Jin, oldest member of K-pop’s BTS, finishes army service in South Korea

Seoul — Jin, the oldest member of K-pop phenomenon BTS, was discharged from South Korea’s army on Wednesday after 18 months of duty, the first member of the group to wrap up the mandatory national service that put their music careers on hold.

Jin, 31, wearing uniform and a black beret, appeared emotional as he hugged his colleagues at a military base in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi province, television footage showed.

“I cried during the ceremony,” Jin said later during a livestream which racked up over 3 million views on the Weverse fandom platform.

“But it was so fun for the last year and six months. It’s such a relief I met so many amazing people,” he added, sending regards to his colleagues at the military base.

Shares of HYBE, the label which houses BTS, jumped 1.01% in early trade while the benchmark KOSPI index rose 0.35%.

South Korean media reported several other members of the septet who are currently serving in the military applied for leave to celebrate the occasion.

Among them was rapper RM, who greeted Jin with a saxophone to play the group’s hit single “Dynamite.”

Jin became the first member of the group to enlist in the military in December 2022. The final four members of the group began their service in December 2023, with the band expected to reunite in 2025 after they all complete their duty.

Jin plans to celebrate his discharge with an event in Seoul on Thursday where he will greet fans and stage a performance.

The group debuted on June 13, 2013, and has since become the face of K-pop, one of South Korea’s largest cultural exports.

South Korea requires all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 28 to serve between 18 to 21 months in the military or social service, but it revised the law in 2020 to let globally recognized K-pop stars delay signing up until age 30.

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