Jin, Oldest Member of K-pop’s BTS, Finishes Army Service in South Korea

Yonhap via REUTERS
K-pop boy band BTS member Jin leaves after being discharged from the military in Yeoncheon, South Korea, June 12.

SEOUL, June 12 (Reuters) – Jin, the oldest member of K-pop phenomenon BTS, was discharged from South Korea’s army on Wednesday after 18 months of duty, the first member of the group to wrap up mandatory national service that put their music careers on hold.

Jin, 31, wearing his army uniform and a black beret, appeared emotional as he hugged his colleagues at a military base in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi province, television footage showed.

South Korean media reported several other members of the septet who are currently serving in the military applied for leave to celebrate the occasion.

Among them was rapper RM, who greeted Jin with a saxophone to play the group’s hit single “Dynamite.”

Jin became the first member of the group to enlist in the military in December 2022. The final four members of the group began their service in December 2023, with the band expected to reunite as a whole in 2025 after all complete their duty.

Jin plans to kick off his post-army activities with an event in Seoul on Thursday where he will greet fans as well as an hour-long performance as part of the annual FESTA designed to celebrate BTS.

The group debuted on June 13, 2013, and has since become the face of K-pop, South Korea’s pop music industry, one of the country’s largest cultural exports.

Livestreams of Jin’s military discharge were watched on YouTube by hundreds of thousands of people.

South Korea requires all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 28 to serve between 18 to 21 months in the military or social service, but it revised the law in 2020 to let globally recognized K-pop stars delay signing up until age 30.

Yonhap via REUTERS
K-pop boy band BTS member Jin poses for photographs after being discharged from the military in Yeoncheon, South Korea, June 12.