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Jin of BTS Completes His Military Service

WorldJin of BTS Completes His Military Service

The K-pop juggernaut BTS is one step closer to a reunion.

The first member of the boy band to enlist in South Korea’s army, Jin, 31, was discharged on Wednesday morning, BTS’s label said. Over the next year or so, his bandmates are expected to complete their military service, which is required of nearly all South Korean men.

BTS shocked its own Army — as the seven-member group’s fervent following is collectively known — in June 2022 when they said they would go on hiatus to enlist. Jin, the group’s eldest member, whose birth name is Kim Seok-jin, began his 18-month stint in the military that December. His enlistment came after much public debate about whether BTS should get an exemption from the draft, as Olympic medalists and some classical musicians do.

Still, the group was given some leeway. Most men in South Korea have to enlist before they turn 28. Days before Jin reached that milestone, lawmakers revised the conscription law to allow pop artists who have bolstered the nation’s reputation to postpone their enlistment for two years. Researchers say BTS’s global success has contributed billions of dollars to the South Korean economy.

The group’s music also seems to have become a military asset. Earlier this week, South Korea blasted K-pop music, reportedly including the BTS hits “Dynamite” and “Butter,” into North Korea in retaliation for the hundreds of trash balloons that Pyongyang has been sending south.

In recent days, the band’s label pleaded with fans to refrain from flocking to the military site outside Seoul where Jin was to be discharged. Fans weren’t the only ones who have been waiting for this day: Jin posted a “D-100” countdown on social media in March.

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