BTS star Jin finishes South Korean military service, Latest Music News - The New Paper

BTS star Jin finishes South Korean military service

YEONCHEON, South Korea – K-pop megastar Jin from BTS was discharged from his South Korean military service on June 12 and feted by bandmates who hugged him, with RM belting out one of their hits on the saxophone to celebrate.

The seven members of the world’s most popular boy band have all been performing their service – which South Korea requires of all men aged under 30, due to tensions with the nuclear-armed North – with the K-pop juggernaut on a self-described “hiatus” since 2022.

Jin, the oldest in the band and first to enlist, emerged from the gates of his army base in South Korea’s northern Yeoncheon county, where he was met by bandmates J-Hope, V, RM, Jungkook and Jimin. Seventh member Suga was not at the camp.

The bandmates, who reportedly took leave from their duties to mark the day, presented a beaming Jin, 31, still in his military uniform, with a giant bouquet of flowers, as they all hugged while RM played the saxophone, blasting out the hook of BTS’ mega-hit Dynamite (2020).

Live streams of Jin’s military discharge were watched on YouTube by hundreds of thousands of people.

Fans had hung colourful banners outside the base, with one reading: “Seok-jin, you did so well for the last 548 days. We’ll stand by you with our unwavering love.” Jin’s full name is Kim Seok-jin.

A giant balloon flew in front with the message: “Worldwide handsome Seok-jin. Congratulations on your discharge.”

Yeoncheon county put up its own banner that read: “BTS Jin, the last year and a half was a joy for us. Yeoncheon will not forget you.”

Fans had been urged not to attend, and there were only a couple of admirers present outside the base on the early morning of June 12.

“Although my hands were shaking and my muscles stiffened, I was so happy to see him,” said Ms Natose Sunagawa, a 19-year-old from Tokyo.

Holding a plush doll of Jin and with a keyring of his face on her purse, she said she came because she “wanted to meet him so bad”.

“As all BTS members haven’t finished their military service, I believe Jin will release solo material. I wish to buy his solo albums and go to the concerts,” said Ms Sunagawa, wiping away her tears.

BTS’ official account on X posted a picture of the entire group celebrating Jin’s discharge with a cake.

“I’m normally more handsome than this, but I cried when I was discharged. My eyes are puffy. I usually have confidence in my face, but I’m less confident today,” Jin said in a live stream on Weverse, a fan social media platform.

Showing off his certificates and commendations, he mentioned that he “did well” during his service and cried twice because he was so happy to be home.

His release comes just ahead of the 11th anniversary of the group’s debut, with their agency Hybe’s office in Seoul, plus some local cafes, decked out in purple decorations to mark the occasion.

Jin will participate in a “huggathon” on June 13, where he will hug 1,000 fans who won a raffle held on Weverse, before giving his first performance in two years.

Jin said on Weverse that the “huggathon” was his idea, and that he had “initially wanted to hug 3,000 fans”, but had to agree to a smaller number after Hybe cited safety concerns.

“It is significant that Jin did his military service without any problems, since for K-pop male idols, serving in the military is the biggest issue” for their career, said Mr Yoo Sung-man, an analyst at Leading Investment and Securities.

“Jin’s discharge is a positive sign for entertainment stock prices,” he added.

“K-pop female idols have been performing well, but there has been an absence of mass male idols.”

Hybe’s stock price has been hit by a dispute with producer Min Hee-jin, the mastermind behind girl band NewJeans.

It was up 2 per cent in early trading on June 12.

“BTS accounts for a large proportion of profit in Hybe. It is very encouraging that the discharge of BTS members has begun,” Mr Yoo told AFP.

The next BTS member to finish military service will be J-hope, who will be discharged in October. The rest of the band will complete their service in June 2025. – AFP