BTS members will serve in South Korea’s military, K-pop agency says
Some members of South Korea’s top boy band BTS have reportedly been accepted to the South Korean military, sparking rumors they are in training to take over for South Korea’s national anthem before being deployed to help with its defense.
But BTS’ agency SM Entertainment had said the 20-year-olds will enter “the army and not the military.”
“On July 12, a decision has been reached to allow our members to join the military after the country’s flag ceremony. That decision is dependent on the BTS members’ future plans,” an official from SM Entertainment told AP on Tuesday. “For the time being, the members are being trained to become soldiers.”
“This is a very unusual and unexpected move,” said one K-pop industry analyst on condition of anonymity. “It’s not like you’re going to get 20-year-old soldiers with no military training.”
The speculation follows the release on July 9 of videos in which members of the band can be seen practicing the K-pop dance “Dollbin.” The dance has become a signature move at K-pop concerts, used to signal to the audience that the performer is about to perform a popular song.
The move sparked a firestorm online, with some speculating that the members would join South Korea’s special forces, complete with parachutes, in order to parachute into North Korea during the annual summer military parade.
The controversy highlights the political divisions between North and South, with critics accusing South Korea of trying to manipulate the country’s government into giving up control over its K-pop industry.
The K-pop industry has traditionally been seen as a tool of North Korea’s propaganda machine, using the industry as a way to sell its totalitarian ideology.
But the country already has well-funded, highly-trained K-pop stars who take their music seriously, while the South has less expensive idols who perform for the masses.
SM Entertainment, one