BTS didn’t just blaze a trail for emerging K-pop acts, but they’ve inspired South Korea’s Parliament to not stop them in their tracks.
Jin, the oldest member of the K-pop boy band, turns 28 on Friday, Dec. 4, but the celebration could’ve marked an end to his career. Their native country’s previous law required all able-bodied men to enlist in the military for approximately 20 months upon turning 28, according to The New York Times.
But on Tuesday (Dec. 1), three days before Jin’s (real name Kim Seok-jin) fateful birthday, South Korea’s National Assembly passed a revision of the Military Service Act that allows K-pop stars to postpone their military service until they’re 30. Lawmakers proposed the revision in September after BTS’ first-ever English-language single “Dynamite” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on the Sept. 5-dated chart. The so-called “BTS Law” buys Jin two more years to perform with BTS during their incredible run.
The new law allows K-pop entertainers to apply for deferment if they’ve received government medals for elevating South Korea’s cultural influence around the world. All seven members of BTS qualify after being awarded the country’s Hwagwan orders of cultural merit from the government in 2018 during the Korean Popular Culture & Arts Awards.
For decades, top South Korean athletes who’ve competed and won medals in the Olympics and Asian Games were temporarily excused from the country’s sacred military conscription because they boosted national prestige. Award-winning classical and folk musicians were also given this luxury on the same grounds, but male K-pop stars finally get to join their ranks.
And the new law passed has given the ARMY more reasons to celebrate after BTS scored another historic No. 1 debut on the Hot 100 with their latest single “Life Goes On” from their Billboard 200 No. 1 album BE. “Life Goes On” becomes the first Hot 100 No. 1 in the chart’s 62-year history sung predominantly in Korean.
See how some of the fans have been rejoicing over the new law in time for Jin’s birthday below.