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He’s our hope forever! With news of his plans to enlist, many people fans of BTS are asking: Is J-Hope 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.”

J-Hope is next in line for his military enlistment. Will he leave BTS? Read more below to find out.

Is J-Hope leaving BTS?

Image: Noam Galai/Getty Images for dick clark productions

Is J-Hope leaving BTS? Absolutely not. As many BTS fans (known as ARMY) know, BTS will not break up. J-Hope 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 28 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. A bill was passed in 2020 to allow K-pop stars to defer service until they are 30 years old.

J-Hope announced his plans to join the military on February 26, 2023. On the fan community site and app Weverse, BTS’ company Big Hit Entertainment announced, “We would like to inform our fans that j-hope has initiated the military enlistment process by applying for the termination of his enlistment postponement.” The company also asked fans for “continued love and support” throughout his military service until it ends.

Along with the military announcement, the company announced that J-Hope will be releasing a single “on the street” on March 3, 2023. Big Hit stated, “j-hope wrote the track to share his candid feelings toward his fans. The title “on the street” refers to j-hope’s roots—street dance—from which his dream to become an artist began, and the path the artist and fans will continue to walk together.”

On April 17, 2023, J-Hope posted a photo of himself with his buzzcut. He captioned the photo, “I love you ARMY 🫡💜 I’ll be back!” Jin, who is currently serving, commented on the post, “D-1” referring to when J-Hope is set to leave. The day before, he went on Weverse Live to tell fans goodbye before he entered military training. He assured fans, “Please don’t be too upset, since I’m doing my duty as the healthy youth. So what I wanted to tell is to you guys to not worry and I’ll go and come back well. ‘Please eat well’. Yes of course, as I told you guys, don’t worry, I’ve been eating really well.” He also read a comment, “October 17, 2024—Hobi’s discharge date, I’ll be waiting for this day only.” He replied, “October 17, right. I’ll be back safely.”

On April 18, the seven members reunited for j-hope’s military entrance ceremony. Jin, who joined the military in December, posted a picture on Instagram of the reunion with the translated caption, “nxt person.”

j-hope was the first member to release solo music after BTS announced their hiatus. Big Hit Entertainment announced J-Hope’s first studio album Jack in the Box through the fan community app Weverse on June 15, 2022. It was released on July 15, 2022, and debuted at 17 on Billboard 200 chart. The theme of the album corresponded to his name as J-Hope, derived from the Pandora’s Box myth. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he explained why he chose to change concepts for his debut studio album. “I felt the need to show some of my darker aspects … and I think I really wanted to do something like this. I wanted people to realize that J-Hope isn’t limited to bright things. He can do these concepts and has a wide spectrum. I wanted to call attention to this ability by challenging myself. I didn’t think much of the future. Just wholly focused on what I wanted to do, what I wanted to express, what I wanted to show — that was the focus, and Jack in the Box has those raw elements.”

Right after the release, he was the first K-Pop solo act to headline Lollapalooza in Chicago. He also performed his song  “= (Equal Sign)” and a mashup of “Chicken Noodle Song” and the BTS hit “Butter at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve to ring in 2023.

Before Jack in the Box, J-Hope released his first mixtape Hope World on March 08, 2018. On creating the mixtape, he told Time about why he wanted it to lead with themes of peace and hope. “I thought it would be hugely meaningful for me if I can become, like my namesake, hope for someone in the world — not even some grandiose peace but just a small shard of it,” he said. “I first started out by thinking, “It’d be fantastic to become a part of someone’s personal peace through my music,” and while working on the beats thought about the kind of message I can send out to my own generation living with their worries and burdens.” After Hope World, J-Hope also released his hit single “Chicken Noodle Soup” which featured Becky G and a remake of the original song by Webstar and Young B. The song peaked at 81 on the Billboard 100 chart.

Jack in the Box by J-Hope

Jack In the Box
Courtesy of: Big Hit Music

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