10th July: Members of the k-pop band BTS have reportedly signed up for an MBA course to delay their mandatory military service.
According to reports from the international media, the K-Pop most famous band BTS has taken up an MBA program in advertising and media management.
However, critics of the K-pop boy band say they are using education as an excuse to avoid military service, which all adult males in South Korea must complete.
As reported by the South China Morning Post, speculation started swirling when their agency, Big Hit Entertainment, announced on Tuesday that BTS members Jinmin and V would start their MBA program in advertising and media management at Hanyang Cyber University in September.
The agency said fellow member Jin had also been taking classes for the same program since 2017 – and that RM, Suga, and J-Hope joined him in March last year.
Critics of the band, however, have accused them of deliberately signing up for an education course to buy time before they serve in the South Korean Military.
“Isn’t it obvious that they are trying to delay the military duty?” a user wrote on an online community. “Graduate school is a common excuse male K-pop artists use,” another user wrote.
By law, all eligible men above 18 are liable to recruit in the Korean Army. However, they can delay their enlistment until they turn 28, under specific circumstances, including studying for a master’s degree.
Jin, 27, who has been enrolled since 2017, is qualified to postpone the duty until he graduates or turns 28. The other members now can do the same. But the agency told local media that “the members enrolled on their own will to pursue higher education”.
Jungkook, the youngest member, who is working on his undergraduate degree at the Global Cyber University, is the only member who is not attending the MBA program.
Recruiting in the military has been a troubling issue for the band members and their fans, as it would mean the group would have to stop its activity for at least 18 months during the service.
The Korean Defence Ministry concluded that K-pop artists, including BTS, would not be given the privilege.
“Exempting pop culture artists from military service, even though they have contributed to the country’s reputation, is not in line with the government’s stance to uphold justice and fairness,” the ministry had said during a press briefing last November.
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