K-pop band BTS member j-hope begins process to join South Korean military

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A second member of Korea’s BTS - the first K-pop band nominated for a Grammy - has begun the enlistment process for mandatory military service, a management official confirmed on Monday, two months after the group’s oldest member began his service.

BTS members said last year last year they would join the military starting with Jin, who turned 30 and enlisted in December after postponing his service as long as permitted.

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An official at the band’s management, BigHit Music, said on Sunday that a second member, the 29-year-old j-hope, whose real name is Jung Ho-seok, applied to end postponment of his own enlistment.

“We would like to inform our fans that j-hope has initiated the military enlistment process,” the statement said. “We ask you for your continued love and support for j-hope until he completes his military service and safely returns.”

All able-bodied South Korean men ages 18-28 must serve in the military for about two years.

A 2019 legislative revision allowed globally acknowledged K-pop stars to delay signing until they are 30. Some lawmakers have pushed to sharply reduce their service along the lines of what is required of Olympic and Asian Game medalists and some classical musicians, but their efforts made little progress.

South Korea’s defense minister has said BTS could perform overseas while its members serve. Many artists have been designated as such “entertainment soldiers”.

The seven-member group has pursued solo projects since announcing a break from group musical activities in June.

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