After the recent news about BTS choosing to enlist in South Korea's mandatory military service, discussions about conscription have started in the country, especially within the K-pop idol industry. BTS' Jin, the eldest, will follow the process after his solo release at the end of October.
Male citizens of South Korea must perform up to two years of service in the military (by enlisting before the age of 28), with exceptions sometimes given to world-renowned athletes, ballet dancers, and orchestra musicians, among others. No K-pop idols have yet been granted an exemption.
In some cases, as with BTS, the age for fulfilling the duty can be deferred until they are 30 if the individuals "received government medals for helping spread or elevate the country's cultural influence around the world," said a New York Times article.
Ten 1995-born K-pop idols who may have to join the military by 2023
K-pop idols born in 1995 will turn 28 next year and hence will have to enlist themselves in 2023. BTS' V and Jimin (also 1995-born), however, have applied for deferring their service by two years and can push enlistment till 2025.
Apart from BTS members, here are 10 K-pop idols who will most likely undergo enlistment before the end of 2023.
1) SEVENTEEN's S.Coups
Having led SEVENTEEN to the immense success it has enjoyed over the last seven years, S.Coups is often considered among the best leaders in K-pop. Putting the members above their company, as mentioned in an interview with Dispatch, the rapper gives SEVENTEEN the utmost importance.
Apart from his role as the group leader, he also leads the Hip-Hop Team and has contributed verses to many of the group's songs, including Clap, Back it up (HIP-HOP TEAM), and FLOWER.
2) SEVENTEEN's Jeonghan
The second oldest in SEVENTEEN, Jeonghan is a member of the group's Vocal Team. His songwriting credits include some of the band's most famous songs, including Don't Wanna Cry and Clap. He can speak Japanese, which he decided to learn to help out the group with its promotions in Japan.
Apart from his on-stage persona, he is an integral part of the group's variety show, GOING SEVENTEEN, where he is often looking for various ways to cheat in games and teasing his members to no end.
3) NCT's Taeyong
As the second-oldest member and leader of the group, Taeyong has written many hits spread across NCT units. From NCT 127's Cherry Bomb to NCT U's Boss, the rapper has made a significant contribution to the success of the SM Entertainment group.
Taeyong was also part of SM Entertainment's supergroup called SuperM, featuring male artists from groups like SHINee, EXO, and NCT's various units. Additionally, he has released many singles and collaborations with artists, creating an impressive music repertoire. Apart from his music releases, he judged the successful dance show Street Woman Fighter.
4) SF9's Dawon
Born in Ilsan, South Korea, Dawon debuted as a part of SF9 in 2016. In the same year, the singer appeared in the K-drama, Click your Heart. Along with the K-pop idol group, he has released many hit songs like O Sole Mio and Summer Breeze. Dawon also co-starred in the 2021 series Doom At Your Service.
Considering all the attention that fellow SF9 member Inseong got for his dance cover of NewJeans' Hype Boy, fans can expect that Dawon, too, will not be completely missing in action during his enlistment.
5) VIXX's Hyuk
VIXX's maknae also turns 28 next year. Hyuk debuted with the group in 2012 and has gone on to release multiple number-one albums with the group, including Chained Up and Error, which were known for their amazing concepts. The K-pop idol released a solo album called Winter Butterfly in 2019, apart from recording singles and OSTs on the side.
Hyuk is also an actor, having received the Best Action Movie New Performer at SIFF for his debut film Chasing. Most recently, he starred in Rakuten Viki's BL drama, Color Rush 2.
6) Baekho (NU'EST)
Former NU'EST member Baekho will also have to enlist in 2023. As part of NU'EST (before the group disbanded earlier this year), the K-pop idol released many hits, such as FACE and Hello.
In 2017, Baekho took part in the second season of Produce 101 with other NU'EST members to boost the group's popularity. In October this year, the singer-songwriter released his first solo album, Absolute Zero, with the lead single, No Rules.
7) Hwang Min-hyun (NU'EST)
Another member of NU'EST, Hwang Min-hyun, earlier known as Minhyun, will turn 28 next year. Coming into the public eye due to his striking looks and height, the singer was also a member of Wanna One after he finished ninth place in Produce 101.
Minhyun has released several singles alongside his work in K-pop idol groups and has acted in the dramas Live On and Alchemy of Souls.
8) iKon's Bobby
Bobby, the songwriter and rapper of the K-pop group iKon, holds songwriting credits for many of their hits, including Love Scenario, Rhythm Ta, and Killing Me. The rapper first gained attention after his wins on Show Me The Money 3 and Mix and Match, which led to the formation of iKon.
The singer-songwriter has also released solo albums under YG Entertainment, apart from an EP with Winner's Mino named The Mobb. In 2021, Bobby announced the pregnancy of his fiancée and, subsequently, the birth of his son in September.
9) iKon's Song
Another iKon member who may enlist in 2023 is Song. Formerly known as Yunhyung (or Yunhyeong), the singer debuted with iKon in 2015 after competing on Mix and Match. The K-pop idol is the designated cook of the group, and he even started a YouTube channel called SongChelin Guide, where he uploads cooking vlogs.
10) PENTAGON's Shinwon
With a few group members already enlisted in the military, PENTAGON's Shinwon will be the next to leave by 2023. As a vocalist in the K-pop group, he has been participating in songwriting with songs like Alien and Just Do It Yo.
While many of these idols will have to say farewell to their group members during their enlistment, fans often wait for their favorite K-pop idols to come back while supporting the activities of the other group members.
It can be difficult knowing that one may not get new music from the singers they admire for a while, but fans usually comfort each other on social media by streaming older songs and looking at pre-released content.
Poll : Will you miss these K-pop idols once they enlist?