BTS Sends Its Second Member Off to Mandatory Military Service

BTS military service
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BTS military service
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Photo Credit: Newsen / CC by 3.0

BTS sends off J-Hope as he becomes the second member of the group to enlist for mandatory military service.

BTS member J-Hope enlisted in the South Korean military as an active-duty soldier on April 18, becoming the second member of the phenomenally successful K-Pop group to do so. J-Hope joins the 36th Infantry Division recruit training center in the city of Wonju in Gangwon Province to begin five weeks of basic military training before being transferred to his station.

All BTS members were present to send the 29-year-old J-Hope off — including Jin, the eldest BTS member currently serving in the military as an active-duty soldier. The group posed for photos shared on member V’s Instagram Stories, along with the message, “J-Hope, we love you.” Similarly, member RM shared one of the photos on his Instagram Stories with the caption, “See you soon… brother.”

On April 17, J-Hope shared the news on his Instagram with a photo of his new military buzz-cut and a handwritten note that reads, “I will return healthy and well!”

“I love you, ARMY. I will see you again,” J-Hope said in a message shared with his fans on the platform Weverse, with additional photos of himself with his military buzz-cut.

Each of the five remaining members of the Korean septet — RM, Suga, Jimin, V, and Jungkook — is expected to begin enlisting for their country’s mandatory military service over the next year and a half, with hopes to resume as a group in 2025. Jin, the oldest of the group at age 30, became the band’s first member to enter the army in December.

There was much debate in 2022 over whether the South Korean government should offer special exemptions of mandatory military service to BTS members. The law provides special exemptions to athletes, classical and traditional musicians, and ballet dancers if they have obtained top prizes in specific competitions and are seen to have “enhanced national prestige. However, K-pop stars and other entertainers aren’t subject to these privileges. 

In October, the group’s management announced that all seven members would begin fulfilling their duties.