The BTS Brand Of K-Pop Lives On, As South Korean Government Eases Rule On Mandatory Military Service

BTS AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

There was good news this week for fans of K-Pop’s BTS as the South Korean government has decided it is not breaking up the group.

This week, the National Assembly in South Korea passed a law that allows male K-Pop stars to defer their mandatory military service up to age 30 if they are deemed “significant contributors to the elevation of national reputation.”

The law’s passage had particular significant for BTS member Kim Seok-jin, aka Jin, who will turn 28 on Friday. Normally, he would then face the start of his mandatory two years of military service, which formerly required all men to enter the ranks by age 28.

Athletes and classical music artists have enjoyed an exemption, but the government has been reluctant to expand the reach. That hesitancy has previously derailed many a rising K-Pop act. When a group member exits, many of the acts traditionally go on hiatus or disband.

BTS is certainly enhancing the national reputation. It’s song “Life Goes On” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the first time a song in Korean has accomplished that. It was the second BTS song to debut at the top of the chart, following its first English-language single, “Dynamite.”

BTS is also the first South Korean pop music act to be nominated for a Grammy Award. They will be vying for the honor in the best pop duo/group category.

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