After news of his enlistment, many people who are familiar with BTS are asking: is Jin leaving BTS?
Bangtan Sonyeondan, better known as BTS or The Bangtan Boys, was formed in 2013 with members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook. The boyband captured the heart of millions with their fanbase affectionately called ARMY, which stands for Adorable Representative MC of Youth. The K-pop group’s accomplishments catapulted them to the top of the Billboard Charts, two Grammy nominations and multiple American Music Awards and MTV Video Music Awards wins. They were also named TIME’s Entertainer of the Year 2020. In 2022, BTS released an anthology album of their nearly decade-long career called Proof. The single from the album, “Yet to Come” promises there will be more amazing things to come ahead for BTS. The septet just finished their concert in Busan for a showcase for the bid for the 2030 World Expo, and it might be the last time that they perform together in a while.
On October 17, 2022, BTS’ label, Big Hit Entertainment, announced that the oldest member Jin will enlist in the military via the fan platform Weverse and their official social media platforms. The statement said, “The members of BTS are currently moving forward with plans to fulfill their military service. Group member Jin will initiate the process as soon as his schedule for his solo release is concluded at the end of October. He will then follow the enlistment procedure of the Korean government. Other members of the group plan to carry out their military service based on their own individual plans.”
Is Jin leaving BTS? As many BTS fans (known as ARMY) know, BTS will not break up. Jin is only leaving to serve his military enlistment duty. In the same Weverse announcement, Big Hit added, “Both the company and the members of BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment.”
In South Korea, every able-bodied man must enlist for military service by the age of 30 and serve for 18 to 21 months. Some exceptions were made for men who have served their nation in other ways, such as notable elite athletes or classical musicians. Before Jin’s enlistment, the South Korean government debated whether BTS members should go serve in the military as they’ve had a significant impact on Korea’s spread of culture and their contributions to the country’s overall economy, but it was ultimately decided that the group’s seven members should serve as scheduled. Since Jin turned 30 in December, he is the first member to do his mandatory military enlistment.
During their 2022 Festa video celebrating the anniversary of their debut, the band announced that they would be taking a break. The boy band would not be breaking up, but instead, they would be focusing on their solo projects. Several members released their hit projects after the announcement such as J-Hope’s album Jack in the Box and Jin’s solo single “The Astronaut.”
During their concert for the Busan bid for the 2030 World Expo on October 15, 2022, Jin announced that he will be the next member after J-Hope to release his solo work. His single will be released “soon,” and he said, “I was able to work together with someone that I’d always really liked, so I’ll be releasing a new song. I’ve filmed a lot of different things recently, and there’s still a lot of [content] left to film, so I hope you’ll enjoy all of it.” On October 28, 2022, Jin released the single “The Astronaut” which was co-written by his friends in Coldplay. In a sweet message to ARMY via J-Hope’s phone at the 2022 MAMA Awards, he said, “For now, it’s sad that I won’t be making public appearances for a while, but I will come back with great music soon. Everyone, I will go to the military safely.”
Big Hit Entertainment announced via the fan community site Weverse on December 6, 2022, that fans are not allowed at Jin’s entrance ceremony during his enlistment. “Jin will fulfill his required time with the military by enlisting in the army. Please note that we will not be holding any kind of official event on the day of his recruitment. The entrance ceremony is a time to be observed by military personnel and their families only. In order to prevent any issues that might occur from crowding, we ask fans to please refrain from visiting the site. Instead, we ask you to keep your heartwarming words of support and farewell in your hearts.
On December 11, 2022, Jin posted a selfie on Weverse with his military buzzcut and captioned it “Cuter than expected” in Korean. He also posted a goodbye message on the fan and artist community site, saying “Ok it’s now time for the curtain call (I wanted to say this when I enlisted)” referring to a character’s line in his favorite game League of Legends who is also named Jhin.
According to the Associated Press, Jin entered the boot camp at Yeoncheon, a town near the tense border with North Korea, for five weeks of basic military training together with other new conscript soldiers. the Defense Ministry said. After the training involving rifle shooting, grenade throwing and marching practices, he and other conscripts would be assigned to army units across the country. All the other six members, Suga, J-hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook, wished Jin a happy goodbye at the military camp, with RM posting on his Instagram stories a picture of the boys touching Jin’s shaved head with the caption “Love you, our Jin. See you soon!
Since Jin will be entering the military at the end of 2022, the rest of the members are likely to start their military service around 2023 to complete their mandatory two years. In August, Lee Jong-sup, South Korea’s defense minister, said BTS members who are serving would likely be allowed to continue practicing and to join other non-serving BTS members in their overseas group tour because of their cultural impact. In the past, K-Pop idols who were serving in the military were not allowed to promote during their service and it’s unknown whether BTS or Big Hit will take up the opportunity. It’s not known whether Jin will be releasing more solo material after he completes his military service, or will wait until the rest of the group completes their service to reconvene as a group of seven. Until then, ARMY will be waiting for them.
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