Seoul, First Published May 28, 2022, 7:23 PM IST
Seoul: BTS, the Korean music band, is the new charm of music fans around the world. With the song ‘Dynamite’ released in 2020, few people in every country on earth now know BTS. Even the insta reels of the youth of our country are full of Korean pop (K Pop) or K pop songs. Its forerunners are BTS.
But the group, which won the last Grammy Award, is facing a crisis in December. BTS stands for Bangtan Sonyondan or Bullet Proof Boy Scouts (BTS). Its members are RM, J-Hope, Jin, Suga, Park Ji-min, V, and Jungkook. Jin will turn 30 next December. It’s December 4th. Therefore, the crisis now is that he will have to go into compulsory military service under South Korean law.
Compulsory martial law in South Korea
South Korean law requires men between the ages of 18–28 to serve in the military for at least 18 months. South Korea is technically ‘at war’ with North Korea, which has not yet declared a ceasefire. That is why men in the country follow it. But some have exceptions to this rule. Athletes and classical musicians who raise Korea’s name in the international arena, including at the Olympics, are exempt from compulsory military service.
But other cultural activists have no qualms, including film and pop music. Koreans say the recent rise in global popularity of Korean film and music is a cultural wave. That’s what they call hollow. But none of Holley’s frontmen have any concessions in military service. Whether this is the case remains a matter of controversy.
At the same time, as mentioned earlier, compulsory military service must be between the ages of 18–28. That is why the Korean government has already given a small concession to the BTS team. The exemption was that it was sufficient to serve in the military at least 30 years ago. This will no longer be the case.
Concern that BTS will crash.!
If the question is why this is causing so much grief to BTS fans, it is because of history itself. Korean pop fans have witnessed the disbandment of several Kepop bands that members had previously gone to for military service. Before BTS, there were seven people in the band Infinite, which was making waves in Korea. The band was formed in 2010. Infinite split by 2019 as band members began to go into military service one by one.
The Big Bang is known as the National Boy Band of South Korea. The band were Korea’s most valued celebrities from 2009–2016, but later members went into military service and other issues affected the band’s performance. There are rumors that they are preparing for a big comeback.
Fans around the world are worried about whether such an experience will happen to BTS. In particular, BTS’s new anthology album ‘Proof’ is coming out on June 10th. According to current music market circles, the album is likely to break all records. At the same time, there is widespread concern that ‘Proof’ will be BTS ‘last album in December.
Korean government supports BTS?
There is a growing demand for the exclusion of BTS members from compulsory military service. If Jin goes into military service then of course the other six in the BTS will have to follow it in their time. This will be the end of a musical ‘revolutionary’ group that will eventually shake up the world. Therefore, BTS expects complete exemption from military service. Korean Culture Minister Hwang Hee has hinted that he will provide it, which now remains a hope.
The Korean Minister of Culture has responded that sending world-famous singers to compulsory military service is tantamount to ending their careers. Meanwhile, Korean MP Sung Il introduced a bill in the National Assembly to exempt the BTS from military service. The achievements of the BTS were enumerated, making the issue of the BTS a major political issue in Korea.
But a new report says the bill is difficult to pass. As the military manpower administration is a decisive force, a large section may take a stand against the bill. Kim Jong Un, a member of the Military Manpower Administration, opposed the bill. They argue that whatever award you receive internationally is never a reason to opt out of military service.
Will the Army give work to the BTS even if it is outlawed?
A similar incident took place in 2002 in Korea. Yu Sang Jan, a superstar in Kopop, emigrated to the United States when it was time for such compulsory military service. Took citizenship there. But he was not able to come to Korea later. This is because the military has to approve entry visas to the country. Didn’t get it. In this way, even if the politicians’ bill now excludes military service, the BTS may be built in the future if the military thinks so. Anyway, we’ve been waiting to see what will happen to BTS.
Last Updated May 28, 2022, 7:23 PM IST