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BTS' Suga Begins Mandatory Military Duty

Fri 22 Sep 2023 | 04:03 PM
Yara Sameh

Suga, a member of the global phenomenon BTS boy group, began his mandatory military duty in South Korea on Friday.

"I'll faithfully serve and come back. Please stay healthy and let's meet all again in 2025!" Suga posted on the social media site Weverse.

The K-pop idol is unfit for normal combat duty, likely due to his shoulder surgery in 2020. He will instead fulfill his obligations as a social service agent.

"Please convey your warm regards and encouragement in your hearts only," BTS management agency Big Hit Music said. "We ask for your continued love and support for (Suga) until he completes his service and returns."

Big Hit Music called on fans to avoid visiting Suga at his workplace.

Normally, active duty troops in South Korea undergo five weeks of boot camp training, with alternative service enlistees typically only doing three. Those performing alternative service may also choose when they will do their basic training.

Young able-bodied South Korean men are required to serve at least 18 months in the army, amid tensions with the North. The two Koreas are technically still at war, as fighting between the two countries ended in 1953 by the means of a truce, not a peace treaty.


Suga is the third member of BTS to carry out his duties. Fellow members Jin and J-Hope have already commenced their active military service.

BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, made their debut in 2013 and later exploded in global popularity. 

The band, whose hits include "Dynamite" and "Butter," has a massive online fanbase known as the BTS A.R.M.Y.

The South Korean Hyundai Research Institute estimated in 2018 that BTS' popularity brings in the equivalent of billions of dollars each year for the South Korean economy. The group has also attracted hundreds of thousands of tourists annually to South Korea, with visitors often shopping for BTS and K-pop related merchandise in Seoul and other major cities.

Rumors swirled last year whether BTS members could receive a special exemption from their duties. South Korea allows certain athletes, classical musicians, and others to not have to perform service, but BTS as a K-pop outfit were not deemed eligible.