A music critic revealed whether the military enlistment of BTS would end their career.
Male K-pop idols have to serve in the military under South Korean law. In the country, all able-bodied men are required to serve for 18 months and join the armed forces. Currently, athletes and award-winning classical musicians are exempted from it for “elevating the national prestige.”
But K-pop idols — even BTS — are not exempted.
This has been causing worries among fans, as some now-disbanded idol groups split while their members were in the military. Others also left the group for good.
Will BTS Still Be Popular Despite the Members’ Military Service?
Members of K-pop groups often feel worried their fans might forget them if they spend time away from the stage after their enlistment. In the past, some tried to skip it, which resulted in criminal charges.
But there is nothing to worry about anymore as the global popularity of the K-pop industry will help idols to get back on track again — especially BTS.
Speaking with The Korea Times, music critic Han Dong Yoon said BTS’ popularity would never be affected by the members’ military enlistments.
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"It seems the septet's popularity will remain unfazed," he said. "Male celebrities were required to serve for about two years in the past, and they were mostly out of the public's radar during that period because TV was the sole platform for their exposure."
Han Dong Yoon noted that the advanced technology would also help the idols feel closer to fans even when they are not promoting amid military service.
In addition, the Ministry of National Defense permitted soldiers to use their phones inside the barracks when they are not on duty. This change started in July 2020. Baekhyun of EXO, for instance, has been in touch with his fans since starting his career in May.
Fans Can Connect With Idols Through Military’s Promotional Activities
Aside from YouTube and other social media platforms, the music critic revealed that fans could get updates about their idols through promotional activities in the military.
“Many singers are part of the military band and they frequently take part in the military's promotional activities," he explained. "This is another way they can meet their fans in person while they are on their military hiatus."
In the end, Han Dong Yoon explained that K-pop’s international popularity changed the meaning of serving in the military for K-pop idols. Instead of seeing it as the end of their relationship with fans, they now refer to it as improvement and refreshment.
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