By Lindsay Wong
Just like in Singapore, it is compulsory for all South Korean men to enlist in the military. The only difference between the two countries is at what age they enlist. Depending on their role undertaken, the length of time for each enlisted man varies. The cutoff age for entertainers to enlist in South Korea is 28. Here are some K-pop idols and actors that fans will have to say farewell to for around two years in 2020!
UPDATE: The South Korean National Assembly just passed the bill on allowing recognised pop stars to defer enlistment. This means BTS Jin’s enlistment will be postponed for 2 years.
Up and rising actor Woo Do-Hwan announced on his Instagram that he would be enlisting in the military on July 6th as an active duty soldier. Having played multiple roles in dramas like ‘Tempted’ and ‘My Country: The New Age’, he made his breakthrough in 2020 with his role in ‘The King: Eternal Monarch’ and received praise for his portrayal of dual roles as Jo Eunseob and Jo Young.
One of Korea’s most loved actors, nicknamed the ‘nation’s boyfriend’, will be enlisting in the military band as a cultural promotion soldier on August 31st. This year, he had a cameo role in the last episode of high-rated K-drama ‘Itaewon Class’ and was cast in the youth drama ‘A Record of Youth’ as a model who is looking to shift to an acting career.
Jinhoo from UP10TION
Jinhoo had taken a break from UP10TION activities due to health concerns earlier this year, so his enlistment on 23 Nov may come as a surprise to many Honey10s. Apart from the announcement that he’ll be enlisting as an active-duty soldier, his label has kept the time or place of his enlistment a secret.
Jinho from Pentagon
Jinho is the first member of Pentagon to enlist in the military. He enlisted on May 11th as an active duty soldier in the midst of MNET’s survival show ‘Road to Kingdom’, which the group had been participating in. In the second round of the competition, Pentagon did a goodbye stage for their main vocal, performing a mashup of their 2018 hit song ‘Shine’ and ‘Spring Snow’. It turned out to be an emotional roller coaster as it went from being a fun and happy stage to a bittersweet performance, leaving all the members in tears.
Suho from EXO
Shortly after making his solo debut, EXO leader Suho (Jun-myeon) enlisted on May 14th as a public service officer. He is the third member to enlist – Xiumin and D.O are already in the military. His debut mini album ‘Self Portrait’, released on March 30th, was a success and won several music shows. Right now, the rest of the EXO members are focusing on solo and unit activities.
Hyunsik, Sungjae and Ilhoon from BTOB
BTOB members Sungjae and Hyunsik both enlisted in the military on May 11th as part of the military band. Ilhoon followed in their footsteps two weeks later on May 28th but is currently serving as a public service worker. He is the last BTOB member to enlist in the military. At the moment, everyone else in the group is serving their enlistment except Peniel who does not need to because he is an American citizen, and leader Eunkwang, who was discharged on April 7th of this year.
Jinwoo and Seunghoon from WINNER
Jinwoo and Seunghoon, the two oldest members of WINNER enlisted in the military in early April. This was just shortly after they made their last comeback as a full group with the emotional title track ‘Remember’ on April 9th. The MV for this song recounted their fondest memories over the past six weeks, from their time spent on the reality show ‘Win: Who is Next?’ which formed the group to their world tour. It was a lovely farewell gift to their fans.
Ken from VIXX
VIXX’s main vocalist Ken (Jae-hwan) is the third member of the group to enlist after leader N and Leo. He will join the military band on July 6th. Ken is currently appearing as the lead role in the musical ‘Mefisto’. In addition to being an idol, he has ventured into being a musical actor throughout his career. Since his debut in 2012, Ken has also been a popular voice behind the OSTs for hit K-dramas like ‘The Heirs’, ‘Moorim School’ and ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’.
Zico, formerly from Block B
Zico – former Block B member – was the fourth from the group to enlist on July 31, following U-Kwon’s enlistment in May this year. Zico will be serving his duties as a public service worker. The singer recently released Part.2 of his first solo full-length album “THINKING,” featuring the title track “Being Left.”
The following idols will be enlisting soon because of their age, but their enlistment date has not been confirmed yet: L from Infinite, Shownu from Monsta X, and Chanyeol from EXO.
Update: Thanks to the brand new ‘BTS Law’, Jin’s enlistment will be postponed until he turns 30.
Idols born in 1993 will be enlisting in 2021, and they include fellow BTS member Suga, Shinee’s Taemin, B1A4’s Gongchan, Block B’s P.O, Day6’s Sungjin and Young K, and Infinite’s Sungjong.
Even though it will be hard for fans to say goodbye to their favourite stars, a lot of other idols and actors have been or are getting discharged from the military this year too! Every SHINee member (except Taemin) will be returning in just a few months, as well as members from other second-gen boy groups like B1A4, Infinite, VIXX, BTOB, Highlight, and EXO.