Jin, the oldest member of BTS, began his mandatory military service in South Korea on Tuesday and joined other new soldiers at a training camp near the border with North Korea, according to multiple outlets.
Jin, 30, whose full name is Kim Seok-jin, is the first member of BTS to serve 18 months of military service, which is required by South Korean law for all eligible males between the ages of 18 and 35. The members of BTS range in age from 25 to 30.
Following speculation and public debate over whether the K-pop superstars would seek exemption from military service, the group’s label, Bighit Music, announced in October that BTS members would join the army. The label said the artists would defer military service while pursuing their solo projects.
On Tuesday, Jin entered Yeoncheon army base in northern Gyeonggi province in a motorcade of six black vans, where a few hundred fans gathered to show their support, CNN reported.
Bighit Music said in a statement earlier this month that Jin would enter the base by car to avoid accidents and traffic jams, urging fans and media to avoid the area.
“We ask for your continued love and support for Jin until he completes his military service and returns,” the label said. “Our company will also endeavor to provide him with any support he may need during this time.”
Along with other new draftees, Jin will participate in five weeks of basic military training at the base, including rifle shooting, grenade throwing and marching drills, the Associated Press reported. He and other soldiers are then assigned to army units across the country.
According to historians, conscription was introduced in South Korea shortly after the 1957 Korean War to maintain a military force against North Korea.
Over the weekend, Jin posted a selfie on his Weverse social media account, showing off his new haircut and trading in his black locks for a buzz cut. in the a farewell tweet, the BTS members gathered for a photo with Jin and reached out to touch his nearly bald head. “Our brother!! Have a safe service !! I love you,” the tweet said.
Shortly after Bighit announced BTS’ military service in October, Jin released his debut solo single, “The Astronaut,” which he co-wrote with British rock band Coldplay.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2022-12-13/bts-k-pop-jin-military-service BTS member Jin begins military service in South Korea