Will South Korea Exempt K-Pop Boybands From Military Duties?
According to The Telegraph, K-pop boyband BTS may be the pride of South Korea after topping America’s Billboard 200 chart this week for the second time with their new album ‘Love Yourself’ but K-pop boyband BTS could still be cut off in their prime because of mandatory military service.
All able-bodied South Korean men must serve for at least 21 months in the army as the country is still technically at war with the North after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice and not a peace treaty.
However, the phenomenal global success of BTS, who have pulled off the rare feat of reaching No.1 in the US album chart twice in one year, has reignited a debate about who should be exempt from conscription.
Currently elite medal-winning athletes and a select list of classical musicians and ballet dancers can escape the compulsory duty as they are deemed to be raising the national image on a global stage.
The South Korean men’s football team, including Son Heung-min, the Tottenham Hotspur forward, were granted a reprieve last weekend after winning gold at the Asian Games.
But music fans and politicians argue that the rules are out-of-touch with modern South Korean society and should be updated to benefit celebrities of contemporary pop culture.