Suga Announces Start Date For His Mandatory Military Service — What to Know
BTS's Suga will officially report for his mandatory military service in Korea beginning on Sept. 22, his management company, BIGHIT Entertainment, announced on Weverse on Sept. 17. "SUGA will be beginning his required service on September 22. There will not be any official events taking place on the day he starts his service or on the day he enters the training camp," they said. "We kindly ask fans to refrain from visiting SUGA at his workplace during the period of his service. Please convey your warm regards and encouragement in your hearts only."
The news that Suga was preparing to enlist arrived on Aug. 7, a day after he finished his "D-DAY" tour supporting his latest album. After his final show, he appeared on Weverse in a live broadcast and addressed his fans. "I had a fun tour the last couple of months. I really don't cry," he said. "Those past 10 years went by like a film." Though Suga did not discuss his enlistment plans, he hinted that it might be a while before fans see him perform live again. "I think it's a lie if I say 'soon,'" he added. "Let's see each other in 2025, OK? Please wait a little bit. 2025. See you then!"
In 2022, after years of speculation, it was confirmed that the members of BTS would enlist in the South Korean military for national service. Their management company announced the news on Twitter in October 2022, writing, "BIGHIT MUSIC is proud to announce today that the members of BTS are currently moving forward with plans to fulfill their military service." The statement continued, "BIGHIT MUSIC has focused to 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. 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."
All able-bodied men between 18 and 28 must serve around two years in South Korea's military. Prior to BIGHIT's announcement, it was widely debated whether BTS members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook would be given exemptions from compulsory service, a move that would have required a change in Korea's military laws. As it stands, exemptions are only granted to high-achieving sports stars and classical musicians. The band was previously granted a deferral in 2020, allowing BTS to delay their duties until the age of 30, though at the time the band's ages ranged from 24-29.
On June 20, 2022, BTS released their anthology album, "Proof," and four days later, they dropped their final FESTA content, a video of the group gathering for dinner and drinks to celebrate their ninth anniversary. They revealed they would take a hiatus as a group to focus on various solo projects. However, it soon became clear that the group hiatus would be a little longer than expected, with the group not expected to come together again until 2025. "Both the company and the members of BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment," BIGHIT's statement added.
On Oct. 15, 2022, BTS held their highly anticipated "Yet to Come" concert in Busan to promote South Korea's bid to host the 2030 World Expo. Attended by 50,000 ARMYs in person, the concert live-streamed to tens of millions of fans, further proof of BTS's global success. "'Yet To Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)' is more than a track from their latest album; it is a promise, there's much more yet to come in the years ahead from BTS," the statement concluded.
Read on to learn everything that's known so far about BTS's enlistment timeline.
Which BTS Members Have Enlisted in the Korean Military?
When Will the Rest of BTS's Members Enlist in the Korean Military?
Many fans interpreted BIGHIT's announcement to mean all members of BTS would enlist by mid-2023 after the release of their individual projects so that they'd all have completed their military service ahead of a planned 2025 group comeback, and AllKPop also reported that all members would enlist in 2023. However, when POPSUGAR reached out for additional comment in 2022, a HYBE representative could not give a firm timeline on the remaining members of BTS's enlistment plans at the time. Reps did not respond to POPSUGAR's request for comment at the time of Suga's enlistment announcement.
Will BTS Be Allowed to Perform as a Group While Serving in the Korean Military?
K-pop idols don't typically perform with their group once they've enlisted for military service, but that may not be the case for BTS.
"If it is for public service to the nation, or for national events or performances which benefit the nation, [BTS] will be allowed to participate in performances and activities should they wish," a representative for Korea's Ministry of Defense said during a regular press briefing on Oct. 18, 2022, according to an AllKPop report. "This opportunity is already available to some enlisted soldiers."
Still, it's unclear what performances would fall under this exception. "We are not referencing any specific events or promotions at this time," the representative added.
The uncertainty surrounding the terms under which BTS would and would not be allowed to reunite as a group to perform while members are enlisted has had fans and nonfans alike feeling uneasy. "Can they just leave them [to] serve in peace ffs💀 atp i feel bad for them," one user wrote on Twitter. "idk this kinda makes me mad like double work??? why would they do this to them?" another wrote, another adding, "Noooooooo treat them normally theyre not special as u say.. plsss leave them alone just let them serve peacefully."
While BTS's fans have been sad about the prospect of the members being away for so long while serving in the Korean military, they knew this day would come and have been overwhelmingly supportive of BTS's decision. In the meantime, fans have plenty of solo music from BTS members to enjoy, as J-Hope, Jimin, Jin, RM, and Jungkook all released projects in 2022, and Suga released "D-Day" on April 21. Also, the group released a memoir titled "Beyond the Story: 10-Year Record of BTS" on July 9.