The oldest member of the globally successful K-pop band BTS has to start his military service in mid-December. As the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Thursday, the 29-year-old Jin will first go through five weeks of basic training before being assigned to a "front-line unit".
Fans reacted with concern. "I literally felt my heart sink when I read that he was deployed to the front lines," one fan wrote on Twitter. "Why at the front? Why?"
In South Korea, every healthy man up to the age of 30 has to do military service for around two years. Those who evade it face a prison sentence. An exemption is only provided for top athletes such as Olympic medalists and classical musicians. Pop stars do not fall into this category, although an exemption for the BTS stars has been discussed in South Korea for years.
The seven members of BTS are now between 24 and 29 years old. It was therefore clear for a long time that at least Jin would soon have to start his military service. In June, the group had already announced that they were taking a break and that the individual members wanted to focus on solo projects temporarily.