Happy early birthday to Jin! The oldest member of BTS, Kim Seok-jin, turns 28 on Friday, but the South Korean government gave him an early present on Tuesday, passing a revision of their Military Service Act to allow K-pop stars to postpone service until they turn 30, per the New York Times. All able-bodied South Korean men are required to enlist in the military for around 20 months when they turn 28, if not sooner. Under the revised law, K-pop stars who have received government “Order of Cultural Merit” medals for helping spread the country’s cultural influence can apply for deferment. All seven BTS members were awarded the medal in 2018. The current conscription law already allows exceptions for top athletes like Olympians or classical and folk musicians who have won awards. Lawmakers introduced the revision in September, after BTS became the first South Korean group to land a No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for their English-language track “Dynamite.” They’re on a hot streak even the South Korean Parliament can’t deny. They earned their third No. 1 this week for “Life Goes On,” the first-ever Korean language song to top the chart, and saw their album Be at the top of the Billboard 200. And just last week, they scored their first Grammy nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. It’s Jin’s birthday, but the BTS ARMY are the ones celebrating. Mr. Worldwide Handsome has himself another two years to break records and hearts.
Cultural reset. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images