With South Korean law requiring all able-bodied men to serve in the military, Jin of BTS reported for duty on Tuesday (Dec. 13). Before he began his 18 months in uniform, Jin, 30, showed off his newly shaved head on the Korean app Weverse, joking that his look is “cuter” than expected (h/t PEOPLE). Gone were the trademark locks that made the K-Pop star, along with his bandmates, one of the biggest idols in the world. Instead, Jin looked ready to serve his country. “I hope you have a healthy trip,” wrote BTS’s music performance director, Sungdeuk Son, who shared the photo to his Instagram page, “and [this will] be a precious time in your life.”
Jin began service at the Yeoncheon army base in northern Gyeonggi province, per CNN. The “Dynamite” singer arrived in a motorcade of six black vans, passing by numerous banners along the roadway that welcomed Jin and other recruits to the base (which, as CNN notes, is 10 miles from the Demilitarized Zone with North Korea.) Fans gathered to wish Jin well and get a glimpse of him, despite Jin’s pleas for them to stay away. “It’s a very cold winter, and I’m thinking of him going to suffer in the military. That’s why I came here,” Lee Hey-Kyoung, a 40-year-old from Seoul, told CNN.
Military service is compulsory in South Korea, with almost all healthy and capable men serving 18 months before they are 28 years old. However, in 2020, the country’s parliament passed a bill allowing pop stars – specifically those who “excel in popular culture and art” – to defer their service until the age of 30, according to CNN. Jin turned 30 on Dec. 4, meaning that it was his time. He will now begin a five-week basic training course before being assigned to a unit.
“After the phenomenal concert to support Busan’s bid for the World Expo 2030, and as each individual embarks on solo endeavors, it’s the perfect time and the members of BTS are honored to serve,” said the band’s management/label, BIGHIT Music, in an October 2022 statement. “Since the creation of BTS over ten years ago, the band has risen to international success, broken records and catapulted K-Pop into the global st,ratosphere. 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.”
Other members of the group plan to carry out their military service based on their own individual plans,” the statement added. “Both the company and the members of BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment.”Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.