As the second member of the K-pop powerhouse to enlist, BTS star J-Hope was scheduled to begin his mandatory South Korean military service on Tuesday, according to local media, sparking an outpouring of support from fans.
The septet has become a global cultural phenomenon, selling out stadiums worldwide, dominating the US charts, and generating billions of dollars for South Korea’s economy. They have also created an army of supporters known as the ARMY that spans the globe.
However, all physically capable men in South Korea must spend at least 18 months in the military. In December, Jin, the oldest member of BTS, enrolled following a protracted discussion about whether the group could be excused.
According to Yonhap News Agency, J-Hope, whose full name is Jung Ho-Seok, was scheduled to start his five-week basic training at an army boot camp in Gangwon province on Tuesday.
Late on Monday, the 29-year-old uploaded photos of himself on Weverse sporting a buzzcut that had been given the military’s blessing.
“I love you, ARMY. I’ll go and come back safely!” he said. Fans left thousands of comments on the page, many lamented the band’s ongoing sabbatical.
“Be careful and stay healthy. ARMY will do its best to stay positive by streaming and supporting the things you love and enjoy! Say hi to Jin for us, please. We will miss you so much!” one wrote.
“It suits you so well,” another wrote of J-Hope’s buzzcut. “With much respect, I salute you. For your loyalty, honor, and duty to serve your country.”
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A reference to the fact that band member Jin, who is now enlisted, has one day remaining before reporting for duty, was made on one of J-Hope’s Weverse posts on Monday with the comment “D-1♡.”
J-Hope’s enlistment was officially announced by the septet’s management company, HYBE, on April 1. However, to “prevent any issues that might arise from crowding,” specifics were withheld.
“Please note that there will be no official event on the day of his entry,” the agency said at the time. “The entrance ceremony is a time to be observed by military personnel and their families only…Fans are advised to refrain from visiting the site.”
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