to standardize it.
When we were discussing the issue with members of the pop culture industry, we mentioned that it was difficult to receive any special treatment. They said that the biggest issue was the difficulty of travelling abroad for international concerts, specifically for members who have not yet completed their military service. They asked for leniency on this, and we are trying to negotiate with the Military Manpower Association and the Ministry of National Defense about their concern.
— Park Yang Yoo
In the end, Big Hit Entertainment released their statement shutting down any rumors that BTS would begin their military enlistment this year.
We aren’t sure why such a story was reported, but those reports about BTS enlisting in the military this year are not true.
— Big Hit Entertainment
BTS’s Jin would be the first member of the group to serve his mandatory military service, as he is the oldest (born in 1992).