BTS member Jin has confirmed that he has begun his mandatory military service in his home country of Korea. The K-pop star posted a selfie on social media site Weverse sporting a new military issue buzz cut alongside the caption "It’s cuter than I had expected."
30-year-old Jin is the eldest member of BTS and the first to begin his conscription. Jin will spend five weeks at an army boot camp in Yeoncheon before being sent to a unit to complete his 18-month assignment.
He will be followed into the military by his bandmates before the group reunites in 2025. News of their break, with each member pursuing solo ventures in the interim, was first announced in October.
Military service is mandatory for men age 18-30 in South Korea with a period of 18 months to be observed by all. The move is designed to prepare the country for a potential conflict with the nuclear-armed North.
Some high profile Koreans are exempt, such as soccer player Son Heung-min, as well as other top athletes and classical musicians whose achievements shine a positive light on Korea. K-pop artists however, despite huge global success, are still expected to carry out their service.
The band’s label, Big Hit Music, has urged fans to stay away from the base Jin is based at. “We ask you to keep your heartwarming words of support and farewell in your hearts,” the label said last week. Despite this, there have been reports of members of their fanbase appearing regardless.