BTS singers RM and V began their mandatory military service on Dec. 11, the K-pop band's management announced. Two more members, Jimin and Jung Kook, are expected to report for duty together as "companion soldiers" on Dec. 12.
Three other musicians in the group – Jin, J-Hope and Suga – have already been serving for months. The band plans to reunite in 2025.
RM and V have arrived at a boot camp in the city of Nonsan, the band's management company Hybe Corporation reported in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. The musicians will receive five weeks of combat training before they're officially assigned to a unit.
"I’ve been so happy to have been a part of BTS for the past 10 years," RM said in a statement posted to his Instagram account. "Eighteen months can feel both long and short at the same time and I’m sure this period will be a strange and new time of inspiration and learning for all of us… See you in the future. I love you a lot."
Officials have stressed that they will receive the same treatment as all other men undergoing conscription. All male citizens in South Korea must serve for at least 18 months.
In the past, exceptions have been made for athletes and certain artists who excel in international competitions, but this has not been extended to K-pop band members.
The issue became a national controversy in South Korea last year, with some politicians arguing that BTS members should receive an exemption. That dialogue ended when Jin announced he would join the military in October 2022. He started his service the following December. J-Hope followed suit in April and Suga reported for duty in September.
Suga is working as a social service agent, which is a common alternative to traditional military service. He may have been offered this role due to a shoulder surgery he underwent in 2020.
After Jimin and Jung Kook begin their service on Dec. 12, fans will begin counting down the days until the group can reunite. There's an account dedicated to this task on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. The most recent post says: "183 days until Jin is back. 310 days until Hobi is back. 558 days until Yoongi is back. 546 days until Namjoon is back. 546 days until Taehyung is back. 547 days until Jimin is back. 547 days until Jungkook is back."
Jimin recently shared his new military haircut with his fans on social media. "Pretty and handsome in every way," one user said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. "Oh god he’s so adorable like he ate with this buzzcut," said another.
The four members who will enlist this week have all put out solo projects over the past year. Jimin released his mini-album Face in March and followed it up with an accompanying documentary in October. Jung Kook released his LP Golden in November, V dropped his album Layover in September, and RM put out an LP called Indigo in December 2022.