One of the hottest topics of debate in K-Pop in recent times has been the topic of BTS and enlistment. Over the past few years, the media and netizens have watched the government discuss whether the group should enlist, all the while not focusing on the members’ own views.
On October 17, BTS’s Jin made headlines worldwide when it was announced that he wouldn’t be delaying his enlistment any longer.
Following the announcement, the idol was praised for canceling the request to delay his enlistment and would be following government protocol after the release of his upcoming single.
One of the hottest debates while the topic was being discussed focused on the ability of BTS to perform. For many, the group has been seen as a huge contributor to revenue in Korea.
Yet, it seems like that recommendation is still being considered by politicians, and it’s being met with negative reactions from ARMYs.
On October 18, the Ministry of Defence held its regular briefing, and it wasn’t surprising that the topic of BTS’s enlistment came up. During the briefing, Col. Moon Hong Sik, the ministry’s acting spokesperson, commented on the possibility of BTS still performing while enlisting.
Our position is that we will provide an opportunity if they wish to participate when there is a national-level event for the public good or an event designed in light of the national interest.
— Colonel Moon Hong Sik
When the report was released, ARMYs shared their anger at the statement.
Those enlisted cannot earn money from schedules. So if BTS performed together, they wouldn’t be able to gain anything from it, but the government may be able to capitalize on the group economically.
For many, it showcased the greed of the government and also a way to try and capitalize on the group even though Jin had made a decision to enlist. Jin’s decision came amidst the government’s years of back and forth on coming to a decision about BTS’s enlistment duties. Others also pointed out that the government could give BTS a break when enlisted rather than having to perform alongside their active duties.
Of course, it isn’t rare for idols to perform whilst in the army. Recently, members of SF9 and ONF have gained attention for their performances while enlisted, while many others have joined the military band or performed in musicals while enlisted.
SF9's Youngbin and other Military Soldiers Dancing to @BLACKPINK’s “DDU-DU DDU-DU”
— BLΛCKPIИK GLOBAL (@BLACKPINKGLOBAL) October 13, 2022
— 🌰🍞 (@bamsikbbang) October 18, 2022
Yet, for many ARMYs, it’s the fact that the government has elongated the process of the enlistment decision by treating BTS as a product to benefit Korea and tourism.
Even straight after the news of the group’s enlistment plans was revealed, media outlets announced that the government already had plans to make concessions for the group to perform. The headline, “We are planning for a way for [BTS] to perform together after enlisting,” appeared on a news outlet and raised anger.
The topic of BTS’s enlistment has been hot for many years. After Jin and BTS made the decision to enlist and not delay, ARMYs believed the government was trying to find any way to allow the group to perform. Yet, the phrase “national interest” was said in a way that made ARMYs think that it would only be to benefit the government.
You can read more about Jin’s decision below.