(Seoul) A third member of the legendary K-pop group BTS, Suga, was called up for military service on Friday in South Korea, but will perform substitute service for medical reasons, the HYBE agency announced to AFP, which represents the boy band.
In ten years, the septet has become a global cultural phenomenon, brought in colossal sums of money to the South Korean economy, and is followed by an international “legion” of fans known as ARMY.
But all able-bodied South Korean men must complete at least 18 months of military service. After a years-long debate over whether BTS deserved an exemption, Jin, the oldest member of the group, began his service in December, and his bandmate J-Hope in April.
Suga “started his alternative service today,” a HYBE agency official told AFP on Friday.
According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, Suga has been “deemed unfit for regular combat duty” and will serve his time in the army working for social services.
The reasons for Suga’s incapacity were not disclosed, but it is likely related to shoulder surgery he underwent in 2020, Yonhap said.
Suga, whose real name is Min Yoon-gi, posted a message on Weverse on Friday for his fans. “I made it this far thanks to all of you,” he wrote. “The time has come to begin my service. I will come back after having accomplished it diligently… Let’s meet again in 2025! »
“Dearest Yoon-gi, stay safe, stay healthy, stay healthy… We will be here waiting for you.” Yoon-gi is worth waiting for. The king will return,” reacted a fan on X.
“Two years apart is nothing compared to the life we will have together,” wrote another.
HYBE asked fans not to go to Suga’s new workplace.
“We ask you to bid only fond farewells and encourage Suga from the bottom of your heart,” the agency implored in a statement.
Analysts question the group’s future once the seven members are released from military service.
Some male K-pop stars have struggled to return to their careers after serving in the military, in an industry where artists are easily replaceable.
Last year, BTS announced they were taking a “break,” citing exhaustion and its members’ desire to focus on their solo careers. Some saw this as a consequence of the specter of conscription.
However, HYBE announced this week that all seven members of the group had renewed their contracts with them, suggesting that they intend to resume their careers after their service.