Seoul, Dec 13 (EFE).- Jin, the oldest member of South Korean boy band BTS, joined an Army training center in Yeocheon on Tuesday, beginning his mandatory military service.
Dozens of fans and media crews gathered at the center’s entrance to capture the moment and see him off.
However, Jin’s entry to the military center, 60 kilometers (about 37 miles) north of Seoul, was devoid of any emotion or farewell gesture on his part.
Both the artist and the agency representing the band had strongly urged the band’s fans to not come at the spot to bid adieu to their idol.
In fact, in light of the possibility that there could be a dangerous crowd – an especially sensitive matter for South Korea after the tragic stampede that occurred in Seoul on Halloween – 300 emergency security personnel were deployed at the barack’s entrance.
In any case, the handful of followers and media cameras were only able to see a convoy of six black vans with tinted windows entering the military base.
It is believed that other members of BTS could also have been traveling aboard the vehicles, arranged by entertainment company Hybe, to see their fellow band-member off.
Thirty-year-old Kim Seok-jin’s (popularly called Jin) latest photo that the fans are left with is a selfie he posted on the online platform Weverse, showing his buzz cut, which he said was “cuter than I expected.”
The singer opted for military service – mandatory for all able bodied men in South Korea – in a border unit, considered to be the first line of combat since the two Koreas have technically been at war for more than seven decades.
Jin will receive basic training for five weeks at the center, before being assigned to a unit in the area, where patrolling and other everyday activities are considered tougher than in barracks away from the border.
He is expected to conclude his military service around June of 2024, since he opted for the Army, where the duration is two or three months shorter than the Navy and the Air Force.
After years of uncertainty about the band’s future due to the military service and a legislative reform that allowed BTS members and other K-POP artists to delay their enlistment by two years – before the age of 30 – the group announced in summer that it would take a break at least until 2025.
All the band members would have time to finish their military service by 2025.
Jin will be followed by Suga, who is turning 30 on Mar. 9, into enlisting.
According to military and music industry sources, Suga will carry out a substitute social service instead of military service due to a serious tear in his left shoulder, for which he underwent an operation in 2020. EFE