BTS fans around the world are in for a disappointment as Big Hit, the management company and record label for the K-pop group, announced that its seven members will soon enlist in the South Korea military, according to NPR.
BTS is best known for its popular hits, including Butter and Dynamite, and has also been commended for its advocacy of youth mental health programs. The band will not get back together until “around 2025.”
“Since the creation of BTS over ten years ago, the band has risen to international success, broken records, and catapulted K-Pop into the global stratosphere,” Big Hit’s statement reads. “BIGHIT MUSIC has focused (on) the milestone moment when it would be possible to respect the needs of the country and for these healthy young men to serve with their countrymen, and that’s now.”
BTS’s oldest singer, 29-year-old Kim Seok-jin who is commonly known as Jin, is scheduled to enlist first. The 29-year-old plans to join the military after his solo record is released later this month.
When Jin turned 28, the South Korean government gave him a two-year reprieve before enlisting in the army. This unprecedented move was made in honor of the group’s endeavors and success in “enhancing Korea’s international image,” government officials said.
The government requires military service for nearly all able-bodied men, who are usually mandated to serve for 18 months by the time they reach 28 years of age, according to CNN.
BTS is largely seen by South Koreans as the equivalent of a national treasure. Some members of the government even considered providing the K-pop group with an exemption which would have allowed them to continue to perform. Similar exemptions have been granted in the past to Olympic medalists and other successful athletes, classical musicians, and dancers.