July 15

Buzz about BTS and Korean military enlistment

Written by
Annyeong India

If you know about South Korea, K-pop, K-drama, K-food etc.. Then you might also be aware of ‘Korean Military Enlistment’. From the biggest stars to any man, every citizen of Korea, all are bound to serve in the Korean Military Service and if you don't know about it, today let's find about Korean Military Enlistment which is mandatory no matter what, and the big buzz about it. 

Korean military service

Korean military service

What is Korean Military Enlistment or Service?

Military Enlistment or Service is the mandatory participation of all masculine gender and able bodied citizens of Korea in any type of social work, military duty active, full- time reserve enlistment or conscription.

All men from 18 to 35 are required to go through mandatory military enlistment or services. This act is not compulsory for women but they can also enlist if they want. 

According to Article 39, which states in the constitution of South Korea “All citizens shall have the duty of national defence under the conditions as prescribed by Act”.

Age of Enlistment?

The age of enlistment is 18(Korean age), when a Korean male turns 18, it is mandatory for him to serve in military service.

But it is possible to delay till the age of 28, and last year when former President of South Korea Moon Jae was active, the National Assembly passed a law to allow all K-pop stars to delay the Military service till age of 30.  

Apart from famous celebrities or K-pop Idols and stars, most of the Korean men complete their Military service in their early 20s. K-pop Idols tend to delay military service because it may affect their career and can also spread negativity in their careers.

Most Korean Men start their service after graduating from their High School and studying in University for 1 or 2 years and graduate after completing their Military service. 

Consequences if someone objects Military service?

If a citizen of South Korea objects to mandatory military service then he might be jailed, whether it's for any time or any reason.

Citizens having dual citizenship should also choose one citizenship before 18 and they don't have to do the compulsory military service.

However foreigners living in South Korea don't have to complete the mandatory military service and if so they can and also get permanent citizenship.

Many Foreigners living in South Korea also join military service to obtain full citizenship, but they are not forced and are not compulsory to do so. 

Yoo Sueng Joon is a Korean- American singer and was the first person to object to the military service and, his singing career came to an end in 2002 and later he was banned from entering South Korea and is living in another country with other citizenship.

Length of Military Services 

The length of one’s military service depends on a number of factors. The branch of the service they’re in, active vs non-active duty, all play a part.

While the service time period for the South Korean Army and Marines is 21 months, the Navy is 23 months, and the Air Force is 24.

As for non-active duty, it’s 24 months for those in social work or transnational cooperation, 34 months for artificial specialised labour force, and 36 months for those completing their service as public or social diplomats.

The length of military service in South Korea is long, in fact, it’s among the top 4 in the world. It only falls behind North Korea( where it’s mandatory for both women and men, with the lengthiest service time in the world), Israel( where it’s mandatory for women for 24 months and men for 32 months), and Singapore( mandatory for men for 24 months).

While there have been conversations regarding shortening the military service period, because of relations with North Korea, there are no immediate plans for this.

Now let’s talk about some of the ‘buzzing things’ going on about Korean Military Enlistment.

‘BUZZ’ about South Korean Military Services

Exception of Military services : Exception of Military service which is really rare but many celebrities and sports are exempted from military service. Health problems are also a big point here, but those who have health problems can also do social work rather than going to the navy or any other posts.

Korean former wrestler and television entertainer Kang Hodong was exempted from military service due to exceeding weight more than 130 kg later though he ended up doing it. Sports persons having medals in the Olympics and Asian games are also exempted from military service.

Increase of age limit for Idols : The Korean government last year also approved a law for K-pop Idols exceeding their age limit to delay it till 35 which also created a hot issue.

This law was made to delay the military service of the eldest member of BTS Jin, although it was a good decision as K-pop is playing a big role in South Korean culture, economy and heritage too, but many of the netizens felt it was unfair too. 

The biggest buzz started from last year and still going on 

Will BTS Be Exempted From Military Service?

This the most hot topic about the Korean mandatory military enlistment  as the eldest member of the K-pop phenomena BTS Jin is now 29 and have to complete the compulsory service, although the new law made it to delay till 35 but the topic is still hot as BTS did a lot for South Korea’s culture and also economy and the achievements they have made and for country is very big itself.

BTS makes total 0.3% of South Korea’s GDP, the tourist from last year got doubled and most of them came to see BTS concert, although most of the Korean government bureaucracies and citizens wants to exempt the military service due to their achievement but still is its divided although BTS member clearly told in the interview that when the time will come they are ready to serve for the country.

What do you all think about the BTS military service whether they should be exempted or they should complete the service. 

Apart from South Korea many other countries also have mandatory military service, let's have a look at them :

Some Other Countries having Mandatory military Enlistment 

  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Austria
  • Israel
  • Belarus
  • Cyprus
  • Syria 
  • Mexico
  • Iran
  • Greece
  • North Korea

North Korea is having the longest compulsory military service of 11 years for men and 7 years for women 

This was all about South Korean Mandatory service and the buzz going around about it and whether BTS will join the service or will they be given exemption.

What are your thoughts on this ? Comment down below.

Author : Saurabh Thapa


bts, Korean military enlistment

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