The members of the South Korean superstar boy band BTS will join the South Korean military to carry out national service, as confirmed by a statement issued on Monday.
An announcement by the group’s agent ends years of debate over whether the seven members could be exempted from their military duties ordered by South Korea.
While South Korea requires all healthy men aged 18-28 to join the army for at least two years, K-pop stars were allowed to postpone the start of their military service until they had celebrated their 30th birthdays.
The band’s management said that the oldest member, Kim Seok-jin, 29, is going to start preparations next month. The youngest member, Jeon Jung-kook, who is 24 years old, also plans to begin his mandatory service.
BTS, considered the biggest and most successful boy band in the world, had previously been given deferrals from having to complete their military service.
This was after the South Korean Parliament passed a bill allowing “a pop culture artist whose name had been put forward by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to have greatly enhanced the image of South Korea both within the nation and throughout the world” to postpone service until turning 30 years of age.
The announcement that all members would serve in the military came just months after they said they would be taking a break while some pursued individual projects.
Known for vibrant and catchy hits like Butter and Dynamite, BTS have cemented their position as the best-selling K-pop group in the world over the past few years.
Since many South Koreans regard the members as national treasures, lawmakers suggested they would be exempt from military service to allow them to continue performing.
Previously, the South Korean government has granted such exemptions to athletes, including Olympic medalists or high-profile sports stars, dancers, and classical musicians.
However, in the statement issued on Monday, the band’s representatives said the members were all happy that they would soon carry out their military duties.
The agency revealed that Jin had canceled the request to push back the start date of his service, and that the band probably wouldn’t reform for at least a couple of years.
“Both the company and the members of BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment,” the statement read.