Foreign media focus on BTS's military enlistment: Reports from the US, UK, Japan, and more

International media from the US, UK, and Japan have been closely covering the military enlistment of the group BTS (RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, Jungkook).


The Japanese media outlet ANN reported on December 17 that BTS entered a 'military hiatus' following the enlistment of Jimin and Jungkook on December 12. Utilizing the words of an ANN Seoul branch cameraman who has experienced military service, the outlet also introduced South Korea's military conscription system.

ANN mentioned that all males aged 20 to 28 in South Korea are obligated to serve in the military, noting that the service period is 18 months for the army and 20 months for the navy. While athletes winning medals at events like the Olympics may receive military service exemptions, this does not apply to public cultural artists like BTS, who are expected to resume group activities in 2025.


Excluding Suga, who is on alternative service due to a shoulder injury and surgery, all BTS members are currently serving in the active-duty army. The report also mentioned that Jin, the first to enlist, and J-Hope, the second, have been honored as special warriors due to their outstanding military life.


Previously, American media outlet CNN focused intensively on South Korea's military service system, and The New York Times calculated the time it would take for all BTS members to complete their service and resume activities.

Jeff Benjamin, a columnist for Billboard Magazine, stated, "Usually, in any country around the world, if an artist group goes on a break, it affects their popularity. However, if anyone can resist this formula, it would be BTS."


The BBC compared BTS to the British band The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr), who debuted in 1963. The Beatles, who enjoyed phenomenal popularity, topped the Billboard singles chart in 1964 with 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' and appeared on 'The Ed Sullivan Show,' achieving over 60% viewership with more than 73 million viewers

BBC reported, "Imagine if the Beatles broke up at the height of their fame to join the army. That's what the members of BTS, the world's biggest pop band, are doing right now." The report noted, "South Korea still technically being at war with North Korea, most men serve 18 months in the military."
Quoting Yale University Professor Grace Kao, the BBC added, "To Western fans, it feels incredibly cruel to be forced into a hiatus at the peak of their careers, whether they like it or not."


Meanwhile, BTS is expected to resume full group activities after the discharge of V, RM, Jimin, and Jungkook, who enlisted in December 2022, in June 2025. BTS members have also expressed their excitement and anticipation for reuniting with fans in 2025.

Jungkook, in a video introducing his first solo album 'GOLDEN' released on November 3, said, 

"I think we've become stronger in many ways by releasing our solo singles and albums. These activities are also part of BTS." He added, 

"I can assure you of this. If BTS comes back together in 2025, it will be really great. I'm looking forward to it more than the fans."